Friday, August 16, 2013

What's a Flibe?

In the last post on SunEdison (SUNE:  Nasdaq) , the supplier of semiconductor materials turned solar system developer, we noted the company’s recent change in name from the techie clangs of the old corporate moniker “MEMC Electronics” to the new “mission statement” name of “SunEdison.’  It took nearly four years after the purchase of the SunEdison solar systems operation for management to consider the brand developing qualities of that name.  Better late than never, right?

The solar people are not alone in taking time to see the light when it comes to branding.  Another of the companies in The Atomics Index, Flibe Energy.  This one is a real head scratcher until you get down to the nitty, gritty of the company’s work with liquid-fluoride thorium as a fuel for nuclear reaction.  F–Li–Be are the scientific shorthand for lithium fluoride (Li and F) and beryllium fluoride (BeF2) salts that some scientists are hailing as the best for nuclear power generation in the future.

Flibe Energy does not appear to have made much progress over the past couple of years.  At least they have not made the kind of progress that have wanted to make public.  After a string of public appearances and presentations by management in 2011 and 2012, the sound bites have died off.  The phone rings to e-mail. 

Flibe CEO, Ken Sorensen, keeps a regular blog that is very informative on a general level, enough if a bit hazy on company details.  The last post is a well penned discussion of how the U.S. nuclear research machine careened down the nuclear weapon highway as World War II waged on, which power generation goals hanging on for dear life in the back seat.

Still lack of press releases is no reason to write Flibe Energy off.  The prospect of a lower cost, safer (from a weapons building standpoint) nuclear fuel is intriguing.  That is just what Flibe’s developmental stage reactor can offer, if it ever reaches commercial stage. 

Thorium proponents from around the world are gathering this fall in Geneva, Switzerland for the fourth annual Thorium Energy Conferencey.  That forum will be a good vantage point to see just how viable new nuclear reactor designs might be in a world of cheap natural gas.  That the price of natural gas could drive higher again, is a fact that the myopic capital market will ignore at its peril to the point of dropping any investment in alternative energy sources.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.  Both SUNE and Flibe Energy are included in Crystal Equity Research’s The Atomics Index of companies offering alternative energy sources using power in the atom.

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