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Active Energy eyes Europe and Asia for additional CoalSwitch plant locations

In an operations and trading update, Active Energy Group Plc (AEG), a UK-headed renewable energy, forestry management and timber processing business has revealed that it remains confident its first commercial CoalSwitch plant project in North America will be operational by the end of 2017. In addition, it hopes that similar commercial reference plants for its advanced biomass coal replacement fuel will be established in Europe or Asia during 2017.

In an update, Active Energy Group (AEG) has revealed that it has expanded its commercial CoalSwitch advanced biomass fuel development pipeline with numerous groups in the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe and Asia. Based upon these discussions, it hopes that an additional reference plant will also be established either in Malaysia or in the Baltic States during 2017, subject to available funding.

Given the significant global market opportunity for AEG CoalSwitch and international interest regarding the CoalSwitch development programme, we believe that this area of the Group’s activities has the potential to experience significant growth in 2017 and beyond. AEG’s CoalSwitch division is also attracting interest from regional and national governments globally and we intend to develop our management team and financial structure accordingly to accommodate future developments, commented Richard Spinks, CEO of Active Energy.

Via its division AEG Timberlands, the company currently has harvesting rights over more than 100 000 hectares (ha) of forestry assets in Alberta, Canada. Acquiring additional assets is currently a “particular strategic focus” as management aim to secure sufficient volumes of sustainable feedstock to complement AEG’s CoalSwitch product initiative being developed by the Metis Settlements of Paddle Prairie, Peavine and East Prairie in collaboration with Active Energy.

AEG Timberlands’ remit is to identify and negotiate with governmental or private owners for significant tracts of timberland in logistically convenient locations in order to provide feedstock to the CoalSwitch plants located within or nearby these forestry assets. The company is currently in discussions with potential partners regarding the acquisition of additional harvesting rights for forestry assets in North America and Europe.

Our AEG Timberland division focuses on securing forestry assets internationally. The business complements the CoalSwitch division and I look forward to providing shareholders with updates as we seek to acquire new forestry assets for this division as part of our overall growth strategy, said Spinks.

The company’s third division, AEG WoodFibre, is a significant supplier of wood fibre on the Black Sea region and supplies Turkey’s largest MDF producers. It is centred on the sourcing of feedstock from forests and constructing and operating its wood fibre processing plant at the Yuzhny Port, near Odessa in Ukraine.

However, the deterioration of the geopolitical situation in the region has resulted in a slowdown in trading and AEG has decided to complete the final stages of the installation of the softwood line “as circumstances allow”. As such, it expects the final components for the completion of the softwood line will be in place by the end of April 2017.

AEG WoodFibre has often had the backdrop of political and economic uncertainty to contend with, but we have persevered through many challenges in Ukraine over the past three years, developing a strong business and great relationships in the region’s wood fibre industry. We were stymied by political unrest within our core sales market, Turkey, for the first time in 2016, when the attempted coup unsettled our customers and the Turkish currency markets for a period during the second half of 2016, said Spinks adding that he anticipated a recovery in these markets during 2017.

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