Jump to content

Energy Storage Companies


Recommended Posts

Energy Storage Companies

Who's Leading the Charge?

Last week, we talked about energy storage and how vital it is to improve it if we're ever to exploit renewable energy resources fully.

 

Today, we'll cover the current market sentiment about energy storage and take a look at a few companies making waves in the sector - leading the charge, if you will.

 

Energy Storage Gets a Jolt

 

The energy storage market usually isn't one to attract attention. It's chugged along quietly for some time, its only public mascots the Energizer Bunny and the less-exciting Coppertop.

 

Now instead of powering an army of Walkmen, batteries are being looked to as a power source for the entire grid, charged time after time by renewable energy.

 

After attending the industry's keystone annual event, Battcon, Piper Jaffray put out an industry note stating battery "industry experts, manufacturers, and distributors. . . view 2009 as a turning point for the industry."

 

The catalyst? Billions of federal stimulus dollars are about to begin flowing to the sector because, as we discussed last week, improving storage is the only way to expand our use of renewable energy drastically - a main congressional and presidential goal.

 

In fact, the potential for the energy storage industry is so big that if over the next decade just 1% of energy storage demand is met, the industry will be worth at least $600 billion - all of which will end up on the balance sheets of energy storage companies.

 

Winning Energy Storage Technologies

 

Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) is exactly what the name implies. Instead of using a resource to generate electricity, the resource is used to compress air, which is later heated to produce electricity.

 

So, for example, a wind turbine could be compressing air all day to be used as electricity later when the wind stops blowing. These are huge, high-cost projects with natural geological formations usually used to store the air.

 

As large renewable projects begin to add a storage component, CAES will be increasingly used. Leaders there include:

Alstom (PARIS: ALO) and

Dresser-Rand (NYSE: DRC).

 

Fuel Cells use electrochemical reactions to store energy. Since they cannot be charged and discharged quickly, fuel cells will mainly be used in lengthy back-up power applications. Though less proven and a bit further from widespread use:

Ballard Power (NASDAQ: BLDP),

Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG), and

Hydrogenics (NASDAQ: HYGS)

 

... are all pursuing solutions.

 

Flywheels are mechanical storage devices that take electricity from the grid and store it in a rotating wheel for later use. This well help smooth out disparities between peak and non-peak hours. In some cases, utilities will be able to store cheap excess energy and resell it during peak hours. Though less exciting, being able to quell power interruptions and voltage surges is soon to be big business.

Beacon Power (NASDAQ: BCON),

Active Power (NASDAQ: ACPW), and

Vycon (LON: VYCO)

...are all vying for a piece of it.

 

Superconductors and Ultracapacitors may hold the best potential because they can deliver power almost instantaneously, greatly improving grid stability and distribution. Maxwell (NASDAQ: MXWL) is the far-and-away leader here. With strong ties to the electric vehicle and wind markets, I look for this company to become a storage stalwart.

 

Those are all the non-battery energy storage technologies. While all the technologies will find a place in the market, all the companies certainly won't. Some will go on to greatness and some will fall off the map.

 

Only in-depth research can make the difference between good returns and putting your money in the next start-up to file Chapter 11.

 

 

Batteries for Energy Storage

 

Batteries are still the bread and butter of this industry. We use them for everything from cell phones to forklifts.

 

There are four main kinds, each with different uses, benefits, and profit potential.

 

Lead Acid Batteries are the cheapest and most widely used. They're found in automobiles, forklifts, and in many back-up power applications. The technology is well-known, and so are the companies that make it. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) is the world's largest producer with C&D Technologies (NYSE: CHP) and Exide (NASDAQ: XIDE) also being worth a look.

 

Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries have high energy density and are rechargeable, making them highly useful in the electric vehicle and consumer electronics markets. Panasonic (NYSE: PC) is the leader here, but Hongkong Highpower (AMEX: HPJ) and the Buffett-backed BYD (HK: 1211) are making big strides.

 

Sodium Sulfur Batteries are causing quite a stir right now because of their huge potential for renewable energy storage. Utilities like Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) and American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) are already testing them on a multi-megawatt scale. The established company here is Japan's NGK Insulators (TYO: 5333) with U.S.-based start-up Geo-Battery in hot pursuit.

 

Flow Batteries are unique because they have unlimited capacity. The batteries are fueled by storage tanks of electrolytes. As long as there's fuel in the tank, the battery will work. With such flexibility, these batteries can be used for cars or grid storage. ZBB (NYSE: ZBB) and Sumitomo Electric Industries (TYO:5802) are the two worthy public companies in the field, with a number of private companies recently joining the ranks.

 

Lithium-ion Batteries are the most well known. Lightweight and with high-energy density, these batteries are now ubiquitous in cell phones and laptops and are being developed for electric vehicle applications. Being the incumbent technology, there are plenty of companies to choose from. Ener1 (AMEX: HEV), Valence Technology (NASDAQ: VLNC), Altair Nanotechnologies (NASDAQ: ALTI), Advanced Battery (NASDAQ: ABAT), and Ultralife (NASDAQ: ULBI), in addition to others, are all making strides in the industry.

 

Energy Storage: The Bottom Line

 

It may be hard to imagine now, but energy storage is just as important as renewable energy. In fact, the expansion of renewable energy would stall without it.

 

This fact has largely escaped the investment and political realms as technologies like solar and wind have hogged the spotlight. As their omission is realized, billions of dollars will be spent to make up for lost time.

 

This is your chance to get ahead of that curve. . . to get a piece of the action before the herd realizes what's going on. This two-part series should serve as a good introduction to the need for mass energy storage and the technologies and companies involved.

 

But an all-in approach simply won't work here. You need to know which companies are making the biggest cost reductions, establishing the biggest technology improvements, and above all, getting new contracts.

 

The industry is evolving too quickly for me to provide that in a weekly letter. Becoming a member of the Alternative Energy Speculator is the only way to ensure you get personal updates on this sector, including detailed industry and company reports, and well-researched recommendations.

 

We've already profited from numerous energy storage and smart grid plays in addition to multiple winners in the wind, solar, and infrastructure segments. Click here to get in on the action today.

 

Call it like you see it,

 

Nick

You can download the PDF version here: Energy Storage Companies

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MESSAGE from the publisher of Green Chip Stocks

 

The growing green market is still in its infancy, but it's beginning to catch on with some of the most sophisticated and wealthiest investors on the planet. Green Chip Stocks has been reporting on green investment opportunities for years now. From organic foods to solar and wind power to healthy and sustainable lifestyles, the companies you'll read about in Green Chip Stocks have set in motion the first real social-impacting profit trend of the 21st century.

There will never be a better time than right now to stake your claim. Consider this -- an estimated $100 billion was pumped into the green market in 2006... followed by $117 billion in 2007.

 

This is just the beginning. Mark my words. The world of green investing -- especially in green energy -- represents an epic shift in global economies. And we plan on riding this revolution for decades to come.

 

The Green transformation is not a trend ... it's the way the entire world will soon be run. Just as wood gave way to coal ... and coal gave way to oil ... oil and natual gas are giving way to solar, wind, biodeisel, plug-ins and the like. In the coming years, you'll have some form of green energy system powering your homes, offices and cars.

 

And you can be profiting the entire time.

 

Thank you for becoming a new subscriber to the Green Chip Stocks free e-letter. You may manage your subscription anytime via http://www.greenchipstocks.com/subscription/manage

 

You'll receive your first issue shortly. Meanwhile, we strongly encourage you to "whitelist" us to ensure that your Green Chip Stocks e-letter is delivered without fail. You can do so by simply adding gcr-eletter@angelnexus.com to your email address book or to your safe list in your spam filter settings. Or, visit www.greenchipstocks.com/whitelist for easy whitelisting directions to ensure regular delivery of your Green Chip Stocks free e-letter.

Again, welcome to Green Chip Stocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...