Hydrogen Fuel Cells: Comparing Efficiencies

The previous articles in this series focused on the power costs and operational lifetimes of hydrogen fuel cells. These factors are important, as cheaper and long-lasting fuel cells are vital for the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel. (For details of how these cells work, refer to the first article). Cost and durability are far from being the only characteristics of fuel cells worth consideration. Here we focus on fuel cell efficiency - this is the proportion of the chemical energy stored within the hydrogen supplied to the fuel cell, that is eventually converted into usable electricity. The graph shows the...
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List of Green Investment Advisors

If you want your money to help with the transition to the clean energy economy, most investment advisors will probably try to accommodate by finding a few green mutual funds for you. There are now hundreds of mutual funds and ETFs that brand themselves as green, but many will not meet your definition of what is "green." This could mean not being completely divested from fossil fuels, investing in nuclear power, or owning too much of non-fossil fuel stocks like Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) and not enough green-focused  companies like Tesla (TSLA). An investment advisor who does not consider values...
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Early Thoughts On 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2021

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA In the past, I've allowed readers to pay for early access to the list of the 10 stocks I will pick for the model portfolio the next year.  This year, early access to the top 10 list will be a perk for all my patrons on Patreon, who get a first peak at drafts of all my articles.  I posted a draft of this article on December 18th. It's going to be hard to pick 10 stocks that I think are good values this year, but it's past time to start thinking about it.  I thought...
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Compiling a Directory of Investment Advisors Who Specialize in Green Portfolios

My friends in the divestment movement often ask me how to find an investment advisor who has a focus on fossil fuel free or otherwise green investing, so I thought I would compile a list for publication on AltEnergyStocks.com. If your advisory firm would like to be on this list, leave a comment with your Firm Name, location (city, state, country), and website, plus no more than 100 characters of notes where you can say whatever you want about your firm.  I will review each firm's website to make sure that they are properly registered, and that some flavor of...
DC College Savings Plan

529 Plans Without The Fossil Fuels

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA The most popular way we have to save for our children's future education is destroying their future. A 529 savings plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to help pay for education. There are also prepaid tuition plans set up under the section 529 tax rules, but this article is focused on 529 savings plans, and will be what I mean by “529 plans” for the rest of the article. The money in 529 plans can be used for college as well as K-12 education, apprenticeship programs, and paying off some student debt.   Savings plans grow...
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Funding The Energy Transition at Clean Energy Credit Union

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA With interest rates as low as they have ever been, I believe there is little point in small investors investing in bonds or bond funds, even if an allocation to fixed income is needed to match their investments to their ability and desire to take on risk.  With little potential upside from interest, I believe it is better to take advantage of the added safety of federally backed insurance by depositing money in a bank or credit union savings account or certificate of deposit (CD) ladder.  We can do that and avoid having our deposits fund...
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10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Rose Colored Covid

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA The stock market took off in November, fueled by very positive covid-19 vaccine news, and possibly also the prospect of a little competence and sanity in the White House.  While both of these are unambiguously positive for the economy, I think investors are seeing the future through rose colored glasses. Rose colored covid-19. What a Biden Victory Means for the Economy A Biden victory is good news in that we will finally have someone in the White House who will work to reduce the infection rate in the pandemic, rather than vacillating between wishful thinking and actively spurring...

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone is having a happy Thanksgiving, and, more importantly, staying safe by keeping your gatherings small and staying close to home.  Next year, it looks like we will have multiple, highly effective vaccines. Just like in the market, this holiday season, the waiting is the hardest part. Tom Konrad, Editor

PEM Fuel Cells – Hoping to Challenge Internal Combustion

The first article in this series introduced the two prominent types of hydrogen fuel cells - alkaline fuel cells (ALKFCs) and proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). Fuel cells are devices that convert stored hydrogen into usable energy, and constitute an essential part of the hydrogen economy. Subsequent articles shall focus on various characteristics of these two cells.  The graph above shows the power costs ($/kW) of PEMFCs and ALKFCs as the technology has advanced over time. In other words, they show the initial capital cost for every 1 kW of fuel cell  capacity (note that this axis is in the...

Alkaline Fuel Cells – In Need of Revival

The previous article in this series on hydrogen fuel-cells focused on proton-exchange membranes fuel cells (PEMFCs). These cells have been the interest of the industry in recent years, and make up the majority of the market. However, it is also worth discussing alkaline fuel cells (ALKFCs), an older variety of cells that remain prominent today. (For details on how these cells work, refer to the first article in this series). The graph shows the power costs ($/kW) of PEMFCs and ALKFCs as the technology has advanced over time. In other words, it plots the initial capital cost for every 1...

Introduction to Fuel Cell Technologies

Fuel cell technology is vital to building the hydrogen economy. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen into water, while generating a current and some heat energy. Thus, they are used to retrieve stored energy from hydrogen as electricity in large-scale stationary applications, and convert hydrogen fuel to power in automobiles.  This article introduces a series on fuel cell technologies which will explore the various technologies, the efforts and challenges to improving them, and their prospects for wide-spread adoption. There are a range of fuel cell technologies. The two most prominent are alkaline fuel cells (ALKFC) and proton exchange membrane fuel cells...

Step By Step Fossil Fuel Divesting With Mutual Funds

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA A large and growing number of individual investors are showing an interest in divesting from fossil fuels.  Where in the past I have been asked to give a talk on divestment once every year or two, I’ve spoken on the subject three times so far in 2020.  (Here is a recording of a presentation I did for my college alumni association.) The response to these talks has been overwhelmingly positive, but I’m left with the impression that a lot of the less financially sophisticated attendees are still not sure where to start.  For most of these...
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10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Updated Model Portfolio

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA After a couple down market days, all the limit orders I listed on Monday have executed. Here is the current portfolio: Position Shares Position Shares CVA 135 CIG 587 CVA Mar21 $7.50 Put -2 RDEIF 100 VLEEF 57 VEOEF 75 GPP 276 EBAY Jan ‘21 $8 Put -1 NFYEF 98 Cash $4415 MIXT 274   Coming Up: Third quarter earnings season is starting… I plan to write short notes on earnings as they come out for my Patreon supporters, which will be compiled into longer articles on AltEnergyStocks.com a few days later. Also, I’m doing a talk on how to divest from fossil fuels with the founder of divestor.org this coming Monday at 8:30 pm ET for the Climate and Health subgroup of Citizens Climate Lobby ...
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10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Spooked in October, but Trading Anyway

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Two of the cash covered puts in the 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020 model portfolio have now expired, and I am left with a difficult decision as to what to replace them with. As I discussed last month, I feel the market is overvalued given the economic impact of the pandemic and little prospect of fiscal stimulus before January.  Yes, the market is not the whole economy, and large tech firms and high income workers and the wealthy are doing great while people on the bottom half of the income ladder are being crushed.  With...
Bernard Tan

Royalties: a Financial Innovation for Renewable Energy

The following interview with RE Royalties (RE.V, RROYF) CEO Bernard Tan was conducted in September by AltEnergyStocks.com Editor Tom Konrad.  Links and ticker symbols were not included in his original responses, but added by AltEnergyStocks.com as a resource for readers. Q: What exactly is a renewable energy royalty? A renewable energy royalty is a stream of cash flows generated by a renewable energy project. When the project generates electricity and sells its electricity, we receive a percentage of the revenues from the electricity sales, otherwise known as a gross revenue royalty. We receive that gross revenue royalty, on average, for about...

The Big Win You Missed

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA My friend Jan Schalkwijk, CFA of JPS Global Investments just asked me if I had any thoughts on Kontrol Energy (KNR.CN, KNRLF), a Canadian smart building firm I had never heard of. (I just added it to AltEnergyStocks.com's Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid stock lists.) The stock had just shot up after the client sold and went on a kayaking trip.  It had disclosed a sensor for detecting COVID-19 from the air. While I didn't have anything to say about the company, I did have some thoughts on dealing with the emotions around missing out.  Since it's...
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