Active Energy Group PLC (LON:AEG) chief executive Richard Spinks has hailed the success of the company’s CoalSwitch technology, which he said “fully justified” the investment made over the past 12 months.
CoalSwitch is an environmentally-friendly process that cleanses the raw biomass by removing salts, minerals and other contaminants that harm the atmosphere and damage power plant furnaces.
Crucially, and this is significant, it means the fuel can be burned in coal fired power stations, or alongside coal – negating the need for an expensive conversion.
Today, the company, which also has forestry and timber assets, unveiled the results of a University of Utah study that looked at the commercial viability of this game-changing technology.
The testing process compared CoalSwitch with Illinois number 6 coal, a typical feedstock used for industrial power generation in the US, and a CoalSwitch/ Illinois coal mix under the same test conditions.
The data from burn tests of the fuel, which can be used on its own or in combination with coal, were impressive.
Researchers from the university's Clean and Secure Energy Institute found:
- CoalSwitch fuel burned at near-identical temperatures to coal.
- It burned more efficiently than coal, and produced far less ash.
- It burned cleaner than coal.
- The mineral ash particle size distribution of CoalSwitch fuel was nearly the same as that for coal.
- The fuel was essentially free of both potassium and sodium, so combustion did not cause the fouling issues that are commonly a barrier to the use of biomass fuels in coal-fired power plants.
WHAT BOSS SAYS
In an interview with Proactive’s Juliet Mann, chief executive Richard Spinks said…
It has exceeded our expectations. With chemistry and physics you generally know what expect, particularly in a reaction; there’s only so many elements in the equation. But we found through these tests there are kinds of other exciting benefits CoalSwitch brings power operators that mean they don’t have to close their plants, or have expensive refits.
This changes the whole way the coal industry’s going to look at moving away from coal and making coal a clean alternative where it has to be used. I think a lot of coal mining and coal-reliant regions will come to look at this in a positive light.
Worth the time and money?
The investment has been clearly vindicated; you can’t put a price on what we have found.
AND THE REST
As mentioned earlier, the company has two other businesses – AEG WoodFibre and AEG TimberLands.
The former supplies the base material used in medium density fibreboard. It has an agreement with Turkey’s Yildiz Entegreto supply up to 300,000 tonnes of its hardwood and 200,000 tonnes of its new softwood material.
TimberLands, meanwhile, has a joint-venture with indigenous Métis Settlements to commercialise 200,000 hectares of mature forests in Western Canada.
THE SHARE PRICE
The shares, up 10% in afternoon trade and 19% in the last year, are currnetly changing hands for 6p each. That values the business at £35mln.