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 June-2022, it contains 260 differentiated views on 140 public companies.

The Top 50 Private Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file presents the ‘top 50’ 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.

Nuclear fusion: what are the challenges?

Nuclear fusion could provide a limitless supply of zero-carbon energy from the 2030s onwards. Thus 30 private companies have raised $4bn to progress new ideas. But the goal of this 20-page note is simply to understand the challenges for fusion reactors, especially deuterium-tritium tokamaks. Innovations need to improve EROI, stability, longevity and ultimate costs.

Decarbonization targets: what do the data tell us?

The most comprehensive and useful online resource we have found to track different companies’ net zero commitments is zerotracker.net. The database is freely downloadable under a Creative Commons license. However, we have attempted to clean it up in this data-file, including some additional fields and analytics.

The result is 630 companies that have pledged to reach some definition of ‘net zero’. Although the commitments are somewhat skewed towards easier-to-decarbonize sectors, such as financials (22%), TMT (6%), professional services (5%), retail (5%), healthcare (4%).

The average year to achieve this is 2044, although again, it varies by sector, and easer-to-decarbonize sectors tend to have sooner-dated targets.

A key question is credibility. 20% of the companies are deemed to have unclear decarbonization objectives and 45% are assessed to lack a clear plan to reach their goals (interestingly, energy companies scored above average on both of these metrics, at 16% and 27%, which squares with our own experience that some sectors are working hard to tackle CO2).

Another key question is scope. We were impressed to find that 50% of companies are including Scope 3 emissions in their decarbonization targets.

Finally, the list is substantively composed of large public companies, of which 40% are in Europe, 30% are in the US, 15% in Japan, c5% in both Australia and Canada. Clearly if you are a large public company, operating in these geographies, then investors are increasingly going to start ‘marking you down’ if you do not have clear decarbonization targets. On the other hand, private companies and emerging world companies are vastly under-represented in this data-file, which will re-awaken old fears over industrial leakage, and re-iterates the need for practical and economic decarbonization.

In the spirit of open source data, our clean-up of the database is free to download, in case it is useful for you, or helps inform your own company’s decarbonization targets.

Is the world investing enough in energy?

Global energy investment in 2020-21 has been running 10% below the level needed on our roadmap to net zero. Under-investment is steepest for solar, wind and gas. Under-appreciated is that each $1 dis-invested from fossil fuels must be replaced with $25 in renewables, to add the same new energy supplies. Future energy capex requirements are staggering. These are the conclusion in our 14-page note.

CO2 liquefaction: the economics?

The purpose of this data-file is to model the economics of liquefying CO2 for transportation in a ship, rail car or truck, in order to facilitate the rise of CCS, especially at smaller scales.

Our baseline is a cost of $15/ton, using c100kWh of energy per ton of CO2, which is approximately equivalent to a c3% energy penalty on the combustion process that generated the original CO2. There is scope for optimization, including from demand shifting.

Our calculations are based on a literature review of technical papers, and aggregating data into the energy costs of CO2 liquefaction, across different pressures and temperatures.

Electric motors: variable star?

Variable frequency drives precisely control motors. Amazingly they could reduce global electricity demand by c10%. We expect a sharp acceleration due to sustained energy shortages, increasingly renewable-heavy grids and excellent 20-50% IRRs. Hence this 14-page note reviews the opportunity and who benefits.

US CO2 emissions by industrial facility size?

This data-file has aggregated the annual CO2 emissions from 2,500 facilities, in eight industries, which explain one-third of all US CO2 emissions. Our aim is to quantify the emissions by facility, to understand whether CCS can ‘take the edge off’?

Our conclusions are that many coal plants may be ‘too large’ to decarbonize with CCS, whereas many ethanol plants are likely too small. The best candidates are c100 specific facilities in the cement,  steel and ammonia industries, which are the “right size”, have  concentrated CO2 emissions and explain around 2% of all US CO2 emissions.

Integrated energy: a new model?

This 14-page note lays out a new model to supply fully carbon-neutral energy to a cluster of commercial and industrial consumers, via an integrated package of renewables, low-carbon gas back-ups and nature based carbon removals. This is remarkable for three reasons: low cost, high stability, and full technical readiness. The prize may be very large.

Heat pumps: a screen of providers and reviews?

This data-file tabulates our subjective opinions on c20 different heat pump companies, and our own preferences to use their heat pump on a future European residential heating project.

Factors we have considered include pricing, reliability, efficiency, company size, the range of models, integration with home smart energy systems, and visual/acoustic properties.

A large portion of the work was based on tabulating customer reviews, from online forums. A key challenge is opacity, as many companies do not provide full pricing details on their models or have many customer reviews.

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2022.