What’s the “Jupiter Engine” Being Teased by the Oxford Club?

What's the more efficient, no-emissions power plant pitched as the "Jupiter Engine" and as the way to end global warming (and get filthy rich?)

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, August 22, 2017

This latest pitch from the Oxford Club has really caught the attention of Gumshoe readers — lots of questions about this “Jupiter Engine” that will “end global warming” and make all other power plants obsolete… mostly, of course, because it’s also supposed to give you “the retirement of your dreams” as revenue “surges by 4,130%” starting sometime around December 17.

So what’s the story? This is from one of the emails introducing the ad:

“A revolutionary tech that produces electricity up to 77% cheaper than existing solutions do…

“Has NO government subsidies or carbon taxes…

“Is the size of a desk, can generate electricity for 10,000 homes…

“And has ZERO EMISSIONS. No soot… no particles… no carbon dioxide.

“In fact, it’s one and only liquid byproduct is CLEAN, CLEAR WATER”

Sounds pretty much like science fiction, right? So what is a “Jupiter Engine?” Let’s check some more of the clues so we can unpack whatever it is they’re trying to sell…

“… the first of these revolutionary new power plants is about to go live on the Texas coast around December 17, 2017….

“After that, one little-known company will begin systematically replacing power plants across the country at a rapid pace.

“One by one, this technology could soon supplant each of the 3,288 U.S. electric plants…

“Bloomberg reported that the company is already in talks with the biggest power companies in the U.S…

“And as these power plants roll out, as you’ll see in a minute, the little-known company could see revenue quickly soar 1,002%…

“We expect this company’s value will launch higher and higher in the coming weeks as it makes a major announcement regarding new contracts.

“So the time to get this story is NOW…”

So what is this “Greatest Tech Disruption of the 21st Century” that will bring about the end of global warming and air pollution and make energy cheaper? The invention is a power plant that takes advantage of the new thermodynamic cycle that was apparently invented by Rodney Allam (they call it the Allam Cycle, naturally), and it effectively uses high compression liquid CO2 instead of steam to spin a turbine and generate electricity. The carbon dioxide is still produced, but it is produced in a ready-to-sequester form that can be piped out to oil producers for enhanced oil production or just pumped underground to keep it out of the atmosphere.

And the first power plant to use this technology is indeed currently under construction in Texas — it was originally supposed to be commissioned last year, but there must have been delays of some sort (as I suppose is typical of new projects), so now the likelihood is that it will come online in December.

As the ad cites, the idea of this kind of plant is compelling and has been lauded by lots of different commentators and futurists as one way out of our polluting power generation technologies — and it’s fairly flexible, at least in theory. This plant uses natural gas, but coal could be burned in similar plants (natural gas is cheaper and easier to work with, so I don’t know why you would burn coal at current prices… but who knows what the future holds). There’s a pretty detailed piece from Forbes here about Allam and the power plant based on his inventions.

This plant is being developed by a company called NET Power, whose website went down today (perhaps because of traffic generated by the push from this ad), but I assume it will quickly come back up (if not, the Google cache of the page that explains their technology is here).

But NET Power is not a publicly traded company, so it must be one of the collaborators or partners that the Oxford Club folks are pitching here. The turbine is made by Toshiba, the plant is being built by Chicago Bridge & Iron, and the utility partner is Exelon. NET Power itself is a partnership between 8 Rivers Capital, which is the venture firm that developed the technology (and isn’t publicly traded), Excelon, and CB&I.

So which of those players is being hinted at here? Or is it someone completely different?

One more bit of clues:

“The CEO just revealed in a small public meeting…

“That the company is already in active discussions…

“With 11 of the top 15 North American power producers…

“Plus, five major oil and gas companies…

“With an already combined demand for 50 plants….

“This group already aggressively repurchased $3.4 million of these equity shares this quarter…

“Insiders are positioning for max profits…

“With eight different directors acquiring 47,000 shares… some for the first time ever.”

And we’re told that… “right now, you can get 100 stakes in ownership for about $1,800…”

Which would mean, of course, that the price is around $18 a share.

So that must mean that the Oxford Club folks here are pitching Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), the energy-focused engineering and construction company.

How could that be, when CBI is at $10 a share today? Well, it was at about $18 three weeks ago, and these ads don’t just get conjured up and sent out in a day. For what it’s worth, there’s also a small print indication in the ad, where they show part of the existing portfolio, that shows they recommended CBI at about $27 back in May. So it could well be, if they use any kind of “stop loss” system, that this particular stock is not even in the Oxford Club’s portfolio anymore… it wouldn’t be the first time.

And yes, they did have eight directors acquire shares recently, many for the first time… but none of them bought shares, those shares were granted as their compensation for being directors. CBI has had almost no insider buying in recent years, despite having a stock price that has appeared to be more of a bargain each week than it was the last.

CBI does own a third of NET Power, and that technology is an exciting possibility, a natural gas power plant without a smokestack… but it’s not a slam dunk — that’s why it took a long time to raise the capital, it’s taking a long time to build the plant, and there will almost certainly be complications along the way as they try to determine whether the technology works effectively and efficiently enough for extended periods of time in real-world conditions.

And in terms of scalability, they should end up with “pipeline ready” CO2 that could help with the costs of operating the plant… but they have to have a pipeline and a market for that CO2, or a place to safety sequester it, and neither of those is particularly scalable right now (much more CO2 is produced than is demanded by enhanced oil recovery projects), which is why they’re likely to build these plants near oil fields (assuming that this first plant does well over the next couple years and proves the concept works).

There’s an interesting piece from Clean Technica here critiquing the technology and the viability of this “Allam Cycle” — I don’t know if it’s fair, but it’s a good reminder that there are probably more issues with the technology than have yet been identified (and certainly more issues than are mentioned in this Oxford Club ad, since they’re trying to sell the idea as the “holy grail” of cheap, clean and pollution-free energy).

And Chicago Bridge & Iron is quite committed to NET Power, though it’s not a major part of the financial picture for the company as of yet and is certainly not going to be a profit generator for the next year or two… CB&I is planning to sell most of their technology business this year, but they did mention in that press release that they intend to keep their interest in NET Power. And the former CEO, Philip Asherman, noted this about NET Power on the first quarter conference call earlier this year:

“But we get a lot of excitement generated around the industry in a lot of trade publications. As you know, Mike has been talking about this and we’ve talked to all the major owners out there, and not only just power owners but people on the oil and gas side which are very interested in seeing the outcome of this plant. So I think it’s going to be really important for us for the future.”

(Asherman retired just in May, though he had been under pressure from some institutional shareholders for a while.)

CB&I has had plenty of problems in recent years — they suffered when oil and gas investment fell off a cliff in 2014, since much of their business is building energy-related infrastructure (plants, pipelines, etc.), and they made some big acquisitions at bad times, particularly the overly-indebted Shaw Group, which they bought in 2013 for $3 billion.

That deal came with a nuclear division, which was partnered with Westinghouse to build nuclear power plants in the Southeast, and that partnership has turned into lawsuits and recriminations as the plants have seen massive cost overruns. Toshiba (which owns Westinghouse) essentially bought the nuclear division from CB&I a couple years ago and promised CB&I they’d face no liability for the projects, and that promise is what was recently in court (with the latest decision firmly in CB&I’s favor, as I see it, though I don’t know if that’s the end of the story).

With or without the nuclear lawsuit, CB&I has had trouble recently — revenues have been declining for years, and they still have a healthy dose of debt, though selling off divisions (including their Technology and Capital Services divisions) is likely to significantly improve the balance sheet.

The argument in favor of CBI is that they do have some projects that are proceeding as planned and are not horrifically over budget or delayed, and they are capable of doing much of the work that will be needed if we really do have major infrastructure projects in the US in the near future, either energy-related or not, so there’s that sliver of possibility that they might find revenue growth (though few folks are holding their breath for a massive infrastructure spend right now). There was clearly an election bump for these shares when everyone was excited about infrastructure spending late last year (which both candidates promised), but that fizzled along with the lack of actual progress in government.

And, of course, after falling from $80 to $10 in three years, the stock is cheap on a lot of metrics. They weren’t profitable last quarter and are not expected to post a profit for 2017, but if you go by analyst estimates they are trading at an absurdly low forward PE of 4 based on 2018 or 2019 estimates. And as they improve their balance sheet they can buy back more shares or could raise the dividend at some point if they fail to get the stock price to recover, though none of that is at all certain and the estimates could, of course, be wildly optimistic if they have further operational problems (the current dividend yield is about 2.5%, they’ve paid the same dividend since 2014).

A lot of folks look at that drop in share price, even after the Oxford attention and a strong market helped the stock pop back up today, and see panic — and it’s hard to buy into panic… we all want to believe that we’re contrarians and go against the herd to generate profits from the panic of others, but our primitive brains urge us to follow that herd with every instinct… and no one wants to be the sucker who buys it just before it drops another 30%, we all have a tendency to believe that whatever has been happening in the recent past will continue happening.

I’ve been tempted by CBI a couple times as it fell, mostly just because it was falling… but I haven’t yet been tempted enough to buy shares, and so far it has kept falling each time. A forward PE of 4 looks cheap, but that’s after a forward PE of 6 looked cheap, and before that the PE was 8 and it looked cheap, and 10. It probably will end sometime, either because those forward estimates get slashed or because the stock recovers, and there’s some logic to the fact that we’re pretty close to an inflection point here where either those analyst numbers are going to get slashed or the price is going to recover… but it won’t necessarily be a pleasant ride.

Oh, and NET Power will likely have almost nothing to do with that financial peformance for at least the next year or two. If there are new plants to be built, Exelon will be the one who buys most of them for the near future, since they have the right of first refusal as partners, but the first few plants aren’t likely to generate much in the way of profits for anyone… and no one is likely to spend a lot of money on the next Allam Cycle plant until this first plant has survived a year or two of commercial operation and provided some good data on which to base investment decisions. So even if you do believe NET Power’s technology will change the world, you might be able to be patient and wait it out and see the project de-risked a bit before you feel compelled to invest in CBI or one of the other partners.

That’s just your Gumshoe’s sometimes-too-skeptical take, though, what matters is what you think — will this NET Power plant in Texas herald a change in the way electricity is generated worldwide, or is it too early to place that wager? Is CBI too cheap to ignore now, or are you leery of trying to catch a falling knife? See other skeletons in their closet that we should consider before investing? Let us know with a comment below.

P.S. As always, we want to know about your experience with investment newsletters — if you’ve ever subscribed to the Oxford Club’s Communique, please click here to share your experience with your fellow investors. Thanks!

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41 Comments on "What’s the “Jupiter Engine” Being Teased by the Oxford Club?"

avatar

bluesharpbob
Irregular
76

I picked up some shares when Morningstar upped it to a 5 star stock a few weeks ago. Of course they made their bad earnings & dividend cut announcement not long after I bought it! Oh well, I’ve done very well with almost all the 5 star stocks I’ve bought over time & they still maintain the fair share value is $23 – will sit on this one & see what happens.

jrlartful
Irregular
-8
jrlartful

So simply pump all that CO2 returned toits gaseous state deep into the Earth to the crust, no fuss no muss, what bunk. The gas is bound to come back to the surface and from there the atmosphere someday, maybe in hundreds of years when we all dead (except perhaps a few Muskian “X-Men” who plan to skidaddle to Mars anyway) but which is nothing in geologic time. Back to the drawing board CBI.

vking921
Irregular
8
vking921
The CO2 is in a supercritical state which is sort of a squishy liquid, NOT a gas. and it is under pressure to around 2000 psi. By carefully selecting the geologic sites, the CO2 can be stored in a stable formation and state. There are various mechanisms that “trap” the supercritical CO2 in the deep geologic formation so that it has a very high likelihood of it staying down there. There is physical trapping in the pores of the wet saline saturated sandstone; a “cap rock” of several hundred feet thick above the formation where the CO2 seeps into the… Read more »
SusanR
Guest
0
SusanR

So, like Nuclear waste, they will have to find land in which to bury it in and no development will possible on that land. Also, liquid CO2 under pressure can still leak into the ground eventually.

Tom Thompson
Guest
0
Tom Thompson

Is this something similar to the 200 mile per gallon carburetors that everyone knew about in 1940’s?

georai
Irregular
40
georai

CBI is now down around the $10 mark. Zacks have marked it as the Bear of the Day.
The long term tend is down down down.

I’m checking the Open Interest on any available Put options and going long to the down side on this one.

Thanks Gumshoe. The best.

ZZMike
Guest
0
ZZMike

“1002%” Red flag #1

lamorgan101
Guest
0
lamorgan101

scratching my head trying to figure out the big differentiator between this and Bloom Energy who has been the player for quite some time. any thoughts ?

andres
Guest
0
andres
hupitate
Irregular
8
hupitate

Options in CBI seems relatively liquid. Have anyone sold 30 delta strangles?
Last earnings cycle short calls worked pretty well, though not much premium to collect if using less than 5 contracts, even IV was relatively high. Still risk/reward ratio good for the cheap underlay.

sct2ali
Irregular
49
sct2ali

CBI has had a pretty ‘speckled’ tenure this year in the Oxford Club ‘Trading Portfolio”: stopped out on 15 May when it hit their 25% stop-loss price; added back in on 25 July, with a 25% stop-loss limit; then stopped out again on 11 August when it hit that stop-loss price. So, as Travis guessed, it is ‘not’ presently in the Oxford Club “Trading Portfolio.” So much for ‘positioning for max profits.’

charlie1030
Irregular
1
charlie1030

I had CBI and then it reached its stop point and no longer in the portfolio

carbon bigfoot
Guest
0
carbon bigfoot
Photosynthesis of plants ( our food sources ) require CO2 for growth. The more CO2 the better. Scientifically CO2 has little bearing on GoreBull Warbling. As the solar eclipse clearly demonstrated to any one with half-a-brain, the sun is the major driver of our climate in conjunction with 73% of earth’s mass —our oceans’ heat sink. Uncontrollable Natural Cycles despite the Environmental Narrative espoused by Faux Scientists and the MSM. This is a technology that in IMHO is going nowhere. Miniature Thorium Plants eliminating the need for a massive grid infrastructure and Bloom’s packaged commercial fuel cell plants are strategically… Read more »
John
Irregular
20
John

Scientifically speaking, CO2 is a very important greenhouse gas, accounting for about 1/3 of the warming. Water vapor accounts for more warming because it is by far and away the most abundant greenhouse gas, averaging several tens of thousands ppm (depending on partial pressure and air temperature). CO2 is only about 400 ppm. But on a molecular basis, CO2 absorbs considerably more IR radiation than water vapor. Of course CH4 absorbs about 25X more IR on the molecular level than CO2.

pilgrim1
Irregular
7
pilgrim1

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/348407-volcanoes-and-the-ozone-are-missing-from-the-climate?inf_contact_key=e57e93a0819a5945556ac10ead81f6f1d9180cabd8f179d74cee2e8f7ec8352c
“I have now completed experiments showing that air with more than 23-times normal concentrations of carbon dioxide is heated no more than 0.2 degrees more than normal air when exposed to the same infrared radiation. Air with more than 10-times normal concentrations of carbon dioxide covered Earth 400 million years ago when ice ages were common.”

“As Steven Chu, Nobel laureate and former Secretary of Energy, put it, “the final arbitrator of any point of view are experiments that seek the unbiased truth.””

jrlartful
Irregular
-8
jrlartful

Sorry champ but 400 million years ago the Earth was in the between ice age Devonian period, perhaps you are thinking of the Andean-Sahara Ice Age of 460-420 million years ago. During the Devonian period spore like plant species were evolving to true root based species and the first land animals, mainly amphibians and insects appeared. CO2 concentrations were low and only slowly increasing. At least you’re not one of those who believe the Earth is 6000 years old, ah hope springs eternal.

Rocketman
Guest
0
Rocketman

I agree with your Thorium theory. Everything that I’ve read on the subject suggests that the next big energy revolution will be Thorium based, probably within the next 15 to 25 years.

redleader
Irregular
0
redleader

Nailed it!
The Politics of wind and solar power will destroy/transfer the wealth of our country to the Carbon Taxers; and the chumps keep eating it up.

iview12003
Irregular
2
iview12003

Oxford club has this stock on “SELL” status.

SusanR
Guest
0
SusanR

But they are still advertising it as a great investment. Disgraceful.

rbryenton
Irregular
1
rbryenton

YES – snake oil folks. The Calgary 860MW conventional natural gas plant cost $1.5 Billion, $2000/MW. This is double what a new untested technology is purported to cost? I estimate about 4 times the cost what NET “hopes” for. To think that CBI can be turned around on one technology after years of struggling with “what they do best”? Keep clear of this,and maybe Oxford Club.

david
Guest
0
david

Biological plants need co2 to live
Greenhouses even pump in co2 as an extra nutrient The amount of co2 in the atmosphere is really minuscule and other gases are much more heat causing including water vapor. But it doesnt seem to bother the super rich as they fly around in their jets spewing cos directly into the upper altitudes.
Human caused global warming is a tax scam being perpetrated on stupid people who are also being brainwashed
The fact that we are about to enter a substantial cooling trend should also be of concern not globull warming

david
Guest
0
david

Let me also add as a retired ironworker that CBI is just a poorly run bloated steel construction company with no high teck portfolio at all.

Uncle Albert
Guest
0
Uncle Albert

David: I worked for CBI when they bought Shaw Group since I was with Shaw Group, as a Construction Manager and I couldn’t agree more…I could go on and on about the numbnuts in The Woodlands (CBI U.S. HQ) and your comment is spot on…getting rid of Asherman will not cure what ails CBI

mark
Irregular
1

Do outfits like Oxford ever get sued for fraud/misrepresentation?

yelpik
Irregular
126
yelpik

Carbon Bigfoot, I agree with Miniature Thorium Plants any advice on how and who to invest in for this play. I see no one taking the lead here. These plants would be much safer in our Subs also.

carbon bigfoot
Guest
0
carbon bigfoot
Yelpik—The last time I investigated the progress of lack of it, the NRC, which is a wart on the ass of progress, has been delaying designs from several manufacturers–on the order of 10 years now. Mitsubishi in Japan was to provide beta test units several years ago pre-Fukashima. Seems the Japanese are switching to coal in a big way. 1600 Coal Plants are planned or under construction all over Asia. Noah Robinson, PhD gave a talk about Thorium Reactors at a conference sponsored by Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Houston July 2013. Don’t know if it is on YouTube. You… Read more »
David B.
Irregular
834
David B.

The ad itself is hopelessly promotional with many problems. Even if it was 90% accurate, $CBI is unlikely to have major gains based upon the premise of the ad itself for a couple years at the least.
Having said all of that, CBI does look like a good buy right now. It has been absolutely devastated in recent years and even more so of late. A forward PE of 4 is absurdly low unless the company is at risk of a bankruptcy.

Pete
Guest
0

That’s one bridge you won’t sell me. Pun intended.

Joseph Blecker
Guest
0
Joseph Blecker

The competition to the Jupiter Engine is zero emission coal fired power plants wherever coal is burned. Before the end of the year there will be one such plant in operation followed by two more. The technology splits the CO2 into carbon and oxygen both excellent fuel sources. Other emissions are cleaned, filtered and removed mostly in a
PH controlled 7.6 solution. This allows the total exhaust to be treated and used to provide combustion air. Two percent of volume must be made up since this is the normal volume of moisture removed by the patented process.

Chris Hilton
Guest
0
Chris Hilton

Hi Joseph Can you advise who and where Thanks

eugene11803
Irregular
33
eugene11803

CBI is a disaster of a company. Lawsuits will continue to keep the price down. This engine is 10 years away from being viable and the cost will not justify any benefits. You want to reduce energy costs? Solar cell and wind/tide power are more realistic.
Do not buy CBI. Buy a big tv instead. Better investment.

jecarlson
Guest
0
jecarlson

Peach Bottom Unit #1 was 30 MW HTGR plant using a thorium/uranium mix for fuel. The primary gas was helium and minimized the extent of radioactive contamination. It was shut down in 1974. The regulatory issues were similar to large plants and not economical for a small plant. The HTGR technology was very good, but GE and Westinghouse were going in different directions with BWR and PWR designs. Chernobyl sealed the fate on HTGR’s, even if it shouldn’t have.

SusanR
Guest
0
SusanR

Oxford also states that the only by-product of the process is pure clean water, and that it actually uses CO2. Very misleading.

rich fischer
Guest
0
rich fischer

How can we get more information about the plant opening on 12/17 ?

dcinvest
Irregular
23

As a member of the Oxford Club for over a decade it is apparent to me that greed has overtaken service by the fabulous revenue of writers of letters promising more than they deliver. To be fair in the past some of their recommendations were worth pursuing. Lately the delivery has fallen well below the promises.

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