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Coal has been an important fuel source since the dawn of history.
Scientists have found evidence that Neanderthals used coal as a fuel in Les Canalettes, France as far back as 73,500 years ago. Today, coal counts as the largest source of electric energy worldwide.
Of course, there’s one major drawback to using coal for fuel… It’s very dirty.
Burning coal (and other fossil fuels such as oil) causes smog, soot, acid rain, and toxic air pollution. In fact, coal is one of the biggest sources of pollution in the world today. And that’s why it’s one of the most hated commodities on the planet.
But the abundance of coal, and the historical reliance on it, has made it hard for most countries to move away from using it as a fuel source. The United States alone produces more than 990,000 tons of coal annually and consumes 930,000 tons, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
But those totals pale in comparison to China, which produces 4.5 million tons of coal and consumes nearly all it produces.
The environmental risks posed by burning fossil fuels are forcing governments to enact stronger regulations. Unfortunately for coal-energy producers, these regulations are making energy much more expensive.
But this is about to change…
A Cleaner, Cheaper Solution
A technology has been developed that promises to make coal and other hydrocarbons burn as clean — and cheaper — than any green technology currently available.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time. U.S. spending on air pollution control for coal-fired power plants topped $7 billion in 2015, while global spending exceeded $50 billion. This level is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.
China alone is expected to spend nearly $300 billion over the next five years to combat its serious air pollution problems. Globally, the amount spent on preventing and reducing air pollution is expected to approach $100 billion by 2018.
The patents for the new technology is held by just one company, meaning that company is best positioned to capitalize on all these billions pouring into the new air pollution-control market. That means huge returns for early investors with the foresight to recognize what’s happening.
The company spearheading this movement is Seattle-based ClearSign Combustion (Nasdaq: CLIR). The company will transform the way factories burn coal and natural gas for electricity.
ClearSign offers the only combustion technology currently available that exceeds the world’s most stringent environmental standards on fossil fuel levels.
Not only does its technology reduce toxic emissions; it also increases burning efficiency. That means factories will be able to lower their production costs… and those savings will flow to the bottom line.
Turning Dirty Coal Into Clean Skies
ClearSign’s transformative technology is called a Duplex burner. And it will be a game-changer for coal-fired plants.
You see, traditional coal-fired plants must pulverize coal to make the burning process easier. But pulverizing coal is very expensive for all but the largest of industries. Worse, the process creates tons of coal dust that pollutes the atmosphere (and that’s in addition to the pollutants that are released during coal burning).
But ClearSign’s patent-protected Duplex burners are changing all that. Its burners use innovative magnetic fields to control the transfer of heat.
This is how it works: When particles released during burning pass through the magnetic fields, they become “electrostatic,” or electrically charged. The electrostatic particles clump together into bigger pieces, making it easier for them to be captured.
Think of the technology this way: Most of us know that when you put clothes in a dryer, they can become “electrostatic” and stick together. We call this “static cling.” The science behind ClearSign’s technology is similar.
The process allows the fuel to burn efficiently without the usual production of particulate matter (that’s the stuff that makes smog) and nitrous oxides — which are a family of highly reactive gases that form when coal is burned at high temperatures.
As a result, ClearSign’s burners reduce nitrous oxide emissions to levels as low as 1.8 parts per million (ppm). That’s 96.6% less than current environmental standards of 53 ppm.
Even better, ClearSign’s burners are cheaper to use than existing technologies.
Impressively for a relatively new company, ClearSign has a wide economic moat protected by more than 150 pending patents on its technology. Currently, the company is operating with no direct competition. Better yet, its patents will keep any potential competitors away for at least another decade.
Buy Shares On The Cheap
Shares of CLIR have slumped lately due to an additional rights offering. But investors with a long time horizon can use this as an opportunity to buy shares on the cheap.
And it’s important to remember that CLIR is an investment with a long horizon. Millennials with retirement decades away will do well with a company like ClearSign Combustion Corp.
If your time horizon is significantly shorter, ClearSign might only make sense for risk capital, as you can expect to see volatility.
Risks to Consider: ClearSign Combustion Corp. is a microcap company developing a new technology in a hated sector. There is the ever present risk that CLIR could burn through its capital before getting a chance to implement its technology on the scale necessary to achieve the level of growth expected.
Action to Take: Buy shares of CLIR up to $5.25 per share. Commit no more than 1-2% of your portfolio to ClearSign. Expect to see periods of high volatility inherent in new technologies. I don’t suggest the use of a stop-loss with this stock, due to the long-term nature of the investment. The holding period is forever.