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Posts tagged “Xethanol”

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 Robert Rapier on Nov 27, 2009 with no responses

Son of Xethanol Goes Bankrupt

I have written several essays on Xethanol over the past few years. If you recall, they were a poster child for the theme of “overpromise, boost your stock price, and get rich quick” on biofuels. For me, this story dates back to 2006, when an investigative journalist working for Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban e-mailed me and asked about the company’s claims. They had announced that thy would “be the first to commercialize cellulosic ethanol” (if I had a nickel for every time I have heard that), and they issued press releases at every opportunity. It worked for a while – at one point their market cap was something like half a billion dollars – despite the fact that there… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 18, 2009 with no responses

Pacific Ethanol Plants Declare Bankruptcy

I don’t actually enjoy posting “I told you so” stories, especially when the news is negative. This means someone has failed, and I don’t enjoy seeing people fail. But when I put a spotlight on a company, naturally I am going to follow that company. If it does fail, then that will be reported upon, as has been the case previously with Xethanol and later on with algal biofuel producer GreenFuel. If a company that I have cast doubts on goes on to success, I will highlight that as well, but I don’t believe that has happened yet. If Coskata proves me wrong, or Vinod Khosla goes on to great success as a biofuel magnate, I will write about it…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 24, 2008 with no responses

Top 10 Energy Stories of 2008

Tis the season for Top 10 stories, and here are what I think were the Top 10 energy stories of the year. 1. Unprecedented volatility in the energy markets Oil prices raced to nearly $150 a barrel, and then fell to the $30′s by year end. This marks the highest ever prices for oil, followed by the lowest prices in four years. Gasoline, diesel, and natural gas prices demonstrated the same kind of volatility. There are multiple factors behind the volatility. The role of speculation was hotly debated, and the economic collapse – fueled by cash-strapped consumers who had overextended themselves – resulted in a sharp drop in demand. Some even argued that the real reason behind the plunge in… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 11, 2008 with no responses

Xethanol Now Defunct

This will be my last ever story on Xethanol. I have written a number of stories on them in the past. I wrote that their claims that they would be the first to produce commercial cellulosic ethanol were ludicrous. That was the gist of the interview I gave to Sharesleuth when they were writing their Xethanol exposé. I predicted that Xethanol would “offer up a litany of excuses and delaying tactics for why their cellulosic ethanol plant is not up and running.” I explained to several reporters that the technology agreements they touted to investors could be had for next to nothing, and in February of 2007 I predicted that Xethanol would eventually go bankrupt. I was sounding these warnings… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 25, 2008 with no responses

Investing in Energy Storage

I attended a presentation last year where a number of alternative energy technologies were discussed, and I was asked whether any major topic had been missed. I responded that I felt like the single most important topic had been missed: The enabling technology of energy storage. An efficient and cost effective energy storage solution is critical for smoothing out the intermittency of solar, wind, and tidal energy. This is the one advantage that biomass does have over these sources: Biomass may be inefficient at gathering solar energy, but it does store nicely. How important is energy storage? I think it is absolutely crucial, but largely overlooked in alternative energy discussions. It simply isn’t as sexy as solar, but without a… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 4, 2008 with no responses

Coal-Based Ethanol

The handwriting has been on the wall on this issue for a couple of years. In fact, I first mentioned it in March 2006 in Improving the Prospects for Grain Ethanol. Here is an excerpt of what I wrote: This is an option that most environmentalists will abhor. However, it is the one most likely to take place in the short-term. The natural gas input into ethanol production is a serious long-term threat to economic viability. Since natural gas is a fossil fuel, and supplies are diminishing, it will put upward pressure on the price of ethanol over time. However, if the energy inputs could be produced from coal, ethanol prices would be insulated from escalating natural gas prices. Using… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 14, 2007 with no responses

Xethanol: Another Multimillion Dollar Loss

Xethanol continues to demonstrate that even with generous subsidies, they can’t make any money: Xethanol Announces Second Quarter 2007 Financial Results For the second quarter of 2007, the company reported a net loss of $6.6 million, or ($0.23) per share, as compared to a $5.9 million net loss, or ($0.24) per share, for the same period of the prior year. The increase in the net loss was primarily related to $4.5 million in non-cash charges including a $2.8 million impairment charge on property held for development. The company reported net sales of $3.3 million for the second quarter of 2007 compared to $3.2 million in net sales in the second quarter of 2006. Cost of goods sold was $3.4 million… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 19, 2007 with no responses

Predictions: Hits, Misses, and Pending

I have made a lot of predictions in my writings, and my own impression is that my track record has been pretty good. But I started wondering a few days ago if that’s because I tend to remember the accurate predictions and forget the inaccurate predictions. So, I decided to dig up all of the predictions I have made in my writings about energy. I will classify the predictions as successful, pending, or failed. If you can think of some that I have forgotten, particularly on the failed predictions, point them out and I will add them to the list. I do tend to pepper my predictions with caveats, because I think it is important for people to understand the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 15, 2007 with no responses

Xethanol’s March toward Bankruptcy

In the continuing saga of Xethanol (XNL) – the poster child for overhyped cellulosic ethanol claims – they took one more step toward bankruptcy this week with their earnings release: Xethanol Announces First Quarter 2007 Financial Results I will bet this is one they would have rather skipped. Xethanol managed to more than double their loss of a year ago: For the first quarter of 2007, the company reported a net loss of $5.5 million, or ($0.19) per share, as compared to a $2.2 million net loss, or ($0.15) per share, for the prior year. The increase in the net loss was primarily the result of an increase in general and administration expenses as well as $2.4 million in non-cash… Continue»