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  • 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
  • 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
  • Oil: The Clock Is Ticking [View article]
    Any projection of peak oil in the 2010 tp 2040 time line fails to account for heavy oil reserves, deep sea oil drilling, and significant improvements in oil recovery from the relatively low levels today. In addition we have coal that can be coverted to transpotation fuels equivalent to oil, and natural gas that can be used in many applications as equivalent. So effectively we have oil, or oil equivalents for 50 to 150 years, plenty of time to develop cost effective alternatives. Only those who want to create fear need to be feared
    Nov 14, 2010. 02:34 PM | 8 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
  • 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
  • Officials Wake Up to Peak Oil [View article]
    Problems are more likely on 2050 time scale than what is cited by the author. The exploration tools have become much, much better than they were 20 years ago. The cost of exploration is higher, and where the large private companies can expore is more limited due to geopolitical forces and the national oil companies self interest. But, despite all the nay sayers they are finding "elephants" frequently enough to conclude that peak oil is a bit off. They are also moving toward unconventional oil, such as heavy oil in Canada. Sort of the Saudi Arabia next door. Oil shale in the US is on the same scale. Look carefully at ExxonMobil and you will not be finding them firing geologists and petroleum engineeers, etc. but hiring as fast as they can find them. Shell, Chevron and BP ditto. Conoco has other problems.
    Apr 4, 2010. 09:51 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Energy Storage Performed Poorly in Q4 [View article]
    I suspect that there is growing awareness that energy storage is going to be slow, long treck before real money can be made and that it is so much tied to the vagaries of government management of the industry and the economy. That, at least in part may explain why the Chinese companies have done so much better. The Chinese government support is broad and sustainable, the US government support is finecky, marred by favoritism and funding those with best connections.
    Jan 2, 2010. 09:15 AM | 6 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
  • Analysts Are Wrong About Exxon [View article]
    I appreciate the thoughtful analysis. Very few people really understand Exxon and its operations. Lets look at the acquisition of XTO. Most focus on the US side of the business, which XTO focused on primarily. But, XOM R&D&E has been developing new tools and capabilities for producing gas and oil in tight formations, but did not have the commercial operating experience to implement them as rapidly as they do now, with XTO expertise in hand. Second, with XOM's financing and global activities it can deploy their proprietary technology, as well as XTO experience and expertise globally. This will start showing up in deals with Russia, China, and many other countries. It may also enable XOM to export oil from the US, rather than import to the US. In my judgement XOM is on a good positive track.
    Aug 10, 2012. 10:26 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 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
  • Algae Biofuels Have a Promising Future [View article]
    Algal biofuels are down the road perhaps. Now these are substantially research projects. Don't confuse promise and potential with reality. At best one in 10, and more likey one in a 100 of promising research projects lead to a commercial success. Thermodynamics does rule. Fossil fuel production energy was invested over a long period of time (millions of years) and we did not make the investment, nature did. Photosynthesis does it real time, slow and steady and nature makes the investment. When we manipulate for profit all kinds of issues come to light as we learn reality. Despite Senator Boxer's or any other politicians wish, and investmentf our tax dollars it will take time to learn how it works, and if it is a sink for dollars or the source of a return. One of the problems we now face is that venture capitalists who used to risk their own money are mixing it up with politicians to force policy decisions in their favor and are now leveraging their own investments with our tax dollars. Not a good thing in my view
    Nov 13, 2009. 10:06 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solar Market Declines for First Time Ever [View article]
    Certainly obvious from the two comments posted that the story is not what they want to hear. Shoot the messanger while most of solar stock are sinking in the market. Wow Similar to the story on ethanol plants.
    Nov 13, 2009. 09:59 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Hydrogen-Fueled Cars Become a Thing of the Present [View article]
    If you have natural gas in your house you can make H2 by a simple reformer. Toyota, Honda and a number of other companies store H2 at 10,000 psig on board vehicle and have already demonstrated 500 miles driving range as well as six months of operation in cold Alaska. They are more ready to deliver a FC vehicle in 2015 than an EV. Secretary Chu has refused to talk to the OEMs before he made his decision, or since then. He is a Noble Laurate and he knows it best.

    On Nov 03 12:07 PM GhostOfSpec wrote:

    > Hydrogen is a loser technology in the near-term future. Steven Chu
    > is completely correct. There are WAY too many problems:
    > 1) There are no hydrogen mines or wells. Hydrogen is an energy storage
    > system not a source. To create hydrogen we reform natural gas or
    > do electrolysis of water. Well, it would be better to simply burn
    > that natural gas or use that electricity in EVs.
    > 2) There is no hydrogen distribution infrastructure. But every house
    > does already have a source of electricity.
    > 3) Hydrogen is very difficult to store and transport. It is the smallest
    > element and thus leaks through even very small holes. And great pressures
    > are needed to store a reasonably quantity.
    > 4) Fuel cells are still expensive and use expensive previous metals.
    > Fuel cell experts Ballard Power abandoned the mobile fuel cell market
    > . . . that should tell you something.
    > The less money we waste on the hydrogen pipe dream, the better
    Nov 3, 2009. 10:26 PM | 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
  • 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