The Essex GEOS Clean Slate Issue 4

The Essex GEOS Clean Slate

Essex GEOS | Global Environmental Opportunities Strategy

How impactful is your portfolio?


A bi-weekly synopsis of articles and blogs on new technologies, recent developments and other items of interest in the clean tech and new energy arena. This newsletter is intended to provide food for thought and is not intended in any way as an investment recommendation in any of the companies or technologies mentioned herein. Please see further disclosures at the end of this newsletter. Please visit our website at www.essexinvest.com. By clicking on the links below, you will be redirected to websites maintained by third party provider.

ISSUE #4:  March 20, 2018

 

Water Infrastructure

As pointed out in a prior Clean Slate issue a couple of weeks ago, South Africa is approaching Day Zero when vast swaths of the country will be without water.  While the water issue is reaching crisis levels in South Africa, water scarcity is a global issue that is having profound effects on people and industry alike.  The water infrastructure is in dire need of upgrade and development in order to more effectively transport, monitor, recycle and reuse this precious resource.  In the US alone, it is estimated that we will need to invest more than $1 trillion over the next 25 years to fix our aging water infrastructure.

https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2018-03-19/water-and-money-have-a-1-trillion-relationship-crisis

 

The Farm of the Future?

Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle is bringing his technology background to the farm.  Recently, Ellison announced the formation of Sensei, Inc., a hydroponic farm and wellness company that he has started with author Dr. David Agus.  Unlike many other farm startups that seek to increase yield per acre, Sensei will use technology and a variety of sensors to increase nutrition per acre.  It helps when you own an island in Hawaii (as Ellison does) to provide a fertile testing environment.  Sensei will be an interesting endeavor to watch:

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/19/billionaire-larry-ellison-has-a-new-consumer-wellness-company-called-sensei/

 

Battery Improvements

Over the past couple of decades, improvements in the energy density and cost of lithium battery technology have progressed meaningfully.  But most of these advancements have been incremental improvements due to tweaks in the chemistry of the cathodes or improvements in manufacturing efficiency and supply chain improvements.  Now, it would appear that we are on the cusp of a more meaningful breakthrough in reducing battery costs due to improvements in the anode technology:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-battery-boost-weve-been-waiting-for-is-only-a-few-years-out-1521374401

 

Bill Joy on Clean Tech Investing

Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, is one of the most successful tech investors over the past thirty years.  Not to be outdone by fellow tech billionaire Larry Ellison (noted above), he too has now turned his acumen to investing in technologies that will positively change the world.  Specifically, he recently discussed three investments that he has made to help advance clean technology and improve the environment.  These investments include a solid-state battery startup that seeks to outperform current lithium ion technology, an aerated cement that absorbs carbon dioxide and the production of meat from plant sources.  It certainly seems like an eclectic array of challenges:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2017/10/31/technology-environment/?utm_term=.0d45394a4853

 

March Madness

The month of March has come in like a lion, and remained as such with no lambs in sight, as the Eastern Seaboard has been hit with multiple nor’easters, the latest during this writing. While scientists are careful to not directly correlate day-to-day weather severity in direct causal fashion to climate change, evidence is now linking Arctic temperature gains to extreme winter weather. After studying more than 60 years of data on U.S. and Arctic weather patterns, a recent study published in Nature Communications finds a link between the warmer Arctic weather and extreme weather on the East Coast:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/arctic-warm-spells-linked-to-nasty-winter-weather-on-east-coast/
Storm Preparedness

The last three East Coast nor’easters caused millions to be without power, the result of heavy snow and strong winds attacking power lines and sub-stations. We believe that distributed energy sources such as solar power systems coupled with energy storage and micro-grids will make blackouts a thing of the past as battery storage systems decline in price. A few weeks ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finalized a rule that will allow energy storage to compete against power plants in wholesale power markets. Under the ruling, battery storage systems can be used by electrical grid operators to dispatch power, set energy prices, and offer capacity, energy and ancillary services:

https://www.ferc.gov/media/news-releases/2018/2018-1/02-15-18-E-1.asp#.WqHL2CVG3RY

 


Important Disclosures:

The opinions and analyses expressed in this newsletter are based on Essex Investment Management Company, LLC’s (“Essex”) research and professional experience, and are expressed as of the date of our mailing.  Certain information expressed represents Essex’s opinion and assessment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast or guarantee of future results, nor is it intended to speak to any future periods.  Essex makes no warranty or representation, express or implied, nor does Essex accept any liability, with respect to the information and data set forth herein, and Essex specifically disclaims any duty to update any of the information and data contained herein.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase any security or investment product, nor does it constitute a recommendation to invest in any particular security. Any individual securities listed herein do not currently represent any securities purchased, sold, or recommended to clients.

An investment in securities is speculative and involves a high degree of risk and could result in the loss of all or a substantial portion of the amount invested. The reader should not assume that investments in the securities described were or will be profitable. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

The information and data in this newsletter does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, investment or other professional advice.  Certain information contained herein has been obtained from third party sources and such information has not been independently verified by Essex. No representation, warranty, or undertaking, expressed or implied, is given to the accuracy or completeness of such third party information

Any projections, market outlooks or estimates contained herein are forward-looking statements and are based upon certain assumptions. Other events which were not taken into account may occur. Any projections, outlooks or assumptions should not be construed to be indicative of the actual events.