Quantumscape: battery breakthrough?

This data-file reviews 25 of QuantumScape’s 2019-20 patents, in order to substantiate its claims of a solid-state battery than can achieve c50-100% higher energy density than conventional lithium ion batteries, 3x faster charging, while also surviving hundreds of charge-discharge cycles without degradation.

The single largest patent challenge that QuantumScape was aiming to overcome was manufacturing methods, discussed in 75% of the patents. This augurs well for transitioning into production mode.

Preventing dendrites and ensuring cell longevity were related, joint-second focus areas. Quantumscape is light years ahead of competitors, but the longevity is not fully de-risked by these patents.

Quantumscape’s proprietary cell designs are also assessed in the data-file,ranging from electrolytes and catholytes to more cutting-edge moonshots.

Uranium mining: company screen and market outlook?

We have screened c20 uranium miners, assessing each company’s production, reserves, asset base, size and recent news flow. 10 of the companies are publicly listed, while the remainder are private or state-owned.

Our market outlook is that firm uranium supply may be running 25% short of the level required on our roadmap to net zero.

Headline supply-demand forecasts are also presented in the data-file, along with notes and CO2 intensity calculations for the sector.

Autonomous vehicles: technology leaders?

This data-file is a screen of companies developing autonomous vehicles, including 14 private companies and 12 public companies, of which 8 are pure-plays focused on commercializing autonomous vehicles.

Rapid growth is visible in the space. 75% of the companies in the screen were only founded in the last decade.  Many have also become public, commonly via reverse mergers, amidst recent market excitement.

By transportation type, autonomous truck and freight-moving applications are most common, followed by autonomous cars, sensor technologies (especially LiDAR), then taxis, then finally passenger shuttles.

Recent technical progress is noted for each company. Many are proposing optimistic timelines, to introduce Level 4-5 autonomy within 2021-25. Others are more pessimistic and do not see commercial deployment of fully autonomous vehicles until after 2030.

Companies in drones and drone services for construction?

The aim of this data-file is a simple screen of companies manufacturing drones and commercializing drone software. In includes 12 private companies and 4 public companies. For each company, we have tabualted their history, geography, number of patent filings and a short description.

US Refiners: CO2 cost curve?

Which refiners are least CO2 intensive, and which refiners are most CO2 intensive? This spreadsheet answers the question, by aggregating data from 130 US refineries, based on EPA regulatory disclosures.

The full database contains a granular breakdown, facility-by-facility, showing each refinery, its owner, its capacity, throughput, utilisation rate and CO2 emissions across six categories: combustion, refining, hydrogen, CoGen, methane emissions and NOx (chart below).

Assessed companies include Aramco, BP, Chevron, Citgo, Delek, ExxonMobil, Koch, Hollyfrontier, Marathon, Phillips66, PBF, Shell and Valero.

Methanol: leading companies?

This data-file tabulates the details of companies in the methanol value chain. For incumbents, we have quantified market shares. For technology providers, we have simply tabulated the numbers of patents filed into methanol production since the year 2000. For new, lower-carbon methanol producers, we have compiled a screen, noting each company’s size, patent library and a short description (chart above).

Smart Energy: technology leaders?

Smart meters and smart devices are capable of transmitting and receiving real-time data and instructions. They open up new ways of optimizing energy efficiency, peak demand, appliances and costs. Over 100M smart meters and thermostats had been installed in the United States (including at c90M residences) and 250M have been installed in Europe by 2020.

The purpose of this data-file is to profile c30 companies commercializing opportunities in smart energy monitoring, smart metering and smart thermostats. The majority of the companies are privately owned, at the venture or growth stage. We also tabulate their patent filings.

We find most of the offerings will lower end demand, assist with smoothing grid-volatility, provide appliance-by-appliance demand disaggregations and encourage consumers to upgrade inefficient or potentially even defective appliances. Numbers are tabulated in the data-file to quantify each of these effects.

Tree database: forests to offset CO2?

Nature-based solutions are among the most effective ways to abate CO2. Forest offsets will cost $2-50/ton, decarboning liquid fuels for <$0.5/gallon and natural gas for <$1/mcf (chart below).

The data-file tabulates hundreds of data-points from technical papers and industry reports on different tree and grass types. It covers their growing conditions, survival rates, lifespans, rates of CO2 absorption (per tree and per acre) and their water requirements (examples below).


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.