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Pellets & Solid Fuels

Active Energy to start construction of first CoalSwitch plant

Active Energy Group Plc (AEG), a UK-headed renewable energy, forestry management and timber processing business has announced it has drawn down an initial US$2 million under a US$6 million loan facility, provided by Linarus FZE, a private Dubai-based investment company, to fund the construction of the first 35 000 tonne per annum commercial reference plant in North America to produce a 'drop-in' biomass fuel that can be mixed at any ratio with coal in existing coal-fired power plants.

The announcement is further to a statement on November 28 when Active Energy Group (AEG) revealed that it had secured a US$6 million five-year unsecured loan facility, provided by Linarus, to fund the construction of the first 35 000 tonne per annum commercial reference plant in North America.

This is in line with the company’s strategy to commercialise its “revolutionary” CoalSwitch technology, which utilises low value wood, timber, forestry and pulp mill/ sawmill by-products to produce the world’s first ‘drop-in’ biomass fuel that can be mixed at any ratio with coal or completely replace coal in existing unmodified coal-fired power stations.

According to a statement, the development of the plant will open up a “significant” revenue stream with rapid payback credentials for AEG CoalSwitch once completed later in 2017.  In addition, it will mean that the company will be able to produce the much higher volumes of fuel required for power generators, which are awaiting these deliveries.

It will also facilitate the delivery of commercial samples, which are comprised of thousands of tonnes of product, to power plants, enabling them to run full burn tests at their facilities, rather than laboratory scale testing which until now has been the case.

These full-scale burn tests will provide coal-fired power generators globally with proof that they can convert their fuel rather than their plants, to burn biomass safely, reliably and without significant investments into their existing facilities, handling systems or supply chain.

With these initial funds drawn down, I am confident that 2017 will see us deliver on our stated commitment to rapidly commercialise our ground-breaking CoalSwitch technology.  We look forward to commissioning our first plant in North America in Q3 2017, for which the long lead time items procurement process has commenced, said Richard Spinks, CEO of Active Energy.

Spinks also revealed that the company was in discussions with a number of investors and partners for the rollout of up to four additional CoalSwitch production plants immediately on the heels of the first plant becoming operational: two in the USA and two in Canada.

This will serve to de-risk investors and allow the company to achieve better terms for funding plants going forward. We are confident that the USA and Canada will be significant feedstock, production and resale markets for CoalSwitch, particularly given the recent endorsements our product has had from key industry players, Spinks said.

According to AEG, a coal-fired power station wishing to convert to use white pellets would need to invest approximately US$700 000 per MW of installed generating capacity whereas, with its advanced biomass fuel, there are no retrofit costs.

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