Friday, November 04, 2011

Sauer Energy (SENY) Brings Yet Another VAWT To Market

I got a glossy promotional brochure from Carpenter Global Stock Advisory about some wind company called Sauer Energy (SENY).  I'm uniquely qualified to evaluate companies pushing vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) because I consulted for one in 2007.  It went nowhere.  Other companies won't have much better luck.

Sauer Energy would have to do everything right and then some to ever be profitable.  VAWT configurations only generate a fraction of the energy a horizontal  (HAWT) configuration can generate.  I won't bore you with the improbability of ever capturing an economically worthwhile amount of energy in the urban market from small wind turbines.  That's discussed admirably well at Paul Gipe's site.  I shake my head whenever I see small wind turbine makers tout their product as perfect for the urban market, complete with photos of a solitary turbine propped on someone's building.  Mounting turbines will be unworkable in most urban areas due to permitting restrictions and structural limitations.  Vibrations from these things will shake your home.  Noise will bother your neighbors. 

The management team has zero expertise in engineering.  Their other claims of expertise are irrelevant for a technology-intensive enterprise.  OMG, the photo of a glass-walled office building on their "About Us" page is disquieting; I wonder whether their offices look anything like that in reality.

Their financial results . . . well, the numbers speak for themselves.  Sauer had zero revenue in 2009 and 2010, and so far in 2011 they haven't earned any revenue.  Their net income went from ($13k) in 2009 to ($215k) in 2010.  They have burned through all of the cash they raised from issuing equity and now must borrow to keep pouring money into . . . what exactly?  Their 10-Q for the quarter ending May 31, 2011 shows them spending far more on consulting fees and investor relations than on R&D.  Most successful tech entrepreneurs would tell you that's the reverse of the emphasis needed to win. 

Folks, there are other ways to invest in wind energy besides small VAWT makers.  Throw away glossy promotions and do plenty of homework, including calculations of a fan's swept area (the single most important factor in wind energy). 

Full disclosure:  No position in SENY at this time (nor will I ever have anything to do with this company).