Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sasol Versus Tesla

Sasol is the South African company that converts coal to gasoline and diesel.  Its stock is traded on the NYSE as SSL.  Its market cap is $17 billion and its book value is $15 billion.  It is suffering now that oil prices are low and that coal to gasoline/diesel is a large CO2 emitter.   Gasoline from Sasol has twice the carbon footprint well to wheels than gasoline from crude oil.

Elon Musk also comes from South Africa and he is the great Green Hope of the future based on his company Tesla.  TSLA trades on the NASDAQ and has a market cap of almost $32 billion which is nearly twice as valuable as Sasol.  TSLA’s book value is only $1.3 billion and less than one tenth that of Sasol.

Investors in the stock market base their valuations by discounting future cash flows they expect the companies to enjoy.  Investors are euphoric and irrationally exuberant about TSLA and are pessimistic and disdainful of Sasol’s future.  I think TSLA is overvalued and Sasol is undervalued as markets are not 100% rational.   Sasol also has a chemicals business and has positions in North America in shale and petrochemicals. 

My guess of the market caps at the end of 2016 for SSL and TSLA are as follows:  SSL will equal $22 billion and TSLA will equal $25 billion.  I estimated these values on my prognostication of oil prices at the end of 2016 being at least $50 a barrel and that Tesla will see stiff competition in the EV market from other auto companies.

Interestingly 9 years ago when Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Fed opined that the US was running out of natural gas, Coal was King and Elon Musk was an unknown.   For sure in 9 years’ time Wall Street will have a new guru and it won’t be Elon Musk.  In 9 years’ time the laws of thermodynamics will still hold 100% true and 2014 will be the bicentennial anniversary of Carnot’s law that Carnot understood was back in 1824.  Carnot will always be remembered for pointing out that entropy happens to 100% of the people 100% of the time.  Musk will be remembered for producing cars for the 1%.  In my view of the world as The Thermonator Carnot’s market cap is worth 100 times Musk. 

Sadly most people have never heard of Carnot.  People have heard of the Car Dash Ians and most people are simply oblivious of science and want the cheap entertainment of fools.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year

2015 is just about gone.  It was a pretty sad year for the world.  But I will focus on what we achieved in the year.

Natural gas was a green spot on the planet.  Yes CH4 not Gore lowered carbon emissions by reducing coal use substantially in the USA and marginally in China.  Solar PV of the silicon variety again did a decent job as did wind power.  These two are the best options for renewable energy.  Concentrated solar and bio fuels were a total bust as was CIGS in PV.

On the demand side LEDs did their wonders and more efficient ICE vehicles also hit the road.  Low gasoline prices moderated the improvement in the CAFÉ average but it is trending up and low gasoline prices are not permanent.  The move to using pad computers and smart phones and away from desktops and even laptops also continued and these smaller devices use far less energy.  Data centers now operate at far higher temperatures and have cut energy use significantly even though the quantity of data circling the planet expanded exponentially.

Paper use decreased again and fewer trees are becoming newsprint and paper for printers.  That folks now read the news on a pad or smart phone has done the world a very good deed.  Toilet paper production certainly increased because of population explosion and increased disposable income.  We know entropy always increases and “shift happens”.  Not the F in shift.

The biggest problem facing the planet is water.  Worldwide use of fresh water is increasing and rainfall is not.  Fresh water has been supplied by solar power since plants first stepped on the earth, but now more and more desalination plants that use grid power are springing up.  Get the pun “springing up”.  I intend to become more knowledgeable on water and will then opine further on H2O in 2016. 

I wish you all a happy new year and let’s hope 2016 is safer, greener, and healthier than 2015.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Global CO2 Emissions Down 2015 Versus 2014

Yes this may have indeed happened.  China is using less coal and more natural gas and oil plus they added a small amount of renewable energy and they did lower their carbon emissions in 2015 versus 2014.

China has also lowered the price of natural gas to force consumers to switch from coal.  On top of this China’s industrial production is not growing rapidly and may have actually declined in 2015.  What this means is iron ore, coal, oil, LNG, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, and other commodities will continue to tank and countries like Australia, South Africa, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Brazil will hurt economically as they are the quarries for China.

My prediction for 2016 is that global CO2 emissions will again drop by approximately 1% versus 2015.  The US may actually join the crowd and lower CO2 emissions by heating homes less this winter thanks to the El Nino.  The El Nino will also increase hydroelectric power generation in the west.  Natural gas will remain the fuel of choice for power generation and coal is a goner.  2015 saw a decline of 10% in US coal production and 2016 will likely see another 5% decline.

The best thing about 2016 though is that we will vote for a new president.  Sadly number 44 was a thermodynamic neophyte of the poultry variety.  Number 45 will not be an Einstein either, but he or she may just surround themselves with as secretary of energy that is not Alfred E Neuman and with someone who actually knows that Ivanpah is Solyndra times three.  Happy New Year to all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas and Green Energy

Santa moves his sleigh through the air and on land using reindeer.  If only real life could be that green.  Gevo which is a failed Khosla company claimed they would produce jet fuel from sugar.  Of course the story was thermodynamic BS but Richard Branson of Virgin bought it hook, line, and sinker.  I wrote that it was BS years ago.

GEVO is one of the worst performing stocks in the NASDAQ for 2015.  Last Christmas bio fools were buying the stock at $5.55 a share today the same share can be bought for $0.74.  Khosla has a bigger bio fool bust than GEVO in his KIOR debacle that the state of Mississippi has called fraud.  KIOR shares are worthless.

Perhaps Santa can also run his sled on lithium ion batteries?  He could have a Nissan Leaf sled.  Nissan leads the world in EV production and sales.  The problem for EVs in the USA in 2015 is that gasoline is cheap and sales of all EVs in this country are down compared with 2014.  This is the fifth year on market for the Leaf in the USA and sales of the Leaf for the 11 months through November are only 15,922 versus over 27,000 for the same period last year.  This is a bad omen for a supposed growth market.  Santa will likely stick to reindeer rather than lithium ion batteries.  The batteries in hoverboards are catching alight and Santa has banned the transport of this hot gift in sled for fear of burning his butt while hovering over the North Pole.

At least Santa is not carrying lumps of coal for gifts this year.  Coal production in the US dropped like a black stone.  Low natural gas prices allowed utilities to generate more power from natural gas and less from coal.  Peabody Coal (BTU) the top US producer saw its shares drop from $117 a share to $9.47 over the year since last Christmas.   Oil companies also experienced large drops in their share prices.  Petro Quest (PQ) dropped from $3.85 a share to $0.38.  A portfolio of GEVO, BTU and PQ is worth a dime on the dollar versus last year.

I have no clue what stocks will do in 2016 but I know for sure that Santa will still be using Reindeer to propel his sled come next Christmas.  Also by next Christmas we will know who our next president will be, and the one good thing about this is that Ernie Moniz will be vacating the top spot at the US Department of Entropy.  Ernie might look like Alfred E Neuman and think that hairstyles are still the same as when Jimmy Carter was president, but sadly he is utterly incompetent to set energy policy even for Santa Claus.  He would make a cute elf to assist Santa making toys for tots, but Santa cannot let Ernie have any role in the selection of the propulsion system of the sled.

I do wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  It can only get better.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 A Watershed Year

The year has almost passed.  I wish I can say that we scored a passing grade in greening up.  We only got a D plus this year.  Luckily for us, shale natural gas did a lot of greening up of the grid.  The very low natural gas prices allowed the country’s utilities to switch more power generation from coal to natural gas.  We did install more solar and wind generation but this was not the major factor in lowering the carbon intensity of electric power generation.   

When I wrote my book on energy and sustainability in 2003, coal accounted for 55% of the electrons dispatched on the US power grid.  The US Department of Energy latest short term energy forecast states the following:
“According to the latest available EIA data, electricity generated from natural gas-fired power plants exceeded generation from coal-fired plants in September for the third month in a row.  Before April 2015, the monthly share of total U.S. generation fueled by coal had always been larger than the natural gas share.  Natural gas generation in September was 123,248 gigawatthours, 4% higher than the level generated by coal.  This increased use of natural gas for electricity generation primarily reflects sustained low prices for the fuel.  The average Henry Hub spot price for natural gas was $2.09/MMBtu in November, the lowest price since April 2012.”

The price of natural gas is lower than it has been in decades.  When I worked on hydrogen generation in the late 1970s we bought natural gas for $4 per MMBtu or more than twice the present price.  This week natural gas dropped even further to $1.75 per MMbtu.  Natural gas is being discovered and used all around the world.  We are indeed fortunate that a fuel that has high hydrogen content and lower carbon content continues to be used increasingly over coal which is a fuel that is low in hydrogen content and very high in carbon content.  More hydrogen means water results in combustion of the fuel.  More carbon means more carbon dioxide results in the combustion of the fuel.

The El Nino accounts for some of the reasons of low natural gas prices this winter.  A warm winter in the Midwest and northeast is expected.  For us here in the Bay Area the El Nino will give us good rains that are sorely needed to break the drought.  Also with high precipitation in the Northwest and California the quantity of hydroelectric generation next year is expected to return to normal.  Coal will never return to its former level of share in power generation.

I wish all my readers a happy new year.  We are set upon a path to lower our carbon intensity and will lower our overall carbon emissions.  I do hope that China also starts producing shale natural gas and starts to switch power generation from coal to other sources including natural gas.   The air in Beijing this week was so dirty that the Chinese issued a red alert.  Soon we hope that the air in China is as clean as the air in the Tiburon Peninsula.   I hope that nobody got a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking.  I also hope we do not have mudslides from the heavy El Nino driven rains we expect next month.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bloom Energy and Transparency

I have reported that the Delaware PSC has mandated that DELMARVA spell out the cost of the Bloomdoggle on each and every ratepayer bill each and every month the gangrene fraud continues.

The News Journal reported a front page article today on the Bloomdoggle in Delaware.

Quoting a Bloom Operative the article states:
“Matt Ross, a spokesman for Bloom, said the company supports transparency, but claimed this process targeted Bloom.
"This should be applied to all projects and initiatives equally and not selectively only to some," Ross said. "This approach will better inform the public on both the in-state projects which support jobs such as Bloom fuel cells, along with out-of-state projects that do not, which Delmarva relies upon to meet its renewable portfolio standards obligations for electric power in the state."

Matt Ross is trained and highly paid to promote the Bloomdoggle.  Transparency and this company are very distant relatives.  These gangrene imposters hide solid waste with sulfur, and lied about their efficiency.  They even paid Mexican laborers working in Silicon Valley sub minimum wages and in Pesos not Dollars.

Ross thinks shale gas is renewable?   Only in Deal Away can shale gas derived dirty electrons from a Bloom Coffin be called “renewable”.

Matt is also the thermodynamic cretin that told the New Zealand reporter that NBC was comparing oranges to apples to rocks, when NBC exposed Bloom’s Greenwashing last year.

Matt you are either as dense as a rock or simply a liar.  Your stinking company quickly and quietly changed your website after the NBC report.

Yes Matt we are targeting Bloom for the fraud in Delaware and to recover the over $100 million you all extracted from DELMARVA ratepayers.  Your stinking company promised clean, reliable, and affordable power but all you delivered is dirty, unreliable, and exorbitantly expensive power.   Matt go crawl under a rock.  The next action of DE PSC will be to declare the Bloom tariff as BOGUS as the heat rate in the tariff does not match the heat rate in the fake CZA (Coastal Zone Act) Permit that should never have been issued.

After the crook O’Mara who issued the fake CZA permit is sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison, he will be happy to slice apples and oranges in the state prison kitchen rather than breaking rocks on a chain gang.  O’Mara will then know the difference between oranges, apples, and rocks and will also remember to permit sulfur waste that winds up being treated at an EPA licensed facility.  O’Mara will mutter “them rocks have sulfide”.  

Oh Bummer's presidency will be remembered for massive greenwashed failures and Bloom is Solyndra times five.  Why do all these gangrene imposters have to talk about stones and rocks???

Saturday, December 12, 2015

COP21 or COP OUT 21

An agreement on keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees C has been reached at COP21 in Paris.  This means that fossil fuels will be phased out between 2050 and the beginning of the 22nd century.    The BBC has summarized the nonsense that was "agreed" to in Paris in this link.

This is utter BS, but everyone will applaud.  Between 2015 and 2035 two billion more vehicles will be produced and these won’t be electric.  Our problem is sociological.  When we finally admit that we have to live a very different lifestyle, we will deal with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Had I been in charge of energy policy for the earth, I would have first mandated that families have one child and one vehicle.  If you have no vehicles you can have two children.  I would limit the mass of any new vehicle being manufactured to 2,000 pounds in 2017 and this would have to be reduced to 1,000 pounds by 2035.  Note all Tesla’s would be banned from production.

Then I would have mandated that every vehicle being produced have the capability to seat five people.  No roadsters.  If the vehicle is on road and has only a driver, it would get daily traffic ticket of $100.  Folks would find out quickly how to pick up passengers.  By 2018 all vehicles used for personal transportation that have a mass over 2,000 pounds would be scrapped. 

Of course my plan is BS and will not be adopted but it would work.  When we finally realize that propelling a single person miles and miles in a 4,000 plus pound vehicle is what is damaging the planet then we may start altering our minds to appreciate how screwed up the earth is.  I think COP21 is pure COP OUT, and just a method for governments to tax more and pretend they really care and that they really know what they are doing. 

The thermodynamic neophytes who believe in Bio Fuels will have another go at making cellulosic ethanol.  The rich that drive Teslas will smile as they go down the road in their 4,500 pound vehicle that hogged all the lithium and they will believe they are making a difference.  I will simply get older and say there are too many people and far too many heavy cars.  The internal combustion engine and gasoline certainly made lives easier and automotives possile, but from the Model T to the Model S it was a nice ride down the wrong one way road with a dead end.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Gevo Going Heave Ho

I have often blogged that Vinod Khosla is a thermodynamic CLOWN.  His latest flop in a string of flops is GEVO.  It is high time that this imposter in the green space be called to congress and answer under oath for all of his greenwashed frauds like KIOR, RANGE, CELLO, AMRS, etc. etc. .

Note the chart is after a 1 for 15 reverse split a few months back.  On that basis the GEVO stock is a nickel a share.  Well done Vinod you are a bloody thermodynamic nincompoop.