Seeking Alpha


Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View Ricknplano's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • Axion Power Concentrator 394: Apr. 2, 2015 [View instapost]
    From the comments of Dr. Buiel we seem to have had the dilemma of a great product in the hands of highly inept management more or less since inception of the company. A terrible shame. Many of us who could see the potential of the product were so badly hurt by a small group of short sighted, incompetent, not to mention highly over paid, corporate officers supported by financiers interested in gaming the system to rape and pillage legacy shareholders. Everything about this story is a lesson in misery and mistakes.

    I got out at a profit a couple of years ago and have waited for repeat sales to get back in. Still waiting of course and my pockets still have my cash in them. But I feel the pain for those of you who stayed the course too long. You knew the product was good, as did I, but who could appreciate how bad the management truly was? Such a terrible shame.
    Apr 6, 2015. 05:44 PM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 394: Apr. 2, 2015 [View instapost]
    Dr. Buiel,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and time with us. Best wishes.
    Apr 6, 2015. 05:21 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 389: Feb. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    If you go here

    you will see battery improvements being reported almost every day. They rarely discuss cost, since most of these reports are from academics and labs, not industry, but where there is smoke...

    I expect better and lower cost batteries of many types and for many uses (stationary, mobile, electronics, etc.) coming sooner rather than later. The lack of sales for Axion and the feedback we have heard suggests the biggest issue for them is not performance, it seems to be price vs performance. The first rule of business is customers. Not quality, not ideas or capitalization or marketing, it is simply this - Do you have customers for the product at a price where you can sell at a profit? To date, Axion has not.

    Maybe Axion can still pull a rabbit from the hat but I do not see it happening soon enough to prevent dissolution or sale of the company. I hope that ePower can transition to another battery or can otherwise continue to develop their system going forward. I would hate to see the failure of Axion domino into the failure of the one customer who believed in them enough to design around their product.
    Feb 19, 2015. 02:54 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 389: Feb. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    Advanced Battery consortium uses lead carbon batteries from several sources, none of them Axion.

    "Companies such as East Penn Manufacturing, Moura, Energy Power Systems, Exide (Europe), FIAMM, and Shin Kobe are all working on various lead-acid and lead-carbon technologies for 48V automotive applications"
    Feb 12, 2015. 08:28 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 388: Jan. 31, 2015 [View instapost]
    I just saw this article regarding a company heavily involved with converting diesel trucks to electric vehicles. I thought JP might want the link in case there was any potential to work together. They do not mention the batteries.
    Feb 5, 2015. 01:45 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • NeoStem (NBS) Concentrator  [View instapost]
    Patrick, congrats on your new instablog. I hope this blog and your investment has much success.
    Jan 22, 2015. 04:16 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    Interesting patent. They mention that other methods of fabricating carbon electrodes for PbC batteries are expensive. I did not see where they clearly stated how much cheaper their method is, but the implication is they have a cheaper method of making PbC batteries than currently exists. Does anyone here have sufficient knowledge to evaluate these claims?
    Jan 19, 2015. 12:02 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    On the EOS website "Technology" page they quote $160/Kwh for the DC system. So I was confused at your comment about the target price. When I looked back I see that the investor page does say "target" price of $160. They do seem better at self promotion than they are at disclosing facts about their tech or their actual current system costs.

    Thanks for the heads up. I missed that.
    Jan 15, 2015. 02:19 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    I am not sure if it is in the article or on the EOS website but they do claim the $160 is "system" cost, specifically, and they say their cell cost is substantially lower. But in keeping with your skepticism, I do remember the comments of battery users starting with Thomas Edison and continuing to, most recently, Elon Musk about the unending over promise and under delivery of battery manufacturers. So I agree that claims needs to be taken with lots of grains of salt.
    Jan 14, 2015. 12:58 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    In depth Forbes article about batteries for utility scale stationary storage.
    Jan 14, 2015. 11:52 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    The link below shows the major American auto manufacturers are researching start stop with lithium and ultra-caps with no lead battery at all.

    We know that both Ford and GM worked with Axion but are still looking for a better start stop solution. I speculate they want smaller, lighter and less toxic batteries plus the million cycle lifetimes offered by capacitors. Maybe it is cost. Let's hope the reasons the auto companies have rejected the PbC will be less important to the truck and train markets.
    Jan 14, 2015. 11:40 AM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    I answered your questions in a previous post in the prior concentrator.
    Jan 13, 2015. 09:52 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 386: Jan. 12, 2015 [View instapost]
    Retired Aviator, I agree with everything you said about the advantages of the PbC battery/capacitor which is why I invested and have been a fan for so long.

    You asked, "Which of the chemistries you spoke of can match PbC in an application of long strings with high DCA, very fast response (Freq Reg), reliability at all temperatures, longevity in PSoC applications, and no BMS needed?" Maybe none of the alternatives have all those excellent attributes. The concern I have is that customers may not need all those attributes for each application. For frequency regulation a combination of capacitors and batteries can offer both fast response and storage. Sure the PbC can do both but does the customer care? Capacitors have life cycles measured in the millions before failure. And they, like batteries, are getting better.

    The all temp operation, king of the string and no BMS needed are huge advantages. I am concerned that the competitors are nipping on the heels in every area, and are much better than PbC in areas that may be more important in specific applications (non-toxic, weight, size, capacity, etc). And the security of established suppliers may attract customers who see Axion as a company who may not be there for warranty repair and replacements.

    I hope EPower hits it out of the park and Axion investors smile all the way to the bank. But I don't see other markets going further than nibbles of the PbC for test or pilot projects before better, cheaper, non-toxic alternatives arrive.
    Jan 12, 2015. 10:25 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 385: Dec. 29, 2014 [View instapost]
    Lots of great battery tech out there. For grid storage there is Ambri, EOS and maybe this new one, KAir. Ambri (the Donald Sadoway MIT company) recently changed its magic formula from Magnesium/Antimony to Lithium/Antimony-Lead to reduce operating temperatures. Interesting that Sadoway's original pitch (TED talks) stressed the need to get away from lithium.

    EOS claims $160/Kwh and 30 year life using Zinc and titanium.

    KAir claims $89 per Kwh (an unusually specific number) and environmentally friendly recyclable material. There is little info on cycle life but I suspect there is a lot of work to be done still.

    Several solid state lithium batteries claim cost reduction and durability without fire danger (Sakti3, QuantumScape, SEEO, Toyota and research at ORNL). Sakti3 claims "cell" cost of about $100/kwh (projected with commercialization) with low "pack" cost due to little need for cooling etc, which is probably true for all solid state batteries, in order to meet or beat the DOE goal of $150 pack cost.

    Daily I read about improved electrolytes, chemistry and cost reductions. These include new types of lead carbon configurations (nanotube carbon, peanut carbon batteries - a particular favorite of mine, and others). As much as I like the PbC battery, I fear the opportunity window is closing. Better, cheaper, lighter and longer lasting batteries are clawing their way into the market from labs and companies all around the world, particularly from MIT, Stanford, Singapore, China and Japan.

    There may still be time to make some money with the Axion battery but I see little or no opportunity 5 years from now in the stationary grid storage market or frequency reg market or the UPS market. The Donald Sadoway's of the world have those markets in their crosshairs with some great ideas and big money backers. The car industry seems hell bent on capacitors (Mazda), NiMH (Prius) or lithium batteries for start stop, hybrids and EV's (Tesla, Nissan and everybody else).

    If Axion can be cost competitive I think the railroad and truck markets may have temporary market opportunity. But the competition is sprinting toward them with lighter, smaller and less toxic alternatives that will soon displace anything with lead where weight or size matters and eventually all lead batteries. The market price of the stock and the inability of Axion to develop meaningful sales are clear evidence of the rapid evolution ongoing in energy storage tech.

    I have often commented on my belief in the value of the PbC tech but my doubts about the value of Axion stock. My doubts about the stock led me to sell at 48 cents (pre-split) for a small profit. Gradually I am even losing confidence in the value of the tech. I hope those of you still long the stock prove me wrong. I want everyone here to recoup some losses and maybe a few of you even show profit. I give you my analysis only as additional information from which to make your own decisions. Best wishes to all.
    Jan 11, 2015. 02:21 PM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Axion Power Concentrator 383: Dec. 07, 2014 [View instapost]
    I hope JP and Jay Bowman are successful with their trucking venture. I am not sure if they can ramp up and buy enough batteries quickly enough to save Axion but I am pulling for them. They have the advantage of using other sources if Axion goes under, but that would be unfortunate for everyone and would present financial burdens on EPower to re-design with different batteries.

    I also hope BA gets his money back. Even with the IP as collateral, if Axion folds I am not sure the IP would be worth his loan since the failure of Axion might discredit the value of the tech to a would be buyer. Speaking of which, has anyone heard if Bob has been repaid?
    Dec 8, 2014. 12:14 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment