Politicians may pontificate on the virtues of clean coal, but don't expect that to be a reality any time soon.
Such was Cramer's message to viewers during Thursday's show.
While we have the technology necessary to strip coal of its sulfur, nitrogen and mercury, we're not yet capable of reducing the carbon-dioxide emissions. And, as Cramer said, any cost-effective means of doing so looks to be years and years away. Duke Energy is working on carbon sequestration and says it won't be ready until 2012. Oxy-coal combustion, another way to getting rid of CO2 emissions, is still in deep development.
The closest we get to cleaner coal is through flue gas desulphurization (FGD), a scrubbing process that removes about 95% of sulfur dioxide, or circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology, which uses boiling to take out about 90% of sulfur dioxide and a lot of the nitrogen oxide.
(Don't let the chemistry talk put you to sleep. We're almost to the good part -- the stocks.)
So Cramer's focus is on not on clean coal, but this cleaner coal. We're going to use coal, so why not focus ont he companies that make the best scrubbers and boilers until the time comes when we actually get to true clean coal.
Foster Wheeler, one of Cramer's favorite infrastructure plays, has sold more than 300 of those CFB boilers, and the company's working on an even more efficient one that could actually reduce CO2 emissions. Plus, Foster has an alliance with Praxair to develop that oxy-coal cumbustion tech discussed earlier.
Foster's down a bit because of delays in its North American boiler orders, giving investors a great entry point. Cramer said he wasn't all that concerned with the delays because management isn't. In fact, the C-suite at Foster Wheeler said the delays won't affect the company's 2008-2009 earnings.
Add to this Foster's already-burgeoning energy infrastructure business and you have a stock that Cramer thinks is worth owning. Need proof? Foster Wheeler expects the liquified natural gas market to grow from $8.7 billion in 2006 to $25.4 billion in 2011. That alone is good news for the company -- and the stock -- because Foster builds LNG facilities.
Jim's charitable trust owns FWLT.
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