News Analysis date published New: 
Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:00
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 11:27
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Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 11:00

Forget Solar: This Energy Breakthrough Could be "The Next Big Thing..."

Thursday, August 02, 2012 11:00 AM

To set the stage for his most recent pursuit of "The Next Big Thing," Andy Obermueller turned to something of an unusual source -- the 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future.

No, the topic of the latest issue of Andy's Game-Changing Stocks is not time travel. But the opportunity is a concept that not very long ago seemed almost as improbable...

If you remember the film, a high school student travels back to 1955 and accidentally prevents his parents from meeting, thereby jeopardizing his own existence. The time machine? A modified 1981 DeLorean automobile. Originally, it was powered by plutonium. Later, the DeLorean was upgraded to run on... garbage (here's a 35-second clip).

Power from trash? It's not as simple as tossing a banana peel and a leaky beer can into a grinder. But it is a reality. Yesterday's Hollywood gag is today's game-changer. And as with any emerging sector, the potential returns for early investors are intriguing.

That puts this opportunity squarely in Andy's wheelhouse.

Twice each month in Game-Changing Stocks, Andy introduces readers to an exciting new technology, concept or industry that could change the world -- and potentially generate large profits along the way.

Garbage, believe it or not, has already proven to be quite profitable for investors.

During the past three years, shares of trash collectors Waste Connections (NYSE: WCN) and Clean Harbors (NYSE: CLH) have gained 66.6% and 132%, respectively. Compare that with a 50% gain in the overall market. And Stericycle (Nasdaq: SRCL), a medical-waste management company, rose 81.3% during the same period.

Garbage is a volume business, amazingly so. By some conservative estimates, the average person in the United States generates four pounds of trash every day. That adds up to 227.5 million tons of waste per year. That's enough, according to Andy's calculations, to fill a line of trash trucks nearly 100,000 miles long, encircling the earth four times.

But it's not the collective trash heap, per se, that presents the potential game-changing opportunity. You see, more than 60% of garbage produced each day is organic material (wood, food, yard waste and paper) that will eventually rot. Therein lies the key.

"As entropy runs its course (in this case, anaerobic digestion by living things that eat dead things), and all that material decomposes in a landfill, it emits gas. Quite a lot of it. Made up of about 60% methane, the gas can be captured and then burned to create high-pressure steam that spins turbines to generate electric power in exactly the same way that utilities burn natural gas," explains Andy.

In fact, more than 540 such landfill gas-to-energy projects in the United States have already begun to deliver electricity to corporate and government users. Collectively, these plants generate enough juice to power 1.7 million homes 24 hours a day.

But that just scratches the surface. With only one landfill-gas site for every six active landfills, there's plenty of room to run.

In other words, the future is just beginning.

Risks to Consider: While the emergence of this industry has shown promising growth, it is still relatively new. It could take time to establish its footing in the market as it competes with traditional sources of energy such as coal and nuclear power, which are still favored given their low operating costs.

Action to Take --> Game-changing opportunities never dry up. Think of all the changes we've seen in just the past few years: Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) became a household name... high definition televisions invaded living rooms everywhere... Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) grew larger than Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM)... Hybrid cars popped up everywhere... The euro was born... China blossomed into a global power.

That's why Game-Changing Stocks exists. In each issue, Andy introduces readers to a new technology, concept or industry that could change the world and profit handsomely in the process. I don't know of any other advisory that's like this.

Back in mid-May, he brought everyone's attention to SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA) -- an international seller of an "in-home" machine that makes custom-flavored sodas. The stock is up nearly 25% since then.

Andy also told readers about Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT) a couple of weeks later. The company makes natural-gas engines for semi-trucks and other heavy-duty applications. Since then, the stock is up nearly 54%.

Not all of Andy's calls will gain 25% or 50% in a matter of months, but it does speak to the opportunities available in game-changing companies. To find out about his latest game-changing picks, read this special report.

P.S. With over 1 million readers each month and one of the strongest research teams in the business, StreetAuthority is once again going out on a limb with a series of new forecasts that may seem improbable right now, but when they come to pass could make investors a lot of money. It's all in a special presentation called "11 Surprising Investment Predictions." Click here to see the presentation or read the transcript.
 
Bob Bogda does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.
StreetAuthority LLC owns shares of XOM in one or more of its “real money” portfolios.