"Renewable energy is, like, so hot."

Settle down, Paris. But you're right. Oil's relapse to sub-$60 per barrel notwithstanding, (non-oil company) investors, industry, and consumers are all mighty interested in finding non-hydrocarbon-based ways to fuel their vehicles and heat their buildings. Capitalizing on that trend is Energy Conversion Devices (NASDAQ:ENER), also known as ECD Ovonics, a $1.6 billion company that just a few days ago was a $1.5 billion company.

The reason for the 8% bump in market cap can be found in the firm's fiscal Q1 2007 earnings report, released Thursday. Therein, we read that Q1 sales rose 17% in comparison with last year. Even better, the firm's losses as calculated under generally accepted accounting principles contracted from $0.21 per share a year ago to $0.06 per share. From a cash profits perspective, the news was perhaps better still: In contrast to last year's $6 million in negative cash from operations, the firm came within an ion's breadth of breaking even on cash flow in Q1 2007. Though, admittedly, rapidly mounting capital spending of $26.5 million this quarter knocked its free cash flow deep into the red.

And yet, as encouraging as the numbers were, it's the prose portion of Energy Conversion Devices' report that left this Fool most impressed -- specifically, the sections discussing the "Cobasys" joint venture with Chevron (NYSE:CVX). According to the release, Cobasys remains "the only United States-based supplier of NiMH (nickel metal hydride)-battery systems for hybrid electric vehicles." (It's also got a foothold in hybrid-first-mover Japan, where Matsushita Electric (NYSE:MC) licenses its technology for use in building hybrid batteries for use in Toyota's (NYSE:TM) ubiquitous Prius.)

Although the release didn't break down Cobasys' contribution to Energy Conversion Devices' increased revenue, the firm's 10-Q does provide details on this subject. Specifically, it shows that Cobasys nearly quintupled its revenues year over year, to $3.4 million in Q1. Returning to the earnings release, we're led to believe that much of the new revenues are coming from General Motors (NYSE:GM), which is buying "commercial volumes" of Cobasys' hybrid batteries for use in its Saturn VUE Green Line hybrid SUV. Presumably, when the Detroit behemoth fields its Aura Green Line sedan, this will add still more revenues to Energy Conversion Devices' shared pot. Finally, the release says that Enova Systems (AMEX:ENA) has selected Cobasys to provide hybrid batteries for use in "service vans for a major North American fleet operator." I don't know exactly what that means, but it sounds good to me.

The 8% boost in the stock price suggests Mr. Market likes the sound of it, too.

For more details on General Motors' hybrid foray, which may shed light on the potential profits in store for Energy Conversion Devices, read:

For a fun way to do research on stocks, check out CAPS , the Fool's new investment community. Trying to get ahead in the game? The Fool has a newsletter for almost every type of investor.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.