Sunday, October 10, 2010

British Use Feces for Power

Residents of the town of Oxfordshire, England will be the first in the country to use what they flush down their toilets to power their homes. The sewage will be converted to biomethane which will be used in the national grid. British Gas, Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks are involved in the project.

Methane is a greenhouse gas with global warming potential; however, it is one of the cleanest burning fuels, as it is the purest form of natural gas and is much cleaner than burning coal. The sources of methane gas are natural gas fields, decaying organic wastes of solid waste landfills, such as manure, wastewater sludge, municipal solid waste and landfills, and coal deposits from coal bed methane extraction.

Coalbed methane generally consists of at least 95% methane unlike natural gas, which has methane plus significant quantities of other fuels and gases. The heavy hydrocarbons need to be extracted before the natural gas is distributed, but methane can be used as fuel immediately. Methane from coalbed reservoirs can be recovered economically, since it is located in shallow coal seams.

CONSOL Energy (CNX), one of the methane gas pioneers, produces coalbed methane gas from its coal properties in the Northern and the Central Appalachian basin which it resells to wholesalers, and also develops oil and gas from properties in the Appalachian and Illinois Basins. They are also involved in the mining of steam coal and metallurgical coal. The stock has a PE ratio of 19, and a yield of 1.0%.

Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) produces coalbed methane, mines for coal, and develops mine-mouth coal-fueled generating plants. In addition, they convert coal to natural gas and other fuels. The stock has a PE of 26, and a yield of 0.5%.

Range Resources Corp. (RRC), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, produces coal bed methane, and oil and gas in the eastern portion of the United States. The stock has a PE of 149, and a yield of 0.4%.

Big Cat Energy Corporation (BCTE.OB) has patented technology, called the ARID Tool, which is an aquifer recharge injection device. It allows coal bed methane extractors to re-inject water produced from producing coal seams. The stock recently generated negative earnings of 2 cents per share. This is an extremely low cap stock and should therefore be considered extremely speculative.

Far East Energy Corporation (FEEC.OB) is a Houston, Texas based company which explores for, develops, and markets coalbed methane gas in the Shanxi Province in northern China and in the Yunnan Province in southern China. The stock recently generated negative earnings of 8 cents per share. This is an extremely low cap stock and should therefore be considered extremely speculative.

Gastar Exploration, Ltd. (GST) explores for and develops coal bed methane property in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. They also explore and develop oil and gas properties in North America and Australia. The stock has a forward PE of 42. The stock trades on the American Stock Exchange.

Waste Management Inc. (WMI), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, is the largest waste services company in the United States. They are in the process of building methane gas to electricity plants at 60 landfills. Their facilities will be built in Colorado, New York, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. The stock has a PE of 17, and a yield of 3.5%.

If you like methane gas stocks, you should also look at the free lists of natural gas utility stocks and other green stocks at

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the above at the time the article was written.


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