?Friday March 6, 2020 – the markets are still feeling pressure globally and we all all looking for solutions. Following on our Monday Morning podcast, Granger Whitelaw features MOPO, a company leading Vietnam’s renewable energy market – and partnering along the way. Grab your coffee and turn up the volume, we hope you enjoy !
Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability.
Listen to the full episode at link here:
Granger Whitelaw: Good morning, Friday morning.
Granger Whitelaw here with the Lotus Talks. We are just taking March by storm. March 6th, Friday today. Hope you guys are all having a great start to your weekend and a great end to your week. It has been another volatile week on wall street and in the Asian markets. Asian markets did see some recovery this week, definitely posting some gains. Wall street opened up Thursday morning down 3% closed down 3%. Not a good indicator for the rest of the market. But I think the craziness here is, is crazy… over-stated, fear and panic. The markets definitely needed correction anyway, but this seems to be a little bit overboard. What I’m seeing. ?
Granger Whitelaw: Sorry, I’m having my coffee. So, Monday we were speaking about, renewable energy and partnerships and things that you can do to really look at improving your business in a down market. We are certainly in a down market right now, a bear market as they say, Southeast Asia is starting to see a big impact, but you’ll notice China is starting to — start up again. Vietnam certainly has done a phenomenal job of containing the Corona virus and the effects of it on the population. And they’ve been commended for that globally. So, hats off to the government in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and everywhere in between for doing such a great job protecting the, the people here, all of us are appreciative of that. ?
Granger Whitelaw: So today on Friday notes I want to feature a company, a company that I know well actually, as I sit on the board of this company for full disclosure. A company that’s in renewable energy, renewable energy or green energy as we say, and has been gaining recognition and becoming increasingly aware to all of us because of the health problems, environmental destruction and other impacts that result from pollution caused by our everyday energy use. Green energy and renewable energy are here to help mitigate that, and hopefully do away with the majority of it completely over the next century or decade really. ?
Granger Whitelaw: consumers cause air pollution, all of us by the energy we use in our homes and our vehicles – energy we use to produce and deliver the goods and services that we manufacture. supply chains that we deliver through trains, automobiles, trucks, et cetera. And the conventional methods of energy generation. We talked about that Monday, the coal plants, certainly here in Vietnam, they’re looking at stopping the use of those coal plants as soon as they can. Replacing that with other types of renewable energy and this is incredibly important for us. It’s becoming more apparent every day. I woke up this morning and looked out and saw a cover of haze, but it’s not haze, It’s pollution and it’s sad to feel like – ?and this is a hot time of the year and it’s muggy and pollution is worse certainly, than other times of the year when you have the rainy season, when it washes away that, that, pollution in the afternoons and really helps reset. ?On the IQ air visual today, for instance, it’s, about 55 right now, which is not bad at all. If you look at Miami, Florida for instance, is 50, but it’ll increase quickly this morning as people wake up. And, unfortunately Hanoi, the AQI is 221 and that’s at 7:00 AM. So it’s not a Hanoi issue. It’s not a Ho Chi Minh issue. It’s not a Vietnam issue. It’s a global issue. And, and how we can all help to fix this, is really the question, right that we all try to answer and we all have good intent to do. ?
Granger Whitelaw: So today I want to talk about a company called Power Centric. Power centric is a company that was founded in 2016. In 2018 they had implemented more than 300 kilowatts of power projects in Vietnam and continuing to do that through, 2019 with rooftop solar projects and large scale industrial projects with over 5 megawatts of power. Solar company, certainly is where they started. Ben Nguyen and when is the CEO and has done a great job of looking at this problem. he is a Viet Kieu who grew up obviously in Vietnam and at a very young age about nine would depart it to the U. S was educated there, worked in energy and gas trading actually and saw this global problem and decided he wanted to make a difference and he created this company and brought it to Vietnam. ?
Granger Whitelaw: You may know the company by the name of Mopo, M O P O modular power or mobile power. Mopo was featured on shark tank about a year and a half ago. they were awarded a $1 million award from Shark Hung, one of the original or the original shark actually here in Vietnam. It is the largest award of any in Asia on any Shark Tank and the top 10 in the world, which says a lot about the importance of this issue and the efficacy of what Ben is doing. Mopo and the team in district nine and the high-tech park are doing a number of things. They have power converters, ?storage and generators, smart battery charging and swapping systems. And those would be used for electric vehicles, obviously, – ?and solar power systems for household, for your office, factories and major commercial projects. So they really looked at the whole ecosystem and Ben’s mission is really to help reduce worldwide dependence on fossil fuels by providing affordable and clean energy solutions for everyone. And he’s really real about this. He lives and breathes it. One of my associates in the United States who you all know, Elon Musk who started Tesla, and has a battery company that he has started, a solar company, He has started and these guys are really a lot of like, and I actually featured Ben in a magazine in the Lotus magazine back in December, but I have a featured his company on the podcast. So I wanted to do that because it’s a timely issue. ?
Granger Whitelaw: So, in the objectives of manufacturing, state of the art, power storage and generation systems that are ready, reliable and easy to use, you have to do a lot of design work and you have to provide solutions with clean and environmentally friendly energy sources. You also need to get people to change the habits and promote responsible behavior for environmental protection in the use of clean green energy and renewable sources. And that’s not an easy thing to do, right Getting people to change their behavior, is difficult. And developing and building and modern and reliable, easy to use. Intelligent storage system is key. ? ?
Granger Whitelaw: So, let’s talk about some of products. They have patent pending power systems. They use stackable and interchangeable battery charger and inverter modules for power storage and generation that scalable from one kilowatt to one megawatt and beyond. Now when I say stackable, think about storage, right – And stackable like Legos. When you put Legos together and you can click one Lego onto the other, Legos like kids play with. ?That is a really huge breakthrough because battery storage is key. There’s a lot of talk about solar and there’s a lot of talk about electric vehicles, but if you don’t have proper storage you have a major problem because you can gather all this energy, but you have to be able to store it. And then you have large scale storage, which is fine for industrial, but you need mobile storage. You need to be able to kind of like the things you take around, you know for your cell phones, mobile storage meaning for taking storage to remote places like if you want to go onto your boat and go fishing and power a boat. If you want to go camping, if you want to have storage units for your office that do not require tearing up buildings and floors and walls, to put infrastructure in. There’re all types of different ways to use mobile storage, but first you have to have the batteries. Power Centric or MOPO is the only lithium ion battery company in Vietnam. The global battery energy storage system market is expected to reach $500 billion by 2025. Obviously, rising consumer awareness toward energy efficiency coupled with the shifting trends toward renewable energy utilization will drive the energy storage systems and the market size. ?
Granger Whitelaw: For instance, according to the international energy agency, the share of renewables in electricity generation is anticipated to reach 40% by 2040, and in addition to increasing demand for continuous power supply and effective load management or positively influence the product demand. So you got to have the storage right – and lithium ion batteries is what you need, not lead acid, lead acid batteries destroy the environment. You have seen them. Certainly, if you’re an ex Pat, you grew up with them and your cars and they corrode and you see that led acid corroding around the, the contacts. most of the batteries in Vietnam are lead acid. not only do they die and lose their, their, recharge-ability and storage capability after a year, 8 months, 14 months, I mean somewhere in there. but you can’t dispose of them in a, in a environmentally friendly. So having a lithium ion battery is the solution. According to a new study by fact.mr sales of lithium ion batteries have exceeded 151 million units as of 2019. And the global lithium ion battery market size is going to be over 100 billion in the next three years. ?
Granger Whitelaw: Demand for energy in the ASEAN market has grown as much as 7.5% year over year. And we all know this is a massive issue as ASEAN and currently accounts for almost 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And that is substantially because of the population growth, the industrial growth and the use of these two-stroke motorcycles and all the, automobiles. So we have to figure this out, and MOPO is doing that. They’re stackable batteries. You can actually take one, stack it onto another, stack it onto another so that you can use them to power your air conditioning at home. You’re in a blackout, you can use them to power your laptop or your desktop & home appliances ?
Granger Whitelaw: and EVs, electric motorcycles. We are using the mobile battery in the Benfe motorcycle that we are designing right now for Vietnam. And it’s phenomenal. The batteries last for days without a recharge. And this is the key, same thing as Tesla is trying to figure out, right Battery length. How long can a normal battery last while a? Mopo battery will last for a thousand charges, right Guaranteed. But you still had 80% efficacy after that that you can use. But for 100%, it’s about a thousand charges, right That’s a long time. If you charged what every three days, that’s the last five years. So MOPO has done a great job of that with their modular batteries that can be used in hospital devices like ultrasounds, they will use their Mopo max. It’s a 48 volt battery and battery capacity’s 240 – 480 or 960 Watts, has a standard Anderson connector. it needs 54.6 volt charging voltage. ? ?
Granger Whitelaw: And you can manage it with their Mopo app. They have other size batteries and inverters that you can use for schooling, for equipment, for setting up a mobile network for cell towers, remote cell towers that can have a solar panel with an inverter, and then you can add these batteries modularly as you need them. The same as data centers, right Data centers need backup power offices need backup power and you can expand them as your company grows. And the key to that is the communication between about the battery, the battery management system, how you can communicate from one battery to the other and monitor the batteries through an app and through a desktop application, that’s in the cloud so that you can monitor your fleet if you’re using the low battery. and you can monitor each battery in the side, the modular stack, if you had 12 of them and battery four is having a cell issue, you can monitor that – and you can take that battery out an you can swap out another one in six seconds and, and fix the maintenance, maintain or whatever that product, problem is. ?
Granger Whitelaw: And Mopo has done a great job looking at the electric scooter market, the EV market here in Vietnam, they’re starting to deploy charging units that are about three feet high and I don’t know, four and a half inches square that can charge lead acid batteries or lithium batteries. And you can find those in Motul garages across Vietnam because they partnered with Motul They had a problem there. They wanted to solve that problem and they thought, Hmm, how can we provide a safe environment for charging in a place where our customers and our customers being EV manufacturers and their consumers – can go to get their vehicles charged and maintenance done. And they partnered to do that, ?as we’ve talked about. ?
Granger Whitelaw: Smart move. Motul, as we all know, is $1 billion company fuel company. They are a leader in motorcycles, lubricants and industrial as well. They have, thousands of locations around Vietnam and, tens of thousands around Southeast Asia. And this is a perfect plan for getting this tool into the hands of consumers and commercial fleets, and giving them the ability to charge and get maintenance on their cars and scooters and equipment – with a known partner who has the capability to be able to fulfill this. And the scooter market’s huge. It’s all over China and other places in Southeast Asia. It has done a great job of reducing pollution and the faster that we can get to that, the better. Vinfast fast has been a company who has taken a lead here as is Piaggio and others. But until you have the charging infrastructure, the consumers are not going to buy the bikes – and they’re not going to buy the cars because yes, they may charge them at home, but you’re not wanting it. You don’t want to get stuck downtown D1 or D7 or wherever you may be that day at without a charge. So, Ben’s done a great job of doing that and is looking at rolling them out to other areas in the middle of the country to help out the more diverse communities or disparate communities I should say. ?
Granger Whitelaw: So when you look at a renewable energy issue and you look at the total cost of ownership, lithium batteries may be more expensive to purchase, but they have longer lasting life. They have better efficacy, they are renewable – they are recyclable because when you use the max, on the efficacy of the battery, you can then take it and you can recycle it for other uses such as backup battery cells for commercial, for backup storage, et cetera.
Granger Whitelaw: Take a look at Mopo. It’s www.mopolife.com. they are doing great things here in Vietnam. There are a number of other companies in wind and hydro, that I could easily feature as well. but they’re all pretty limited in scope. This is a company that is really offering multiple solutions from consumer to commercial, industrial and a way to expand the market, but really fill in the major thing that everybody needs, which is battery storage. ?
Granger Whitelaw: Thanks for listening to me today. I hope that helped a little bit. I’m talking about a company that is doing and making a difference in the solutions that we talked about on Monday. Hopefully you’re looking at partners out there that you can partner with and solutions that you can deploy to prop your business up in this down market. ?
Granger Whitelaw: ?Until Monday. I hope you have a great weekend. Keep your hands washed. Give your kids a hug, and your loved ones. Spend some fun time with your friends this weekend until Monday. This is Granger Whitelaw for Lotus Talks. Have a great weekend. ?
The Lotus Talks is produced by The Vietnam Group and Hosted?by Granger Whitelaw.
You can subscribe to The Lotus Talks on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
You can learn more about The Lotus & what we do?here.