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  • Axion Power Concentrator 119: June 23, 2012: Notes And More From The June 21, 2012 Shareholders Conference 130 comments
    Jun 24, 2012 1:54 PM | about stocks: AXPW

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    Axion Power: "About To Take Flight"

    by Mayascribe

    A veritable cold front blew in for this year's Shareholders' Conference. Last year it was searing, at 102 degrees; this year we topped out at only 94 degrees. The humidity was drenching, the beautiful New Castle Country Club pool looking inviting, even at 10 AM.

    Attendance was up significantly this year versus last year. Though the numbers are still small, and subtracting that there seemed to be half again more Axion Power employees present this year than last, it also seemed that there was a solid 50% increase from shareholders and perspective investors present.

    The business part of the meeting went smoothly. All motions were approved and seconded. Director, Mr. Glenn Patterson, was given a very nice crystal plaque for his "all-in" help over the years in bringing forth Axion Power to where we stand today.

    With the business out of the way, CEO, Thomas Granville, stepped up to the podium smiled, and said, "This is when the fun begins!" Tom did not this trip recount the early stories of how Axion Power came into being, but he did talk about the roster of contributors, from the board of directors, to leading officers, to developmental executives and shop foremans, of which I feel we are so lucky to have.

    I always enjoy listening to Thomas Granville tell a story, and my favorite this year was about the hiring of Vani Dantam. At first, Thomas wasn't sure that Vani Dantam, the new Director of Marketing, would become part of the Axion team. But Vani sought out Axion (if I am correct), because of the unique properties the PbC holds.

    It rapidly became apparent to Thomas that Vani had amassed over his working years and amazing depth of knowledge of the automotive industry, and also held an equally amazing array of key contacts throughout the industry.

    Seemed for a time, that Vani's pay grade was above what Axion Power could afford. But, a deal was made, Vani rented a place in New Castle, enrolled his kids into local schools, and now is a New Castle home owner in permanent residence.

    I think he was smiling more than anybody present, of Axion leadership, or the shareholders.

    As most of you know, Vani Dantam used to work with the now defunct Ener1. My absolute favorite story he told, was that his wife, "Made him park his Ener1 Lithium battery test car down the street from his home," reminding me of last year, when Thomas introduced the quite humorous new term, "Car-B-Que."

    Followers of this blog, must realize that that was a very prescient, and full of imagery new "Urban Dictionary-type term," as we all have read and seen pictures of numerous lithium cars spontaneously blowing up, the GM hardened laboratory having an eight inch thick steel door bent up, and some lab windows getting blown out; people unfortunately injured.

    Vani is indeed a very knowledgeable man, and I found him sincere and accomplished in answering all but Rastro's question (a shareholder from Pittsburgh) who asked about what scientific problems existed with the PbC. After a long, pregnant pause, Vani couldn't think of one! Except for trying to get industries to realize that the PbC has capabilities that rival, or in some cases, are better than lithium ion batteries.

    The PbC is cheaper to make, safer to make, easier use, and much safer to use. The PbC does not require TWO reinforced steel "casings." The PbC does not require as much ancillary costs, such as wiring, a clean room for making lithium ion batteries, and a much more complicated Battery Management System, and coolant barriers. The PbC is safer to transport. The PbC works better in extreme temperatures, and this is perhaps my biggest takeaway from this shareholders meeting:

    The PbC accepts a charge two to four times as fast as does a lithium battery. How huge is this fact when it comes to using the 12 Volt PbC (or the 16 volt big brother 30HT) in stop/start vehicles, for over-the-road and yard switching locomotives, and especially for grid applications.

    It wasn't until this meeting, my third time to visit New Castle, that I feel I have a much better understanding of the PbC. For lay people, or non-battery geeks like me, I will attempt to explain the PbC, and its make up.

    Each PbC is really a string of two volt batteries inside a single casing. For the 12 volt PbC, there are six two volt batteries. For the 16 volt 30HT, there are eight individual two volt batteries in a casing that stands about 30% taller than the 12 volt PbC.

    So in affect, each battery, the PbC, or the 30HT, is actually a string of two volt batteries within a single casing.

    I will herefoward refrain from using terms such as "cathodes" or "anodes" when referring the two "poles" that emerge from any battery casing. It will now be the negative pole and the positive pole, because inside the PbC or 30HT are many electrodes and carbon activated sheets (which I formally thought was the cathode).

    Many months ago, I was embarrassed, could not even post a comment about where the activated carbon sheeting was made. Been there twice before, and I had not seen it. How could this be? I felt I was letting all of you down, and quite frankly felt all the good and innocent qualities "ignorance" implied by my utter lack of where-about knowledge. I finally had it confirmed that I will never see them made. And very few ever will. My best guess is that the carbon sheeting is made in some "Bat Cave" below the Clover Lane facility...no way to be sure! Hugely likely that only a very few Axion employees ever get to see or work on the activated carbon sheeting process being manufactured.

    The 10 AM morning meeting went fast. The Q&A spilled beyond the allotted 1PM time. I believe about half of all questions asked, were asked by "Axionistas." All were very informed questions. Later in the day, at the cocktail party, Thomas spoke to myself and others that he really enjoyed answering, taking on hard questions, as it helps in the future with explaining the capabilities and the future potential for the PbC.

    Which circles back to Vani Dantam. The hardest thing for him and all of the Axion leadership to accomplish, is to take head on all the lithium hype, all the government subsidies, all the media coverage, the backing by uninformed, or improperly informed Washington DC politicos. The "appearance" that shifting away from lithium back to "lead acid" seems to have taken on a patina of going in reverse technological innovation. This is an ongoing very hard message to turn on its head: That lead acid is NOT a bad thing simply because lead is used. Lead acid batteries are the most recycled product of ANY product used in the United States. Over 99% of all lead acid batteries are recycled, and there is money in the reclaiming of the lead to be recycled into new batteries. Lithium ion batteries are virtually non-recyclable; people, companies get paid to recycle lead acid batteries, but they have to have to pay to dispose of, or recycle lithium.

    How our leaders actually want to obtain lithium, to become depended upon lithium sources outside the US, largely mined in unfriendly nations, is beyond this writer. The current policy in Bolivia, is to invite all the foreign investment they can obtain, to build lithium mines. But there is no guarantee that any plant built will not someday be nationalized. There are other countries in the world with lithium potential. But any new lithium mine of "worthy" size, will cost several hundred million dollars to create.

    Then, of course, there is lithium and "battery grade" lithium, much, much more expensive and rare. I encourage the more informed to comment about lithium potential resources availability around the world.

    The curious question for our US leadership, both corporate and public, is: Why are we hyping, subsidizing and developing multiple industries to use lithium when it comes from foreign and potentially unfriendly nations. Haven't we been sending trillions upon trillions of US dollars to the Middle East, to countries that don't like us, and now we're are on the threshold of doing it again?

    WHEN ARE WE GOING TO LEARN FROM OUR PAST STUPIDITY?

    Preposterous to me, especially when lead is cheaper, available, and mined in friendlier parts of the world, as well as being mined right here in the US.

    Perhaps, Axion's greatest challenge going forward is going after and challenging the lithium supporters. It seems the automakers are focusing more on weight and subsidies, than dynamic charge acceptance, driver (and homeowner's) safety, and most importantly, reliability and cost.

    SIDEBAR NOTE: I encourage all of us to come up with a boilerplate letter that we can all send to our senators and congressmen/women.

    The following are bulleted points (some of my opinion):

    Rosewater And The Residential Cube -- Rosewater CEO, Joe Picarelli, learned the night before the Shareholder's Conference that he was to give a mini-lecture introducing this new product. He did excellent job despite the short notice. The press report covers most of what I have to say. I will add though, that this market is a pretty significant development. It's really all about the uber wealthy, with their $100,000 home entertainment, lighting, and security systems.

    Many companies that do this have visited New Castle, some staying for two days on their own dime. Companies, or dealerships, also brought their installers, who basically couldn't wait until this product becomes available.

    This new cube can be stored virtually anywhere, in a basement, a garage, attic, or outside, in any climate. It locks down a perfectly smooth 110/60 deliverance of power, which, if solar is added, can take a Malibu or Miami mansion completely off grid.

    I want one of these!

    There remains some questions about UL approval, and if this product can or can't be sold without approval. I gathered that UL approval will be gained by the end of this year.

    Joe "Pic" invited me to the September Indianapolis show, the world's largest of its kind, and said he will provide me with a press pass, as this show is not open to the public.

    The Grid -- In about two weeks we should hear of an update about FERC regulations regarding pricing policies. My feeling is that the PowerCube sales delays have largely been because of the lack of some kind of pricing guidelines or formulas for the time shifting energy storage capabilities that the PbC holds, as well as other battery manufacturers attempting to help smooth out grid fluctuations.

    I do not believe this is an Axion Power exclusive problem, but rather, and industry-wide problem, which has no parameters, no past formulas to base future pricing decisions on, all because this is basically brand new evolving technology (more later).

    Railroads-- For quite some time I have held concern for Axion shareholders' hopes that the PbC could be potentially used by all railroad outfits. I had often questioned to myself how viable the PbC would be in the Rocky or Sierra Nevada Mountain chains.

    Vani Dantam did speak of Norfolk Southern and its Crescent Line, which basically weaves it's way all the way from New Jersey to New Orleans. Needing clarification of this, I approached esteemed Board of Director, Bob Avrill. My supposition proved correct. The PbC is NOT viable for any rail road company to use in high grade, steep mountains. Simply, and though no climb up is up all the way, nor decent straight down all the way, the PbC would be fully charged in say, the first 10% of a decent. The rest of the trip all the kenetic energy is lost. Nor, would the PbC contribute enough to make economic sense to help propel a long train hauling coal very far up a steep grade.

    The PbC further makes no sense in flat states like Iowa.

    However, in the "rolly poly" areas, like the Appalachians, the PbC should excel, and save any rail road significant fuel costs. Therefore, I believe that the numbers of potential over-the-road locomotives able to use the PbC with economic viability is greatly reduced.

    However, yard switchers, from all rail road outfits, remains prime potential for adopting PbC technology; still a huge market.

    According to Thomas Granville, all Axion testing is done, all Norfolk Southern testing is done. Only third party testing at Penn State is what is left. Shrugs followed.

    It was mentioned that there will be about 80 new locomotives (or retrofitted?) coming onto the Crescent Line, but not all of them will be using the PbC. I remain unclear if this is because, say for every two diesels used, another one will be a PbC locomotive.

    Lastly, far back into the early Axion Power Concentrators, it was suggested by me that racking issues could be a problem holding up things. My information from this meeting is that this was to some degree true.

    Automotive -- My sense from New Castle is that the major OEMs are going very slowly with adopting the PbC. Perhaps the biggest problem is in the Catch 22 category. Axion does not have the capability to make millions of batteries. How does Axion gain a major order from a major automaker, if they can't make the batteries? We all know the answer is Axion reaching a partnership with a major battery maker, like Johnson Controls, Exide, Enersys, or East Penn.

    This is a tricky area, because PbC technology is not limited to just the Automotive arena. No way can Axion afford to limit its future toward one sector, only to be contained in others. Thomas did mention licensing, or partnering up, but I don't expect this to happen soon with GM (the first time I have ever heard Thomas mention GM, btw) or BMW.

    Rather, though, it appears there is STRONG interest from smaller automakers. It is my opinion that the smaller automakers will come out being the smarter automakers, if they do indeed choose the two battery approach using the PbC, and a small cranking battery.

    All information we have found here in these forums, and Enders Dickenson's excellent Power Point Presentation at the morning meeting, show categorically that all AGM batteries will fail within about 8 months, some within two months, even if the vehicle is rarely used.

    But there is a problem within the problem. Both the automakers and the EPA just don't get it. I expect that the EPA currently is only interested in fuels savings of just bought, drive-off-the-lot mileage and EPA emissions requirements. They are clueless when it comes to when the stop/start feature degrades to where the AGM battery renders stop/start useless.

    Sure, the vehicle will still work. But the fuel savings proclaimed by the automakers, and approved by the EPA, essentially breakdown within months after the vehicle is driven off the dealership lot.

    It could be several years before the EPA wakes up, and I foresee many, many dissatisfied stop/start vehicle buyers coming more into the media forefront within the next few years. I believe a class action lawsuit could be looming someday. I also believe that someday the EPA will be forced by its own requirements and regulations to enforce the automakers to create a better solution.

    For me, and I fully recognize this could take years, but this potential scenario holds majestic, unbelievable promise for Axion Power and the shareholders.

    For those of you that recall my family's involvement two generations back, in buying a few shares of a company called Universal Wire and Spring, which then became Hoover Ball and Bearing, and then Johnson Controls: Near the end of the cocktail party I related that story to Thomas Granville, about my grandfather and Abe Lincoln's grandson, both contributing architects to the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, AZ, -- how one or the other of them recommended buying Universal Wire and Spring --that someday, Axion Power would surreptitiously team up with JCI.

    Thomas bloomed a smile, and added he had once stayed at the Camelback Inn.

    But...of course, he couldn't comment.

    Class 8 Trucks -- Heck, I didn't even know what a Class 8 Truck was before this meeting. But it appears there is potential for the PbC to be used and could obtain as much as a 50% increase in fuel savings, plus have added auxiliary back up power for when these trucks are forced to turn off, rather than idling all night long at rest stops.

    Seems like there is some potential here in using a smaller motor with as many as 24 30HTs.

    Tim Enright is our resident expert on this subject, so I will step out of the way, and encourage all related Class 8 truck type questions to be posed to him.

    Oil Rigs -- It appears the problems with oil rigs is that they just make so much darned money that they don't care about saving fuel. Further, I'm pretty sure the EPA doesn't do enough regulation of particulates spilling into the sky with offshore drilling.

    Here is something new. Every once in a while a rogue wave hits an oil rig. These waves can contain the power to disrupt or uplift the cables holding the rig in place. The first thing the rig operators do is to get the drill is pulled up as quickly as possible.

    But, if I am correct, firing up backup diesel generators takes far longer than a PowerCube, to begin pulling up the drill. This is a key safety issue both for companies and rig operators that has some teeth.

    The PowerCube can respond in milliseconds.

    It is expected by Rosewater that once the first PowerCube is sold to any rig operator, the PowerCube will become vogue, and more sales will rapidly pile on.

    Mega C's 2,000,000 shares -- To date, not one share has been sold. It is not known if they will be kept, or sold later on. As unpopular as my scenario was received about these shares, I still hold onto the idea that they will never reach the market.

    PbC and 400 Amps? Testing And battery Stress -- I was astounded to learn that the PbC can hit the 400 amp mark. But it really means little. No OEM could care about this fact, as they are only concerned with 100 amps. Norfolk may need 200 amps.

    But I also have another takeaway, or question to ask our battery geeks. Wouldn't 400 amps with a lithium ion battery put the battery into thermal runway mode?

    AONE was rightfully and respectfully hammered upon during this conference. Thomas joked that AONE was once upgraded because a large order was CANCELED, meaning AONE wouldn't lose as much money. The more topline revenue AONE generates, the more money they lose, and the sorrier their bottomline will look.

    He added that he was in no way prepared to have a lawsuit because Axion shipped batteries before Axion was 100% completely sure they will work as advertised. Lessoned learned, at the expense of AONE.

    It was also discussed that AGM batteries do not perform as well in both winter and summer months, something that will not occur with the PbC.

    Another aspect I want to clarify is that I reported from the PowerCube unveiling that the PowerCube can respond in 250 milliseconds. The utility response time is 50 milliseconds.

    I did ask Thomas about why there had not been an increase in PbC 100,000 light duty cycles since last year. His response was plain and evident; no OEM cares about any battery that can exceed 100,000 cycles. That's already 8 1/2 years of durable battery life.

    The PowerCube -- What's great about having more boots on the ground this year was that it allowed for me to roll around away from groups. I had a wonderful, near private meeting with Enders Dickerson inside the PowerCube. The innards have slightly changed; it seemed there were more batteries than at the unveiling. But, only 100 kw was working. The full capacity of the PowerCube, a half megawatt, has never yet been used all at once. Further, I believe that the PowerCube is NOT running 24/7. It is not producing revenue (which I wouldn't expect this prototype to do yet anyway).

    What was really cool was to hear it shifting back and forth every 30 seconds or so, to flawlessly take in power, than a half minute later deliver power back into the grid. So smooth.

    Though my iPhone's screen is almost as big, watching the ups and downs in frequency fluctuations was exciting to see on the computer monitor. Perhaps the best feature the PbC holds over all other competitors is how fast the PbC can gain, accept or deliver a charge. In other words, the more, the faster the "needle" (say like taking your forefinger and quickly wiggling it up and down) the better the PbC outperforms all lithium, AGM and flooded lead acid batteries.

    Solar and Wind -- There doesn't seem to be any more coming from Envision Solar. But what holds great promise is that there are VERY FEW solar or wind farms that use batteries to store energy. In states like Washington, wind farms have been told to shut down for a stretch of time; there was no room in the grid to accept more electricity.

    It appears these are two other industries that have yet to understand or engage in the potential for storing generated electricity, to time shift it and then deliver the electricity later. I have no idea if FERC is involved with this.

    Bottom line is that there is almost and endless potential for the PbC, as well as other battery makers, with storage generated from wind and solar farms...already in existence.

    Capital Raise, Financing, and Forward Guidance -- It appears almost a lock that the next round of fund raising will occur during the coming fourth quarter. There was very little talked about this. I did, at the cocktail party, relate this column's concerns over how this would affect share pricing to Thomas, Charles Trego and Bob Avrill. Obviously, no one could comment. I did briefly ask Thomas about a "rights offering" or other cap raise ideas, but, as a lowly shareholder, I expected no answer, and quite appropriately, received none.

    Earlier, Thomas, at the morning Q&A, assured that he was very confident revenues were ramping quickly. Every single leader of Axion, all sitting up in front, all nodded their heads in agreement.

    This is extremely important: East Penn sales are ahead of schedule!

    It appears that as fast as Axion can make flooded batteries, East Penn is buying them. Surely, we would all like to see PbC sales ramping, too, but what I covet is that this big brother, East Penn, is helping its little brother hire people, give them work and allow shop workers to be properly trained for when PbC and 30HT sales begin to ramp.

    Sidebar Note -- Inventory: Remember that "small mountain" of empty battery casings I witnessed at the PowerCube unveiling? Well, there are still some battery casings stacked on skids. 62 skids in all, 13 holding 30HT casings. But nothing like how many there were back in November. It also seems that Axion is now having them made domestically, rather than importing them from China.

    I could easily crunch out the exact numbers of both PbC and 30HT casings, but to me, it really doesn't matter, as another casing order could arrive next week, or next month, an obvious eventuality.

    What was important, was to take a quick glance at the Clover Leaf facility and notice it held a different "hum or bustle" than in past times I visited. Seemed there were far more batteries being made, pushed around, of differing sizes.

    Al Marshall reported a huge charging room, lots of shelves, which I did not see in past trips.

    The Gen 2 Robotic Line -- Last year, we shareholders were allowed to gather closer to the Gen 2 line. This year we were cordoned off, maybe 25 feet away. Being that pictures were not allowed this year or last, I had to go on memory. Seems the Gen 2 line is running much more fluidly than last year. I noticed that there were more sensors, that the electrodes seemed to be passing smoothly from one station to the next, and the dwelling issues of the past, are now in the past. I did not time how long each dwelling time lasted, but it seemed to be between 12 and 15 seconds.

    Four people were working the line on this day. In the future, it is expected that only two supervisors will be needed per line. I was assured that when Axion needs to expand and add more Gen 2 lines, that there is plenty of factory floor space to hold up to 11 robotic lines.

    This is one crisp looking line of machines, the robots provided by Epson, and then modified at New Castle. I was glad to see no lab coats, no hair nets, and though this plant is spotless, there is no expensive clean room needed.

    Axionistas in New Castle -- I want to thank all the Axionistas that made this year's pilgrimage to New Castle. It was simply fantastic to share a fine dinner at the Wooden Angle, to now match names, voices and faces with the Seeking Alpha cyber avatars. The questions all of us asked were far more valuable to myself, to this blog, and even to Thomas Granville, than last year's Shareholders' Conference.

    It was great fun to watch from across the room us Axionistas fan out, meet and talk with Axion leadership, existing investors, lurkers, and other investing houses present. It was also great fun to know that we had a bunch of us with attentive ears, active questionings, and feet on the ground, learning all we could about Axion Power.

    The mood this year was more upbeat than ever. I asked several shop workers how they like working for Axion Power. To a man, they all said they loved it.

    In final, I want to validate that Thomas Granville reiterated his view that Axion Power will strive into profitability during 2013. I was the only one of everyone present, to ask any forward guidance question; intentionally loosely worded.

    Later on, I tapped Thomas on the back near the end of the cocktail party, and told him that he has trained us well.

    I hold zero doubts that Axion Power will achieve a significant YoY top line revenue growth, in the area of at least 300%.

    In conclusion, I don't expect PbC sales to take off in the next month or two, but I do feel strongly that we are on the tarmac, and, as Thomas Granville began this years' 2012 Shareholders' Conference, that Axion is, "About to take flight."

    Disclosure: I am long AXPW.

    Stocks: AXPW
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Comments (130)
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  • bazooooka
    , contributor
    Comments (3578) | Send Message
     
    Great reporting Maya. Very encouraging news to say the least. Here's to a fruitful Summer for us Axionistas =)
    23 Jun 2012, 08:51 PM Reply Like
  • jakurtz
    , contributor
    Comments (1950) | Send Message
     
    WOW! I have a lot to say about your write up Maya, but I will try to keep it short. I grabbed a glass of Bushmills (yeah, we are not at $3 yet) and read your retelling of your trip to New Castle. I am floored. For the first time I feel like I was truly taken behind the curtain to see what this company is really about and I am excited.

     

    I now have the realization that the PbC is not just a battery, it is a beast. It is this *thing* that accepts a tremendously fast charge and delivers a just as fast discharge and never dies...its a monster. I have never thought of the battery that way before, being an animal unlike any other lead-acid battery before.

     

    What is most exciting is the entire dynamic that has been created between us Axionista's and this little company that could. Axionista's (and this includes management, directors and employees) own this enterprise and it does not fail unless the Axionistas say so. The Axionista's are in charge of where this company goes and how well it succeeds. Wall street does not own it, banks do not own it, Axionista's own it.

     

    I am jazzed to be a small part of this company. It is going to take time maybe way more time than anyone wanted it to take but sooner or later if all Axionista's stick to their guns it will be a company we tell our grandchildren about with great pride.

     

    Thanks Maya for taking me to the stockholders meeting even while I sat right here at my computer.
    23 Jun 2012, 09:09 PM Reply Like
  • alsobirdman
    , contributor
    Comments (431) | Send Message
     
    Hey Jak, Bushmills is A-OK. No need to apologize. I just read Maya's excellent report while sipping some Jim Beam Black Bourbon. I just love a good whiskey. But I digress. Nice to hear about the meeting. I hope I can make it in years to come and meet some of you. After three years it's good to see signs of life. Here's to many more good signs.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:03 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
     
    Crown Royal.

     

    C'mon, I'm Canadian.

     

    FWIW, I agree about everythin else. Maya, you are a rockstar.

     

    D
    24 Jun 2012, 08:25 PM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    D. If you can get your hands on Pendleton its worth a try...

     

    http://bit.ly/Ml7VRc
    24 Jun 2012, 08:41 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Kind Folks: There are some subjects, or tangents of subjects I left out, and will address over the coming day or two.

     

    I will be glad to answer any questions I have the ability to answer; I welcome them all.

     

    It was a gorgeous day here in Philly, and I am not complaining one bit about that it took most of this fine day to write the above article. And so now it's a beautiful night, of which I am going to enjoy.

     

    Now I am starving, and heading up to the local tavern, to eat and relax, and hang with my mates.
    23 Jun 2012, 09:13 PM Reply Like
  • jveal
    , contributor
    Comments (644) | Send Message
     
    Maya,

     

    Thanks for your willingness to spend all this time and share it with us. Thanks to everyone who spent the time and money to attend the shareholders meeting and then took the time to freely give your knowledge to anyone willing to spend time reading your reports.
    23 Jun 2012, 09:27 PM Reply Like
  • LabTech
    , contributor
    Comments (1778) | Send Message
     
    Maya,
    Thanks for the write-up and all your comments. One question I had, which I haven't seen anyone address, is whether TG or any of the others discussed fleet testing of the PbC? Was there any mention of this, whether it would be going on with one or multiple OEMs, and any ideas on numbers of autos for the tests and when they might start? I know we were all disappointed when we found out at the last CC that auto fleet testing hadn't started yet, so I was wondering if this was discussed/updated in any way?
    Thanks.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:53 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Lab: I wish I could offer more. I did bring forth this discussion with one of the board of directors. Again, what they know, if they know, I am not legally allowed to know, due to disclosure obligations and agreements.

     

    There was no discussion of fleet testing, with any OEM. But I must qualify in that I did not press forward with fleet testing.

     

    I do wish the meeting lasted more than one day. I had so many questions, expect that all Axionistas there had so many questions, left un-asked and unanswered.

     

    But we already do know that some of this fleet testing has been happening for at least (?) two years, with BMW and police cars in Germany.

     

    Axion Power has so many irons in the fire that even someone like me, who admits to not entirely understanding all that the PbC brings...there are so many more questions I would love to ask.

     

    And that is because this PbC battery has seemingly unlimited capabilities. Beat the crap out of it, and it performs. Put it into the extremes, and it kicks the crap out of the competition.

     

    I want to reiterate this in another way: The PbC is like a dreamy teenage woman with incredible talent. Her time to shine is nearing in.
    24 Jun 2012, 01:30 AM Reply Like
  • Poul Brandt
    , contributor
    Comments (254) | Send Message
     
    Maya, thank you for your detailed report. It is a pleasure to get such an overview, with many details.I enjoyed reading it. Will join you next year.
    24 Jun 2012, 06:05 AM Reply Like
  • metroneanderthal
    , contributor
    Comments (1425) | Send Message
     
    Maya,
    If I recall correctly, fleet testing was only beginning in 2012, although vehicle testing has been going on for longer. Also don't recall ever establishing definitively that police fleet testing was taking place. Just trying to keep facts straight, and I may be completely wrong. .
    24 Jun 2012, 06:08 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    Maya: Great write-up about your visit.

     

    Regarding Camelback Inn, ...

     

    IIRC, GM has a big proving ground south of Phoenix down around Yuma somewhere?

     

    Having stayed there, combined with first ever direct mention of GM by TG, ...

     

    I'm not saying this suggests fleet testing is underway, but I would anticipate that GM has at least been running a PbC around their test facility for a long time. After some "long enough time", there's several metro areas around that would make good fleet test locales.

     

    Re the 2M shares not coming to the market - is it just a feeling or were there some tangible hints or statements leading to that feeling, even if you can't reveal them.

     

    HardToLove
    24 Jun 2012, 10:38 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Metro: We went through that a while back. I recall asking what is a fleet? How many vehicles are there in a fleet?

     

    I believe it has been widely known that BMW police cars in Germany have been undergoing testing for some time; seems longer to me than just starting this year.

     

    I even recall some bill of lading of batteries coming back into the country from BMW, although there was no proof of what they were used for, or tested for.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:59 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Hard: Thanks!

     

    My sense was that TG had stayed in the Camelback Inn a long, long time ago.

     

    About the 2M shares. I should have stated that in my senario that I don't see those shares coming onto there market anytime soon, rather than "never."

     

    This has been my feeling ever since JP reported the Mega C situation.

     

    Those Vegas lawyers fought hard to get them; they must know how much they are worth, and how bright the potential future of Axion Power is. If they don't need the cash right now to pay their expenses, then why sell these shares when they could be worth maybe 10 times more within a couple of years, or sooner?

     

    Again, all this is merely conjecture on my part.
    24 Jun 2012, 11:22 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Maya, Here is the BMW battery return to Axion you recall.

     

    http://bit.ly/ykGiof

     

    Maya, Thanks so much for the write-up. Your skill with the quill shines far beyond that of the common scrivener.
    24 Jun 2012, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • carlosgaviria
    , contributor
    Comments (791) | Send Message
     
    Mayascribe:
    Gracias, Gracias, mil (1.000) Gracias more.

     

    Thank you for your information, extremely important. I have read all week.
    I am very happy to know that everything runs smoothly and that alone is a matter of time and patience.
    Thanks again for your time.
    Carlos.

     

    Have a nice week end.!!!
    23 Jun 2012, 09:38 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3431) | Send Message
     
    Maya, ditto on the well deserved kudos and thanks.. Now, to all the RR guys/gurus: Regarding the Rockies/Sierras railroad application... wouldn't the obvious answer be just to add *several* PbC OTRs to the consist? Or can a PbC OTR not even make it on its own (IE carry its own weight) up the full length of such a grade on only one charge?
    24 Jun 2012, 12:10 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    48: Nope. Please reread what I wrote. The PbC is not an economically viable device to haul anything up a steep grade, because any charge a PbC laidened locomotive will never generate enough electricity to help effectively help with steep grades.

     

    Another way to put it, as I attempt to paraphrase Bob Avrill, is that you would need more PbC locomotives to haul up over the Rocky Mountains, than coal cars loaded with coal.

     

    Simply, it is not practical, and not cost advantageous.

     

    I am guessing you are correct. That a PbC locomotive would actually be a drag going up the steep terrains.
    24 Jun 2012, 01:39 AM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    Eventually, on a "long" "steep" grade, the PbC will become a burden but I don't think this eliminates it from the consist. The entire route will be considered and calculated. It is possible for the PbC to hit "E" on a long grade and still be of value to the consist...
    24 Jun 2012, 09:59 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    That would seem to translate to Class 8 and smaller trucks then as well.

     

    So it looks as though the applications sort of match the performance characteristics - "works well away from the extremes" (i.e. best performance at PSOC, not at full DOD or 100% SOC - best performance on intermittent and moderate rolling/flat terrain with lots of momentum changes, not trying to achieve or exit the extremes of the Rockies).

     

    Being a power rather than energy battery, that makes sense I guess. Gravity is a hell of a task-master.

     

    HardToLove
    24 Jun 2012, 10:47 AM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    Gravity is a hell of a task master indeed!

     

    One thing to remember is that currently NONE of the kinetic energy that is being stored in the vehicle as it ascends a grade or through braking is being used. For trucks, there are gains to be had even on flat ground (will expand if interested).

     

    My assumption about the sweet spot can be found in the testing being done in the PC. Enders said the SOC is centered on 60% which provides a healthy swing in each direction. Thus the advantage of operating in a PSOC.

     

    A trucking example, I calculate my fuel purchase based on the route and my tanks being as empty as possible when we are around the cheapest fuel. It does me little good to be around cheap fuel with full tanks...

     

    FYI. When a new truck is ordered there is a great deal of attention placed on what routes that truck will be traveling. The information is entered into a software application that models various criteria; engine hp and torque, fuel mapping, number of transmission gears, final gearing for the average speed over the highway elevations the vehicle will be traveling.

     

    Our OTR truck was engineered to operate the highways of entire lower 48 states with a GVW of 80K...
    24 Jun 2012, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Basically the potential energy that the PBC battery can hold is far less than the kinetic energy required to haul it to the height of some of points on the route over which the train travels. But it is true that if there were no other considerations you'd have to analyze the entire route to see if there were enough benefit.

     

    I've also read where they have to make sure, based on the mass of the entire train load, that they run calculations for the trains speed as they approach grades and come down grades so the respective momentum and braking power will get them to their destination safely. So in this case the PBC laden car may become more of a burden than the benefit derived over some routes. One of the instances where it's energy density doesn't suit the app.
    24 Jun 2012, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    HTL, The only caveat in the case of the class 8 application is that the PBC string is perhaps not only performing a task in a hybrid system for moving the vehicle it's also managing the hotel load due to government regs. So in a sense it's multitasking.

     

    And that's a good thing because systems that can deliver value in numerous ways are ........well......more valuable. We like!
    24 Jun 2012, 12:01 PM Reply Like
  • LabTech
    , contributor
    Comments (1778) | Send Message
     
    As far as the RRs go, I guess Maya's information finally puts some realization behind why GE is gearing up to make hybrid locomotives. We've often mused in the past about why they would be trying to stuff both a generator plant and batteries into a locomotive, since the space for each would limit the other. They've probably been looking at this for far longer than Axion and realized that there were just areas in the country where straight battery power wouldn't get it done and you would need a hybrid to run off fuel for those grades. It also tells Axion, that while there are limits to how many refits they will be able to sell, it also tells them that there are areas that they don't need to waste their time trying to sell into (except for yard switcher). I really think that the yard switchers are going to be the bread and butter of Axion's sales in rail. It's cheaper to retrofit than buy new, and most importantly, we now know that the rail road yards can set things up so that the battery powered slugs are completely charged from transmission lines instead of diesel generators. I think the EPA regulations for smog from rail yards are just going to keep being pushed down until they aren't going to want to run diesel generators for any slug. It won't happen overnight, but it makes the most sense and will be cheaper for the railroads over the long hall to just bring in transmission lines to their yards and not rely on burning diesel for power generation. IMHO
    24 Jun 2012, 10:59 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    LabTech: I wouldn't go overboard on restricting sales to yard slugs. Remember that the RR's are very sophisticated in mapping and planning their routes and applying the proper technology where applicable.

     

    With a "consist" being so easily and quickly changed and certain types of locomotives being appropriate for certain routes and not for others ...

     

    I'm deducing that the PbC locomotive will be just like the others in regards to appropriate application and *might* indeed see extensive use.

     

    This seems supported by the stated intent to do an OTR locomotive. If NSC didn't see enough applications to assure a ROI, they wouldn't bother.

     

    There should be only a difference of magnitude in the expectations we might have had vs. what is really likely to appear.

     

    MHO,
    HardToLove
    25 Jun 2012, 08:23 AM Reply Like
  • D-inv
    , contributor
    Comments (4575) | Send Message
     
    The RR discussion was interesting and informative, but I personally found Maya's reporting on Class 8 trucks much more so. There are beau coup of those rigs on the highways and I have long thought that market prospective for PbC applications. It also struck me as probable that TG had the trucking sector in mind earlier this year in CC mention of uses/markets for PbC that theretofore had not been discussed much.

     

    I hope Tim saw the suggestion that he contact Vani Dantam and explore possibilities a bit.
    25 Jun 2012, 08:52 AM Reply Like
  • LabTech
    , contributor
    Comments (1778) | Send Message
     
    HTL,
    I'm not limiting rail to slugs and obviously neither is NS. I'm just saying that we now have confirmation from the company that there are areas of the country where using a battery only locomotive isn't practical. Therefore, Axion knows not to spend time and resources trying to sell something for a function it can't meet. As John likes to say, there are no silver bullets, just silver buckshot. So a good sales staff will know where to put their resource and where not to focus. It's no different than tying to sell a PbC battery for a BEV. Sure you could try, but why waste your time when you already know the answer is no.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:38 AM Reply Like
  • D Lane
    , contributor
    Comments (1638) | Send Message
     
    I'm way interested in the Class 8 trucks potential. It seems to me there is loads of potential in the PbC for full hybridization of large vehicles that stop frequently, such as refuse trucks and transit buses. Still AFAIK Axion is way behind other solutions there, such as the Parker equipped hybrid hydraulic garbage truck discussed a few concentrators back.
    Was there any hint of real OEM relationships and/or testing of the PbC in trucks? Talk is cheap after all.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:31 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    Have you ever heard Axion's management mention an application that they weren't focusing on? Talk is cheap in many quarters, but not at Axion.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:33 PM Reply Like
  • D Lane
    , contributor
    Comments (1638) | Send Message
     
    I hear you. And we have reason to believe that Vani D. has many contacts in truck manufacturing. . .but I'm sure we are all keen to hear specifics.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:45 PM Reply Like
  • Stilldazed
    , contributor
    Comments (2789) | Send Message
     
    Weight is an important factor on class 8 trucks. Every pound added, is one less for a load. Many times I had to get my load before refueling and then only run with half tanks to stay below 80,000 pounds.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:52 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    stilldazed, True but what percentage need that capability. The key to efficiency is to chose the right transportation for the job. GM and Ford also used to sell over 1 million pick-em-ups (I like the Aussie version "Yank Tanks") a year and half of them never saw a load that exceeded a weeks groceries. Times they are a changin.

     

    "Gentlemen start your err.......vehicles".
    25 Jun 2012, 01:18 PM Reply Like
  • D Lane
    , contributor
    Comments (1638) | Send Message
     
    I'm not sure if the talk about Class 8 trucks is regarding full hybridization or maybe stop/start and anti-idling tech?

     

    With regards to full hybridization and regenerative braking, I have read that current hybrid electric systems (in transit buses) are unable to capture more than 30% of the braking regen. Hybrid-hydraulics have an edge because they can capture much more than that (70% IIRC). The PbC would also presumably have an edge over current systems which use lithium-ion (2 to 4 times!).
    Here is an article with useful info on how far along electric competitors are in the work truck space. BAE is using lithium-ion.
    http://bit.ly/KXPzZz
    25 Jun 2012, 02:59 PM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    I have doubts that PbC can store enough energy within weight constraints to be a full hybrid for a class 8 truck. There probably are some optimizations for hotel loads, ancillary loads such as air brakes and a/c, and start/stop. This is similar to autos: Toyota is using NiMH, which has higher energy density than PbC, other cars are using Li-x. JP has consistently said PbC is not the right technology for EV or full hybrids; it is too heavy for traction applications.

     

    Eaton has a hydraulic regen system which is appropriate for garbage trucks. The little I have heard is quite positive. PbC would have to outdo this technology.

     

    Railroads are an interesting traction "exception" for using PbCs, as they are much less weight constrained than road vehicles. Freight consists, with a variable mix of diesels and batteries, allow the RR to match the right amount of "hybridization" for the specific run. As had been discussed, long, consistent elevation changes are not an effective for batteries, while rolling hills, or frequent stops, are playing to PbC strengths. The Northeast has very congested tracks, so stopping and reaccelerating are much more significant than the long non-stop runs in the much of West.

     

    Not a RR expert, so I am always looking to learn.
    25 Jun 2012, 06:10 PM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    "I hope Tim saw the suggestion that he contact Vani Dantam and explore possibilities a bit."

     

    D-Inv. I actually didn't but I do plan on making contact soon. I also have some irons in fire with others who are working to optimize energy usage in the trucking industry. Storage is the piece that is missing and the reason the led me to Axion but that's another story...

     

    PS Funny you guys chose to talk about class 8 trucks on a day that I was away <smile>.
    25 Jun 2012, 08:32 PM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    "Weight is an important factor on class 8 trucks. Every pound added, is one less for a load. Many times I had to get my load before refueling and then only run with half tanks to stay below 80,000 pounds."

     

    I hear ya SD! Been there and now that the choice is mine I will never do that again unless the money is right. In the spot freight market a 45k load doesn't pay any more than a 35k load. The only thing that you risk when you add weight to your unladen gross is the opportunity haul a heavy piece. Well, if the piece is heavy and worth hauling I will just permit that load and add the permit cost to the load. You have about 10k that you can play with which is 137 PbC's (way more than needed). My average GVW over my career is between 65-70k.

     

    Edit: for the record, Van's presentation talked about adding 20-40 PbCs for the hybrid application which is less than 3k (40*73)...
    25 Jun 2012, 08:52 PM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    "I have doubts that PbC can store enough energy within weight constraints to be a full hybrid for a class 8 truck."

     

    Rick. I am going to agree and disagree at the same time. We cannot lump all the class 8 applications together which everyone (including myself) tends to do. The minimum requirement for a class 8 truck is that the engine alone has the hp and torque to pull the steepest grade in its territory at a speed greater than 30 mph. A terminal to terminal operation in Florida will have different specifications than a run east to west across Colorado. Hybrid trucks will stay in the region types they were designed for.

     

    Most people believe that the large fleets make up the greatest percentage of trucks on the road. The reality is they are a very small percentage of the trucks on the road. I will fetch a link on this unless iidelco beats me to it...

     

    I am not regionally bound but still believe there is a lot to be gained when we add on board storage to a true OTR truck. This has been a mission of mine since before I knew what a PbC was and will be a mission of mine until I find an answer.

     

    More later as I am being shoved out the door on the way to watch a movie...
    25 Jun 2012, 09:22 PM Reply Like
  • Stilldazed
    , contributor
    Comments (2789) | Send Message
     
    Tim,
    Must be nice, I was a company driver and would take floor tile to the Northwest and large paper rolls back to CA. Very heavy loads with a light weight tractor and 48 ft trailer (beautiful country, still miss the road).
    25 Jun 2012, 10:44 PM Reply Like
  • D Lane
    , contributor
    Comments (1638) | Send Message
     
    Thanks, Tim and Rick.

     

    I take it then that Vani is referring to an OTR truck application, not a garbage truck or other heavy-duty vehicle that stops frequently.
    26 Jun 2012, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    "I take it then that Vani is referring to an OTR truck application, not a garbage truck or other heavy-duty vehicle that stops frequently."

     

    D Lane. Maybe, it is still unclear the extent of their target market because there is quite a range of applications in the trucking industry. I suspect they might have a regional application as their target but that is just my guess at this point...
    26 Jun 2012, 10:59 AM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2109) | Send Message
     
    When speaking to any of the officers at Axion, they were always referring to any or all applications that required a high amount of charge and discharge. I heard no specifics as to the PbCs ability to start a garbage truck 100s of times per day. It would be an interesting test.
    27 Jun 2012, 07:39 AM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    Futurist, I agree there was no discussion of garbage trucks at the shareholders meeting. I question whether start/stop is appropriate for most garbage trucks, as the "hotel load" of the hydraulic rams is significant. For most urban garbage trucks, the start/stop cycle would be often less than 100 feet, which seems impractical.

     

    My understanding is most urban garbage trucks "gross out" (reach maximum weight), so adding significant battery storage could restrict collection volumes. If trucks loads were light, they would not need double rear axles, or would be longer to contain more volume.
    27 Jun 2012, 10:19 AM Reply Like
  • Al Marshall
    , contributor
    Comments (631) | Send Message
     
    Nice summary Mayascribe! Also, don't miss Dirtdauber excellent notes at the end of the last concentrator.

     

    My comments here relate to a discussion involving amishelvis, HTL, and iindelco near the end of the last concentrator regarding the electrode line.

     

    The engineering director who led our tour (can't remember his name) has been with the company a year or so and was brought in to work primarily on the electrode line. He said the problems with the last few steps of the process (11 robots?) were completely resolved and that the learning curve on the line has reached a certain degree of maturity.

     

    As Mayascribe noted, we weren't allowed near the production line, but a completed electrode was brought over for us to see and touch. It felt very smooth and spongy due to the backing material. I didn't notice any carbon residue on my finger. I asked about the shelf life of the completed electrode and the answer led me to think that it is very long. I suggested that it would be feasible to stockpile a large supply and got a non-committal answer that led me to believe that is exactly what they are doing.

     

    One note related to mayascribe's article. The new PbC only charging room was mostly empty, and while no one was in there, the lights were on and it seemed clear to me that work was ongoing. I have no idea when the room will be operational.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:16 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Thanks, apmarshall62: It was a joy to once again visit New Castle. And possibly even more fun to write, to put together the above article.

     

    I will once again say how incredible the elegant simplicity of the PbC astounds me.

     

    I believe the "engineering director" was none other than Jack Shindle (sp?). He was great!

     

    24 Jun 2012, 01:51 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    THANK YOU MAYASCRIBE

     

    On July 21, 2011 you came back home from last year's stockholders meeting and wrote an Instablog titled "Notes and More From Axion's Shareholders' Conference" – http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    You knew a lot less then than you do now. None of us knew or could ever have predicted that one pebble in the form of a novice's Instablog would become a landslide of information and education, with a whole lot of fun thrown in as an added bonus.

     

    Eleven months after the original we're up to 119 concentrators, 125 followers and 22,141 comments. Everybody who participates in this forum makes a major contribution, but I want to personally thank you for starting something far bigger than I've ever seen.

     

    I'm checking with my local merchants to see if I can find a gold-plated tin foil fez to show our appreciation, but even if that effort fails you should know that we all appreciate what you did.

     

    BIG THUMBS UP FOR MAYASCRIBE.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:38 AM Reply Like
  • metroneanderthal
    , contributor
    Comments (1425) | Send Message
     
    "I'm checking with my local merchants to see if I can find a gold-plated tin foil fez to show our appreciation,"

     

    After you leave the store, I would love to hear the comments of your local Swiss merchants after inquiring about a gold-plated tin foil fez.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:38 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    So far they've all said sorry John, we don't work in anything less than pure 18kt gold, but we can probably keep the weight under 1 kg if your budget is limited. At that point I politely thank them and move on.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:58 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    "... weight under 1 kg"

     

    What? Remove the tassle?! Unacceptable!

     

    HardToLove
    24 Jun 2012, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    I figured if they can get it thin enough to keep putting flakes of it in bottles of Goldschlager they could still do electrodeposition processes for the arts and crafts guys.

     

    http://bit.ly/LrFeDm

     

    I wonder if the extra conductivity would add to even more enlightenment. HTL might take over the supreme leader position and be dressed to kill all at once!
    24 Jun 2012, 12:11 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    Actually the Swiss figure gold is for the tourists and platinum is for the townies.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:17 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    CLARIFICATION ON UL CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

     

    I spoke with Joe Pic last night and he told me that everybody on the Axion team was impressed with the depth and quality of the questions that were asked at the stockholders meeting. Believe it or not, it really is a pleasure for management of a company to answer smart questions from people who understand what you're doing and why you're doing it.

     

    During the conversation I drilled down into the UL certification issues. I was surprised to learn that the PbC is already UL certified and has been for quite a while. The basic inverter has also been UL certified. What they're apparently working on now is a recertification of the inverter with additional features that Rosewater needed for a residential product that can support both the PbC and solar feed features while delivering the ultra-high power quality that high end residential electronics need.

     

    Joe told me that he believes the schedule they've laid out for UL certification is conservative.

     

    One interesting factoid Joe mentioned in passing was that none of the lithium chemistries have been UL certified (as far as he knows) which opens up all manner of insurance and litigation risks if they're used in a residence and cause a problem.

     

    He also confirmed that the guys he's been bringing in from around the country really want this product because there's a gaping hole in the market that they want to fill.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:44 AM Reply Like
  • LabTech
    , contributor
    Comments (1778) | Send Message
     
    John, thanks for the update. As far as Li-ion batteries go, wouldn't the Li-ion batteries in cars have to be UL approved, since they are being sold to consumers? There may be a different certification required for residential use, but I would think there is some level of UL approval required for auto, which is probably why Axion got their PbC battery UL approved already. Of course I may be wrong...wouldn't be the first time! :-)
    24 Jun 2012, 07:30 AM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3214) | Send Message
     
    "He also confirmed that the guys he's been bringing in from around the country really want this product because there's a gaping hole in the market that they want to fill."

     

    How refreshing to be in such high demand. So much so that people come to YOU.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:50 AM Reply Like
  • metroneanderthal
    , contributor
    Comments (1425) | Send Message
     
    Maya,
    Thank you very much for your detailed comments.
    24 Jun 2012, 06:09 AM Reply Like
  • Tim Enright
    , contributor
    Comments (1345) | Send Message
     
    Ditto, and thank you for the comprehensive piece..
    24 Jun 2012, 10:44 AM Reply Like
  • thotdoc
    , contributor
    Comments (1941) | Send Message
     
    Maya-Thank you,

     

    Gordon
    24 Jun 2012, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Nice pic of PJM's operations center.

     

    Turf Wars
    Is Natural Gas Running Coal Off The Grid?

     

    http://bit.ly/NoDlUN
    24 Jun 2012, 11:22 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Metro, Tim:

     

    One subject I did not broach was the Military. I didn't hear "military," mentioned or any of the Armed Services mentioned at all.

     

    Yet, I still believe, because the specs seem to match up pretty well, that Fort Meade is a forthcoming PO, and will be announced publically.

     

    Perhaps one of the other Axionistas did hear something.
    24 Jun 2012, 11:29 AM Reply Like
  • Bylo-
    , contributor
    Comments (426) | Send Message
     
    Maya,
    Excellent job of reporting, thank you for your time and effort.
    24 Jun 2012, 11:46 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    IT LOOKS LIKE SONY IS THE ONLY LITHIUM MANUFACTURER THAT HAS UL CERTIFICATION

     

    And only since April of this year.

     

    http://bit.ly/NzgEkv
    24 Jun 2012, 11:54 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    A UL Whitepaper on safety issues with lithium-ion batteries is here:

     

    http://bit.ly/PVPJPu
    24 Jun 2012, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Still picking winners.

     

    "During the microgrid design phase, the team faced several challenges including discovery of differing site conditions and changes in the Government-furnished energy storage system that will be integrated into the microgrid."

     

    Burns & McDonnell designs microgrid for U.S. Military

     

    http://bit.ly/MttlKC
    24 Jun 2012, 12:48 PM Reply Like
  • Tampa Ted
    , contributor
    Comments (2652) | Send Message
     
    iindelco -

     

    I wonder what "Government-furnished" means exactly. ZBB announced this design win last month ...

     

    http://yhoo.it/IEA7jU
    24 Jun 2012, 10:53 PM Reply Like
  • Axion Power Host
    , contributor
    Comments (522) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I edited and added a link to the header to John Petersen's latest instablog, "Why I Focus On Peer Group Comparisons"

     

    Lots of great stuff to put in the header the past couple days. In an effort to keep Axionista's from getting carpal tunnel from scrolling I will keep the header with just Maya's "Notes and More" for the day but probably flip concentrators around 100 comments.

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    24 Jun 2012, 02:00 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    APH: I think that is a good idea. There are a lot of fantastic comments coming out over the past few days, so many with insightful technical details. Surely there are others in the works.

     

    Besides, I just gave my article a read through, and I'm aghast at how many editing errors I found. ;-)
    24 Jun 2012, 02:10 PM Reply Like
  • jakurtz
    , contributor
    Comments (1950) | Send Message
     
    In case I wasn't clear last night. It sure looked good to me. I although you understand grammatical types those cringe at , impertinent silly; little: dunmb grammer. mistakes.

     

    #####

     

    Thanks for the links APH and keeping this a well running machine.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:29 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2240) | Send Message
     
    APMarshall> "I will comment here on my overall impression of what happened. While there wasn’t a lot of new info out of Axion, and I left the meeting thinking the road is even longer than I thought going in, my overall impression of the company is more positive, and my estimate of the likelihood for eventual success has increased."

     

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to go to the annual meeting and post their comments and impressions. AP your comment sums up my impression from reading everything posted so far. Terrific battery - slow market acceptance and adoption. I think that if it breaks out anywhere in a major market segment (autos, rail, grid, renewables, trucking, etc) it will run like Patton in Europe during WW2.

     

    The PbC has no equal in what it does best if space and weight are not critical. I am moving my time line out to 2-3 years. A major company manufacturing partner would shorten that timeline immensely.

     

    I truly wish I could have been at the annual meeting. Not so much for first hand information - the Axionistas who attended are reporting all they learned - but to meet a lot of great Axionistas I have enjoyed spending time with in our last 119 Concentrators.

     

    In a nutshell I wondered if I wanted to cut and run at some point or stay for the final act no matter the financial risk? I've decided I'm keeping my seat until the end of the show. Based on the hard work, optimism and quality of personnel in New Castle I would guess they are going to pop something decent sales-wise before to long.

     

    On a final note the all comments search tool is working fine. It picked up the key word "facilitites" in APC 114 it missed before. I think the change to a URL pattern for indexing versus individual urls made the difference. That can't be done with the 3 month search tool but there are far fewer URLs in the 3 month database. Cheers.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:59 PM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
     
    Btw, I'm curious, who was the first person to post the word 'Axionista'?

     

    I have this vague recollection of reading the word for the first time and thinking it just sounded so right.

     

    Vivan lost Axionistas!

     

    D
    24 Jun 2012, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • Poul Brandt
    , contributor
    Comments (254) | Send Message
     
    D.M
    In Concentrator 28 I wrote:

     

    "Hej Axionists.
    Filling up at 0,30. Got 50K so far, and now waiting for the next 24K.

     

    HTL shall we double again at 0,25 or at 0,20? :-) "

     

    HTL answered:

     

    "Poul, I think you *almost* coined the name for this crew - you just omitted one syllable, an (Pat, I'd like to buy an) "a".

     

    Axionistas!

     

    Now, that has a certain "panache". It has "class". It implies being part of the "literati", etc.

     

    What do you think?

     

    HardToLove "

     

    So that's how "Axionistas" got created. As always here it was a collective development.
    25 Jun 2012, 02:29 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    I remembered the exchange but wasn't clear on who the commenters were. I also wasn't clear on the timing, but I was too lazy to search out the origin on my own. Now we all know that pictures of Poul and HTL should frame the doorway to the Axionista Hall of Fame.
    25 Jun 2012, 03:10 AM Reply Like
  • metroneanderthal
    , contributor
    Comments (1425) | Send Message
     
    D. McHattie
    "Vivan lost Axionistas"

     

    I think "lost" does apply to me. So thank you for wishing me a long, prosperous life.
    25 Jun 2012, 04:22 AM Reply Like
  • metroneanderthal
    , contributor
    Comments (1425) | Send Message
     
    Thanks,
    I was wondering myself who coined the term.
    25 Jun 2012, 04:25 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    LATE BREAKING

     

    A new article I posted to Altenergystocks last night just hit the main pages here on SA:

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    24 Jun 2012, 04:54 PM Reply Like
  • magounsq
    , contributor
    Comments (952) | Send Message
     
    Maya et al

     

    Another thank you your way...and other attendees!

     

    I'm in Massachusetts...another power outage last night...no problem...have a pop...deal with it.
    This morning I was shopping at a local very popular Italian Groceria..."... quality selection of fresh meat, bread, cheese, produce and desserts...specialty items that only Italian markets sell."
    Someone was asking the owner how he made out with the power outage...what pops into my mind...AXPW!

     

    What would financial services companies pay to minimize power outages?

     

    I know the residential cube is high end right now...
    ...they are the demographics who are coming back faster the "main street".
    ...I have to believe the every day Joe ain't that far behind.

     

    "SIDEBAR NOTE: I encourage all of us to come up with a boilerplate letter that we can all send to our senators and congressmen/women."
    Done that...going to do again.
    No matter your politics, SOME politician could take that ball and run with it...but it takes Cojones...big ones!

     

    Lastly, I'd feel better with East Penn or JCI versus XIDE.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:18 PM Reply Like
  • rgholbrook
    , contributor
    Comments (116) | Send Message
     
    Thanks to Maya & other attendees.

     

    The "..and Enders Dickenson's excellent Power Point Presentation at the morning meeting, show categorically that all AGM batteries will fail within about 8 months, some within two months.." struck a cord. As to not take up Axion's time with duplicate requests, was anybody planning on asking for a copy of the Power Point presentation (if they don't post it online) and UL certification, if available? Again, thanks to Maya and everybody else.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:40 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3214) | Send Message
     
    And I assume Axion will keep presenting that AGM shortcoming/PbC advantage at every trade event. I'd hammer away, all over this la-and. I'd hammer in the mor'n, I'd hammer in the evening...

     

    For a slightly less ancient reference, It's Hammer Time.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:28 PM Reply Like
  • 481086
    , contributor
    Comments (3431) | Send Message
     
    Lithium tree very pretty, and the AGM flower is sweet, but the fruit of the PbC... is impossible to beat.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3214) | Send Message
     
    Can't touch this.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:55 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >481086 & Mr Investor ... Great. The face-off begins with folk versus hip-hop lyrics. What's the trade?
    25 Jun 2012, 02:11 PM Reply Like
  • Tampa Ted
    , contributor
    Comments (2652) | Send Message
     
    Thanks to all for your thoughts and input on the meeting! There is a lot of information from everyone to chew on.

     

    I find it curious that the Viridity partnership did not seem to be addressed. The relative silence w/r/t Viridity as compared to other topics, the 20' trailer (as HTL pointed out) and the potential Fort Meade project ... would be nice for it to be the next project.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:08 AM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    This may give us a clue as to why BlackRock is liquidating Axion:

     

    http://bit.ly/KHEbQg
    25 Jun 2012, 01:06 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    It's important to remember that we *believe* Blackrock may be selling but we can't really *know* that they are selling. I've said that Blackrock is the only source of stock I can identify that would account for the size of the reported FINRA short sales, but my efforts to get back-channel confirmation of that theory have been remarkably unsuccessful.

     

    Blackrock is an oddity because it's so huge. With four trillion of assets under management, Blackrock's Axion stake is exactly equivalent to a $2 stock position in a $4 million portfolio. Axion is so utterly irrelevant to Blackrock that it makes my head spin.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:57 AM Reply Like
  • amishelvis
    , contributor
    Comments (143) | Send Message
     
    For those of you that follow ZBB, insiders are buying heavy in the last week or so.
    25 Jun 2012, 08:28 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    BMW, Toyota eye close partnership: Report

     

    http://bit.ly/KIhuve
    25 Jun 2012, 08:32 AM Reply Like
  • Tampa Ted
    , contributor
    Comments (2652) | Send Message
     
    It amazes me, the regular headline space that the automakers reserve for lithium ion and fuel cell? vehicles, while for the most part attempting to keep the PbC shrouded in secrecy.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:00 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    I'm more intrigued that these partnerships always seem to focus on *next generation* lithium-ion battery technologies, which are probably a decade away from commercial feasibility. The fact that the automakers are partnering up to work on the *next generation* sure seems like a pretty direct statement that they're not terribly interested in buying the *current generation* from outsiders.

     

    It's always amazed me that people assumed automakers would happily spend 1/3 of the cost of their cars on a single component manufactured by somebody else. I'd always figured they wanted to keep the ultra-high value added manufacturing in house.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:14 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Not so much for me. My reasoning is that they can use "lithium ion" or "fuel cell" as an almost generic term as there are many suppliers of this tech. Also to say lithium ion or fuel cells for an EV is an obvious choice so there is no strategic advantage to hide anything. The supplier or the ultimate storage device (chemistry) might be kept secret if it offers advantage but the storage type in this category of vehicle is not so special any more.

     

    Now if you said PBC or Asymmetric capacitor for an application, well that's neither generic or main stream. It would be a strategic shift that could offer advantage.

     

    Just my thoughts.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:20 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    To me a significant amount of the far reaching advanced development stuff is to spread the cost but also, more importantly, to make sure they don't get trumped. Just imagine what would happen if all the sudden Fiat/Chrysler announced they had a lithium air battery that cost 5k USD to power a car for 500 miles and it would be on the market next year. All hell would break loose.

     

    On the content side I agree with you. No auto maker is going to buy battery packs from another supplier for a main stream vehicle. Cells yes, whole packs with the BMS. No way. They will do it when the technology is not ready and they don't want to waste their resources on it. ie Toyota/Tesla.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:49 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Hydrogen batteries? Perhaps from LA or Nimh? Or were they using fuel cells? Anyway.......Oops.

     

    Maharashtra mantralaya fire: Did hydrogen batteries trigger fire?

     

    http://bit.ly/OjyEBR
    25 Jun 2012, 08:42 AM Reply Like
  • carlosgaviria
    , contributor
    Comments (791) | Send Message
     
    Good Morning!
    Something important to read:

     

    Spinning Reserves for the Grid
    http://bit.ly/Q2pA1p

     

    Have a nice weeK.
    Carlos.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:36 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >carlosgaviria ... Kinda' reads like PowerCubes & Beacon have a future. I hope it is not a too distant future.
    25 Jun 2012, 09:41 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    Did anybody notice that Tesla is down today after their triumphant delivery ceremony on Friday and glowing reviews from the automotive press? I can almost hear bagpipes, or the sound of a lone bugle -
    25 Jun 2012, 10:02 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >JP & Anyone Else ... I'm still limping along without my main computer so I'm in need of some info. I know I've got this somewhere ... but ...

     

    An EV saves an individual 10 barrels of oil/year. What is the oil equivalent energy consumed by an EV (Tesla @ 12k miles) per year?
    25 Jun 2012, 10:48 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Not real world but.

     

    "The Lithium-ion battery in the Tesla electric car is rated at 53 to 59 Kilowatt Hours. A gallon of gasoline is about equal to 130 Megajoules or 36.3 to 36.6 Kilowatt Hours. Divide the energy capacity of the battery (59 kW/hr) by 36.6 Kilowatt Hours and the result is 1.612 kWh. This is equal to 1.612 gallons of gasoline. That's it. The battery is like a 1.6 gallon gas tank. And the Tesla Roadster usually travels about 225 miles on a single charge. Divide 225 miles by 1.612 and the result is 140 miles per gallon."

     

    http://bit.ly/LuVEen
    25 Jun 2012, 11:12 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    "According to the U.S. EPA, the Roadster can travel 244 miles (393 km) on a single charge[12] of its lithium-ion battery pack, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in 3.7 or 3.9 seconds depending on the model. The Roadster's efficiency, as of September 2008, was reported as 120 mpgge (2.0 L/100 km). It uses 135 Wh/km (21.7 kW·h/100 mi, 13.5 kW·h/100 km or 490 kJ/km) battery-to-wheel, and has an efficiency of 88% on average."

     

    http://bit.ly/tDggHq
    25 Jun 2012, 11:20 AM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >iindelco ... Thanks. Now I can continue my local discussion, argument ... whatever the blood pressure dictates as direction.

     

    So, see if I have this right, an EV (Tesla) saves and actual 400 gallons of oil but on an oil equivalent energy basis it really only offset 315 gallons of gas or $1250 @ $4.00/gal. Roughly speaking there is a 15 year premium paid up front for the battery pack + whatever interest is paid above a comparable ICE (if bought on a loan).

     

    What a deal that is if the premium carries into the used car market depending on length of ownership (the discussion currently in-hand here).

     

    Thanks again
    25 Jun 2012, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Depends what you are comparing it against. Also what portion of the life cycle you want inclusive in your calcs and how much of the manufacturing energy cost cycle you want included.

     

    It can all be very complex. Or very easy. If you just want to compare vehicle A EV vs Vehicle B ICE for a year pick an equivalent ICE vehicle and have at it. If you're discussing environmental impact that's too shallow a view.

     

    Butter side up or down? :))
    25 Jun 2012, 11:59 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    >JP: I did. But I'm holding off making any move ATM because we are in "Window Dressing" week here. Unexpected support *could* appear through Friday.

     

    By Monday next I should have a feel for "what's next" and will be looking for (TSLA) to provide some more cash to buy more (AXPW).

     

    On a purely TA basis - in the start of a possible consolidation pattern (triangular pennant being formed) after a big move up. Had some volume spikes the last couple days and oscillators are weakening so I expect a break out of the pattern will likely be down.

     

    Not certain about this one, but pps seems to have a tendency to revert to the 50-day SMA. Right now it's well above it. So that reinforces my suspicion that the move will be lower.

     

    But I wouldn't be surprised to see the pattern hold through Friday or so.

     

    MHO,
    HardToLove
    25 Jun 2012, 12:20 PM Reply Like
  • D-inv
    , contributor
    Comments (4575) | Send Message
     
    DRich > "So, see if I have this right, an EV (Tesla) saves and actual 400 gallons of oil but on an oil equivalent energy basis it really only offset 315 gallons of gas or $1250 @ $4.00/gal"

     

    D., one needs to define carefully just what it is one is comparing. If one is focusing on a starting point of "energy in the tank" your calculation would be in the ball park. Computing "oil equivalent energy" from point of combustion would give a markedly different number. Measurement from "energy in the tank" excludes energy losses in conversion from fossil fuel to electric power as well as power transmission losses.
    25 Jun 2012, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >D-inv ... Thanks. I understand just how granular this can get but I'm just spit-ballin' micro economic generalities of the consumer premium paid on the battery pack by the average 3 owners of a car over its average 12 year lifespan if all three finance the purchase & the pack lasts that long. Basically, I'm ignoring anything beyond the meter & the pump and looking for how much overpaid the battery is compared to gasoline purchase.
    25 Jun 2012, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • jveal
    , contributor
    Comments (644) | Send Message
     
    I'm not familiar with moneyshow.com. They have Axion and Exide multiplying pps this year and the years ahead.

     

    http://bit.ly/LLykal

     

    Axion: Buy Limit: $1; Target Price: $1.50 in 2012; $6.30 or higher in a few years.

     

    Exide: Buy Limit: $5; Target Price: $10 in 2012; $15 in 2013.
    25 Jun 2012, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    Murphy is pretty widely followed, so his support for Axion and Exide is probably good news.
    25 Jun 2012, 11:18 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    Oil is roughly 6.6 million BTUs per barrel so the annual BTU savings from an EV are about 66 million.

     

    Last year US utilities consumed 39.2 Quads of fuel to deliver 13.2 Quads of electricity to end users.

     

    12,000 EV Miles will require 3,000 to 4,000 kWh, depending on the weight of the car. At 3,412 BTU per kWh that works out to 10.2 to 13.6 million BTUs used in the vehicle, or 30.6 to 40.9 million BTUs consumed in the power plant.
    25 Jun 2012, 11:42 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Way OT but since there are some RR followers here. These things just make me scratch my head given modern tech. I can't decide if someone should be shot and fired or fired and shot. :(

     

    "3 people missing after trains collide in Oklahoma"

     

    http://yhoo.it/NDqeCX
    25 Jun 2012, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >iindelco ... Goes under the heading: "SH#@! Happens".
    One well placed drop of water, dusty spider web, squirrel chewing on the right wire could bring down the best technology, the grid, the iNet ... whatever.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:20 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    nah, Things happen for a reason. Could be what you say but there should be redundancy in such critical systems. Even the Chinese know that now.

     

    It's like the B1 bomber they lost. The problem that caused it had happened before and they did nothing until one crashed. That's not S.H. it's incompetence.

     

    Anyway, We'll wait to see the report. We'll see if they rule S.H. ;)

     

    Just imagine if one of those babies was a lithium ion hybrid loco.
    25 Jun 2012, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4819) | Send Message
     
    >iindelco ... or if each of those locos had a tanker full of Natgas trailing right behind it
    25 Jun 2012, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Small report of a Lux Research report that battery costs will become lower...by 2022; averaging about $450/kWh. Lithium is expected to drop the most.

     

    http://bit.ly/NsKhk3
    25 Jun 2012, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    I'll see if I can't get a copy of the entire report and at least summarize their conclusions.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Some (nebulous) news coming from FERC and pricing.

     

    It reads, though, that's there is lots still to be considered, and a case-by-case basis of pricing still looms a possibilty.

     

    First take is that it could take another year to sort pricing out:

     

    http://bit.ly/OgSufN
    25 Jun 2012, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    Just to let folks know that not ALL wind farms generate power without a way to store it:

     

    http://bit.ly/LarSsx
    25 Jun 2012, 01:05 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30569) | Send Message
     
    Laurel Mountain is a great example of what wind storage looks like today:

     

    The turbines have 98 MW of nameplate generating capacity.

     

    The storage system is rated at 32 MW for 15 minutes.

     

    The storage system only has 8 MWh of batteries.

     

    The system provides enough storage to smooth minute to minute peaks, but it doesn't provide enough for anything more than smoothing.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • bangwhiz
    , contributor
    Comments (2240) | Send Message
     
    Maya> With your speculation about SEPTA and Ft. Meade did anyone bring up either Viridity or Military RFP's? I gather the answer is no. Secondly, is there another 20 ft container setting on Axion's property? Thanks for a great report and all you have done and still do for us Axionistas.
    25 Jun 2012, 01:23 PM Reply Like
  • Mayascribe
    , contributor
    Comments (11026) | Send Message
     
    bang: Yes, there was a brand spanking new 20 foot container in the Gen 2 plant. It is my (hopeful) guess that that container will end up at Fort Meade.

     

    A point about the 20 foot container is that it could hold as many batteries as the half megawatt PowerCube, but some of the peripheral equipment would have to be housed elsewhere. I think this is a pretty neat feature, and should have parked that info in my article.

     

    I didn't hear anything about Viridity, SEPTA or the Military. If asked, I would only expect to hear in return that relationships are continuing, and growing.

     

    ####

     

    Thanks for all you do for us Axionistas, too!
    25 Jun 2012, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • Axion Power Host
    , contributor
    Comments (522) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » This way to a new APC. ------------->

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...
    25 Jun 2012, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    I got a chance to touch and play with the carbon anodes while at the factory.

     

    The ones I saw were about 5 inches square, quarter inch thick, with a thin, ¾ by 1.25 inch copper tab. They are very flexible, without memory, and felt like very smooth rubber or silicone. A little carbon rubbed off on my fingers, but much less than from good hardwood charcoal or anthracite. There was no visual or tactile sensation of porosity. I had (naively) expected to see some of the structure of the coconut shell precursor, and for them to be brittle, like graphite.

     

    For comparison, the lead electrodes were about a millimeter thick, rigid, and if bent stay bent.

     

    The electrodes are assembled (if my memory is correct) into sandwiches of insulator, lead, glass mat, anode (carbon or lead), and spacer. The sandwiches are stacked together into loaves. One line was assembling 11 all-lead sandwiches, which then are pushed into one of the six chambers of the battery and become a 2 volt cell. A 12 volt battery has 6 sections inside the case, one for each cell. The lead acid loaves are dropped in by hand. The AGM loaves are inserted six-at-a-time with a hydraulic ram, as they are under compression. [The “loaves” and “sandwich” descriptions are my made-up words, not the descriptions used in the factory].

     

    We were able to see the automated carbon electrode line from 25 feet away. It consists of 11 Epson robots in series, similar to the G3 bot at http://bit.ly/MltYtp . [I have no idea of the specific bots being used by Axion, this is just for illustration of industrial robots.] There are multiple layers of carbon, a very thin copper layer, some white chemical, and perhaps other materials. The line was operating and appeared to be essentially fully lights-on automated. My very rough guess was a cycle time of 30 seconds. This is Axion’s prototype automated line, and I thought it looked very good. Future lines may have fewer or more bots, run at faster cycle times, or, eventually, might be fully lights-out automated.

     

    The secret sauce in a robotic production line is not the robots themselves. The high cost / value is the tooling, defining travel paths, sensors (visual, tactile, proximity, etc.), coordination across every bot, escape paths for errors and non-standard conditions, etc.

     

    The carbon manufacture process is a proprietary secret. Nothing was revealed whether the carbon was made in house or off-site, or any other information. Fine with me.

     

    We had heard a rumor that there had been zero defect in the first quarter. The factory manager corrected that, and said there had been 2 rejects (customer returns) out of 60,000 batteries, a reject rate of 33 per million. (This is the battery assembly line, not the carbon anode line). This is about sigma 5.5 quality. I asked him about this, and he responded that every department was better than 3.5 sigma, which is a 97.7% compliance rate. I was very pleased to hear the him responding with a technical measure. I have been in all too many factories where quality is “really, really great, except on Fridays”, and no numbers.

     

    Six Sigma (“one in a million”) is the common goal for quality programs, and is actually 3.4 rejects per million. A discussion of whether Six Sigma even should be the goal of Axion is a much longer discussion, and not particularly relevant to investors.
    25 Jun 2012, 10:16 PM Reply Like
  • Futurist
    , contributor
    Comments (2109) | Send Message
     
    Just to finish the story,
    The 2 rejects were caused by a disgruntled employee who is no longer with the company. He apparently had a very negative attitude and his performance was not acceptable.
    26 Jun 2012, 08:41 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Rick, Thanks for the follow up.

     

    How true about getting firm answers from the floor regarding quality metrics.

     

    One question. I was wondering about your 30 second cycle time on the new line. We've had some level of discussion on this post the recent visit, with 30 seconds being on the high side vs a theoretical target of 6. Was this over a number of cycles or are we still seeing a large variation in the process on the new robotic line?
    26 Jun 2012, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    I did not make note of the robotic cycle time while I was there; 30 seconds was my impression two days later. While we were there, about 10-15 minutes, the line was operating continuously without significant operator intervention. I did not notice any variation in speed, but note it would be highly unlikely for cycle time to be variable while running. I remember about one-two seconds motion and 28 sec dwell times; of course it may have been 10 sec dwell and I am misremembering.

     

    The line was operating when we arrived; it was not a startup show and tell show.

     

    I assume one or more operations are "gluing" operations, attaching carbon sheets to the copper (or each other) with a white, flexible, conductive adhesive. The critical constraint on cycle time is therefore the set time, which may be based on a combination of temperature, pressure, catalyst, and induced energy.

     

    If the set time can be reduced to below six sec and still maintain the bonding specification, a six second cycle time seems achievable.

     

    Note that a six second cycle time (I must have missed that discussion) is not particularly critical. Multiple parallel, slower lines often give more operational flexibility, e.g. different sized anodes, easier quality control, more flexible maintenance scheduling.

     

    Building robotic production lines is very front loaded. The first line has tremendous custom engineering costs for tool paths; probably 90% or more of the total cost. By the tenth line, the cost is little more than the POs for equipment, and engineering insignificant. Even in a lights-on factory, while two operators may be needed for one line, four operators may run 10 lines.

     

    The big advantage of most robotic lines is not speed; it is accuracy, reproducibility, integrated quality control, and effective error handling. If you want speed, get either a 60 stroke a minute stamping press or 10,000 workers in China. Both can make a thousand rejects an hour.
    26 Jun 2012, 11:09 AM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Thanks, I understand automation. Rate and quality are not mutually exclusive. They are driven by the physical constraints required of by the processes being performed. AND THE DESIGN. Supply a poor design and you'll not make up for it in process.

     

    And I understand the theory of using robotics in an asynchronous assembly process such as their anode line. For me the current cycle time is pretty important. Why? Because we are not talking theory any more. This is a second generation line and if they didn't have a feel for their process times when ordering a 3/4 million USD gen. II line and the resultant gap after tuning the line for over a year is, let's say 30 seconds vs 6 seconds, I would not be invested right now unless I got a firm response as to what was driving the gap. And then I would probably still run like hell.

     

    Prior to this data point I understood the cycle time to be directionally 13-15 seconds with known action plans such as a second station to resolve the bottle neck station. I've seen this happen at least a dozen time over my career. I think this is still the case but I've not seen the line. That is why I'm so grateful for people like yourself that made the trip and are sharing this data with us.
    26 Jun 2012, 11:52 AM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    Iidelco, I have not been following the discussion of the anode line. Can you point me to it, please.

     

    We were restricted to a viewing point about 25+ feet away from one end of the line, which went perpendicularly away from us. There was a fair amount of safety shielding. In short, we could see almost nothing.

     

    The first line was even farther away, not operating. It is a manual line, and I was not aware of any robots on it. I did not try study it. The "Gen 2" line to me was the first iteration of automated production, not a near-final production unit. I am surprised it cost only $750k.

     

    At 6 sec cycle, this line would only produce 50,000 batteries per year (assuming 2 shifts, 48 anodes per battery). Obviously Axion is going to want to have multiple lines, and there will be line improvements. I would not be worried at all.
    26 Jun 2012, 12:34 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Rick, The comments are dispersed over the last few concentrators and it's not the first time it's been discussed over the tenure of this form. The recent discussions started, I believe, 5 comments up from the last comment in concentrator 117. I also asked a question of John later on to confirm the 6 second target cycle time.

     

    I can't speak to the cost of the line because I've not seen it. I generally avoided robots like the plague for many many years. Over priced based on what I generally need to do. Various levels of pick and places and multi-axis slides were for me most often far more reliable and cost effective. This is not to say I am unaware of tons of applications were they were and are suitable. I had fellow engineers that applied them well and far too many who used them because they were neat and new.

     

    One should always use a balanced perspective to manage risk. Worrying is appropriate but needs to be tempered with all the data at hand.

     

    Again, I very much appreciate your input along with all the others that had feet on the ground.
    26 Jun 2012, 01:28 PM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    I inherited a robot line, learned a lot, and finally let go the engineers and sold the pieces. There are lots of applications where a robot is a more expensive way to do things more slowly, while replacing one operator with two engineers. I think we share some skepticism.

     

    Since I did not see the actual process, I can't comment on whether robots are the best choice. My comment on "don't worry" was strictly in reference to the robotic line at this early stage.

     

    There are lots of risks for Axion that are independent of its robotic line.
    26 Jun 2012, 02:19 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (10233) | Send Message
     
    Rick, Thanks.

     

    We are on the same page pretty much.

     

    I appreciate your comments and perspective.
    26 Jun 2012, 02:47 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    Rick: Great information. Nice to have expert "boots on the ground" that are so willing to share.

     

    Did you see my question above about the charging time? I'm theorizing that it might be to allow a "seating" process by minimizing mechanical stress that might be induced by different materials with different coefficients of expansion being heated too rapidly.

     

    HardToLove
    26 Jun 2012, 07:31 AM Reply Like
  • Rick Krementz
    , contributor
    Comments (3001) | Send Message
     
    HTL, I don't see your question to me about charging, however my guess the charging has nothing to do with thermal expansion issues. The battery operationally will go from -30C to 50C (Minnesota parking lot to Arizona traffic jam), sometimes with 200 amps flowing. Thermal expansion issues had better have been already worked out.
    26 Jun 2012, 08:19 AM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (18883) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Rick!

     

    Hm, I bet my question was in # 118. Since SA misses flagging new comments quite a lot it's easy for a comment to get missed.

     

    HardToLove
    26 Jun 2012, 09:11 AM Reply Like
  • axion-nl
    , contributor
    Comments (184) | Send Message
     
    below .27... it´s time to turn this baby around and start flying to the moon!
    27 Sep 2012, 03:29 PM Reply Like
  • Jon Springer
    , contributor
    Comments (4073) | Send Message
     
    lets try to keep the comments on the current blog -nl http://bit.ly/QIGrWt

     

    you're 36 concentrators behind here
    27 Sep 2012, 03:37 PM Reply Like
  • axion-nl
    , contributor
    Comments (184) | Send Message
     
    close at yearlow... what can move this stock up?
    27 Sep 2012, 04:07 PM Reply Like
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