Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Man Makes Mother Nature Look Like a Lazy Maid

In the forest world we came to know
There stood an Emerald Tree
Whose beauty did bestow
Tall and strong
Rich textured bark
Emerald leaves
Upon the sun shone
Soft and bright

"The Emerald Tree,:  Matthew Brackley 

Over the past few months alternative energy news feeds have been abuzz over scientific progress in creating artificial photosynthesis.  The idea of a man-made leaf is not new.  Researchers have been tinkering around with various elements of artificial photosynthesis for well over a decade.  However, scientists at Harvard University have made some interesting progress that has given the artificial leaf new appeal  -  economic viability for production of transportation fuel.

Now that I have your attention, let’s take a look at how Harvard’s leaf works, at least on the laboratory bench.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Things are Looking Up for FuelCell Energy

Last week I was surprised to find FuelCell Energy (FCEL:  Nasdaq) on a list of companies registering a particularly bullish technical formation called an ‘Aroon’ indicator.  This measure that is designed to reveal stocks entering a new, decisive trend.  Shares of this fuel cell technology developer and producer had been in a steady decline through most of the year 2014, reaching a 52-week low price of $1.05 in January 2015.  However, since then FCEL has regained 27% from that low point.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

SkyNRG: 'Smokin' up the Skies'

Two privately-held companies, SkyNRG and its Italian partner Sunchem SA, have found a new use for tobacco plants  -  renewable jet fuel.  This is not just any tobacco plant.  It is nicotine-free and its seeds are rich with oil.  The partnerships issued an announcement at the end of December 2014, that the first crop of this special tobacco plant was ready and could be processed into fuel in early 2015.  While there has been widespread opposition to diverting food crops to fuel, it is doubtful anyone will object to tobacco plants ‘smokin’ up the skies.’

Friday, February 20, 2015

Altergy Wins Battle, Leaves Field?

In August 2014, Altergy Systems, a provider of stationary fuel cell systems, won a legal battle with its former partner EnerSys, Inc. (ENS:  NYSE), going home with a $40 million check.  The two had had a supply and distribution agreement that had given EnerSys exclusive rights to sell Altergy’s fuel cell products in the telecom industry where EnerSys has a significant footprint.  The duo was aided by an FTC ruling shortly after Hurriane Katrina that all U.S. cellular sites should be equipped with backup power.  The deal apparently went bad quickly, landing the two in arbitration.