November 14, 2014

Duracell and BYD Branded Together. A Battery Powerhouse?

by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

Another good investment Mr Buffett.

Warren Buffett, with his company Berkshire Hathaway, has purchased battery maker Duracell from Proctor and Gamble for roughly $4.7 billion. Duracell, one of the most respected names in the battery business, is best known for its primary, disposable, alkaline batteries, but makes a wide variety of electro-chemistries like zinc-air, lithium-ion, nickel-metal-hydride even lead-acid car and marine batteries.

Berkshire Hathaway, also has about a 10 percent share in China's BYD. As of yet BYD, or Build Your Dreams, is not a household name in the US. But just wait.

BYD sells all kinds of things in China, particularly conventional cars, electric cars, electric buses, solar panels, LED lights and, of late, battery energy storage systems connected to renewable and distributed energy power plants.

The company has been selling a significant number of its electric buses in various spots around the globe, and now makes these buses in California. BYD also builds the world's largest electric vehicle, the Lancaster, in its corporate shops in Lancaster, California. The 60-foot, articulated battery-electric bus can go 170 plus miles with as many as 120 passengers.

The BYD e-buses are just the beginning of BYD's North American vehicular debut. Soon, possibly next year, BYD electric cars will be here. And they could do very well.

BYD builds one of the best lithium batteries in the business. Electrochemically they're known as lithium iron phosphate, or LiFePO. This chemistry might have lower energy density than other types, but the batteries, reportedly, have longer lifetimes, better power density (the rate at which electricity can be drawn from them), they are considered safer than other types and are fully recyclable.

So, do you see what I'm getting at here? A well-known brand, Duracell, working under the same corporate hat as a maker of electric vehicles and their excellent batteries, has to be a good thing.

Speaking of building dreams, what about these? A BYD EV powered by Duracell. (There's a name Americans could trust.) Or how about this? BYD batteries built in US Duracell plants. Or to stretch it even further: How about Duracell-BYD batteries as energy storage for renewable energy facilities operated other by Berkshire Hathaway holdings such as MidAmerican Energy or PacificCorp? Wouldn't that be cool.

Warren Buffett is known for buying up businesses he understands. He may not know the high- tech details of battery chemistries, but he certainly knows what batteries are used for. The companies he purchases become better companies under Berkshire Hathaway: Slicker, more polished is a good way to describe them. As a result they usually get more profitable.

He hasn't really made a definitive stand on climate change/global warming, by the way. However, his, and Berkshire Hathaway's investments, have certainly been good for zero emission energy. Duracell should turn out to be another good investment for him and the planet as well.

 

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