Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tidying Up Electric Earth

After updating the roster of companies in the Beach Boys Index of bio-fuel and chemical developers, we turned to the Electric Earth Index.  Our planet Earth is a magnificent power house.  Winds whip across the landscape and great fires roar deep below our feet.   Waters are ever moving that send generators into an ‘electric’ frenzy. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beach Boys Revamp

Over the months we have added a number of companies to our Beach Boys Index of companies using the power of the sun to create alternative fuels and chemicals.  There was considerable change in all groups as some companies threw in the towel and others took their place in the competition.  Importantly, all the groups in the Beach Boy Index increased in numbers, suggesting that alternative energy has been firmly established as a sufficiently viable sector to attract both human and financial capital. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Advanced Biofuel Lottery

Over the past six months advanced biofuel producers have raised $450 million in new capital.  The industry has finally gained traction after shifting focus from strictly cellulosic ethanol technologies to a mix of biochemical and renewable fuels.  Few if any of the advanced biofuel companies ‘climbed up out of the red,’ but we suspect the investors who had a chance to participate in these deals thought they had got a whiff of profits.  Indeed, Gevo, Inc. (GEVO:  Nasdaq) promised to achieve breakeven at its Luverne, Minnesota plant this year as the ethanol and isobutanol producer was raising capital for renovations and capacity expansion.  The stock still languishes below a dollar per share.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Big Wide World of Renewable Chemicals

Last week privately-held Genomatica announced its intention to develop biochemicals for production of nylon.  The company wants to make three intermediate chemicals that are used in nylon production.  Of course, Genomatica will use its patented technologies to make those chemicals with biomass instead of petroleum feedstock. 

Genomatica already has two strong development programs under its belt.  The company has successfully produced butanediol (BDO) and has licensed that technology to BASF and Novamont.  BASF is the largest producer of BDO in the world and claims to have produced over millions of pounds of butanediol using Genomatica’s technology.  Not to be outdone, sometime before the end of 2014 Novamont is expected to finish a plant dedicated to BDO production in Europe.