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 February-2021, it contains 200 differentiated views on 100 public companies.

The Top 40 Private Companies for an Energy Transition

This data-file presents the ‘top 40’ 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.

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.

Integrated gas and renewable power?

This data-file considers how to supply 100MWe and 1,000GWH pa of energy to a mid-sized consumer: reliably, at a low-cost and with zero net CO2 emissions. We think this is possible at a delivered power price below 10c/kWh, which is highly competitive.

The model captures the costs, gross CO2 intensity and nature-based offset requirements from a mixture of wind, solar, CHPs and gas turbines.

Following this model could create great potential for an integrated gas and power company, while supplying a complete, zero-carbon energy solution to consumers in the energy transition.

Heat pumps: hot and cold?

Some policymakers now aspire to ban gas boilers and ramp heat pumps 10x by 2050. In theory, the heat pump technology is superior. But in practice, there are ten challenges. Outright gas boiler bans could become a political disaster. The most likely outcome is a 0-2% pullback in European gas by 2030. We have also screened leading heat pump manufacturers in this 18-page note.

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.

Gas turbines: what market size in energy transition?

Combined heat and power systems are 20-30% lower-carbon than today’s gas turbines, as they capture waste heat. They are also increasingly economical to backstop renewable-heavy grids. Amidst uncertain policies, the ultimate market size for US CHPs could vary by a factor of 100x. We nevertheless find 30 companies well-placed in a $9trn global market.

Turquoise hydrogen from methane pyrolysis: economics?

Turquoise hydrogen is produced by thermal decomposition of methane at high temperatures, from 600-1,200◦C.

The advantage of this process is that 3 kg of ‘carbon black’ are produced per kg of methane. This allows passable IRRs at lower costs than blue of green hydrogen.

The disadvantage is that methane decomposition is endothermic, thus an exterior energy source is required. If this energy source is natural gas, then around 2.6kg of CO2 will be produced by kg of hydrogen.

In turn, low-carbon turquoise hydrogen could be produced from low-carbon electricity (most likely a mixture of wind, solar, nuclear and hydro). Now the cost is more than blue hydrogen, but still very competitive versus green. This data-file quantifies the economics (above) and capex costs (below)

Remaining challenges are high capex costs at small scale, monetizing carbon black, the tendency of carbon ‘coking’ to clog up catalysts and reactors, the hunt for a reliable catalyst and ‘molten’ reactor design, and early technical readiness, as summarized in the final ‘notes’ tab of the model.


Combined heat and power turbines: market sizing?

The purpose of this data-file is to ballpark the ultimate potential market size for combined heat and power systems in the US (CHPs), most probably powered by natural gas, but possibly also biogas or hydrogen.

Our build-up looks across five main categories: large power facilities, large industrial heating facilities, landfill gas, electric vehicle charging and smaller-scale commercial and multi-family usage.

Our main conclusion is that ultimate market sizing could vary by a factor of 100x. Please download the data-file for our base case estimates on the potential market size.

Landfill gas: rags to riches?

Methane emissions from landfills account for 2% of global CO2e. c70% of these emissions could easily be abated for c$5/ton, simply by capturing and flaring the methane. Going further, low cost uses of landfill gas in heat and power can also make good sense. But vast subsidies for landfill gas upgrading, RNG vehicles and biogas-to-jet may not be cost-effective.