Dec 14

Hydrodec Re-refines Transformer Oils and Removes PCB Contaminants
Hydrodec is a London, UK based firm that recovers oil from electrical transformers. The firm trades on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker HYR. The company was born in 2001 in Australia, launched on the LSE in 2004, and opened its first plant in Australia in 2006. A second plant opened in the US in 2008, and the firm recently signed a joint-venture agreement with a Japanese firm to a construct a processing facility in Japan.

Electrical transformers throughout the world require special oil, known as transformer oil, for insulation and cooling. Transformer oils are highly and engineered, and are an essential part of the functioning of the transformer. However, they are subject to breakdown from thermal stress, and therefore require periodic replacement. Some oils can be sold into a secondary market and used for a variety of purposes as lower grade oils. In many cases, however, transformer oils are contaminated with PCBs and therefore cannot be reused.

Hydrodec buys used transformer oils on a spot market. It then uses its own patented process to re-refine transformer oils. The re-refined oils are then sold back into the higher value market for transformer oils, instead of into lower value markets. The process allows indefinite re-refining of transformer oils, reducing the demand for new oil production for transformers. The firm also has a patented process that removes PCBs from transformer oils, eliminating the necessity to dispose the contaminated oil. A critical benefit of Hydrodec’s refining process is that it produces no hazardous by-products. Even PCBs are entirely broken down and rendered harmless.

Both the Australian and US facilities serve both local and export markets, and grew total volumes by nearly 100 percent from 2009 to 2010. The firm only recently received regulatory approval in the US for its PCB process. It expects that approval will create higher volumes in the near future.

Since June, the price has, despite the crash in the Euro, risen by 25%

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Jul 28

Proton Power Systems is, to put it delicately, a company that hasn’t quite hit its stride just yet. The company produces hybrid electric fuel cells that can supplement or back up traditional fossil-fuel-based engines during heavy industrial applications. However, a switch to fully electric cells often doesn’t provide the necessary energy for most industrial uses such as materials handling or mass transit.

Proton Power Systems’ proprietary hybrid electric fuel cells aim to solve the paradox involved with clean energy, which is that it often doesn’t provide the necessary power for heavy tasks. The cells connect with existing engines or generators to offer compromise solutions that can work according to each company’s individual needs. When using the hybrid cell, companies achieve lower fuel consumption, less emissions and consistent power delivery.

The company has been on the Alternative Investment Markets (AIM) for nearly five years now, and while shares were initially offered at significantly inflated prices due to the rush toward green energy, they have since stabilised at a level more consistent with the company’s profits and viability. Proton Power Systems is still a viable company, but it is heavily in debt. Its losses have been significantly greater than its profits for the past five years in a row. While the company has made significant advances in hybrid fuel cell technology, they haven’t been enough to turn the company into a profitable endeavour.

Nevertheless, the company has a a few bright spots. Its loss margins have decreased from year to year, and 2011 could be the year that PPS ends in the black. With a variety of industrial and mass transit clients looking for ways to save money on fuel, Proton Power Systems has a plan for moving forward. Furthermore, oil prices are expected to remain expensive, increasing demand for hybrid electric motors and fuel cells. This all potentially makes PPS an attractive candidate for future investment at rock-bottom prices.

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Jul 14

ITM Power is dedicated to producing commercially viable hydrogen power sources. The technology for these sources already exists; it simply requires a company with the capital and know-how to bring it to the world. By using water electrolysis, a technique invented over two centuries ago, to separate hydrogen from oxygen, energy can be stored in fuel cells and released.

Hydrogen fuel cells use the same technology that powered space ships, just on a smaller scale. Factories and even personal vehicles may one day use ITM Power’s technology. Just like computers decreased in size from mainframes to personal computers, ITM Power is facilitating the process of decreasing hydrogen engines in size.

As of the end of 2010, many industries and companies around the UK have agreed to allow ITM Power to conduct on-site hydrogen power trials. Some high-profile examples include public services provider Amey, glass repair company AutoGlass, motor vehicle services provider RAC and maintenance services provider Enterprise. These companies share with ITM Power a dedication to promoting the welfare of the environment as well as a desire to stop using so many fossil fuels. The waste products of gasoline pollute the environment, while the waste products of electrolysis and hydrogen fueling are simply water and oxygen.

In the Alternative Investment Markets (AIM), ITM Power has been buffeted by the winds of the global recession as much as any other company. It reached its low in early 2009, and slowly increased in value until early 2011, when it fell again. The markets are waiting to see the outcome of ITM Power’s hydrogen trials begun in late 2010. If these trials lead to solid results, the price of ITM on AIM is likely to shoot back up. In its early days, the company was quite volatile, and in the current period, the stock is also likely to show a lot of volatility.

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Jun 16

Currently the UK’s leading coal mine methane producer, Alkane Energy was founded in 2006. It has had some troubles in as a company, but in recent years its business seen tremendous growth in a variety of sectors. In addition to designing, building and operating power power plants fuelled by methane gas, the company has established a significant market share in the methane extraction industry from a diverse set of sources. These sources include coal mine methane (CMM), biogas, conventional gas and landfills.

Coal Mine Methane

Abandoned coal mines are rich sources of methane gas. As experts with the complex tools and techniques used to extract methane from coal seams, Alkane Energy expects CMM to be one of its main sources of revenue growth in the medium to long term. Alkane Energy currently holds a 2% market share in coal mine methane extraction. This market is growing in size and scope.


In 2010, Alkane Energy announced that it had begun development on its first biogas plant. Biogas plants utilise organic agricultural waste products to provide methane gas, which can then be fed through power plants to provide clean, reliable energy. By using a method known as anaerobic digestion, Alkane Energy will provide cheap energy to inhabitants of the Whitwell area in North Derbyshire. Biogas currently provides about 1% of Alkane’s total produced energy, but this is expected to grow as demand for biogas plants becomes greater throughout the UK, particularly in rural areas.

Alkane Energy has invested heavily in these two areas over the past several years and is only now beginning to see results on its balance sheet. The company is poised to take off in the Alternative Investment Markets, making it a very attractive investment for investors who want to take advantage of the growing demand for green energy.

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Jun 10

Company Overview:

Ascent Resources Plc, an European focused, independent oil and gas company, has a balanced portfolio of projects ranging from revenue generating production projects, low-risk development and redevelopment projects, to high-return appraisal and exploration projects. Headquartered in London, the company conducts its operations primarily onshore in five western and central European countries: Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Hungary, and Slovenia.

The European onshore focus strategy has provided the company with a range of low-cost oil and gas projects, well-developed infrastructure, and a stable legal and political framework. Doing business right here in Europe, the company, an operator for most of its projects, is able to utilise local operating entities maximising their expertise.

Shares in the company (AST) are quoted in LSE’s AIM sub-market and were at 3.63p as of 8 June 2010. Although priority is now on reserve growth over production, 2010 is expected to be cash flow positive. The company relies on its highly experienced management team to provide a solid platform to grow and generate value for shareholders.

Operations Breakdown:

Ascent Resources uses a combination of debt and equity to fund its development projects, but farms out exploration projects to mitigate risk. The company currently has six development and redevelopment projects, four appraisal projects, and five exploration projects. The utilising modern exploration and development techniques of 3-D seismic has provided 100% success in the company’s last 4 wells.

All the company’s development projects involve shallow, conventional, either oil or gas, reservoirs that require relatively low production costs. Two redevelopment projects mainly concern the recovery of the remaining reserves that had been previously developed and later were in production but probably without the benefit of using 3-D seismic.

Appraisal projects center on prior discoveries that are never fully developed. In many cases, appraisal wells are drilled to confirm the development of these discoveries. Two of the company’s five exploration projects are multiple gas plays, which are a bright spot, considering there is a strong demand for gas production in the market .

The scale of its portfolio has kept the company on an active footing and it has gotten a significant amount of work scheduled across the portfolio for 2010.

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