Seeking Alpha

John Petersen's  Instablog

John Petersen
Send Message
John Petersen is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a Kentucky-based enterprise that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 25 to 35... More
My company:
Fefer Petersen & Co.
My blog:
  • Axion Power's ELBC 13 Presentation 13 comments
    Sep 29, 2012 12:48 AM | about stocks: AXPW

    On Thursday morning I asked Enders Dickenson, Director of R&D for Axion Power International (OTCQB:AXPW) if I could get a copy of Axion's ELBC 13 presentation directly from him instead of waiting for the conference sponsor to send out the full proceedings "in a week or two." While I'm normally patient enough to wait for things to go through channels, the sponsor took a couple months to get the proceedings out in 2010 so I figured there was no harm in asking. My copy of the 37 slide presentation arrived last night and it's been uploaded to my Dropbox.

    It's my understanding that much of the material in the ELBC 13 presentation was covered at the annual meeting, but slides like these frequently merit more study and thought than you can have in a live presentation.

    While I don't want to drill down too deeply in my discussion of the technical issues because many readers know more about the subject matter than I do, I will highlight several slides that presented data and information I hadn't seen before and consider important.

    Slide 5 shows a new emphasis on two key terms that Enders focused on heavily in his remarks. The first term, crystals, focuses on the sulfation problem and zeros in on the idea that small lead-sulfate crystals are normal and beneficial in a conventional lead-acid battery but that large insoluble crystals are the primary reason for loss of dynamic charge acceptance. The second term, concave down increasing or CDI, is the reason that strings of PbC batteries tend to self regulate because the weakest battery in the string is always charged first.

    Slide 10 has an interesting graph that shows the up and down regulation performance from the PowerCube in New Castle.

    Slide 15 is a copy of the DKE test I first saw in Istanbul. What makes it a little interesting is that Axion is finally taking some credit for doing the original development work on the testing protocol in conjunction with BMW. This ties in well with Eckhard Karden's description of the protocol as the "Axion-BMW" test protocol instead of the Ford-BMW protocol. In the 2010 Ford-BMW presentation at ELBC 12 in Istanbul, Axion only got a passing nod at the end of the presentation.

    Slide 20 is very important because it shows what happens to a VRLA battery if you push the recharge delay after an engine off event from 10 seconds to two minutes. That kind of abuse drives the DCA down to minimal levels within a week. The reason the slide is important is that the most efficient way to run a micro-hybrid is to push the recharge timing out to the end of a drive interval when the car is decelerating and the engine is not being used to power the wheels. This is the heart and soul of so-called "regenerative braking" in stop-start and it's dreadfully hard on conventional VRLA.

    Slide 26 shows what Axion is doing with the bench-top work under the SBIR grant. They'll be using a conventional flooded SLI battery for the cranking load only and a PbC for all the hotel loads. They'll also be increasing the system amperage from 100 to 150 amps. During the recharge intervals, 300 amp seconds of charge will be returned to the SLI battery (9%) and 3,000 amp seconds will be returned to the PbC (91%)

    Slides 31 to 35 are dedicated to the difference between conventional lead-acid charging curves and PbC charging curves. Where lead-acid has a much lower voltage change from the beginning to the end of a charging cycle, the PbC has a wide voltage swing. More importantly, the voltage curve for conventional lead acid is slightly convex while the curve for the PbC is quite concave.

    Slide 33 shows how concave charging curves tend to bring the batteries in a string into balance without active management of the individual batteries while Slide 34 shows how convex charging curves tend to leave the batteries out of balance.

    Disclosure: I am long OTCQB:AXPW.

    Stocks: AXPW
Back To John Petersen's Instablog HomePage »

Instablogs are blogs which are instantly set up and networked within the Seeking Alpha community. Instablog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors, in contrast to contributors' articles.

Comments (13)
Track new comments
  • Renzo
    , contributor
    Comments (353) | Send Message
    La premiere partie!
    29 Sep 2012, 12:57 AM Reply Like
  • Renzo
    , contributor
    Comments (353) | Send Message
    Do you have any idea what, if any difference there is between PbC#1 and PbC#2 in the SAE paper published Monday?


    Figure 8 in that paper suggests a greater State of Health (SOH) in the testing protocol. Is this a second, essentially identical battery (to the 30HT) or a newer, potentially better iteration?
    29 Sep 2012, 01:08 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30626) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I've not seen the paper and didn't know enough to try and discuss it with Enders. I am, however, looking forward to reading it once it's available for public consumption.
    29 Sep 2012, 02:18 AM Reply Like
  • carlosgaviria
    , contributor
    Comments (798) | Send Message
    Good Morning-Thaks for the new instablog.


    Both Instablog I found very, very interesting. Important what you described on slide 26. Two things:


    -. They'll be using a "Conventional Flooded" SLI battery for the cranking load only and a PbC for all the hotel loads.
    -. They'll also be increasing the system amperage from 100 to 150 amps.


    By increasing the amperage decreases load time? Is that correct?
    In our countries of South America and Asia are common traffic jams (Trancones), is therefore needed to recharge times are minimized.


    In Paris a new term was born: CDI
    Have a nice day.


    Note: In Estambul was DCA
    29 Sep 2012, 07:26 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30626) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I think CDI is going to be more of an Axion term than an industry term because no batteries other than the PbC, and perhaps the Ultrabattery, exhibit that effect.
    29 Sep 2012, 09:10 AM Reply Like
  • User432382
    , contributor
    Comments (89) | Send Message
    Hi John,


    Thank you for sharing the slides. Regarding slide 27, the picture at the top left shows a starter battery (50 -70Ah) but the schematic (which I've seen before) shows a starter battery of only 10-40 Ah. Could it be a typo, or did they say why this battery is now bigger?


    Also, noticed in that same picture it identifies the PbC as 50Ah. Can we say this battery should cost less than the batteries sold to NS, or is it difficult to compare because these are 16V batteries compared to the 12V batteries NS is using?
    29 Sep 2012, 08:51 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30626) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » SLI batteries below 50 Ah are pretty rare, except in the motorcycle markets. So showing a 50-70 Ah flooded battery in the schematic isn't all that surprising. Axion suggested a ±40 Ah flooded battery example in the white paper to indicate what was technically possible, but when you're trying to write specifications for a system it's best to stick with readily available off-the-shelf products.


    Norfolk Southern is using a six-cell 30HT truck battery for the NS 999 project because it's a very efficient size for racking. It measures 13.46 x 6.77 x 11.95 (1,088 cubic inches) and has a 70 Ah rating.


    For the SBIR work, Axion will be using an 8-cell L5 automotive battery that measures 14 x 6.9 x 7.5 (725 cubic inches) and has a 50 Ah rating.


    Once you get to some kind of reasonable manufacturing scale the L5 will be cheaper than the 30HT because it uses less material. For now the materials costs are a pretty modest piece of the puzzle so I wouldn't expect much difference.


    Axion doesn't talk about "economies of scale" and I think that's a good thing. Nevertheless its cost of manufacturing PbC batteries should plummet as it ramps from underutilized capacity in the 100,000 unit range to fully utilized capacity for millions of units per year. That's just one of the natural benefits of mass production.
    29 Sep 2012, 09:39 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30626) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » This morning I went digging to see if I could find charging curves for the Ultrabattery because I wanted to see if it had the same CDI characteristics as the PbC. I found my answer in a recent report out of Sandia that shows a clearly convex charging curve for the device.

    30 Sep 2012, 01:18 AM Reply Like
  • Al Marshall
    , contributor
    Comments (610) | Send Message
    John: This presentation is much more sophisticated than what Enders Dickenson presented at the annual meeting. Slide 32 was the one with the charging curve that I remember from that meeting.


    I for one will need to spend quite a bit of time with this presentation in an attempt to understand it.


    Thanks very much.
    30 Sep 2012, 02:01 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30626) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » After the presentation I realized that I should have asked Rachel to record it with her iPhone. I'm sorry for being such a slow thinker.
    30 Sep 2012, 02:06 PM Reply Like
  • DRich
    , contributor
    Comments (4807) | Send Message
    >JP ... It's the type of thing that ought to be recorded and either put on the website or onto CD for a customer's tech department presentation.
    30 Sep 2012, 03:21 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30626) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I tend to agree with you on that point DRich. Enders gave a very well organized presentation that was both informative and compelling. I was so impressed that I sent TG a note to that effect, which is pretty out of character for me.
    30 Sep 2012, 03:25 PM Reply Like
  • Mr Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (3156) | Send Message
    Interesting that slide 11 shows the "Altitude profile of the Mombasa - Kampala line". Big-time altitude changes, but why show THAT line?


    Pretty darn far away from New Castle, but we can dream. But are the grades too sustained even for the PbC? Anyway, some quick Googling shows that some big changes are planned and already underway for the line. Rift Valley Railways owns the lines' consession. They are pursuing a $287 million improvement plan, which includes, among many other things, a $20 million plan for maintenance and rehabilitation of locomotives (they currently have 100) beginning in 2012, then selectively acquiring some.
    13 Oct 2012, 12:39 PM Reply Like
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers


More »

Latest Comments

Instablogs are Seeking Alpha's free blogging platform customized for finance, with instant set up and exposure to millions of readers interested in the financial markets. Publish your own instablog in minutes.