Active Energy scores plant funding, provides testing update

By Active Energy Group | December 01, 2016

Active Energy Group, the London quoted international renewable energy, forestry management and timber processing business, is pleased to announce that it has achieved certain milestones in line with its strategy to commercialize its CoalSwitch technology, which utilizes low-value wood, timber, forestry and pulp mill/ saw mill byproducts to produce drop-in biomass fuel that can be mixed at any ratio with coal or completely replace coal in existing unmodified coal-fired power stations globally.

The company has received a commitment for a five-year, unsecured loan of $6 million, carrying interest at 8 percent per annum, for the construction of a 35,000 metric-ton-per-year plant in North America. Funding will be provided by Linarus FZE, a private Dubai-based investment company. Linarus has been a long-term supporter of AEG, has provided funding for the early-stage development of CoalSwitch, and remains committed to taking the project into commercial development. Further announcements regarding draw-downs will be made in due course.

At the request of U.S. utility Rocky Mountain Power, and with funding provided by the Utah Department of Energy, AEG was contracted to manufacture a sample of AEG CoalSwitch pellets made using mixed wood wastes available in Utah. RMP intends to replace 10 percent of its coal feed with biomass at one of its Utah plants, and as part of RMP’s fuel-change protocol, AEG CoalSwitch samples underwent a ball mill test under stringent conditions. The results are understood to prove that CoalSwitch mills and behaves better than coal in every respect, demonstrating once again that the product can be used as a direct replacement for coal at a coal-fired utility.

Andrew Fry, associate professor of chemical engineering at Brigham Young University said, “I observed the ball mill test at the University of Utah’s Industrial Combustion and Gasification Research Facility on Nov. 11, 2016. Observation during the milling process showed the CoalSwitch pellets mixed with coal, milled as if they were coal and had no detrimental impact on the milling system—in fact, it seems the conditions required to mill the blend require less electrical energy than the coal by itself and produces a particle size distribution with no measurable difference to milling the coal without the CoalSwitch pellets. CoalSwitch pellets are the only wood-derived pellet I am aware of that can be milled readily with coal and this will make CoalSwitch a very desirable alternative to coal for utilities looking to use alternative environmentally friendly coal substitutes in coal fired boilers.”

The next step is for RMP to prepare for the commercial use of the CoalSwitch product at one of its Utah utilities in 2017.

Richard Spinks, CEO of Active Energy said: “This is a landmark moment for AEG. The funding unlocks our ability to commercialize our revolutionary and proven CoalSwitch technology and will enable us to generate meaningful revenues within the U.S., which is set to be one of our core geographic markets. Additionally, we are delighted with RMP’s public support for our product. Not only is it positive in terms of our future relationship with RMP, but we anticipate that this will aid our ongoing discussions with other potential customers going forward. Due to its ability to enable coal-fired power stations to meet strict green regulations without the need for expensive retrofit programs traditionally required to accommodate biomass feedstock, we believe that CoalSwitch represents a potentially groundbreaking force in the market. Therefore, we look forward to providing further details and timescales regarding the development of AEG CoalSwitch, which will be transformative for the company and our customer base in the coming months.”