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  • Tesla Motors vs. Toyota: The gloves are off [View news story]
    All the comments on H2 from electrolysis to fuel FCEVs is on target. BUT imagine a scenario in which natural gas, water and electricity available at most service stations is used to reform natural gas and produce H2 distributed at service stations. ( the same thing is true for home FC power generation). Imagine that the physical size of such device is about the same as that of a gasoline pump, including all the clean-up and compressors, etc. and a system that is capable of going from idle to full H2 delivery in about 30 seconds. Fuel a FCEV in five minutes or less. Well, there is new emerging technology under development by a small company based on well demonstrated component technologies that can do that and at a cost of delivering H2 to the FCEV of about $2.70 gallon of gasoline equivalent (gee). Service station owners will be able to buy an installed H2 generator for about the same cost as installing a new gasoline or diesel pump. Why is it happening slow rather than fast? At least in part because DOE is funding only renewable energy H2 fueling technology, so the government funding for tech development is not available. The state of California is mostly providing support at ~$2 million to $5 million per service station for electrolysis systems. The VC's are seeing the governments aligned against natural gas reforming and they will not fund alternatives. So it may never happen!
    Sep 12, 2014. 10:13 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Competitors Are Beginning To Give Up The Electric Car Race [View article]
    What advanced battery technology does Tesla have? They have superb battery management technology, but use commercial laptop batteries. They have excellent drive system, overall design, quality of construction. Lots of superior and excellent stuff. And a superb product, within the limits of their battery technology.
    Jun 18, 2013. 04:05 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • United Airlines (UAL) commits to buy at least 15M gallons of cleaner-burning renewable jet fuel from a Los Angeles-based refinery, marking a potentially major breakthrough in the commercial aviation industry’s quest to cut carbon dioxide emissions. United is planning to use the biofuel on flights out of its L.A. hub, with supplies coming from AltAir Fuels via a retrofitted petroleum refinery, beginning next year. [View news story]
    This is probably insane unless there is a huge government subsidy hidden behind this. Sell any United stock you own, because next they will tell you they will make up their losses on more volume. ;-)
    Jun 4, 2013. 08:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Exxon Mobil CEO: We're Going In, Can't Pull Up, Brace For Impact [View article]
    Carlkoo, I actually know quite a bit about EVs. Your facts are simply wrong. Yes, electric motors are more efficient than IC, though diesel is about 30% more efficient than gasoline engines. There are also substantial additional efficiencies available with advanced engine and integrated system design, probably good for another30%. The carbon footprint of EV, assuming electricity is from fossil fuel source I about the same, maybe a touch higher than current ICs Major environmental issues with battery recycle, as well as battery manufacture. So on and on...
    Current battery prices are large and lifetime of battery system is unknown. Significant fraction of TESLA cost is in batteries. Of course at ~ $100K cost for Model S they can handle that. Even the Nissan Leaf is hurting over battery cost, they are eating a lot of it waiting for new and better technology. I am sue that it is coming, just not clear exactly when.
    Jun 2, 2013. 12:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exxon Mobil CEO: We're Going In, Can't Pull Up, Brace For Impact [View article]
    Julian, good luck to you and your investments. In terms of who is doing a con job, well I leave that to the readers and the future to tell.
    Jun 2, 2013. 09:38 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exxon Mobil CEO: We're Going In, Can't Pull Up, Brace For Impact [View article]
    Julian, ExxonMobil has been investing about $100 million dollars over ten plus years in the Global Climate Energy Project at Stanford U as part of a $250 Million program to encourage basic research in new low or no CO2 emitting energy technologies. Stanford has expanded the project to include other institutions and researchers around the globe to try to find the best ideas to support. Even though great ideas have been tried and tested, including solar and energy storage the best idea which XOM has invested in is using Algea to convert CO2 in water to oil precursors. This is a project with superb scientists associated with Ventner in La Jolla. So far Exxon has committed $500 million to this project. But after several years of work XOM has concluded that it will take at least another 20 plus years to see commercial feasibility. So Mr. Tillerson's comment has substantial meat on the bone. Exxon had invested in battery technology with hopes to commercialize it, but again the time scale of impact is way down the road. Exxon had a solar business, but it became clear that the technology was nitche technology, not transformative. Without energy storage of scale and cost solar is a valuable nitche technology, despite even NJ forcing electric companies to put single solar panels on power poles around the state to feed the grid, Any of these can make money if the taxpayers or rate payers pick up the bill. TESLA was able to declare that it made money because the state of California forces automakers without electric vehicles to buy credits from TESLA. So far this year that has yielded $69 Million or so, and likely will lead to over $200 Million to offset losses in the base electric vehicle and other technology sales. So lets not fool ourselves.
    Jun 2, 2013. 08:45 AM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exxon Mobil CEO: We're Going In, Can't Pull Up, Brace For Impact [View article]
    You fail to consider a number of points. First, CO2 levels are indeed rising, but temperature has not been for a substantial period of time. Even 1000 ppm CO2 is not dangerous to human health, despite your claim otherwise. Second, are you serious about TESLA as the solution? Where is the majority of the electricity used come from? Fossil fuel burning plants!! It can be shown without too much effort that in terms of total system, well to wheel, a hybrid vehicle generates substantially less CO2 than an all electric one. And has the potential to do so much faster than building more all electric ones. The worst technology solution is an all electric car, even though the TESLA S is a beautifully designed and built car which performs admirably. But it is definitely a solution for the 1%, or more likely to 0,05%. You dismiss H2 as a fuel and Fuel Cell EVs as a potentially major help. With abundant natural gas it is possible to generate the pure hydrogen to fuel FCEVs This is essentially a hybrid without an IC, it uses a FC to generate the electric power on-board the vehicle, The major vehicle manufacturers all will introduce FCEVs into the commercial market by 2015. They have spent billions to bring these ready to market. Initially they will loose 10's of thousands on each vehicle sold, but it ten years or so the market can grow and cost go down to make a vehicle proiftable at around $30K selling price. So what is missing? H2 refueling networks. That is where the need for investment comes in, and so far there is little innovation in the market place, and huge resistance from the usual sources funding innovation. Velocys, now owned by Oxford Catalyst company has commercialized a microchannel steam methane reformer that could generate hydrogen at service stations on demand. Under development is a new microchannel reformer by a small start-up, Power and Energy Inc in PA which has the potential to carry the Velocys design to the ultimate level of efficiency, reliability, low cost and even smaller footprint. I am sure there are many other options underway elsewhere. If you talk to the likes of GM, Toyota, Honda, Kya, Ford, etc. you will discover that they are much more confident about their FCEVS technology than battery technology. And they are making their bets along those lines for the future.
    Jun 2, 2013. 08:26 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevy Volt: The Enviro-Friendly Way Of Destroying Value [View article]
    This is a dumb article. When the Prius was first introduced Toyota lost a huge amount for each car sold. They needed to move down the learning curve and it took over five years before Toyota broke even on each Prius sold. GM is just starting on the learning curve and as volume goes up in five to ten years there will be a turn around. It takes a lot to introduce a new product and create a new market. It is not introducing a smart phone into an existing infrastructure.
    Mar 27, 2013. 07:12 PM | 12 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The U.S. energy complex including the growth of natural gas drilling is a "game changer" that could easily contribute to global economic growth and job opportunities, DuPont (DD +1.2%) CEO Andrew Liveris tells CNBC. He urges Pres. Obama to work toward both energy reform and climate change, "which is a win-win." [View news story]
    Certainly would help to identify the right company. The comments fir with Dow's business model than DuPont's. Working on Climate Change is sheer corporate nonsense, working on reducing human impact on climate change may make sense, as long as all recognize that your lever can only have max impact on a fraction of changing the human drivers of climate change....say 20-25% of total forcing. Once you conclude that this is about all you can impact you may want to focus on mitigation the impact of climate change. A much better investment long term
    Jan 24, 2013. 04:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ExxonMobil (XOM) knew in 1984 that adding the chemical MTBE to gasoline to make it burn more thoroughly would triple incidents of groundwater contamination, lawyers for New Hampshire say at the opening of an $800M trial. XOM says the federal Clean Air Act overrides the state claims, and it was complying with a U.S. mandate to supply fuel that would burn more cleanly. [View news story]
    I have some knowledge of this. Exxon provided information to the state and federal governments that MTBE was not a desired agent to add to gasoline. The State of California was most forceful in rejecting Exxon's information and insisting that the oil companies use MTBE. Other states, including NH followed in lock step. The suits and claims today are kind of hollow excuse for a best intentioned government screw-up
    Jan 14, 2013. 06:57 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NYT examines the next big opportunity in the U.S. energy market: turning natural gas into liquid fuel. South Africa-based Sasol (SSL), whose plant in Qatar makes 32K bbl/day of liquid fuels, plans to spend up to $14B to build the first gas-to-liquids plant in the U.S. But opinions vary widely: Exxon (XOM) doesn't see GTL as a relevant source of fuels for another 20 years. [View news story]
    Simply put Methanol is highly toxic and introducing it huge quantities into the fuel market is dangerous. It is the reason why it was dropped from consideration gloablly as a fuel cell fuel. So I hope that Bobwyman's suggestion will not prevail.
    Dec 18, 2012. 02:13 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NYT examines the next big opportunity in the U.S. energy market: turning natural gas into liquid fuel. South Africa-based Sasol (SSL), whose plant in Qatar makes 32K bbl/day of liquid fuels, plans to spend up to $14B to build the first gas-to-liquids plant in the U.S. But opinions vary widely: Exxon (XOM) doesn't see GTL as a relevant source of fuels for another 20 years. [View news story]
    From an energy efficiency point of view converting to liquids reduces the energy content of equivalent natural gas in the conversion process. Since the technology is around for running diesel engines, including heavy duty diesels on natural gas directly that is the preferred route. The trade off is to retain use of distribution network or add natural gas to the fueling system network. The investment required in GTL plants is huge, and to maximize value of the liquids produced you probably want to segregate the higher quality GTL fuel. In the end it is a judgement call, but benefits of going to GTL is far from obvious.
    Dec 18, 2012. 12:13 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It's too early to tell which lighter-weight materials will become dominant in carmaking as tough new federal fuel-efficiency rules take hold, NYT reports. The Energy Department says reducing a car’s weight by only 10% can improve fuel economy 6%-8%; technologies showing promise in lightening vehicles are supported by $8M in awards the agency has doled out to the likes of GM, F and CAT[View news story]
    I don't understand why DoE is funding GM, F, Chrysler to do this. Under the Clinton administration the DoE paid over $2 Billion to get car makers to develop and use light weight materials, and funded the National Labs to partner with OEMs. They developed and demonstrated diesel hybrids for each brand which Detroit never built, they developed light weight strong materials of which one made it to market as a component for running board for trucks. With the high fuel standards set and car makers committed to meet the market place is where this should be done and stop borrowing more money to give them help.
    Oct 12, 2012. 12:50 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • AMD, The Sphinx [View article]
    Great story and analysis. I wonder why there is no mention of AMD purchase of Seamicro... This acquisition positions AMD to be the leader in energy efficient data storage technology which is a major issue. What do you think?
    Sep 27, 2012. 04:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Total (TOT) warns energy companies against drilling for crude in Arctic waters, the first time an oil major has publicly spoken out against offshore oil exploration in the region. The risk of an oil spill in such an environmentally sensitive area is too high, CEO Christophe de Margerie says: “A leak would do too much damage to the image of the company." [View news story]
    It is entirely appropriate for TOT to stay away from drilling in areas they consider dangerous. They actually don't have the technology expertise to safely undertake such an effort. That does not mean that others who have the expertise should not be allowed to try, as long as they are prepared to handle emergency issues.
    Sep 25, 2012. 05:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment