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 30 to 40... More
My company:
Fefer Petersen & Co.
My blog:
ipo-law.com
  • What Ford Said About DCA At The AABC Last Week 10 comments
    Jun 26, 2012 10:55 AM | about stocks: AXPW

    Last week Dr. Eckhard Karden of Ford Research chaired a session on "Energy Storage for Micro-Hybrids" at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Mainz, Germany. The editor of Batteries International Magazine attended the AABC and was kind enough to send me a scanned copy of Dr. Karden's presentation. Since the scan isn't very good and was printed two slides to a page, posting a copy online wouldn't be terribly helpful. There are a few pages, however, that should be discussed because they help clarify what's going on in the microhybrid space.

    One of the most important distinctions Dr. Karden focused on a couple times is the difference between Gen-1 microhybrid systems that are designed to work with enhanced flooded batteries, or EFB, and absorbed glass mat batteries, or AGM, and Gen-2 systems that will require far more robust energy storage.

    In discussing "Gen-1 technology," the presentation explained

    • "most new microhybrids include alternator control strategy that maximizes electrical generation during deceleration
    • fuel economy benefit is limited by Dynamic Charge Acceptance, or DCA, of the lead-acid battery
    • DCA depends on short-term history

    The discussion was accompanied by two graphs that are unreadable on the scan, but show the DCA degradation curves we've all come to know and love.

    In discussing "Next Development Steps" his presentation set forth the following goals

    • "maximize DCA of new battery under "ideal" conditions
    • improve consistency of DCA under broad range of real-world conditions
    • allow new electric functions / ensure fast recovery of Ah balance.

    His slide titled "Storage System Requirements" he indicated that:

    • Energy throughput of EFB and AGM batteries at 25° C was generally sufficient for most mainstream applications,
    • DCA was a problem and "significant improvement [is] necessary" because EFB and AGM can't handle more than a half to a third of the power the alternator can provide.
    • Voltage Quality and Internal Resistance are major issues for Gen-2 systems and the only choices are to isolate most loads from [restart voltage] dip with a dc/dc converter or second battery
    • Basic SLI requirements include "no compromise" with regard to reliability, winter operation, high temperature durability; weight and cost reduction will form an alternative route for EFB optimization, providing basic functionality (Gen-1 plus few improvements) for cost-sensitive volume applications; significant weight reduction along with very good cycle life and DCA at moderate temperatures, may be achieved at large on-cost, with alternative technologies once they have proven maturity and reliability.

    His final slide on "Storage Technologies summarized the landscape as follows:

    • EFB: becoming widely adopted for volume applications primarily in Japan and Europe - significant improvement toward Gen-2 targets expected
    • AGM: high throughput stop/start systems, vehicles with high and/or deep cycling requirements beyond stop/start (e.g. premium cars with entertainment systems) or low-volume programs where engineering robustness outweighs part cost
    • Alternative electrochemical systems like LFP or NiZn offer weight reduction and promise longer service life at significant on-cost, but consistent reliable operations e.g. under winter conditions is yet to be proven, and system integration into 14 V power supply systems presents a considerable engineering task
    • Dual storage systems that combine a robust lead/acid battery with a small "alternative" electrochemical couple offer, at moderate cost, the advantages of maximized brake energy recuperation and redundant energy storage system (e.g. for rolling stop/start) while not compromising on the system reliability provided by the lead/acid battery
    • The alternative high power energy storage device, and potentially the generator, may operate at a higher voltage (e.g. 48 V) and then allow to syply certain high-power loads from the same second voltage level. Transition to mild hybridization (propulsion assist) may be smooth.

    My bottom-line takeaway from the Karden presentation was that reliability, DCA and cost are the big three, but the big driver of system choice will be fuel economy, which is primarily dependent on DCA.

    Until I have a chance to talk with Dr. Karden in September, I have to believe my current thinking that the PbC will most competitive in the heavy mircohybrid space in the beginning and eventually work it's way down into the medium microhybrid range if Axion can find one or more ways to reduce system cost through learning curve economies and/or economies of scale. I think it's well situated on both fronts.

    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 (10)
Track new comments
  • Stefan Moroney
    , contributor
    Comments (2483) | Send Message
     
    Thanks for the summary John. Are you surprised that he did not address lead carbon given that both the PbC and Ultrabattery would like to be competitive in this arena?
    26 Jun 2012, 11:23 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29448) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The AABC is primarily a lithium-love fest. If you take a look at the presenters for the micro hybrid section, Yausa and JCI were there to talk about lead, but everybody else was talking supercapacitors, NiZn and lithium, Given the nature of the conference and the presentations, I think he had to be a good deal more generic in his focus.

     

    I hope to learn a good deal more at the ELBC
    26 Jun 2012, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • Stefan Moroney
    , contributor
    Comments (2483) | Send Message
     
    From what we know, it would appear that the following represents what Axion recently received the gov't grant to assist in commercialization -

     

    "Dual storage systems that combine a robust lead/acid battery with a small "alternative" electrochemical couple offer, at moderate cost, the advantages of maximized brake energy recuperation and redundant energy storage system (e.g. for rolling stop/start) while not compromising on the system reliability provided by the lead/acid battery

     

    The alternative high power energy storage device, and potentially the generator, may operate at a higher voltage (e.g. 48 V) and then allow to syply certain high-power loads from the same second voltage level. Transition to mild hybridization (propulsion assist) may be smooth."
    26 Jun 2012, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29448) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Since I wasn't there for the presentation, I'm reluctant to speculate to much on what the various points mean or why the government may have issued the grant.
    26 Jun 2012, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (8768) | Send Message
     
    Thanks John. It's great that you can get access to these presentations so that we can somewhat keep up with the direction the auto industry is going in WRT micro-hybrids.

     

    Any chance you can get a cleaner copy that is more presentable?
    26 Jun 2012, 12:23 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29448) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Mike got an encrypted jump drive with the presentations in powerpoint. The problem is that it's formatted for the PC and we're both intelligent sensitive Mac users. I expect that I'll eventually get clean copies of the presentations, but until I do if figure summaries are better than nothing.
    26 Jun 2012, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • H. T. Love
    , contributor
    Comments (17255) | Send Message
     
    I suspect my OpenOffice might be able to save in a format acceptable to the Mac stuff? Maybe if you send me something in native format from your Mac and I can read it, I might be able to convert from PC to Mac format?

     

    Alternately, if the Mac can import from other formats, I might be able to save as one of those. OO has lots of formats it can save as.

     

    HardToLove
    26 Jun 2012, 12:59 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (29448) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Mike has the drive in the UK and he generally figures it out in time so I remain hopeful that I'll have electronic versions in a few days.

     

    Dr. Karden's presentation was the one I wanted most, even though it was pretty short. On balance I figure it would have been better in person.
    26 Jun 2012, 01:22 PM Reply Like
  • LabTech
    , contributor
    Comments (1766) | Send Message
     
    John,
    If not, let us know. Between the many of us we probably have enough computers and graphics softwares that we can make anything clear.
    26 Jun 2012, 04:35 PM Reply Like
  • iindelco
    , contributor
    Comments (8768) | Send Message
     
    Thanks John. We do appreciate what you could strip out of it and share. It's good stuff.

     

    Obviously we;d love to digest the whole thing! :)
    26 Jun 2012, 06:43 PM Reply Like
Full index of posts »
Latest Followers

StockTalks

More »

Latest Comments


Posts by Themes
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.