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Posts tagged “investing”

By Robert Rapier on Mar 20, 2012 with 19 responses

Are You Looking to Invest in the Google of Biofuels?

The Big Names in Biofuels

So you’re hoping to strike it rich by investing in LanzaTech. Or Solazyme. Or KiOR. Or Gevo. After all, some of these companies recently had high-profile IPOs, and they are clearly “hot” given all of the press coverage devoted to them. So perhaps you have decided you want to get in on a potentially unique investment opportunity.

I get more e-mails and phone calls about investments than on any other topic. And it’s not just individual investors. I hear from institutional and private equity investors trying to determine what’s true and what’s hype, and asking whether KiOR or LanzaTech might turn out to be the Google (GOOG) or Apple (AAPL) of biofuels. Before offering any guidance, the first thing I try to do is establish your reason for investing. Are you looking for — in the words of former Fidelity Magellan’s Peter Lynch — a “ten bagger?” Are you looking for a hedge against the end of the oil age? Is this money that you are fully prepared to lose?

The second thing I would ask you is whether you really understand the company, their business model, their competition, and their potential technical challenges. (This is typically why people e-mail me — because they have questions about these things). Let me offer an example from my own investing history to demonstrate why these issues are important by telling you about the worst investing mistake I ever made. CONTINUE»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 17, 2011 with 18 responses

Why I Didn’t Short KiOR

In a recent column on the metric of “success” in Cleantech, I wrote that the measure of success that will matter to most people is whether the company sells energy at an affordable price: I simply don’t think that the fact that one can talk up a company and then IPO it at a profit is the proper metric for success. Some of those companies that have been IPO’d are grossly overvalued. Many of them won’t be around for long. (In fact, I wrestled hard this week with a decision to short one of them; I ultimately decided not to — but not because I don’t think the company is grossly overvalued). So is a company that is IPO’d, makes… Continue»

By Samuel R. Avro on Oct 12, 2011 with 36 responses

This Week in Energy: Gasification, China, Brazil, KiOR

This Week in Energy is a weekly round-up of news making headlines in the world of energy. Most of these stories are posted throughout the week to our Energy Ticker page. The purpose is to stimulate discussion on energy issues. Community members should feel free to turn these into open thread energy discussions. Suggestions and news tips are welcome. I (Sam) can be reached at editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com. Reporting from the Gasification Technologies Conference This week Robert Rapier attended the 2011 Gasification Technologies Conference. This conference covers developments for converting coal, natural gas, and biomass to power and liquid fuels via gasification. Robert provided some updates from the conference on Twitter (@RRapier), including: Shell’s 140,000 bpd Pearl GTL… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 15, 2011 with 56 responses

Thiel vs. Khosla on Cleantech: Who is Right?

Battle Over the Definition of Success in the ‘Cleantech’ Industry This past week PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel — who was also an early investor in Facebook — made headlines when he declared that “Cleantech is an increasingly large disaster that people in Silicon Valley aren’t even talking about any more. The failure in energy and transportation points to a larger failure in clean energy — we aren’t moving any faster, literally, than we were when modern airplanes first came out.” Those comments ruffled the feathers of Cleantech VC Vinod Khosla, who responded “Cleantech is not a disaster.” So who is correct? It depends entirely upon how one defines success: Over the last 12 months, Khosla has generated more than $1… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 1, 2011 with 62 responses

Investor Interest in U.S. Biofuel Production Set to Soar

I just finished writing the 4th chapter in my book tonight. This chapter was a primer on renewable energy, covering biomass, hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean energy technologies. Interesting tidbit from this chapter: The world’s largest producer of geothermal power is the U.S. oil company Chevron. How many people would have guessed that? The chapter kept me busy this week, but fortunately I have a timely guest post available. The following guest post from OilPrice.com addresses last week’s announcement of a potential half billion dollar investment by several government agencies to develop advanced biofuels. ————————– On 16 August President Obama announced that the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy will invest up to $510 million by 2014 in… Continue»

By Shay Bapple on Apr 12, 2010 with 5 responses

US Invests in Smart Grid Training

As the US prepares technicians for maintaining smart-grids, some consumers are complaining about the technology.

By Robert Rapier on Mar 1, 2010 with 23 responses

A Day Late on the Bloom Box

I wasn’t going to write anything on the Bloom Box, but people keep writing to ask what I think. My initial reactions were “What a lot of hype” and “I have seen this all before.” I also wondered why it is that people keep falling for these kinds of stories. But fuel cells aren’t my specialty, and as such I won’t weigh in on the relative technical merits of this design over another. I know that fuel cells have been very expensive for many years, and the initial projections I have seen over the Bloom Box are that they will be very expensive. Lots of people with expertise in fuel cells have weighed in on the matter, though. If you… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 25, 2010 with no responses

Top 10 Sources for U.S. Oil for 2009

It has been two years since I posted the Top 10 oil exporters to the U.S., so I thought I would update that list. In 2007, the U.S. imported just over 10 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, with our top three suppliers being Canada (1.90 million bpd), Saudi Arabia (1.44 million bpd), and Mexico (1.41). Total oil imported into the U.S. in 2007 averaged 10.0 million bpd. OPEC countries supplied just over half of that – 5.3 million bpd. (All data sourced from the EIA). Data for 2009 are available through October, so I tabulated the twelve-month period from November 2008 through October 2009. Total petroleum imports were down 7% from 2007 at 9.3 million bpd. Top U.S…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 4, 2009 with no responses

The Looming Spike in Crude Prices

Lots of very crazy stuff going on behind the scenes that’s been keeping me very distracted, and writing to a minimum. Fortunately, Money Morning sent me a very timely essay this morning on crude prices. This one takes aim at the API. While I have a cordial relationship with the API, like Kent Moors who wrote the article below I think their crude production projects are way too optimistic. Of course I say the same thing about projections from the EIA, IEA, and pretty much any organization that predicts that we are going to have a major increase in production from today’s rates. My position for the past 5 years has been that the top is pretty close to 90… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Oct 28, 2009 with no responses

The Future of Energy

I am back in Hawaii, and over the next couple of days I will climb out from under an avalanche of correspondence. I have a couple of essays to get out, including an interview that I conducted with the CEO from an algae company. What he said may surprise you. Until then, the latest energy-related story from Money Morning. As I previously explained topical Money Morning content will be featured here from time to time. As always, normal caveats apply: I am not an investment advisor. I don’t endorse any specific stocks mentioned in the following story; these stories are meant to spur discussion. —————————–A Money Morning Interview: The Future of Energy Renowned Oil Expert Dr. Kent Moors Details Shortages… Continue»