Clean Slate Newsletter Issue #5

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ISSUE #5:  April 13, 2018

 More on Next Generation Lithium-Ion Battery Technology

In the prior issue of Clean Slate, we highlighted the efforts being made to increase the effectiveness of lithium-ion batteries through advancements in the materials used in the anode.  Sila Nanotechnologies is an example of one startup that is attempting to improve batteries by increasing the amount of silicon used in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries.  Silicon can significantly increase the energy density of batteries as silicon can hold greater volumes of lithium ions versus the typical graphite used in traditional anodes.  One major challenge is that silicon rich anodes degrade rapidly within just a few short charging cycles.  Sila claims to have a technology that overcomes many of the shortcomings of silicon anodes.  The company was founded by an early Tesla employee and has recently partnered with BMW to develop better batteries for electric vehicles:  

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610792/this-battery-advance-could-make-electric-vehicles-far-cheaper/

 

Saudi Arabia and Masayoshi Son Go Big

Softbank and Saudi recently announced a partnership to invest approximately $200 million to install 200 GW of solar panels in Saudi Arabia by 2030.  This is significantly larger than the previously discussed Saudi Arabian targets of 50 GW of installations.  It is sometimes difficult to grasp the magnitude of some of these announcements, so we thought we would try to provide a few facts to demonstrate just how much 200 GW of solar really is.  In 2017, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated that global solar installations were 98 GW, so Saudi Arabia will be installing more solar than was built throughout the entire world last year.   Assuming the average solar panel today produces close to 300 watts of power, the 200 GW of solar projects would require more than 650 million solar panels and probably need about 500,000 acres of land.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/27/softbank-and-saudi-arabia-announce-new-solar-power-generation-project.html

 

New Zealand Looks Beyond Fossil Fuel

While a small economy not driven significantly by the energy sector, New Zealand’s Prime Minister announced it will stop issuing permits for new offshore oil and gas exploration as it strives to combat climate change through a goal of carbon neutrality. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern announced a goal of zero emissions by 2050, and an economy powered by 100% renewables by 2035.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/world/asia/new-zealand-ban-oil-drilling.html

 

European Utilities Move to U.S. to Embrace Disruption

Over the past ten years, as renewable energies have mainstreamed in Europe, utilities have had to adapt, investing and harnessing disruptive, low carbon energy sources as coal fired energy sources have waned given competition and government policies in favor of renewables. European utilities embraced renewables before their North American peers, and, anticipating the same industry progression in the U.S, have begun to acquire assets across the Atlantic.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/03/06/engie-north-america-secures-320-mw-solar-pipeline-socore-energy-acquisition/


You should carefully consider the Fund's investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses before investing.  This and other important information is contained in the Fund's prospectus and summary prospectus, which should be read carefully before investing.  To obtain a fund prospectus or summary prospectus, call (800) 700-9929.  The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC.

 Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.  There is no guarantee that the fund will meet its investment objective.  Because the Adviser's GEOS criteria exclude securities of certain issuers for non-financial reasons, the Fund may forego some market opportunities available to funds that do not follow the environmental themes inherent in the GEOS strategy.

As of 3/31/18, the Fund's top ten holdings are FANUC CORP (4.18%), Philips Lighting NC (4.11%), Xylem, Inc. (3.93%), Keyence Corp. (3.37%), TPI Composites, Inc. (3.54%), Umicore SA (3.32%), Sensata Technologies Holding NV (3.22%), Kornit Digital, Ltd. (3.10%), Raven Industries, Inc. (3.01%), and Itron Inc. (2.97%)

 
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.