WM recycling

Plastic Bottle-neck

by Debra Fiakas, CFA In September 2019, the California State Assembly sent out legislation that sets a 10% recycled plastic mandate by 2021 and increases the hurdle rate to 50% by 2030.  The law covers plastic bottles that are already covered under the state’s container redemption program.  Companies will need to use plastic bottles made from recycled plastic such that at least a minimum percentage of the plastic used meets the mandate. Environmentalists and even consumers might be celebrating the new law, but the plastic recycling industry could be less than jubilant.  The recycling news feed is peppered with headlines that reveal some fraying...

UTC Power Introduces the PureCycle 200 Power System: Recycles Waste Heat to Produce Electricity...

United Technologies Corp (UTX) states that their UTC Power division has announced the arrival of the PureCycle(TM) 200 power system, a unique heat-to-electricity technology that recycles waste heat as free fuel to generate electricity. The PureCycle(TM) 200 system operates without emissions and is completely pollution-free, employing a closed-cycle process using technology developed by UTC's Carrier division. In principle, the PureCycle(TM) 200 works like a reverse air-conditioner. Energy is absorbed into the system by a liquid refrigerant that vaporizes when heated. The hot vapor turns a turbine, which drives a generator to create electricity. Later, the hot vapor circulates...

Blue Sphere To Start Biogas Commercial Operations

by Debra Fiakas CFA The Blue Sphere, Inc. (BLSP:  OTC/QB), stock price has weakened in recent months as investors registered their apparent frustration with fundamental developments.  Proposed acquisitions of operating biogas power plants in Italy have taken much longer than expected and majority interest in planned biogas plants in the U.S. were sold into joint venture arrangements rather than held as 100% equity positions.  Despite these developments, Blue Sphere management has doggedly moved forward on all fronts and there has been measurable progress toward first revenue. Commercial operation dates have been set for...

10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2020: Updates on GPP, HASI, CVA

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Market Decline Last week I warned "The risks in today's stock market outweigh the possibility of future potential gains."  Looks like we're seeing those risks manifest in short order.  The last couple days' decline have me looking at a few stocks to start adding to my positions again, especially MiX Telematics (MIXT) discussed on June 2nd and Green Plain Partners (GPP), discussed below. Note that this pullback could easily be very early days of a much larger market decline.  We might even see the market fall far enough to test the March lows... any of my buying...
transit ridership

Earnings Roundup: Covanta, NFI Group, Green Plains Partners

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D., CFA Earnings Season Continues Below are three more updates on second quarter earnings which I've been sharing with my Patreon supporters.  If you'd like to support my writing and see those thoughts in a more timely manner, consider becoming a patron. becoming a patron. For everyone else, I'm reprinting those thoughts below. Covanta Earnings (published August 2nd) Waste to energy company Covanta Holding Corp (CVA) saw most of its business recovering towards the end of the second quarter.  Management is reluctant to predict if the positive trend will continue into the third quarter and for the rest of the year, but...
Pinellas

Covanta Rebounds

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Waste handler Covanta Holding Company (CVA:  NYSE) reported financial results for the first three months of the year at the beginning of May 2020.  True enough the net loss might have been wider than published estimates for the quarter, but the consensus target did not reflect a one-time, non-cash charge for asset impairment.  Indeed, Covanta’s sales climbed year-over-year to $468 million, of which $61 million was converted to operating cash flow.  Waste handling is considered an essential service so Covanta operations remained at full operations even as many of its customers were subject to work stoppages and stay-at-home policies to...

Waste Management: Biogas with a Dividend

by Debra Fiakas CFA The biogas industry has attracted a number of new entrants.  Blue Sphere (BLSP:  OTCQB) described in the recent post “Turning Potato Peels to Power” and RDX Technologies (RDX: TO, described here) are both newcomers to the biogas power generation.  Both companies show much promise and will likely grow dramatically over the next few years.  Shareholders are counting on the stock prices to follow. Investors who are less interested in the big growth play and more interested in stability and current income are not left out.  There are larger, more...

Advanced biofuels pioneer Terrabon files for chapter 7 bankruptcy: One-off or trend?

Jim Lane Closely-watched green gasoline producer collapses as Waste Management (WM) declines next financing round. What does it mean for companies like Fulcrum Bioenergy, Enerkem, Agilyx, Agnion, Renmatix, Genomatica, and InEnTec? The Digest looks at the inside story. In Texas, Terrabon filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection; the company’s operations will cease and a trustee will be tasked with liquidating the company’s assets for the benefit of creditors. The complete Chapter 7 announcement is here. In a statement, Terrabon’s leadership said that company could not obtain additional corporate funding to finish developing and engineering its...

WSTE Not, Want Not

Tom Konrad CFA A truly sustainable economy would produce no waste: everything would be recycled or reused for some productive purpose.  We're a long way from that ideal today, but the rising cost of commodities makes recovering used material through recycling increasingly economic. Further, the rising cost of energy makes converting municipal and industrial waste into advanced biofuels or combusting it to produce electricity an increasingly economic option. Attempting to guess which advanced biofuel technology will be successful strikes me as a fool's errand.  Why not instead invest in the owners of the feedstock?  While I don't...

Blue Sphere’s First Revenue

by Debra Fiakas CFA Blue Sphere (BLSP:  OTC) is continuing to make progress in its strategic plans to build and operate biogas power plants.  The company is initially targeting the largely untapped supply of organic wastes from food processing and table to meet growing demand for renewable, no– or low-carbon emission energy sources.  A year ago, the company’s portfolio consisted of a string of projects all in the planning stage.  Management has pushed two food waste-to-energy projects in the U.S.to the construction stage and closed on the first four acquisitions of fully operational agriculture-waste biogas power plants in...

Blue Sphere’s Eyes On The Horizon

by Debra Fiakas CFA Renewable energy companies have to worry about flagging commodity prices that make it even more difficult to prove the competitive potential of alternative fuels, as well as possible disruption in the capital markets and valuation multiples which are concerns of all public companies. Shlomi Palas, the CEO of  Blue Sphere, Inc. (BLSP:  OTC/QB), a microcap in the Crystal Equity Research coverage group, is not dissuaded.  He continues to push forward with the company’s strategy to own and operate biofuel-powered, grid-connected generation facilities.  Blue Sphere has two food-waste-to-energy plants under construction...
Covant 4Q 20 earnings

Covanta and Hannon Armstrong Earnings

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D. CFA Two more earnings notes I shared with my Patreon followers on February 18th. Covanta Holdings (CVA) Leading waste-to-energy firm Covanta Holdings (CVA) announced 2020 earnings today.  There will be a conference call tomorrow morning, but here is my high-level impression: The company managed well through Covid and ended the year within it's original pre-covid guidance.  Metals and energy prices, as well as increased maintenance capital expenditures were a drag on results, but  prices are improving and capital expenditures will fall in 2021. The company is conducting a strategic review which will likely result in the sale of some underperforming...
covanta rookery project

Covanta’s Q1: Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2019

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Covanta Holding Corp. (NYSE:CVA) 12/31/18 Price: $13.42.  Annual Dividend: $1.00. Expected 2019 dividend: $1.00.  Low Target: $13.  High Target: $25. 3/26/19 Price: $17.86. YTD Dividend: $0.25. YTD Yield: 1.9%  YTD Appreciation: 33.1% YTD Total Return: 34.9% Leading waste-to-energy operator Covanta's stock has been the second best performing holding in my 10 Clean Energy Stocks for 2019 model portfolio.  While in many ways the company is similar to the clean energy Yieldcos that dominate the model portfolio, it is different in that it develops its own projects, while most Yieldcos depend on a sponsor to develop projects which...

The Light On Blue Sphere’s Horizon

by Debra Fiakas CFA The stakes were high at the beginning of its fiscal year 2015, as Blue Sphere, Inc. (BLSP:  OTC/QB), a developer of waste-to-energy projects, was facing deadlines to fulfill its contractual commitments to the sellers of its two ‘front burner’ waste-to-energy projects in North Carolina and Rhode Island.  In the four intervening months it appears Blue Sphere has won all bets. Blue Sphere had purchased a biogas project from original owner Orbit Energy and had received an equipment financing commitment from Caterpillar.  Unfortunately, an equity financing source withdrew its interest as...

Focus On Clean Power Income Trusts

Last week, Tom brought you a piece on the Algonquin Power Income Fund (AGQNF.PK), in which he opined that shift in investor attention away from capital gains toward yield might eventually provide a catalyst for the prices of yield-focused securities such as income trusts to rise. So-called utility trusts, or income trusts where the underlying corporation is engaged in utility activities such as power generation, are a common feature of the Canadian income trust sector (the mother of all income trust sectors). A sub-set of utility trusts is the clean power utility trust, where the power generation...

MagneGas’ Industrial Plasma

by Debra Fiakas CFA Alternative chemicals developer MagneGas Corporation (MNGA:  Nasdaq) is posting another guard at the gate.  The company recently filed a patent application to protect new enhancements of its plasma arc technology and gasification system.  Plasma is any gas taken to a whole new phase through extremely high temperatures.  For perspective the sun is actually a very large ball of plasma.  Here on Earth MagneGas is using its proprietary system to gasify carbon-rich liquids such as municipal wastewater to produce hydrogen gas for industrial applications and vehicle fuel.  Many investors have probably heard about...
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