Lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles: what challenges?

This data-file tabulates the greatest challenges for lithium ion batteries in electric vehicles, which have been cited in 2020’s patent literature. Specifically, the work contains a sample of 100 patents aiming to overcome these challenges, as filed by companies including Tesla, CATL, GM, GS Yuasa, LG, Nissan, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sumitomo, Toyota, et al.

Our notes and conclusions are spelled out in detail. We find the industry is clearly entering execution mode, and less focused on radical breakthroughs in energy density. CATL and Tesla’s pursuit of a “million mile battery” is substantiated, but includes trade-offs. The patent disclosures also suggest great difficulties in ever achieving a battery-powered semi-truck.

Phase change materials: technology leaders?

Phase change materials are an emerging materials class, which can store and release heat (or coldness) as they change beween solid and liquid phases. Our recent research finds they can improve the efficiency of cold storage by c20%, at attractive economics, which is superior to any other battery.

The aim of this data file is to identify the technology leaders in phase change materials, by quantifying 21,000 patents filed into the topic, and compiling a list of 5,800 patents by over 125 companies in the space.

The leading patent filers are ranked in the Leaders tab, and can be filtered by sub-sectors (shown above are companies in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry). All the raw data across 5,800 patents follow in the final tab.

The Top Public Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file compiles all of our insights into publicly listed companies and their edge in the energy transition: commercialising economic technologies that advance the world towards ‘net zero’ CO2 by 2050.

Each insight is a differentiated conclusion, derived from a specific piece of research, data-analysis or modelling on the TSE web portal; summarized alongside links to our work. Next, the data-file ranks each insight according to its economic implications, technical readiness, its ability to accelerate the energy transition and the edge it confers on the company in question.

Each company can then be assessed by adding up the number of differentiated insights that feature in our work, and the average ‘score’ of each insight. The file is intended as a summary of our differentiated views on each company.

The screen is updated monthly. At the latest update, in October-2020, it contains 180 differentiated views on 90 public companies.

The Top 30 Private Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file presents the ‘top 30’ private companies out of several hundred that have crossed our screens since the inception of Thunder Said Energy, looking back across all of our research.

For each company, we have used apples-to-apples criteria to score  economics, technical readiness, technical edge, decarbonization credentials and our own depth of analysis.

The data-file also contains a short, two-line description follows for each company, plus links to our wider research, which will outline each opportunity in detail.

Hydrogen reformers: technology leaders

The aim of this data-file is to assess who has the leading technology for producing industrial hydrogen: but especially blue hydrogen from auto-thermal reformers, which was highlighted as an opportunity in our recent research note.

Our screen assesses the leading companies making reformers to produce industrial hydrogen, based on public disclosures, 750 patents, and classifying these patents into their consituent patent families.

Profiled companies include Air Liquide, Air Products, Casale, Haldor Topsoe, Johnson Matthey, KBR, Linde, Thyssenkrupp and over a dozen large, diversified energy companies.

Ventures for an Energy Transition?

This database tabulates almost 300 venture investments made by 9 of the leading Oil Majors, as the energy industry advances and transitions.

The largest portion of activity is now aimed at incubating New Energy technologies (c50% of the investments), as might be expected. Conversely, when we first created the data-file, in early-2019, the lion’s share of historical investments were in upstream technologies (c40% of the total). The investments are also highly digital (c40% of the total).

Four Oil Majors are incubating capabilities in new energies, as the energy system evolves. We are impressed by the opportunities they have accessed. Venturing is likely the right model to create most value in this fast-evolving space.

The full database shows which topic areas are most actively targeted by the Majors’ venturing, broken down across 25 sub-categories, including by company. We also chart which companies have gained stakes in the most interesting start-ups.

Oil markets: the next up-cycle?

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.

Oil prices could rebound sharply to the upside in the aftermath of the COVID crisis, as 7.5Mbpd of supply growth has been lost or deferred. The result is steep undersupply in 2021-23 and unprecedently low inventories across the mid-2020s; or in other words, the next industry up-cycle.

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. Usually included with the download is a PDF summary of our latest oil price thesis, but our latest instalment has been superseded by our deep-dive note into the future of oil demand linked here.

The Top Technologies in Energy

What are the top technologies to transform the global energy industry and the world? This data-file summarises where we have conducted differentiated analysis, across c80 technologies (and counting).

For each technology, we summarise the opportunity in two-lines. Then we score its economic impact, its technical maturity (TRL), and the depth of our work to-date. The output is a ranking of the top technologies, by category; and a “cost curve” for the total costs to decarbonise global energy.

Download this data-file and you will also receive updates for a year, as we add more technologies; and we will also be happy to dig into any technologies you would like to see added to the list.

Additive manufacturing: technology leaders?

This data-file tabulates 5,500 patents into additive manufacturing (AM, a.k.a., 3D printing), in order to identify technology leaders.  Patent filings over time show a sharp acceleration, making AM one of the fastest growth areas for the energy transition.

14 companies with concentrated exposure to the theme are profiled, including their size, revenues, share of revenues from AM and 3-6 lines of notes on each company.

The full screen also shows growing AM activity from Cap Goods, aerospace, automotive and oil services companies.

Use of thermoplastic materials is also seen by narrowing in upon 130 patents from leading chemicals companies (e.g., Covestro, Solvay, SABIC, Arkema).

Examples from the patents show how AM can reduce costs by 25-90% and lead times by 10-90%.


Net zero Oil Majors: four cardinal virtues?

Attaining ‘Net Zero’ can uplift an Energy Major’s valuation by c50%. Specifically, this means emitting no net CO2, either from the company’s operations (Scope 1&2 emissions) or from the use of its products (Scope 3). This 19-page report shows how a Major can best achieve ‘net zero’ by exhibiting four cardinal virtues. Decarbonization is not a threat but an opportunity.