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Covanta’s green tech is a hit in Europe — is the U.S. next?

Investors interested in green technology might want to take a look at Covanta Holding Corp., an operator of energy-from-waste — or “EfW” — facilities with a stock that looks poised to break out as the company gears up for a period of sustained growth.

But first Covanta CVA, -0.32% needs to change perceptions among its biggest critics, which, perhaps ironically, include certain environmental groups and institutional investors who assume the stock should be valued like an energy company.

Covanta operates 42 EfW facilities in North America, China and Europe, allowing it to generate revenue from multiple streams. The company earns money from tipping fees for taking in tons of municipal trash; it forms long-term contracts with utilities to sell the electricity generated from burning that trash.

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