Fiber Optic Cables: Patents and Leading Companies?

This data-file screens for the technology leaders in fiber-optic cables, which are crucial for the digitization of industries and the world’s structural shift towards remote-working.

The file starts by tracking 37,000 patents filed into fiber optic cabling, where the pace of research has risen at a 14% CAGR since 2009, with 75% of 2019’s patents filed in China and 18% in the US.

The 2019 data are shown more granularly in the ‘2019’ tab, aggregating descriptions of 4,000 patents and the companies behind them.

From these patents, we identify and evaluate the largest listed companies in fiber-optics, including a helpful profile of each company, their revenues, and the percent of their revenues  from fiber-optic cables.

Forests to Offset CO2: Uptake Rates by Tree Type

Nature-based solutions can among be the most effective ways to offset global CO2, with forests offsetting CO2 for $17-50/ton, decarboning liquid fuels for <$0.5/gallon and natural gas for $1/mcf. These numbers are based off of half-a-dozen studies, suggesting c5T of CO2 uptake per acre of forest per year.

This data-file shows CO2 uptake rates could be materially higher. CO2 absorption 8T/acre/year for three promising tree types, and as much as 15-30+ T/acre/year using faster-growing grasses. This would improve the economics of forests even further.

This data-file tabulates c75 data-points from technical papers and industry reports on different tree and grass types, their growing conditions and their rates of CO2 absorption. Included are oaks, pines, poplars, eucalyptus, mangroves, bamboos, sugarcane and elephant grasses.

Coal industry CO2 per ton

This data-file quantifies and disaggregate the CO2 emissions from a typical coal mining operation, across mining processes, coal-processing, methane emissions and freight/transportation.

We estimate that producing a ton of coal emits 0.19T of CO2, equivalent to 50kg/boe. The data are based on USGS technical papers, EPA disclosures from US coal mines and EIA disclosures on mine sizes and coal heat contents.

The conclusion is that domestic coal production will tend to emit 2x more CO2 than domestic natural gas production,  in addition to coal combustion emitting around 2x more CO2 than gas combustion.

However, numbers vary widely based on input assumptions, such as methane lakage rates, btu content and transportation distances, which can be flexed in the model.

2020 oil markets: meltdown?

Our oil price outlook is informed by a 45-line supply-demand model, running month-by-month out to 2025. This download contains both the model, and a 4-page summary of our outlook.

2020 markets have a 5% chance of recovering, but otherwise will run at $20-30/bbl, after reflecting the impacts of COVID19 and the breakdown of OPEC’s output accord. This detracts 2.5Mbpd from our shale models by 2021. The market comes back into balance in 2022, yielding a gradual recovery.

After ten years forecasting oil markets, our humble conclusion is that all oil models are wrong. Some are nevertheless useful. To be most useful, our model takes a Monte Carlo approach to the key uncertainties, to quantify the “risk” of positive and negative surprises (illustrative example below).

Please download the model to see, and to flex our input assumptions. Included with the download is a PDF summary of our latest oil price thesis, plus country-by-country notes, which inform our longer-term forecasts.

Ten Themes for Energy in the 2020s

This short presentation describes our ‘Top Ten Themes for Energy in the 2020s’. Each theme is covered in a single slide. For an overview of the ideas in the presentation, please see our recent presentation, linked here.

Hydraulic Fracturing: where’s the IP?

This data-file tracks 17,000 hydraulic fracturing patents filed by geography, by company, by year, since 2010; but particularly in 2019.

Frac patents peaked in 2017-18 at c3,900 per year. 2020 has slowed by 6%. But the headline figures mask a c36% correction in the US, masked by 33% expansion of Chinese shale ambitions. Remarkably, in 2019, the leading Chinese Major filed more hydraulic fracturing patents than the leading US Service provider.

Company trends. Over the past three years, among larger companies, the top US Services filed c45% of the patents, Chinese Majors filed c40%, DM producers filed c5% and niche service copanies files c10%.

A granular breakdown for 2019 tabulates 1,900 patents, including their descriptions, which you can interrogate fully.

Molten Carbonate Fuel Cells: capture carbon, generate electricity?

Molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFCs) could be a game-changer for CCS, and fossil fuels. They are electrochemical reactors with the unique capability to capture CO2 from the exhaust pipes of combustion facilities; while at the same time, efficiently generating electricity and heat from natural gas. The first pilot plant is being tested in 1Q20, by ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy. Economics range from passable to phenomenal. The opportunity is outlined in this 27-page report.

Leading Companies in Redox Flow Batteries

We have compiled a database of 25 leading companies in Redox Flow Batteries, starting by looking across 1,237 patents filed about the technology since 2017 (all patents are summarized in the second tab of the data-file).

For each company, we summarize its technology, its recent projects news, its size, its location and whether it is public/private. Covered companies range from public Asian conglomerates to public/private redox flow pure-plays.

Exciting progress is visible from Redox Flow batteries, rapidly progressing toward technical maturity, constructing demonstration facilities and offering ultra long-life battery storage, which could greatly surpass lithium ion economics in grid applications.

Chevron: SuperMajor Shale in 2020?

SuperMajors’ shale developments are assumed to differ from E&Ps’ mainly in their scale and access to capital. Access to superior technologies is rarely discussed. But new evidence is emerging. This note assesses 40 of Chevron’s shale patents from 2019, showing a vast array of data-driven technologies, to optimize every aspect of shale.

Aerial Vehicles: Which Ones Fly?

We have compiled a database of over 100 companies, which have already flown c40 aerial vehicles (aka “flying cars”) and the number should rise to c60 by 2021.

The data substantiates our conclusion that aerial vehicles will gain credibility in the 2020s, the way electric vehicles did in the 2010s. Our latest updated in early-2020 shows strong progress was made in 2019 (chart below).

The database categorizes the top vehicle concepts by type, company, year-founded, company-size, company-geography, backers, fuel-type, speed, range, take-off weight, payload, year of first prototype, target commercial delivery date, fuel economy and required battery weights.

Some vehicle concepts are extremely impressive and credible; but a few may find it more challenging to meet the ranges they have promised at current battery densities…