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Trade stocks by day, and at night am writing a historical epic about the ancient Mayan civilization. "Maya: Spirits Of The Jaguar" is a sweeping saga set in the ancient and magical Mayan landscape where a wronged family struggles against prophecy, power, treachery and forbidden love,... More
  • Axion Power Concentrator 71: Beginning Feb. 25 2012 170 comments
    Feb 25, 2012 4:41 PM
    During the past seven months the Axion Power Concentrators have organically grown into a vast trove of information all things Axion Power related, all things battery related, all things Energy Storage Sector related.

    Between now and 15 years from now, the global expenditure on energy in every way energy is created, delivered, conserved and used will be in the trillions of dollars.

    Derived from well over 11,000 Axion Power Concentrator comments comes to us a compendium archive created by APC commenter bangwhiz. In short here is what it is, and does:

    The Axion Power Concentrator Web Site is a complete easy-to-use online archive of all the information contained in the entire Axion Power Concentrator series from day one; including reports, articles, comments and posted links.

    It also contains a "New to Axion" section for people who are new to Axion and want a good starting point for their own due diligence. The site is updated daily as new links are posted to current comment threads. Links are posted by topic and can also be found using the "Search This Site" tab.

    The Comment Search Feature on the homepage is great for finding a comment you want to read again that would normally be lost in all the thousands of past comments. Simply search using a good key word or phrase, or any Google search term modifier, such as AND etc.

    New Feature: You can now search all past comments or just the past 3 months.

    Complimenting the Axion Power Concentrator Web Site is the Axion Power Wikispaces Web Site, "A repository of information about Axion Power International, Inc. and PbC® battery technology." APC commenter WDD has created an excellent ongoing notebook aggregation of Axion Power facts:

    Want to ask, or have someone ask, Axion Power leadership a question during the forthcoming late March 2012 conference call? The following link led by bangwhiz is where you can write your question, maybe have it discussed and expanded upon before the conference call.


    This is as troll free zone. All disruptive comments that violate Seeking Alpha's Terms of Use Agreement will be removed and permanently recorded in a separate Instablog.

Back To Mayascribe'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 (170)
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  • Author’s reply » Last comment in the previous Concentrator from eggwis:


    I have to agree with Tim's point here; i.e. often "green" technology may seem, at first glance, to be efficient. The reality, however, is that often they are not.


    We have recently discussed the merits of CFL and LED light bulbs. How much savings, in terms of kWh per month do they really provide and much money have we spent trying to achieve that savings? According to GE's CFL savings calculator, replacing 4 60 watt incandescent bulbs with CFLs results in a savings of $26.28/yr (forget that it cost you twice that to buy them). Assuming, per the GE site, that the average cost of power is $.10 / kWh, we have reduced our annual power consumption by 268 kWh. Now comes along a $100,000 car that will ADD 21 kWh to our monthly consumption, 252 kWh per year.


    The power companies all spend piles, maybe $100ks per year, putting together material on energy savings for our homes so that they can reduce their consumed fuel and carbon footprint. Then we (society) come along with a fantastic green technology that adds to our power consumption. ...???
    25 Feb 2012, 04:45 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » During the previous Concentrator we passed 12,000 comments!


    Thumbs upping this Concentrator is appreciated. Thanks!
    25 Feb 2012, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Want to add that I checked in at comment 147 in the past Concentrator. Thought, ahh, I'll let it go another hour or so...and maybe three or four more comments will happen, and I can flip to a new Concentrator when we get to 150 comments.


    Amazing! 24 comments were posted in that approximate period of time (okay, maybe a little longer, but I was stunned).
    25 Feb 2012, 04:55 PM Reply Like
  • Arriba los axionistas.!!!!!!!
    25 Feb 2012, 05:43 PM Reply Like
  • The many posts in the several months that I've been reading the APCs that belittle lithium ion tell me that a lot of posters think it actually IS a material threat to PbC. Not necessarily now, but maybe sometime sooner than is comfortable. I know that in my own life, when a threat is meaningless, I may mention it once, then toss it aside. I don't see that here. Hopefully, TG humbly worries about every threat. I love my investments' managers to do just that.


    So what are you guys thinking, feeling, estimating? What is the chance the lithium ion cost/benefit equation improves faster than expected? Could the elephants that Axion is hunting just wait another couple of years until lithium starts making some sense? Or is that point so far out that it is immaterial to Axion's prospects over, say, the next five years?


    Maybe I've read the posts wrongly. Maybe it's just disappointment at the government-funded waste, or something like that. Then my bad. Just trying to keep everything on the table. Thanks.


    25 Feb 2012, 07:21 PM Reply Like
  • Li-ion may continue to creep down in price, and creep up in performance. But with highly-refined materials being such a big part of their costs, and those prices more likely to rise long-term than decrease, it's hard to see, without some step change improvement, how Li-ion could kill PbC. To me they just occupy different spaces. That said, it is troubling how Li-ion always seems to get the love and attention.
    25 Feb 2012, 08:22 PM Reply Like
  • I think talking about lithium-ion is a general theme throughout these APC's because it is one of the leading alternative forms of energy storage. There might be a little bit of, perhaps, animosity toward the fact it has received all the government funding and hype -- stock hype, while Axion and the PbC quietly suffer, plugging away at progress on its own merits.


    It is a mainstream product that will have its place in the markets, to what legitimate extent remains to be seen but a skewed negativism toward it found here should be kind of expected. I don't think any investor should feel threatened by it, they should be confident that both it and the PbC will find their own places in the world.
    25 Feb 2012, 08:22 PM Reply Like
  • Li-ion is something of a threat to Axion IMO simply because government policy has, and continues to, both discourage use of lead and encourage Li-ion. Both policy tracks have slowed development of PbC product markets and increased cost of capital to Axion. As a commercial competitor to PbC, though, I do not see Li-ion as a threat due to a host of considerations. Lithium is highly reactive as I understand it which IMO makes it a far more hazardous material to work with and use. Use of Li-ion generally entails greater capital investment and ongoing variable expense on supporting/complementary materials and systems. Lithium is presently not recyclable and expanded domestic use will substitute one dependence on foreign suppliers for another.


    Federal and State government support of Li-ion production capacity is IMO seriously misguided as capture of economies of scale in production has little prospect of reducing high cost of Li-ion relative to several other power storage technologies.


    JP has done a substantially better than middlin job of laying out many aspects of the case against Li-ion.
    25 Feb 2012, 10:55 PM Reply Like
  • Lithium-ion is a fine battery chemistry and there will always be a big place for it in the market because it's the only sensible choice when size and weight are mission critical. It is not, however, a new technology. The manufacturing process has already benefitted from over 20 years of refinement by the best manufacturers in the world. The only substantive difference in the new generation of cells is a larger cell format that may give rise to some packaging economies but won't change the fundamental materials and manufacturing processes.


    The latest generation of cells is *new and economical* in the same way that a giant economy size box of laundry detergent is *new and economical* These cells are complicated little buggers and making them bigger only increases the complexity and engineering challenges.


    The PbC, on the other hand, is unlike any battery that's ever been made. The positive side, together with the cases, covers, separators, electrolytes and manufacturing technology, is pure lead-acid. The negative side with its laminated assemblies consisting of sintered carbon electrodes, corrosion barriers and current collectors, together with all required manufacturing technology, has been developed from whole cloth by Axion. Nobody in the industry has a comparable component or uses comparable manufacturing.


    It's taken eight years of concentrated effort to optimize electrode performance and figure out how to manufacture the beast in volume with consistent quality. In computer-speak, the Gen1 electrode line was an Alpha production line, the Gen2 electrode line was a Beta production line and the Gen3 electrode line will be the first truly commercial manufacturing process.


    When I look at the learning curve for lithium-ion, I see a technology that has 20 years of commercial manufacturing experience under its belt. The leading manufacturers have already learned most of the lessons that can be learned. The PbC, in contrast, has ZERO years of commercial manufacturing experience and it presents target rich environment for cost savings and performance improvements.


    In the battery industry the typical technical improvement rate is on the order of 5% per year. Making giant economy sized boxes of lithium-ion won't change that dynamic. A completely new technology like the PbC that begins with a legacy technology and then increases the cycle-life by 500% or more and the power characteristics by 1000% or more comes along once in a lifetime.


    The PbC will never be suitable for portable electronics or other applications where size and weight are mission critical. As soon as you move from *extreme applications* to *mundane applications,* the PbC is the only potential game changer because it's the only technology that is truly *new and different* from everything that's gone before.
    26 Feb 2012, 01:31 AM Reply Like
  • "Lithium-ion is a fine battery chemistry and there will always be a big place for it in the market because it's the only sensible choice when size and weight are mission critical. "


    the biggest challenge to lower lithium or lithium-ion battery costs is the lack of available commercial grade lithium. maybe technologies will develop that allow us to make use of low grade/ very small lithium deposits. but before that happens, the market for the stuff would have to get much bigger.


    so think on that... the market needs to expand to lower costs, because only new (as of yet not invented) tech would allow us to make use of lithium in its most common terrestrial form (this is like tar sands drilling/ deep sea drilling; demand must justify the tech/cost to get at oil).


    and more importantly, what lithium/ lithium ion batteries are best used for, PbC is not. thankfully, anyone worried about lead battery corrosion would look hard at a PbC battery. that's plenty of market for AXPW.


    governments cannot change chemistry.
    26 Feb 2012, 08:20 AM Reply Like
  • There are no shortages of lithium deposits, but there are shortages of deposits that have been turned into mines. The difference between the two, of course, is about a decade and a billion or so dollars.


    Despite that handicap, the cost of lithium is a very small part of the puzzle and the biggest cost-center is getting the commercial grade precursors up to the required four or five nines of purity that battery grade chemistry requires. It's a monster job.


    The lithium-ion battery market already represents tens of billions of annual revenue. By the time an industry achieves that scale there aren't many significant economies left. Ultimately the potential economies are limited by battery architecture, which will always be complex, and the extensive processing the architecture and chemistries require.
    26 Feb 2012, 08:56 AM Reply Like
  • A comment:
    In South America there are two large deposits litium: Salar-Oyuni in Bolivia and Chile Salar de Atacama (I was there in December).
    In Bolivia's government is reluctant to start exploration and only the Atacama is active. The Oyuni is largest than the Atacama.
    In my opinion I do not see that the Bolivian government to change its way of thinking in the short term. They prefer to see the litium buried under the earth that improving the welfare of his country.
    26 Feb 2012, 10:03 AM Reply Like
  • I would not be surprised at all to see lithium "do a PbC", that is, achieve a similar breakthrough in a mature product. Tons of $ going into its R&D. I'm no scientist nor engineer, but looks like a promising area of research is in enhancing the structure of the lithium (e.g., more surface area, but one that doesn't crumble). So, the same package holds a lot more charge, or any combo of that. Conceptually similar to the carbon part of PbC, I'd guess.


    What I've been hanging my hat on is that breakthroughs take a long time from lab to viable product, as we know. Even with a lot of $ behind it, hopefully we AXPW investors don't see a lithium breakthrough produce a much better product anytime soon. Until then, I also hope that its gradual improvement doesn't close the gap much with PbC, if it's a little while before Axion can start improving PbC. So maybe the gap narrows for a few years, then the PbC improvements start coming and the gap rewidens, until a big lithium breakthrough hits a long time from now.


    We're really talking about unbiased cost curves per unit of benefit here. An interactive white board would be cool to communicate that.
    26 Feb 2012, 11:38 AM Reply Like
  • The PbC was only possible because R&D on lead-acid batteries came to a screeching grinding halt in the late 70s when the focus shifted from starting cars to powering portable electronics. For a couple of decades, nothing of substance went on in lead-acid R&D while amazing advances were made in nano-carbons and other materials for devices like lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors.


    As long as the focus was on small and portable, there wasn't any reason to pour money into lead-acid, or for that matter to find out whether the new materials might be useful in lead-acid. The game changed completely in Y2K when the focus shifted from small and light to big and powerful. Lead-acid wasn't robust enough for the new heavy cycling applications and lithium-ion wasn't big enough or sufficiently abuse tolerant. Suddenly the race was on to make lead-acid more robust and to make lithium-ion bigger and more abuse tolerant.


    The PbC happened because of an odd confluence of events when researchers began to consider how lead-acid might be improved by using materials that didn't exist in the '70s but had become standard components in lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors that were developed while lead-acid hibernated.


    Todays lithium-ion batteries are a highly refined technology that already approaches 50% of theoretical capacity in some high-end cells. There simply isn't much room for further improvement. If a breakthrough comes, it will be with a different chemistry and a completely different battery architecture. The time lag between the Eureka! moment and a cost-effective commercial product will almost certainly be measured in decades.
    26 Feb 2012, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • people tend to lump lithium ion batteries in with the tech they power, and then expect the same kind of whole scale changes/ pace in application. i see lithium ion batteries developing like lead batteries.


    while lithium is very abundant on earth it is not abundant in ways that make mining sense. i think the tar sands oil example is a good analogy for understanding why this is the case.
    26 Feb 2012, 05:14 PM Reply Like
  • I have been looking for a place to stuff my following thoughts but I just have not been able to find an opportune time so I will just say it here. In light of a lot of other energy companies like Xide, Ener1, A123, Beacon, Tesla etc. we have seen either buckle completely or begin to buckle or at least falter badly under the guidance of their management, I thought now would be a fine time to speak about this.


    I have heard a lot of people talk about "loving" the PbC technology and how wonderful it is or could be so they invest in it, generally speaking these are the people I have found who most often get disappointed after a very short time invested and then begin directing their frustration toward the company. They invest in the technology because it will change the world and then get mad at the company for not changing the world fast enough, when it should be the other way around.


    It is precisely my belief in the company and management that gets my investment. It is true the great technology is the engine, but my investment goes into the car and the driver.


    A little while back I read a book, I am sure many others here have as well, titled, "From Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap to and others don't" by Jim Collins. After a ton of analysis' on the companies that made the leap to being Great compared to the companies that did not they found the first thing that separated them was the character of their CEO. It describes the CEO's in the great companies having what they called Level 5 leadership, which was this paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. The CEO's displayed a personal modesty, a shy nature, and might even have been awkward but were not to be mistaken for being weak. Also, most of the time the CEO came from within the company and was not a "big shot" hired in from the outside, so his determination to see the company succeed was his ambition and even ego.


    When you look back on Axion's history, the adversity they have faced, the tough choices they have made (ones that some stockholders don't like) and the inherent difficulty involved in bringing a new technology to commercialization, the character that management and Granville possess shines through in color. This is what allows me for the most part to sit back and enjoy my investment because I focus on the real backbone of the company, and surprisingly it is not the technology, it is managements personal humility and professional will to get the job done one way or the other, their unwavering commitment to the company. If one only relies on the technology their is no doubt that at one point or another he/she will be disappointed in their investment and be howling at the next conference call, because, " hasn't sold yet." or "what about this technology or that technology." The technology itself can't be a silver bullet but management's determination to succeed with what, at the very least, can be called pretty darn good technology is a constant throughout Axion's growth that any person should feel comfortable relying on when making their investment...even before making their investment.
    25 Feb 2012, 07:33 PM Reply Like
  • I'll drink to that JA! Management's character can make or break any company. I don't care how big or how *well heeled* it may be.


    That said, however, if you do some research on TG, save for the tenacity exhibited in his current position, there is little there that would compel me to believe in Axion Power. It would seem that prior to Axion Power he was a successful business man. I don't know the deal on the cigar company and don't feel it is likely worth my time investigating. Point being that if I hadn't believed in the technology and taken a chance on the management, I wouldn't be here.


    From the perspective of an investment, you're absolutely right. When the ship goes down, the money has sunk. It doesn't matter how good the technology may be.
    25 Feb 2012, 08:43 PM Reply Like
  • Eggwis> The cigar company was just an empty public company shell Axion used in its initial formation. TG never sold any big Havana's, or any other kinds of cigar for that matter. JP handled the transaction.
    25 Feb 2012, 09:49 PM Reply Like
  • Too bad about no real cigars, the time will be coming to fire one up!!!!
    26 Feb 2012, 01:24 AM Reply Like
  • Over the years I've come to believe that new businesses rarely *fail,* because the entrepreneurs that start them *surrender* first.


    In the most common case a guy with a plan starts with a $25,000 limit on his Mastercard and immediately brings in friends and family to pay for his dream. When the problems and challenges he didn't fully understand on the front side rear their ugly heads and the paychecks are not as regular or as large as expected, he gives up and decides to follow another path.


    Axion's founders were all grey haired businessmen who'd had the invulnerability of youth beaten out of them years ago. While they did take some money from friends and family in the early days, the core founders group took more than 75% of the first $15 million that went into Axion out of their own pockets. They probably underestimated the challenges like I did, but they went in with eyes wide open and enough skin in the game that *surrender* was never an option.


    I've represented small companies in financing transactions for over thirty years and I've never seen a core team with comparable experience, personal financial commitment and raw determination. There's always a risk a new technology will fail, but there is no risk that Axion's core will *surrender* and to my way of thinking that's the single most important dynamic in any investment.
    26 Feb 2012, 02:01 AM Reply Like
  • The cigar company was a clean public shell that I bought before I knew that Axion existed. I bought the shell after prior management had taken the cigar company through a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. My search for a clean operating company to put into my shell is what ultimately led me to Axion.
    26 Feb 2012, 02:07 AM Reply Like
  • Hi JP,


    Thanks for the thumbs up about Axion management. I have one worry though and it's the average age of the team. I know this sounds a bit simplistic from me, but I am worried that the team may have only a number of years where they can "drag the devil by the feet" so to speak and make it a success before older age forces them to either seek successors or sell the company at well below its potential value.


    Any comments are welcome !
    26 Feb 2012, 07:15 AM Reply Like
  • There are two classes of worker bees in the world. Those who work because they have to and those who work because they love what they do and couldn't imagine sacrificing the joy of accomplishing something worthwhile. I believe 60 is the new 40 and most of my contemporaries feel the same way. Baby boomers will write new rules for retirement just like we did for everything else. The one thing we won't do is glibly expect our kids to pay for our dotage because we really do understand that the numbers can't work, even if the politicians swear they will.


    None of the core team members at Axion are working because they have to and personal commitments don't have expiration dates.
    26 Feb 2012, 09:13 AM Reply Like
  • Thanks JP,


    I was aware that the you owned the shell and fit Axion into it, but according to TG's Businessweek profile ( ), he was a Director of the smoke shop prior to joining Axion. Is that not accurate?
    26 Feb 2012, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • eggwis, nowhere does that bio say that Granville ever worked for a cigar company.


    Axion power is 'formerly Tamboril Cigar' - JP explained that part. Granville is not formerly of Taboril or any other cigar company.
    26 Feb 2012, 07:20 PM Reply Like
  • D Mc, I don't recall ever having stated that TG did work for Tamboril. The bio does state that he served as a director of Tamboril from 2004. I'm not privy to the time line of what transpired, when, nor do I care.


    You seem to be missing the point of my post, which was that if I had to make a decision on investing in AXPW based on management alone, there would be very little information available to me to drive my decision. I have no issue with Mr. Granville or anyone else at Axion Power for that matter.
    26 Feb 2012, 08:35 PM Reply Like
  • Tom and I had nothing to do with the cigar business, which went bankrupt in April 2000. I bought control in January 2003, spent a year doing clean-up work and searching for an acquisition, and closed the reverse merger with Axion on December 31, 2003. The Axion designated board of directors was appointed on February 2, 2004 –


    We changed the name and did a big reverse split in June 2004. –
    27 Feb 2012, 12:45 AM Reply Like
  • Jakurz, I totally agree with you that management is the most vital factor to consider when making long term investment decision, however, usually it is also very difficult for an investor can get clear and reliable info on it. In my case, I get Axion Power's manaement and leadership info mostly from JP's posts. Is it the same case for you or you have other sources? (Fyi, In the case of aircraft design, it is required that any indication/signal must have at least two information sources for the sake of safety)
    27 Feb 2012, 01:16 PM Reply Like
  • What I suggest people do is go to the management section of the latest proxy statement – – read the biographies of management and then do Google searches for combinations of names. It's not complicated, it just takes a little work.


    The farther back you dig into the background and business experience of the old core - Granville, Averill and Patterson, the more impressive they get.


    Averill is a rock star by any standard you can choose. Over the course of his career, he's invented three different orthopedic joints, taken his inventions from ideas to FDA approved devices and built three manufacturing companies to a point where he sold them to Fortune 500 buyers.


    Howard Schmidt is one of the best carbon nanotechnology hands in the world.


    The information is all out there, all it takes is a little diligence.
    27 Feb 2012, 01:51 PM Reply Like
  • Hi Frrat,


    When evaluating a companies management I try to look at the historic facts surrounding the history of the company and the actions I have watched management take or not take. Ultimately it comes down to your own personal observations. I am not necessarily just looking at quantifiable data like Granville's negotiating prowess exemplified in his labor negotiations and oversight of a $2.3billion pension fund or Averill's three $1billion dollar companies that he co-founded and sold to Fortune 500 companies.


    That is all part of it but it is also many little things I have tied together that begins to paint the picture. I have never seen them once try to do some cockamamie PR for a short fix to an ailing stock problem, yet they are all heavily invested. After a decade at work they haven't bailed and sold off their patents and technology to another firm despite a stock price that keeps getting hit, instead, in the long term interest of the company, they have done equity raises that dilutes them as much as anyone else. They have formed steady, strong relationships with 1st tier companies, instead of just selling some batteries to whomever happens along that might be good for the stock price for a month or two, but thats it.


    Probably one of the best examples is when Axion walked away from Exide because they wanted to eat them for lunch, I believe a lesser management team would have said, "Ok, uncle, we don't think we can create a successful company so we will hand over and sell the technology and patents to you." As a result of that decision when it was trading at $1.30 and more they had to issue about 45M more shares at .57. No management team would have done that if they did not believe they were giving their own shares at $1.50 a shot of whiskey in the long term as opposed to just dilution for the short term. Was that popular? No. Was this years equity raise popular? Apparently not. Would them doing some cheap PbC sales and PR pumping be popular? Yes, but they don't do it.


    Axion has never displayed the signs of a company that just wants to get a quick fix to their stock price. Over and over they have made tough decisions that are in the long term interest of the company. On a more personal note the character and sincerity I have witnessed from Granville on the conference calls is another notch in his favor, but that is just how I read him and his actions, he is a businessman thats not to suave on the outside but seems to possess strong character and a good business sense.


    For a real life example of good management that makes decisions to sustain the company over the long-term versus not-so-good management that does not make sustainable business decisions, look at the action of Exide over the past ten years and those of JCI. Who do you think has the better management team?
    27 Feb 2012, 03:04 PM Reply Like
  • Jakurtz, well said. Many thanks!!
    Hopefully within next 6 months TG can further demonstrate his business vision and execution capability by showing us signs of (1) some real sales of PbC/Powercube and (2) forging real partenership with big players...
    28 Feb 2012, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • You're right Frrat. I've learned far more about Axion's management from JP than I ever would have learned just digging around on my own, and I'm pretty sure that that is a big part of my feeling very comfortable with my investment; i.e. if JP is comfortable, then I should be as well. He knows worlds more about it than I do and I'm pretty sure that is skin in the game is in another world from mine as well!
    29 Feb 2012, 08:14 PM Reply Like
  • Regarding management decisions, it gives pause for concern when Envia's management reworks a Lux research report graphic to suit their needs: Link to JP's instablog.

    1 Mar 2012, 04:10 AM Reply Like
  • The demonstrated tenacity and commitment of Axion's leadership is indeed an awesome thing to behold. These gents have been at this what, the better part of a decade now? Investing a significant portion of their lives and fortunes into this enterprise. Evidently they don't seem to think it's a waste of their time. Now, perhaps much the same could be said for the good people of Beacon, Ener1, AOne, even Tesla, who are all trying hard too, but you'll notice our guys have done it without any big DOE love money, and unlike many other boats, have thus far kept our ship well off of the rocks. All in all I think this crew will see us through.
    25 Feb 2012, 08:13 PM Reply Like
  • Here's an interesting article I dug up. It's old (May 2011) but I thought some of you may enjoy it. I used BW's search to see if it had been posted previously, but found nothing. IINM, it is pre-APC.

    26 Feb 2012, 10:10 AM Reply Like
  • eggwis, great find and it doesn't predate the APC's by much...


    By far the most nagging question appears to be answered in this interview. That is, can the PbC be a drop in replacement for an AGM battery? and the answer is clearly YES (see below)


    "The company has been producing demonstration-project quantities for about a year and a half, he continued, “but we continually tinker with the product. We can change the plate configuration, the plate counts, and we can move either toward more power or more energy. It’s really a hybrid supercapacitor. We can gear it more toward the power of a supercapacitor or the energy of an actual battery.”


    However, it does not appear that replacing the AGM is Axion's focus of the near term even though TG states that the Auto Industry is at the forefront. The PbC has a range from the "power" of a supercapacitor to the "energy" of a battery and Axion 's starting position appears to be on the "power" side of the scale which is where the relationships have been forged.


    Personally, investments aside, I would like to see more work done on the energy side but I guess that I am going to have to wait. However, it is good to know that it can be done...
    26 Feb 2012, 06:33 PM Reply Like
  • Energy will always be a tough nut to crack because it's a function of the amount of chemically active lead in the battery. When you take out a mess of the chemically active lead and replace it with carbon, total energy has to suffer. Those kinds of trade-offs are very common in the battery industry.
    27 Feb 2012, 12:57 AM Reply Like
  • I remember this article. Especially the parts about the auto market. The word "several" stuck out to me as well. Makes one wonder if the auto sales really won't occur before 2014 like many have suggested. I think/hope BMW might come in sooner than that.


    >>The larger market for the PbC product is energy storage, but the nearer-term market is automotive, Granville said...


    ...But first Axion must prove the technologies to customers, and to that end it is working with several OEMs, among them BMW.
    27 Feb 2012, 03:54 AM Reply Like
  • Model years in the auto industry are different from calendar years. For instance, action which affects model year 2014 would have to take place and be complete in 2013, so that the new model could be introduced by Q4 2013.


    The decision to make the change would likely be announced sometime soon after introducing the 2013 model in Q4 2012, though this announcement might not occur until sometime in early 2013.
    27 Feb 2012, 07:47 AM Reply Like
  • The decision to use Maxwell and Continental's dual device system in Peugeot's 2011 MY diesel micro-hybrids was announced in October 2010.


    The decisions may be made a year in advance but they're not announced until the cars are available –;highlight=
    27 Feb 2012, 09:33 AM Reply Like
  • This isn't typical auto industry behavior, John. BMW, for instance, just announced the new engine for one of their 2013 SUV models (the hook being that it will get better fuel economy), which won't be introduced to the market for another 9 months.



    It may be that Peugeot just does things differently, or that the change was truly last-minute, with the danger that it might not work out holding the announcement until after the actual model introduction.


    Given the fullsome nature of the testing regime seen with BMW for the PbC, I would hope that they can use it as the marketing tool that it potentially is. There's no denying, however, that they COULD keep it under wraps if there are any final problems that have to be ironed out.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:07 AM Reply Like
  • Addendum: The Peugeot method does, however, hold out hope for the 2014 model year should nothing emerge by this time next year...
    27 Feb 2012, 10:09 AM Reply Like
  • "Shares Reported by Quercus Trust to date"
    In my files I found the following information:


    -.30-June-08 : 8.571.429
    -.16-Mar-2011 : 18.029.129
    -.07-Nov-2011 : 3.672.451
    -.09-Feb-2012 : 2.492.352


    How many has today?
    Note: The information was provided by Finance Yahoo.
    26 Feb 2012, 02:24 PM Reply Like
  • The February 9th balance was their last reported balance. While Quercus is not perfect when it comes to reporting all trades within two business days after the trade date, they're generally within a few days of being current. Given Quercus' history, I'd be surprised to learn that they'd made substantial unreported sales.
    26 Feb 2012, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • In HTL's "FWIW" category, if anyone is interested, the Quercus shares sold, as reported in the February 9, 2012, Form 4 totaled roughly 37k shares at $.43.

    27 Feb 2012, 11:45 AM Reply Like
  • And..almost went out of that investor!
    26 Feb 2012, 03:03 PM Reply Like
  • They are making a big deal out of this battery in my neck of the woods but I wonder how many years it will be till this thing is production and also if it will have the "bricking" problem.


    Not to mention it costs about 300 to 500 fill-ups for an ICE engine and it'll likely take hours to recharge. I hope this isn't our future. =)

    27 Feb 2012, 03:44 AM Reply Like
  • "When commercialized, Envia says the 400 wh/kg battery, with a range of 300 miles and a cost of about $25,000, will slash the price of electric vehicles and make them more affordable for mainstream consumers."


    I always love the *when commercialized* part of these fluff pieces. Just think, it's ready to go as soon as they complete safety and performance testing and ramp production to a level where the anticipated economies can be realized. Can anybody say "2020 and beyond?"


    $25,000 works out to 5,000 gallons of $5 gasoline, or 189,000 travel miles in a passenger car that meets existing 2016 MY CAFE standards. It seems like a high price to pay for the option of burning coal instead of gasoline.
    27 Feb 2012, 04:46 AM Reply Like
  • Where's the Batteries?
    The most recent estimate I remember is that the neg electrode production equates to about 100 battery capability per line (Gen2) per shift [see Futurist in Conc'37, and the "dwell" calc discussions].


    With 1000 batteries per 1 MW PowerCube that is 10 days (two normal working weeks) to make a 1MW PowerCube in one shift and if not used for anything else.
    Thus every month they could make two 1MW PowerCubes, per line per shift. They also make batteries for potential clients, so that cuts the potential, but they could run two more shifts if they felt it was worth making these speculatively, or to order.


    Does anyone here live locally and know how many shifts are running, or what happens at weekends? Or could find out perhaps.


    I'm just surprised that we haven't heard more about PowerCubes. The ribbon-cutting was late November. Since then they they could have got quite a few of these plugged-in generating interest and income at presumably not a lot of material cost, just one a month would give us some additional coverage.


    Also, has the word "PowerCube" been discussed from the registered trademark point of view? If you type "PowerCube" into Google you get quite a few hits in the storage area, and this one,, even has an ® associated with it. I'm surprised Axion is using a word that seems to be already registered for a similar device - my experience (in the UK) is that trade-mark clashes with existing owners are best avoided.
    27 Feb 2012, 05:11 AM Reply Like
  • If you use the most recent Sandia system cost estimates, a 1 MW PowerCube will cost about $400,000 for the control electronics and another $330,000 for the batteries. Toss in another $70,000 for containerization and shipping and you're looking at an $800,000 cash outlay. That's a huge amount of money to spend before you have a buyer lined up and willing to write a check.


    Building inventory on the "if we build it they will come" theory is a grave error in a transition stage company because it demolishes cash reserves. The only sensible approach is to build what you need for testing, let your potential customers do their thing for however long it takes, and ramp production when you have purchase orders in hand.
    27 Feb 2012, 05:41 AM Reply Like
  • But it can generate income and act as a marketing show-piece, so there are offsets and other "budgets" to consider. And if the lines aren't used, isn't that a waste of fixed costs? But there is a limit I agree.


    As for "they will come" being an error, surely this too is a matter of degree, we can be sure it/they can be sold before current cash gets depleted (else why are we all here), it will be a good opportunity to then deliver proven unit(s) to a prestigious customer having dropped the price attractively, as it's second-hand, without setting a precedent for new-unit pricing.


    I would love to see two or three units units out there doing something even if when sold they get marked down at sale if that increases exposure and generates some identifiable income.
    27 Feb 2012, 05:58 AM Reply Like
  • Putting units out for demonstration is an immense consumer of cash, even if those units will return the capital investment over a period of three or four years. So is selling products at a loss to generate more public exposure. Many Axionistas were upset when Axion raised $9 million on terms they thought unattractive. It would have been disastrous if Axion had raised $19 or $29 million so that it could throw PR products out for the world to kick the tires.


    The PbC doesn't need exposure to the masses. It's already had several first tier firms in different industries wrap their arms around the PbC technology before the technology was a product. Axion needs to continue to follow a sensible path of minimizing outlays while its first tier customers finish their testing, and then ramp production to meet demand. It's easy to worry that the testing is taking a long time and a decision hasn't been made yet. The reality, however, is that testing failures come very quickly with first tier users and the longer a testing program continues the higher the odds of success. First tier users disqualify products after 3 to 6 months of testing - not after 24 (NS) to 30 (BMW) months.


    If you're A123 and have enough cash, you can afford to spend millions or tens of millions throwing crap against the wall to see if it sticks. If you're Axion and want to get as much mileage as possible with limited cash, you listen to major customers who tell you to keep your head down and mouth shut.
    27 Feb 2012, 06:25 AM Reply Like
  • Hi, agree with your 24 months (NS) or 30 (BMW) good news period, but there is a horizon of test with a calendar with certain objectives to meet let´s say 100,000 full charges with 8% max.degradation for there MUST BE a calendar and a date where Axion will know "officially" a result and a decision.


    27 Feb 2012, 07:04 AM Reply Like
  • >JP ... " ... production when you have purchase orders in hand." which Mr. Granville said he had in just that location. I'm curious if we've seen them fielded already or they are future. In 3 weeks, I hope that is answered.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:24 AM Reply Like
  • I always hate the period between the Q-3 conference call and the year-end call because 125 days is too long to let the worry-prone reflect on possible disaster scenarios.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • unless you are accumulating JP :)
    27 Feb 2012, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • JP...I disagree with you here....IF, the PC works as planned, then we need to get some out and let them prove just can't keep waiting, waiting, testing, testing, for the home run.


    I have no doubt the PbC has a place, but thinking that you can't put two or 3 out there in top tier names/places is not logical. The advertising alone is worth it. Business breeds business, otherwise companies are wondering just what some others think, what's wrong & why are people not buying this? I think business is in the future, but to speed the process up is a plus.
    27 Feb 2012, 06:48 AM Reply Like
  • LT,
    The PC at the navy zero emission building, although a sale, seems also to be a test platform for navy. There is also the PC at the Axion HQ, which I believe is still being used as a test bed: if I remember correctly were going to use it to collect further data and also eventually ramp up output. Gives a chance for Viridity and PJM to further validate it for marketing efforts.
    27 Feb 2012, 07:55 AM Reply Like
  • To me that would be a bad business decision. They have demonstration units going on with BMW, NS, GM, PJM as well as other unnamed OEM's -- what "advertising" have they received from this testing and demonstrations that makes you believe that it is worth them spending another couple million dollars on PowerCube demonstration units to give away? Which will cause them to have to do another capital raise a quarter or two earlier.


    If you are confident in your product and the current testing taking place I would imagine you would want to conserve as much cash as possible until you get a design win from the many you currently have going on and not think about spending millions on other ones that won't bear fruit any sooner.


    You have a few good quality samples of your product and you use those to attract more business. You don't just keep buying more samples, unless you have cash to waste or you are positive it will have a significant impact on your positive cash flow in the very near term -- the only impact this would have in the near term is a negative one on your capital.
    27 Feb 2012, 08:09 AM Reply Like
  • jakurtz: re "They have demonstration units going on with BMW, NS, GM, PJM as well as other unnamed OEM's", but these are virtually meaningless in terms of "by example" marketing as nothing has arisen, yet.


    The PowerCube is unique, or at least very different, in that there is one already in more public use and has claimed advantages now that can be applied in a more general way (not OEM/ large-manufacturer specific). I see the next step would be to some real bankable cost-benefit analysis (for the grid-based application to start) and hence the possibly of the banks funding a lease-like business, be it a division of Axion or A N Other Inc I don't mind, but I will be a shareholder in the manufacturer. I want to see more exposure/marketing for this business model (grid), and / or the other industries which are more familiar with "plug-and-play" power and where we can have a more incremental uptake without the obstacle of initial large "make or break" decision requirements.


    And we are not without competitors who are doing the same kind of thing with hydrolysis etc, we need to get out there.
    27 Feb 2012, 08:40 AM Reply Like
  • A pretty girl handing out free samples may work in the grocery store, but it gets no traction with top tier manufacturers who incorporate batteries in their products or top line customers who use batteries in their businesses. Those companies all have specific processes they follow for system-wide purchasing and there is no way to circumvent that process. The PbC is already in the hands of the creme de la creme who are apparently quite happy with the results they're getting. Bush league promotional stunts will not accelerate the process.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:01 AM Reply Like
  • I have to side with JP on this one. Producing demo PCs @ $800k a pop is very expensive marketing, particularly in lieu of the fact that you just raised $9-10mil to keep your ship afloat for the next year.


    Furthermore, its terribly inefficient in that you don't know for whom you are building the demo; i.e. if your next big fish is Ford or Toyota, they will most likely have no interest in a PC, but rather they'll want 800 batteries to test. OK, so you can take the batts out of the PC. That's efficient enough, but you still have $470K of dead money sitting in the parking lot. The fact that they are targeting several different markets with different products makes the idea of building demos a crap-shoot at best. Even the idea of just building the batteries in advance seems wasteful because 1) the longer they sit there unused, the shorter the batteries' useful life will be when tested, and 2) building them can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time, *after* they know they have a customer willing to put them to use. Why have hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting around, potentially for months, and having only accomplished the consumption of real-estate?


    If your idea is to just build a PC and get it out there for the world to see in action, where would you propose they put it? The PC has a very special market. Putting it out there in the parking lot of a local shopping mall or even an industrial park is quite useless. The PC isn't likely to generate any buzz for its style and aesthetic beauty. Putting it out there for the world to see requires that they have someplace to put to use. That is what they did with PJM/Viridity, but they were only able to do that because there was a real-world use or project to plug into.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:25 AM Reply Like
  • eggwis: I think there is a more positive view to be had on your objections....
    The upfront cost is to be mostly recovered in this suggestion (else I wouldn't go with it), so it seems like a better use of the money than keeping it in the bank.
    So Ford and Toyota might want batteries, great, run some more shifts, but what's been made wouldn't affect what can be made and this demo unit, or three, could/would be a speculative build using idle shift time, reducing fixed cost averages.


    I'm not proposing it/they would be built unless you had a plan for where it/they would go, not to sit idle. I mean if no one knows a possible user who could be persuaded to try one out for a free loan and then get first refusal on a reduced price after a few months trial then maybe we're in the wrong business.


    As for who this customer might be / where to put it, well, I believe we have some partners who should know that by now, if they need a suggestion then they could look for the best customer (PRESTIGIOUS, size, market leader, pockets) in the industry sector that they foresee having the largest BESS marketplace (and with a requirement that is generic for the industry, not some special build etc), hm in the US I guess, 'tis quite big though.


    Agreed that you wouldn't want to raise more cash because you've got a bunch of it invested in unsold batteries. So I can see that maybe the "loan" period length requirement might be excessive compared with when you want to reclaim the money invested, but not much else as a show-stopper.
    27 Feb 2012, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • Dave,


    I absolutely agree. My objection is about the efficient use of cash. If you were Exide or JCI, that would be a realistic idea. I'm sure you would even see the bikini clad girls at the auto show giving walk throughs of the PC, though as JP said, I don't think you would likely close any sales from that. It would get exposure though and get people talking about you.
    28 Feb 2012, 08:33 AM Reply Like
  • Jak & are right on the Navy, but that is just one small unit....Jak, to me the BMW, GM, NS is NOT demo projects. This info in guarded and only inclusive to AXPW and each individual company. We do not know anything now about NS, the 999 is sitting still & has been until the EPA is done, and it is obvious that NS higher priorities is the new bio-diesel and the new loco's with multiple engines for better fuel consumption/mpg. That only leaves the PC at AXPW and the Navy yard for the grid...and we are expecting auto's to be another 1-3 years out's too early to talk about it, too much can happen, but your going to get another capital raise before auto's come online. Do you want it to fund sales or leases that generate income and will eventually pay out in 3-5 years or just to buy time on HOPE? that's the question.
    Don't anyone get me wrong, I have way too much invested here to think the PbC does not make it... my point is that time & delays in market acceptance is sometimes not in your best interest. $2-3 million could be well spent if it means acceptance or not.
    27 Feb 2012, 08:21 AM Reply Like
  • With due respect we have no earthly idea what NS is doing or where they're doing it. In every NS discussion TG has spoken of work in New Castle, Roanoke and Penn State. NS' VP of Operations is giving industry presentations bragging on the PbC. The other initiatives you've mentioned are important to NS, but not competitive with what they hope to accomplish with the PbC. I love reading tea leaves when there are enough tea leaves to read, but I'm very cautious about declaring that a conculsion is obvious when it flies in the face of more probative facts.


    Like it or not the PbC is not amenable to lemonade stand marketing and no matter how long you advocate a bush league approach it's not going to happen.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • John, in the last concentrator, you said: "It's taken eight years of concentrated effort to optimize electrode performance and figure out how to manufacture the beast in volume with consistent quality. In computer-speak, the Gen1 electrode line was an Alpha production line, the Gen2 electrode line was a Beta production line and the Gen3 electrode line will be the first truly commercial manufacturing process."


    Am I to understand that we still don't have a production line that's good enough commercially? In other words, at this point in time, they don't have what it takes to satisfy a large order?


    In the same line of thought, has TG said anything about when we would be having this Gen3 line?


    Thank you!
    27 Feb 2012, 08:29 AM Reply Like
  • In a couple conference calls Tom has spoken of how they added a couple workstations to the Gen2 line so that it would run at the proper speed.


    As I understand it, the upgrades are complete and the line, as modified and enhanced over the last year, will be replicated in multiple copies for the first dedicated electrode fabrication plant.


    The existing line is currently producing electrodes at commercial spec, but one line is not enough to fill a large order.


    That will require more capacity.
    27 Feb 2012, 09:52 AM Reply Like
  • Thought folks might enjoy this. I will not participate in any resulting political discussion.


    Click the "read more" link after playing the video.


    Thanks to Daberfeldy at Investorvillage for the link.



    27 Feb 2012, 08:30 AM Reply Like
  • Some guys just gotta pee on the electric fence for themselves HTL.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • (AXPW): Lures dangled by market-maker(s) today at $0.4098 - two batches of 2x100. Interesting to me that both occurrences are in the same *second*. I'm guessing that a market-maker trying to drum up business by selling 100 shares to himself, leaving him both short and long 100, and then buys it back, leaving him net-zero on both sides.


    Interesting also is that early offers were at $0.4903, dropped to $0.4902, now at $0.4098.


    Unless I missed something, bids have stayed right at $0.3903.


    Bid/ask 10K at NBBO on either side. Volume so far only 20.25K.


    I suspect that some shares are (flowing?) in the MM portfolio and we'll see offers slowly continue down by 1/100th or 1/10th of a penny. Until late in the day, anyway.


    Another interesting thing, the "lures" were exactly 45 minutes (3 second differential) apart. I wonder if there's a computer set to do that when there's no volume.


    I'll watch for the next one around 11:30, 45 minutes after the last lure was dropped in the water.


    Ah! As I typed, a $0.40 bid appeared. Let the negotiations begin!


    27 Feb 2012, 10:48 AM Reply Like
  • Now 2*10K bid at .40, but a 40K offer at .42 (PERT) above the best offer might be a ceiling today, considering there's at least 17K more to work though before hitting it plus the fact that we've only done 20.25K so far.


    Looks like we're gonna keep yawing till we get some news.
    27 Feb 2012, 11:47 AM Reply Like
  • Does anyone know the current disposition of all the pallets of battery cases Maya saw at New Castle ?
    27 Feb 2012, 11:51 AM Reply Like
  • OT: Warren Buffet's latest shareholder letter.
    Always an interesting read.
    Some good info on BNSF & Mid-America Energy
    27 Feb 2012, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • Three hours pass with nary a trade?
    27 Feb 2012, 01:07 PM Reply Like
  • 3:10! "The trade boss, the trade!" at 13:25.


    500 shares at the ask, $0.409. Prior were market-maker "lures" at 2x100 $0.4098.


    27 Feb 2012, 01:27 PM Reply Like
  • OMG, what have I done?


    Now the whole planet is "lurking"....


    I should have patented the mud jacuzzi - I'd be making a fortune...
    27 Feb 2012, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • It really is reminiscent of the Mexican Standoff at the end of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Think of Clint Eastwood as the buyer, Lee Van Cleef as the market maker and Eli Wallach as the seller.


    (The scene only comes to mind because my lovely wife is working with Van Cleef's grandson on another project.)
    27 Feb 2012, 01:57 PM Reply Like
  • Well, if my eyes get any worse from the staring at these tubes all day, I can handle the "squinty-eyed" hombre role!




    27 Feb 2012, 02:15 PM Reply Like
  • When Axion eventually has some inventory to sell to willing buyers, attached is an interesting view on Exide's inventory woes !

    27 Feb 2012, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • Went for a drive today to get away from the computer and there was a big road sign, all by itself, that read in large letters "QUERCUS"- an advertisement for a furniture store in Cannes. Can't believe this was just a random event and isn't part of some grand scheme of the greater universe that was pointed out only to yours truly to let me know that Quercus will be filing another Form 4 shortly. What a promising sign! Pun intended.
    Sorry. It is a slow day. HTL gets messages through his tin foil hat, and I through billboards.


    27 Feb 2012, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • You have the edge - lots more billboards than I have TF hats!


    27 Feb 2012, 03:20 PM Reply Like
  • HTL ... have you been consulting on the side?

    27 Feb 2012, 03:57 PM Reply Like
  • LoL! I wish! But I didn't know about the show - I'll have to tune in so I might learn something.


    Thursdays at 9:00 - Yep my social calendar has a small open spot there!


    27 Feb 2012, 04:15 PM Reply Like
  • That's one you may need to copy for me, because we don't have Fox here. P.S. Rachel said to remember that for TFH time your accessories must be silver - never gold.
    27 Feb 2012, 04:24 PM Reply Like
  • Should be available here in a few more days (8 days after air date)


    or sooner if you cable provider has some deal with Fox.
    27 Feb 2012, 04:30 PM Reply Like
  • The uh, colonel needs a freaking haircut. sheesh.
    27 Feb 2012, 04:40 PM Reply Like
  • HTL: Ever consider adding a tuner to the TFH?
    One hat; many channels ;-)
    28 Feb 2012, 03:26 PM Reply Like
  • OK, why are we getting the last trade being ONLY 300 shares for over 41 cents??? Still think the MM are doing this??


    27 Feb 2012, 04:32 PM Reply Like
  • MAP: Not *all* small trades are MM ... "inspired". And with the typical volume I see on AXPW I don't *think* a market-maker would do their "fishing" with 500 shares - risk of getting caught in a "liquidity trap" might be too high.


    100 shares would be much more prudent, IMO.


    Retail traders, especially those that trade w/o fees, often have small quantity buys in that get pushed back by the market-makers, due to being hard to match and "non-standard" sizes. This most often happens, I *think*, when there's not a matching *presented* offer (both price and size constraints), per what my broker told me in various conversations I've had about the OTC market issues I've had.


    But regardless, there are trades that have a pattern that matches what I've seen on other stocks when volume is low and matches what has been posted by folks that seem knowledgeable (claiming to have been in the business). I posted a link to one such twice in the recent past.


    27 Feb 2012, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • If this is the MM pushing the price up at the end of the day what would be the reason why they would do this ??


    Appreciate some help on this as i am looking to add more shares and been lurking for a while..


    27 Feb 2012, 04:51 PM Reply Like
  • I *believe* that it's one of the strategies used to garner some business.


    Lots of folks don't sit and watch the screen all day. But they might take the time to look at open, close, high and low type of stuff once in a while. And they would see higher closes, on average, since 2/22. And they would see a low of ~$0.39 apparently holding.


    By having a higher close, they "set the stage" to get a *potential* higher open the next day, probably to try to:
    - generate some volume (how they make most of their money),
    - *maybe* move some shares at a slightly higher price, to satisfy some sell orders,
    - and/or move some shares either stuck in their portfolio or move shares they know will be coming in from previous sell orders received which they naked-shorted into the market.


    BTW, there were *two* of these trades in the same second, 15:47:34, just like the two 2x100 seen earlier. All *could* be small retail trades (doubtful IMO for the 2x100 trades) or *could* be market-maker manipulation (scratch that - "action" would be a more neutral word) to satisfy goals.


    Those three 2xX-hundred trades in the very same second for each pair would be low-risk for the MM, since they are allowed to play both the sell and buy side simultaneously. If I'm guessing right, those 2x100 trades and *maybe* this 2x300 trade were market-makers selling to and buying from himself, or maybe even another market-maker (if we believe what was stated in the article I mentioned earlier).


    27 Feb 2012, 05:14 PM Reply Like
  • Data hot off the presses--short interest at 2/15/2012 was 28,455 shares:



    So, still almost zero.
    27 Feb 2012, 05:37 PM Reply Like
  • A different take on "distributed generation" ... coming to Africa.



    Youtube: (among 16 or so) and





    A reminder of what we take for granted and how doing a little can do a lot.
    27 Feb 2012, 05:43 PM Reply Like
  • Saw referenced on the Motley Fool battery discussion board. Among other things, the reference reports,


    "Envia’s announcement said that its packs would deliver cell energy of 400 watt-hours per kilogram at a cost of $150 per kilowatt-hour. Though it doesn’t disclose a cost breakdown, Tesla Motors rates the energy density of its Roadster’s pack at 121 watt-hours per kilogram. Envia said its energy-density performance was verified in testing of prototype cells at the Naval Service Warfare Center’s Crane evaluation division."


    Comments following the article are worth reading as well.
    27 Feb 2012, 09:37 PM Reply Like
  • >D-inv ... That is an amazing claim and would be a big advance. Let's just see if it takes only 1.5 years to get into production. If this is really true and I were DOE, I'd pull all other funding tomorrow unless it was in support of this prototype going head to head with all other comers.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:41 PM Reply Like
  • Haven't we heard this one before? 3x the energy density at half the cost and commercialization will be a snap!


    I REALLY hope it's true, but throwing out unsupported claims isn't exactly difficult or particularly predictive of future performance.
    27 Feb 2012, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • Ahh,


    Envia (envy) again in the news. They are the toast of Silicon Valley and quoted in the press a lot around my parts. Sand Hill Road likes them too. And they sure aren't shy about their product.


    Also see my earlier link for more of the company's claims. Envia surely will be one to watch but color me skeptical that we see this in oem vehicles in the first half of the decade.
    28 Feb 2012, 02:22 AM Reply Like
  • Color me skeptical for the decade, unless Envia is willing to license their technology to somebody who already has a battery fab. "We could be in automotive production in a year and a half," call that early 2014 to be safe. Now add a minimum of three years of automaker testing before the cells are approved for use in a vehicle and another couple years to build a plant.


    The disturbing thing about articles like these are that they focus on cell level energy densities and costs. According to Bernstein and Ricardo, cells typically account for 60% of battery pack costs. The other 40% is pack costs. Even if you slash cell costs by 2/3, you only reduce pack costs by about 40%.


    In an earlier comment I quoted Envia as estimating a $25,000 cost for a 300 mile pack. While that figure compares favorably with the estimated $45,000 cost of the battery pack in a 300 mile Tesla S, it still works out to a pack level cost of $333 per kWh – which is a long way from the $150 per kWh the Times is gushing over.
    28 Feb 2012, 02:45 AM Reply Like
  • Envia - Do you feel lucky?


    ARPA-E ... How About you?


    "cell prototyping and manufacturing plant is located in Jiaxing, China."



    Wonder how Lithium Supply chain figured into this decision ...


    I have a small position in Talison Lithium (largest pure play) which mines in Australia, but (for now) is "refined" in China. Some Japanese firms have stuck a deal with them though, e.g.,

    28 Feb 2012, 03:10 PM Reply Like
  • Ranking Li-ion battery developers on Lux Innovation Grid:


    embedded in their "About Us" Page here:
    28 Feb 2012, 03:30 PM Reply Like
  • "Envia generates revenue by selling cathode material to cell vendors."


    Not all clear on how much revenue they're currently generating, presumably from the China plant.
    28 Feb 2012, 03:31 PM Reply Like
  • Nice charts.
    28 Feb 2012, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • As far as I'm concerned this is deceptive advertising of the highest order.


    Regardless of how good their technology may be, that kind of behavior is inexcusable.
    28 Feb 2012, 03:40 PM Reply Like
  • I see a lot of sloppy language thrown about in battery news and promo blurbs. "cell cost" vs "pack cost" are often used interchangeably in articles. They aren't even close to the same animal.


    Just HOW is it cheaper? It's all throw away words without some valid base for comparison.


    On the flip side, in about 3 years there should be lots of Li-ion battery type manufacturing facilities available cheap.
    28 Feb 2012, 04:02 PM Reply Like
    28 Feb 2012, 04:29 PM Reply Like
  • >JP : Oh yes. I read and I believe, oh wise one.


    I remember what happened to all the polysilicon makers when silicon solar cells boomed in the 2007-2008 period. [ Remember large subsidies for Solar PV? Some are still around, but many countries have gotten smarter since then.] About 8 different large producers ( MEMC as example) started building like crazy people, each convinced they would capture 20+% of the huge market in 2009-2010. They got hit twice: collapse of polySi solar cell prices and a massive glut of polysilicon. Price dropped almost 90% for polySi and well over 90% for MEMC.


    Unless someone finds a non-EV use for larger format Li-ion batteries, the Lithium folks will join the polySi boys in discovering what a glutted commodities market is.
    28 Feb 2012, 05:40 PM Reply Like
  • Yet another competition question for TG in a month. Hope he allocates a lot of time for our Q&A. Oh, and the phones work. 8^)
    28 Feb 2012, 07:09 PM Reply Like
  • I don't expect to see the same kind of price collapse in lithium-ion batteries because the materials that go into the batteries have lots of high value alternative uses and nobody can sell for a nickel, buy for a dime and make it up on volume. I think the plants will simply be shuttered.
    28 Feb 2012, 11:49 PM Reply Like


    Above link is some technical data from their website. I'm not sure what it means. They did 23 cycles of testing on battery, 22 of those at USN site. Not sure what "cycle" means in this case, but potentially is very low number of cycles.
    28 Feb 2012, 06:56 AM Reply Like
  • It will be interesting to see what commercialization path they choose. It's pretty clear that all they've done so far is build a couple prototypes and have them tested. We were there with Axion in 2003. The gulf between an amazing prototype and a manufacturable product is wide and deep. Even really smart people underestimate the challenges. I wish Envia well, but think it will take far longer than they anticipate.
    28 Feb 2012, 09:10 AM Reply Like
  • jly,
    My interpretation is that a "cycle" is a full charge/discharge cycle; i.e. 100% SOC, to 0% SOC and back to 100% SOC.
    28 Feb 2012, 11:10 PM Reply Like
  • Interesting - 23 cycles 0 to 100%? PbC good for at least 2500 tested last number I saw.
    28 Feb 2012, 11:36 PM Reply Like
  • Two of the graphs indicate that the discharges were 80% DoD rather than 100% DoD. They also note that the discharges were C/3.


    C-rate measures the speed of discharge of a battery. A rate of 1C means the stored energy is discharged over a period of one hour. A rate of C/3 means it is discharged over a period of three hours. A rate of 10C means it is discharged over a period of six minutes.


    To put the numbers in perspective, the PowerCube currently operates at a rate of C/2, although I suspect it could operate at a much higher C-rate. The fastest systems from A123 operate at 4C.
    28 Feb 2012, 11:57 PM Reply Like
  • eggwis,
    That was my interpretation also. Wonder why 23 cycles, seems like very few to be promoting heavily the technology and to bring it to market in 18 months.
    29 Feb 2012, 04:33 AM Reply Like
  • John,
    Thanks for that info.
    29 Feb 2012, 04:34 AM Reply Like
  • IMO a good bit of "new" tech battery PR is aimed at 1) drumming up retail interest in anticipation of a security offering and/or 2) delaying go ahead decisions by potential customers for purchase of competing tech systems. Commitment to alternative systems by significant players in target markets is death knell to lots of "better mouse traps."
    29 Feb 2012, 12:17 PM Reply Like
  • Oooh! Good thought D-Inv. I'd never considered that.


    I wonder how often that tactic is used. From the REE concentrators, I'm aware of "mining the street" for miners and it's apparently not that uncommon.


    I wonder if it's the same in the other parts of industry.


    29 Feb 2012, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • (AXPW): 2/27/2012 EOD stuff I've been tracking.


    Buy, sell and unknown ended at 21,650, 46,900, and 0 respectively, giving total volume for the day of 68,550. Buy:sell at EOD was 1:2.17.


    There were 23 trades, yielding an average trade size of ~2,980, sort of normal range. But do keep in mind the larger block trades where only 3 of 10K at $0.395 (1) and 2 at $0.4001. The next largest was 6,450.


    Well, a small volume improvement yesterday and short sales percentage started moving back towards normal range. This suggests that we have some new sellers (albeit small volume) and/or the flow of shares into market-makers' portfolios from prior sells have abated.


    What I really want to note is the manipulation, IMO, of the price action yesterday having the (apparent) desired effect.


    The high and closing price of $0.415 was set by two simultaneous trades at 15:47:34 of 300 shares each. Today's pre-market best bid/ask starts at $0.4001/$0.45 at 9:00. Keep in mind that *very* often these prices are initially established by the market-makers, not real traders or investors.


    What I saw with the closing yesterday and what I'm seeing this morning suggests, to *me*, that there are sell orders for >= $0.40, maybe from a "good customer", that need to be satisfied. If that is the case, a lot more volume at these higher prices will be needed to unload those shares.


    I would not be surprised to see many more of those 100 share trades today, maybe even at the ~$0.42 range and *higher*, as the market-makers try to "Git 'er done". With Friday's very low volume and short quantity, 500, I don't think we're back to "normal" activity, even with the improvement in short sale percentage.


    If lots of buyers come in today based on what we're seeing right now, I suspect that might have some short-term disappointment in store for them.


    227 Vol 68550, Sht 16300 23.78% LHC 0.3902 0.4150 0.4150 b:s 1:2.17


    28 Feb 2012, 09:19 AM Reply Like
  • HTL, some TFH research:



    Maybe a lead bucket hat would work better...


    28 Feb 2012, 12:27 PM Reply Like
  • Wow,
    Somehow I think someone has way to much time on their hands. :-)
    28 Feb 2012, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Looks like the "research" took about a half an hour. My favorite is the Centurion. And the dude in the Dr Who phone booth had me roflmao.
    28 Feb 2012, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • LoL!


    A beautiful piece. However, their conclusion makes me think they may not be disinterested parties engaged in truly unbiased research: "It requires no stretch of the imagination to conclude that the current helmet craze is likely to have been propagated by the Government, possibly with the involvement of the FCC. We hope this report will encourage the paranoid community to develop improved helmet designs to avoid falling prey to these shortcomings".


    Therefore, I believe they are operating under a secret government-funded mandate to cause abandonment of the current TFHs, which after all *do* represent best currently available designs.


    So I suggest that a *triple-layered* design with care taken to misalign the crinkles of each layer may increase attenuation and eliminate the amplification entirely. However, the authors, who obviously have much more expertise than I, did not propose even one single alternative to the current TFH design.


    Methinks something's fishy here.


    And did you notice that the Youtube video linked in the article has been "withdrawn by the account owner"? Very spooky!


    I'd be careful of this research!




    28 Feb 2012, 01:28 PM Reply Like
  • Good stuff! ...but I can't believe MIT students would have time to play like that, so I have to agree with HTL that there is something diabolical in the works.


    I must further agree with HTL, that the fact that the authoring scientists offered no suggestions for improvement in design of future TFHs is further indication of conspiracy. After all, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem", right? Are we really to believe that the classic "cone-head" design would not have crossed at least of their minds?
    28 Feb 2012, 11:33 PM Reply Like
  • does this mean if i am lost somewhere with gps, putting on a tinfoil hat could make me easier to find (before i get eaten by wolves)?
    29 Feb 2012, 01:46 PM Reply Like
  • No, it means you were never lost - they know where you are at all times.


    Call 'em on your cell and they tell you what you need to know. ;-))


    29 Feb 2012, 01:49 PM Reply Like
  • Through 12:30 buys 11,939, sells 103,108 for a ratio of 1:8.64.


    The majority of the sells came in the 11:58-12:01 time with 2 trades 10.xK and 2x25K. All went $0.40-$0.4002.


    ISTM that, indeed, the MM has a customer to satisfy at >= $0.40.


    MM "lures" before those trades were 5x100 $0.4099-$0.41.


    *Subsequent* to those larger trades, "lures" are 100 $0.405, 2x100 $0.4039.


    Generally speaking, the trend on the offers have trend weakly downward while the bids have been "flat", $0.4001/6 to now $0.3903.


    28 Feb 2012, 12:56 PM Reply Like
  • (AXPW): 120K @ $0.39 @ 15:52:38.


    28 Feb 2012, 03:58 PM Reply Like
  • Wow ... 120K purchase at .39 plus at least 50K more in smaller blocks.


    Vol up pretty big today relative to lately, 368K near the close


    Is someone accumulating a nice sized position between .39 and .40 these last couple of days?


    Who is selling to them?
    28 Feb 2012, 03:58 PM Reply Like
  • Feels like lots 'o shares still for sale. At least it's also still disciplined, which suggests it's professionally managed to mwa.
    28 Feb 2012, 03:59 PM Reply Like
  • If it was a 35 cent buyer they probably cleared a little over 4 grand.
    28 Feb 2012, 05:29 PM Reply Like
  • >bangwhiz ... That just doesn't seem to be enough to get out of bed for. The only reason I could justify flipping for so little is if I'd become worried that I'd made a mistake or saw a big correction coming.
    28 Feb 2012, 05:33 PM Reply Like
  • will love this!


    Mayan Light Beam Photo: Message from Gods, or iPhone Glitch?
    28 Feb 2012, 06:18 PM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » LT: That's amazing! I've been on top of El Castillo before.
    28 Feb 2012, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • Greening the Grid: LightSail Aims To Make Power Cleaner By Making Energy Storage Cheap


    Compressed air system.
    At the risk of asking a possible repetitive question...comments?
    28 Feb 2012, 09:10 PM Reply Like
  • Mathematicians help me out here.
    If Natural Gas peaker plants make energy at $.15 per kh. How do you compute the kh storage cost of a PowerCube that can store the energy (do the same job) and pay for itself behind the meter.


    Does that work out to free storage? OK, even I know that it isn't that good. But isn't the PowerCube a much better buy than $.15 per kh .


    The economics of electricity is confusing. What are the goals that need to be met for alternative energy storage to be successful?
    28 Feb 2012, 11:00 PM Reply Like
  • The calculations are all over the place depending on the assumptions you use. A favorite seems to be that the electricity that goes into storage is *free* and the electricity coming out of storage is *expensive.* A more likely outcome is that the electricity going into storage is *relatively cheaper* and the electricity coming out of storage is *relatively more expensive,* and the net value of the storage is the *spread reduced by storage losses.*


    For devices like the PowerCube, you have to aggregate the benefits from all the things it does. Those calculations might include the value of:


    1. Frequency regulation payments from a local utility;
    2. Arbitrage gains from storing power during low cost periods and using it during high cost periods;
    3. Reducing utility demand charges by shaving peaks;
    4. Avoided fuel costs associated with backup generation;
    5. Reducing direct costs of power interruptions; and
    6. Heaven knows what else.


    Comparisons with the cost of an NG peaker are simplistic and misleading because an NG peaker creates new electricity while storage simply makes electricity that was generated earlier available on demand. Unless you live in a world where the guy who generated the electricity earlier is willing to give it to you out of the goodness of his heart, stored electricity will always be worth less than new electricity from an NG peaker.
    29 Feb 2012, 12:26 AM Reply Like
  • I think some people do not understand a basic fact about the PbC. It is not a commodity product like a standard 12V battery. In order to benefit from the PbC in an application the end user must design and build systems specifically for the PbC.


    Think about what I just said for a moment. If a fork lift manufacturer, or an auto company, a railroad, or whoever is going to buy PbC's, they will have to design and build subsystems that were purposely designed and built for the PbC. You can't just pull the 12V AGM or flooded lead acid batteries out and install PbC's instead.


    So what does that mean? It means that before Axion can ship PbC's to a customer, the customer has to change whatever they have been doing before and design and build systems just for the PbC. People and organizations resist change unless they are either forced by some outside pressure, or the benefits are so great it is sufficient motivation alone.


    The auto and rail companies have a strong enough interest to commit to the time and money required to conduct preliminary test and evaluation programs followed by conceptual systems designs, then build actual prototype systems made specifically for the PbC. That would be followed by more test and evaluation of the prototype systems and if warranted, design and test of the modified prototypes leading to a final design. Then there would be trade off studies of the final PbC system design versus all the alternatives, plus huge cost benefit number crunching studies of all possible solutions.


    Axion does have a product it can sell "off the shelf" so to speak right now. That is the various PowerCube configurations from mini to 20MW. You could almost specify the system on the back of a napkin. 20MW for 30 minutes


    In every instance, however, customers are generally going to have specific requirements in terms of layout, configuration, controls and system integration that means Axion is not going to have a production line cranking out PowerCubes in 3 different sizes and configurations. Somebody, either in-house or hired like a Sil-Tek, is going to have to custom design the total system and oversee the build out.


    So what's the point of this long post? Simple. Axion's sales and marketing process is not simple. Quit trying to think they can build some "sample" PowerCubes and hand them out like a new flavor candy bar.


    They can't just waltz into a E-Bike or forklift or UPS manufacturer and say " We've got a special on PbC's today, 3 for the price of 2." Think about how many people in a prospective customer have to agree that building anything using the PbC - a product they've never seen or used before, with nothing sitting around they can just drop it into and then turn it on - is worth their time, money and effort?


    I have a lot of major account sales experience. Most of the time when you go through the door it is like pushing in the side of a sponge, the minute you leave everything pops back out just like it was before. Nothing has changed. Whoever you talked to talks to their boss, who then talks to his boss, etc etc.


    When they want you they call you. Until then, you are just whistling Dixie. Then after they call you it isn't a done deal. Everybody up the line has to confirm the decision. The numbers have to work, the details have to mesh, the timing has to be right - and on top of that they have to like and respect you and your organization. They have to be true believers.


    So when you are screaming for TG to just sell Powercubes or PbC's, you need to understand the complexity of doing so, and the time required to achieve an actual sale.
    29 Feb 2012, 12:40 AM Reply Like
  • You've raised a critical point Bang. The PbC is a truly unique energy storage device and manufacturers need to spend a lot of time testing and evaluating before they hitch their wagon to a rising star; but in the battery world devices that offer a 500% improvement in cycle life and a 1000% improvement in charging performance come along once in a lifetime.


    The dynamic Axion is facing today is that manufacturers want to make more efficient machines than conventional batteries can support. The machines have been designed and built, but without the right battery they'll never reach the market. Instead of making heavy micro-hybrids that improve gas mileage by 15%, the automakers are dialing back their superb engineering to light micro-hybrids that only save 5%. Then they have to go out and design other mechanical systems that can save a comparable amount of fuel. It's a tremendous waste of engineering that's already been done.


    In over 30 years of practice I have never seen another case where multiple first tier manufacturers publicly embraced an emerging technology before there was a product based on that technology. In my view, that fact says more about the potential importance of the PbC than anything I could ever write.


    The manufacturers won't make a decision until they've tested seven ways from Sunday because they can't afford to make a mistake, but once the decision is made nothing less will do.
    29 Feb 2012, 02:06 AM Reply Like
  • Bang one of your best posts ever. I hope to read more insights like this one. The upside it that when someone does commit to Axion there will be too much invested to have a quick annulment. The courtship might take years but the relationship will be much stronger for the effort. With Axion it's a when not an if. This team will find pay dirt before all is said and done. Might not be in 2012 but even if stock tripled this year very few Axionista would sell based on the long term outlooks I've seem espoused on these boards.
    29 Feb 2012, 02:46 AM Reply Like
  • You might want to consider expanding that thought just a bit and offering it to Maya as a lead-in article for the next Concentrator.


    I'm not a marketing guy and I can't speak from the depth of experience you have. It would be a shame to have a discussion this important buried 134 comments into a Concentrator instead of featuring it top, front and center.
    29 Feb 2012, 03:10 AM Reply Like
  • Bangwhiz,
    great post.
    29 Feb 2012, 04:44 AM Reply Like
  • BAN & JP:
    Excellent comments and agree with this:
    "The machines have been designed and built, but without the right battery they'll never reach the market"
    In my opinion: BMW will come with PbC and all the toys (SS, regenerative braking, etc.) together and the impact will be higher and savings also.
    29 Feb 2012, 07:59 AM Reply Like
  • Bang,
    I agree with john that if you have time you should polish up your thoughts and make a front page story.
    You gave me pause to think about the complexity of the selling process.
    29 Feb 2012, 08:10 AM Reply Like
  • Excellent thoughts, Bangwhiz. I agree 110%.
    29 Feb 2012, 08:15 AM Reply Like
  • But you need to write quick because Maya will need it later today 8-)
    29 Feb 2012, 08:21 AM Reply Like
  • bang: re "Quit trying to think they can build some "sample" PowerCubes and hand them out like a new flavor candy bar." It's a somewhat demeaning comparison I think that doesn't quite fit.


    But my main point is that I simply disagree with your implication that every PC is essentially unique. That is tantamount to saying that there is not one single industry / commercial use that doesn't have some commonality of requirement for which a PC "model" can be configured. Presumably the different requirements of different projected users are already known (I certainly hope so).
    And besides that, we're really talking control electronics here not the batteries - so we need a few different "interface units", with some reconfigurability, to suit different requirements, I would hope these are already in-hand.
    After all, as JP said: "The PECC is also technology agnostic and can accommodate a wide variety of input devices including grid, solar and wind and a comparably wide variety of storage devices including zinc bromine, lithium, lead, supercapacitors or almost anything the customer needs. It's a sensible approach in an industry where every application has different needs." - maybe ZBB could sort it out for us instead if Axion can't handle the customer liaison and preparation work needed. Even a new candy bar goes through quite a lengthy "user group" analysis before anyone tries handing out free samples.
    29 Feb 2012, 08:32 AM Reply Like
  • Bang's comment is not demeaning. The PbC's future lies in completely new devices that manufacturers want to take to market or put in service, but can't until they find a better battery.


    Norfolk Southern wants to use electric switchers and long-haul locomotives, but the best batteries from other manufacturers won't stand the strain, so they don't have electric switchers and long-haul locomotives.


    The automakers want to build heavy micro-hybrids with sailing, opportunistic charging and regenerative braking, but the best batteries from other manufacturers won't stand the strain, so they don't build heavy micro-hybrids with sailing, opportunistic charging and regenerative braking.


    All existing applications have been designed to fit the performance profile of the best available batteries. They can't use the extra performance of the PbC or justify the additional costs. Putting PbC batteries into applications that can't benefit from their performance advantages is the ultimate example of throwing pearls before swine. Until devices that have been built to use the PbC exist, trying to compete in markets that can't benefit from the PbC is folly.
    29 Feb 2012, 08:42 AM Reply Like
  • John, in all due respect, and trust me I respect you and the work you alone have done for this company and this concentrator and numerous articles.
    But at times you talk out of both sides just to defend an opinion that demo's are not good. We have a PC, attached to the grid thru PJM utility co. & Viridity management software....there are numerous other plants in the same area with the same does not have to be altered much if any. One of the advantages is that it just sorta plugs in and can even be mobile. So each PC does not have to be different unless going into a different market such as grid vs. train, vs. auto.
    Auto's and rail are different than grid apps. So your argument holds true in this sense, but I don't think so on the grid side. If each grid company has to be different then we need to build one and put it to the test just like the one at AXPW factory. What we did at the Navy building is basically what me and Dave have suggested. There was not enough $$$ in that "one project" to pay shipping, but it moved the stock price and gives insight for more business in the future. I also think it will prove it's worth as a viable product with a viable market. Prove me wrong as I have made many mistakes in my life.
    29 Feb 2012, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • >LT ... I don't know if this covers it, but even in grid applications, "samples" aren't all that practical. Even though the batteries are the same, it is easy to assume that is where 'sameness' ends. Each business will have a different power use profile and thus the inverters/transformers will be different almost every time. The BMS and/or the software may need to be tailored to each power profile. There is considerable cost in engineering associated with those "samples".
    29 Feb 2012, 09:38 AM Reply Like
  • I will polish it up for a future header if Maya asks, but I can't do it for the next concentrator. Most of you know I have to care for my 92 year old bedridden, blind mother. The job has worn me out lately and today is my afternoon off. I get out from 1 PM to 8PM once a week as my only respite. I'll would also like to respond to Dave T's comment. He's not entirely wrong in my view, but I would like to comment as thoughtfully as I can to what he said.
    29 Feb 2012, 09:42 AM Reply Like
  • Can't you guys understand that we aren't talking of building a one time sample, you build one for a huge market potential,


    Was that NOT the purpose behind the Navy building, with prototypes to NS, prototypes to BMW, GM etc? Now the PC at AXPW...we can further the grid work by any way that we can to generate business. Not just a one time shot at a one factory business.
    29 Feb 2012, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Yes, I will. Get busy, bang! But also take your time, enjoy your free time. Guessing you got my PM about your excellent comment I wrote to you last night.
    29 Feb 2012, 10:10 AM Reply Like
  • John, you are bound to win an argument if you go solely for the non sequitur by picking on NS and BMW-type applications, which I agree are a different kettle of fish, but in all the related comments I have talked exclusively about PCs.


    So what about the PC? No room for commodity-isation?
    29 Feb 2012, 10:55 AM Reply Like
  • this is an interesting debate, but I wonder if we are not getting a bit ahead of ourselves.


    While I do not have the technical or engineering experience to understand the control systems requirements of different grid versus mobile power applications, it seems to me that the electronic control systems could be made modular, so that they can be adapted to different applications and scales fairly easily.


    What I imagine is a sort of "lego-fied" system of power bricks and micro controller bricks, and electronic switching bricks to tie together groups of modules. The power bricks could come in different sizes and flavors, depending on whether the application should be weighted toward energy storage (less capacitor function, more battery function) or power management (greater dynamic charge acceptance in the carbon electrode side, less total energy storage). Each power brick has a matching controller module to snap onto it for the appropriate application. The bricks could be snapped together in whatever size/scale and configuration the user needs, and the overriding controller switches scaled to the size of the entire block built up of the modular bricks. When Axion has reached this level of development, then it will not matter what today's PowerCube looks like, because the company will be able to offer a modular construction kit that can be adapted to whatever the particular need and scale is of the end user.


    I realize we are far from this state of development. The PbC bricks have be proven to be cost effective and to have the much greater DCA and cycle life that they promise, and then they have to be proven to be reliable in service and have good manufacturing quality control, so that swapping out one brick for another in the modular construction is easily managed. We are still at the stage of figuring out how best to build the bricks, and proving their wroth to potential customers, and not yet at the stage of marketing the final packages of legos to build into cars, trains or powerplants.


    At our current stage, Axion is hand building each lego kit, and letting the end user test it out. In a few years, Axion should be at the stage of marketing various kits and letting the end users come up with clever new products built from the kits that match their energy management needs.


    So arguing that we should be marketing PowerCubes right now as if they were the final kit product, or targeting car manufacturers to put PbC bricks into their current cars right now, before Axion has figured out how to optimize the lego kits to different applications, is getting way ahead of where the R&D currently stands.


    -slightly informed opinion of an "inveterate bottom feeder" who is still accumulating and averaging down.
    29 Feb 2012, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • The PowerCube has been in existence as a product for three months.


    It is close to being a commodity product, but grid connected energy storage systems will never be standardized SKU items. They'll be built to meet the requirements of a particular purchaser who will do the same kind of investigations and diligence that any prudent businessman would do before splashing out a million dollars.


    I have great expectations for the PowerCube as a product, but I don't expect marketing miracles on a million dollar product is just now beginning to emerge as an economically viable option. Grid-based storage is very new stuff and every sale will be a contract with the earliest of the early adopters.
    29 Feb 2012, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » SMaturin: The existing PowerCube is a half megawatt. The PowerCube is "scaleable" to 20 Megawatts. With the software already developed and working, your "Lego-fied" system is not far from becoming a reality.


    Highly likely we will get an update about the PowerCube/Viridity Energy/PJM partnership coming this next CC.
    29 Feb 2012, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • Some very positive developments this year are a must to keep me from contributing to "bottom feeder" food supply and I strongly suspect I am not alone in that view.
    29 Feb 2012, 12:28 PM Reply Like
  • I'm going to toss in a nickle here.


    The PbC as a standalone, 16V battery needs a "custom fit" application to take advantage of it's unique features. That doesn't mean it can't replace an AGM LA, it just is not a blind drop-in.


    The PowerCube is a different animal. It can be treated as a Black Box with a specification of it's abilities. Power in, power out, stored energy at different SOC, efficiency vs. power flow, etc.


    A user will not care ( or should not ) what is inside the PC, just that it meet the specifications. It's the same PbC, but the use is as an integrated system component and not as a "lead-carbon hybrid battery-capacitor" (what the hell is THAT?).


    Again, the buyer-user just doesn't CARE what is inside if it is fully specified and comes with verified test results and some form of warranty to assuage his concern about the "new company, new product" reliability issue.


    OK, I feel better now.
    29 Feb 2012, 01:18 PM Reply Like
  • thank you, and you stated this very well and most probably accurate as to how they will sell them.
    29 Feb 2012, 01:26 PM Reply Like
  • John: It sounds like you are talking about a chicken/egg thing. So, it would seem that manufacturers will have to design new products totally from scratch to fully utilize, and thus justify the cost of, the PbC. For a car, that's easily a multi-year process, but for simpler products, a year might be a reasonable minimum. Given the costs involved, as you say later on, manufacturers are going to want to touch and feel the PbC in real-world situations before making such a commitment. So, it might be safe to say, that this product development process hasn't even begun and probably won't happen in earnest for several more years. So, with the possible exception of BMW, we might be a very long ways away from the automotive market.


    I think NS doesn't fall under this umbrella. Their clock started well over a year ago and I will be shocked if the order that Mr. Granville expected in Q4 doesn't come sometime in Q1 or Q2 of this year.


    Another automotive-related concern is that given the success carmakers are having improving gas mileage (exhibit A: the new CAFE standards) the automakers don't seem to be in the mode of having to do "everything" to improve gas mileage but instead will be able to choose from an array of options like the "mechanical" options you mentioned a few posts earlier. So, in this scenario, the problem for PbC isn't competitor battery products, it's substitute goods as Porter would say.


    One more comment about the standardization of the PowerCube for grid storage-related apps. Isn't the customization angle supposed to be a software thing managed by Viridity? If each PowerCube is a unique, specialized beast, then what is the point for the new FERC small storage rules announced around Thanksgiving? How could you possibly have a residential powercube?


    Yes, Viridity manages the interface between the utility and the PowerCube, but its software also reportedly (am I remembering this wrong?) can be programmed so that it knows when it can sell power and when it can't because of in-house needs.


    If this isn't the case, then Viridity doesn't have a business in my opinion. So, yes, I agree with LT, DaveT, and the others to the extent that I think Axion should be able to provide additional PowerCubes to Viridity to test in 3rd party applications (which of course New Castle isn't). However, that represents a major expense that Axion quite possibly couldn't justify before getting the new investment just a few weeks ago. I wouldn't be surprised at all if during the March call we learn about another demonstration project or two set in motion during this period.
    29 Feb 2012, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • The automakers have already designed and are currently selling vehicles with mechanical systems that are far more powerful than their batteries can support. They're putting those vehicles on the road with the best available technology knowing full well that all their fine engineering work will be inoperable within a few months.


    For now the automakers can get away with it because the regulations haven't caught up with the reality that today's micro-hybrid systems are green-wash. That paradigm will most certainly change and all of the automakers want to have a solution in place before the change comes. Remember, micro-hybrids are pollution control equipment that stops working after a few months. Laxity will not be tolerated once a better cost-effective technology is available.


    As far as the automakers are concerned, their part is already done and they're just waiting on the battery to finish proving itself – a process that's been going on for over 30 months and TS is now telling us has been fast tracked.


    NS made a buy decision in June 2010 when they paid Axion close to $750,000 to design a battery management system. Since then the sales have been a foregone conclusion in my mind. The only question is process and timing.
    29 Feb 2012, 02:34 PM Reply Like


    Above is old article, just posting as reference - gracias to BW for making it easy to find on axionista site.


    When I go back and re-read the quotes from the above interview with TG, I think 2012 will be when Axion begins to gain some market traction.


    " A modified version of the design (of the PC) is in the final stages of deployment in the hybrid locomotives market. We are preparing to release a smaller scale version of the technology for improving power quality in large residential homes and in community storage.


    "We have purchase orders for batteries and have other PowerCube proposals in various stages right now, but everyone wants to be able to see one and touch one that is actually operating in the marketplace."


    When I also reflect on JP's comments about the due diligence that the placement agent performed in verifying Axion's relationships/partners, I also reach the same thought that 2012 will be a beginning to build on.


    P.S. although it would not hurt my feelings if TG said at CC that Axion is building three more production lines to keep pace with demand.
    On a lighter note, every time I think of marketing and Vani, this tune goes through my head. Just substiitute "Vani" for the name (won't spoil it). link:


    29 Feb 2012, 05:06 AM Reply Like
  • Vani be good. He could sell PbC's like ringing a bell. My lyrics to cheer on Vani's efforts.
    29 Feb 2012, 05:34 AM Reply Like
  • As long as we're resetting the tone, let me add that Axion is looking to hire a Controller, with a resume submission deadline of today, whose experience must include "at least 5 years ... in a manufacturing company of at least $50 million in revenue."


    In my experience as a commercial lender, a company doesn't hire a head of sales and a Controller unless they're expecting to sign some good deals soon. Bang mentioned it might take 6 months, I think. A year or two out, say, doesn't make sense, when financial resources are tight.
    29 Feb 2012, 10:04 AM Reply Like
  • Nice work, and thanks...I agree, we have hired Marketing, CFO, and now the Controller all stating the $50m in revenue, I like the sound of this. I would expect an announcement soon. (maybe next week or before?)
    29 Feb 2012, 10:13 AM Reply Like
  • Announcement of the hire? For that, I would think it may take awhile after the submission deadline given it's for a big position, but Bang would know a lot more about that.


    One other thing about the off-the-shelf vs customized debate: I thought TG has said Axion can customize the batteries, too--the trade off of power vs energy. More or less carbon percentage, e.g., I presume.
    29 Feb 2012, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • I am not sure how that works, but I am sure that he is talking about different markets such as grid, auto, rail, etc. that he could customize the battery on some scale (not sure how much) to maximize it's potential for one particular mkt. Not necessarily from one factory to another.
    29 Feb 2012, 10:38 AM Reply Like
  • Author’s reply » Onward we go to the next Concentrator:

    29 Feb 2012, 10:45 AM Reply Like
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