Highlights:

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ECT) (“ECT” or “Company”) is pleased to announce the signing of a binding Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with GrapheneX. This agreement supports the rollout of Phase 2 of ECT’s Bacchus Marsh COLDry project (the Project) to deliver a world-first demonstration of the Company’s proposed commercial-scale net-zero hydrogen and electricity production. To support the rollout of Phase 2, ECT is also pleased to announce that it has received firm commitments from sophisticated investors to raise $5m under a placement which was joint led by Kaai Capital and Peak Asset Management.

Set to become the largest demonstration of its type in Australia

The JVA upgrades will enable the first-of-a-kind demonstration of low emission electricity production from syngas and the generation of hydrogen derivative products from lignite and waste biomass blends, making it the largest demonstration of its kind in Australia.

“Based on ECT’s internal engineering modelling, the upgraded Bacchus Marsh plant would have the capacity to produce up to 1000 tpa of Hydrogen that can be used for derivatives like formic acid and dimethyl ether (DME).”

Ashley Moore, Chief Group Engineer, ECT

GrapheneX will commit to supplying a multi-feedstock 39MW turbine to be installed at ECT’s Bacchus Marsh site. GrapheneX will also supply funding of $3.5m for installation of the turbine and the formic acid process equipment. The formic acid plant will demonstrate the production of formic acid (HCOOH) from the syngas product stream. Formic acid is a liquid organic hydrogen carrier that provides a safer, lower-cost hydrogen transport alternative[1] to ammonia or cryogenic hydrogen. In addition, it is also a product in its own right, used as a livestock feed preservative, amongst other applications.

ECT will commit $3.5m to the JVA, from which the company will fund the installation of the pyrolysis kiln and ancillary plant to produce char and syngas from COLDry pellets made from a blend of biomass and lignite.

ECT Managing Director, Glenn Fozard commented:

“Once installed, the process will be the largest hydrogen production capability from lignite. Add to that the largest demonstration of low emission electricity from lignite syngas, and we have a site of national significance. ECT shareholders and GrapheneX should be proud of this proposed development and the facility’s national profile will support increased interest from both industry and Government.”

The Project, similar to the HESC[2] project, aims to be a fully integrated supply chain solution for hydrogen. However, the key difference for ECT’s project is that, instead of focusing on high purity hydrogen, it will focus on hydrogen derivatives, which solve the immediate storage and transportation challenges. In addition, the Project does not require the CCS infrastructure that is being planned to curtail emissions for Blue Hydrogen projects. By eliminating two of the biggest challenges facing the immediate deployment of hydrogen production plants, the Project allows ECT and GrapheneX to focus on technical scale-up, commercial optimisations and further emissions and waste improvements.

Phase 2 of COLDry Demonstration Project to Commence

Phase 2 of the Project was placed on hold in October 2021 as part of the Company’s strategic review to allow a re-focus on formalising relationships with potential project partners, with the view to accelerate commercialisation and diversify project risk and funding.

The rollout of Phase 2 will establish R&D capability to support the development of:

The Company’s recently released corporate presentation highlighted the revised Phase 2 development plan, outlining the objective of demonstrating a net zero-emission hydrogen and agricultural char process, including:

Phase 1 of the Project, focusing on the scale-up of the Company’s world-first zero-emission COLDry lignite drying process, commenced commissioning in March.

Paving the way for ECT’s headline Net Zero Emission Hydrogen (NZEH2) Refinery project in Latrobe Valley

The commitment to Phase 2 of the Bacchus Marsh COLDry project also marks the next major step for the Company’s previously announced headline NZEH2 Refinery Hub project planned for deployment adjacent to the Yallourn mine and power station complex in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

Managing Director, Glenn Fozard commented:

“We are excited to continue developing our demonstration project at Bacchus Marsh in joint venture with GrapheneX. The addition of a turbine on-site, along with funding to build the pyrolysis kiln and formic acid process, will elevate the profile of our Hydrogen Hub at Bacchus Marsh and provide a working demonstration of technology that is proven, ready for deployment and most importantly, demonstrably net zero emission.”

Chairman of GrapheneX, Stephen Wee, commented:

“By providing the use of the turbine at the Bacchus Marsh site, GrapheneX is pleased to support the establishment of Australia’s largest demonstration of low-emission syngas as a feedstock for electricity. We see this as clear evidence that the partnership of ECT and GrapheneX is leading the charge towards implementing Victoria’s net-zero hydrogen refinery project in the Latrobe Valley.”

Introducing “Viridian Hydrogen”

With a rapidly emerging hydrogen space and a range of production methods competing for market share, colour codes have been loosely adopted to identify the production source and, by extension, the emissions profile.

The process being developed by ECT and GrapheneX is in a colour category of its own due primarily to its net-zero emission profile without the need for CCS (see table below).

The critical point of difference is the effective transformation of lignite, combined with waste biomass, into a valuable multiproduct stream:

  1. Clean energy – hydrogen and low emission electricity
  2. Soil health – agricultural char
  3. Critical minerals – graphitic carbon, battery anodic carbon & graphene

This outcome is achieved with net-zero emissions and zero waste discharge, delivering a transformative solution that allows for billions of dollars of improved economic value to be derived from Victoria’s lignite resource, aligned to emerging clean and circular industries and environmental sustainability.

Bacchus Marsh site to be developed into integrated Waste-to-Clean Energy Hub

ECT has commenced planning for the long-term use of its Bacchus Marsh site to become a fully integrated waste-to-clean energy hub.

The aim is to collaborate with both current and new partners to showcase a commercial application of many different low emission processes for turning waste into valuable energy products with a low to net-zero emission profile.

This will see further collaboration with industry partners over the coming weeks and months to identify leading-edge technology, recycling and refinery solutions for:

All technologies will be selected for their impact targeting:

ECT is currently in discussions with multiple parties, some advanced and some emerging, for technology acquisitions, collaborative integration of plant and equipment and strategic joint ventures in support of this initiative.

Joint Venture Key Terms

  1. Completion of the COLDry plant to produce feedstock for the pyrolysis kiln

ECT is responsible for the completion of the COLDry plant:

GrapheneX will be responsible for:

ECT is responsible for:

GrapheneX will be responsible for:

ECT is responsible for:

ECT will have no claim over any IP generated from the FA process or turbine demonstration and GrapheneX will have no claim over any IP generated from the COLDry-pyrolysis kiln demonstration or the char and syngas generation.

About GrapheneX

GrapheneX is an Australian pioneer in developing innovative manufacturing processes and material technologies capable of powering the fourth industrial revolution. The company is focused on developing technically feasible and commercially viable manufacturing processes for smart materials and digital platforms to enable Industry 4.0. GrapheneX Pty Ltd is also a founding industry partner of the Clayton Hydrogen cluster and plays a key role to test, trial and demonstrate new and emerging hydrogen technologies.

Placement Details

The Company is pleased to advise that it has received firm commitments to raise gross proceeds of $5m via a share placement to institutional and sophisticated investors. The share placement was strongly supported and will see several new institutional shareholders join the Company’s register.

The share placement will comprise the issue of 166,666,667 new fully paid ordinary shares (“Placement Shares”) at an issue price of $0.03 per share (“Placement”). Completion of the Placement is expected to occur on or around 3 May 2022. In addition to the Placement, for every 3 shares issued under the Placement, the Company will issue 2 free attaching listed options with the same terms as the Company’s existing listed option on issue (each exercisable at $0.03 expiring 23 February 2023 with ASX code ECTOE (‘’Placement Options’’). The first attaching Placement Option will be issued pursuant to the Company’s 15% capacity under Listing Rule 7.1 and at the same time as the Placement Shares. The second Placement Option is subject to shareholder approval to be sought at a general meeting of the Company proposed to be held in June 2022 (Meeting).

166,666,667 of the Placement Shares shall be issued pursuant to the Company’s 15% capacity under Listing Rule 7.1.

The issue price represents a 9% discount to the last traded share price of 0.033 cents, 9% discount to the 5-day volume-weighted average share price, and 10% discount to the 30-day volume-weighted average share price.

Kaai Capital Pty Limited (‘’Kaai’’) and Peak Asset Management (‘’Peak’’) have been separately appointed to act as Joint Lead Manager for the Placement (JLM's). In consideration for lead managing the Placement, the Company will pay the JLMs a fee of 6% of the amount raised and issue to them (or their nominees) a total of 10.2M ECTOE options. Funds raised under the Share Placement will be applied as follows:

This announcement is authorised for release to the ASX by the Board of ECT.

For further information, please contact:


[1] Formic acid is liquid at ambient temperature and pressure, unlike other proposed methods which require low / extremely low temperature and high pressure, and specialised transport vessels.

[2] HESC refers to the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain pilot project which aims to safely demonstrate the production and transport of clean liquid hydrogen from Victoria’s Latrobe Valley to Japan. 

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ESI) (ECT or Company) is pleased to provide the following general update on its activities in India and Australia.

Key points:

India Activity

On 30 May 2018, the Company signed a project agreement for the largest ever (~AUD35 million) R&D collaboration between Australia and India for the joint development of its two leading technologies: Matmor and Coldry.

ECT’s partners, NLC India Limited (NLCIL) and NMDC Limited (NMDC), majority Indian government-owned enterprises and India’s largest lignite (brown coal) and iron ore miners respectively, will fund the project in return for a 25.5% share each of the ensuing joint-venture entity.

The first order of business under the project agreement is the finalisation and execution of a set of detailed sub-agreements, which form the condition precedent to financial close, and are targeted for completion by 31 July.

ECT India Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Ashley Moore commented, “Following the signing ceremony for the project agreement we moved straight into the review and finalisation of the draft sub-agreements.

“I’m pleased to report the drafting process has continued its momentum over the past few weeks and is currently on track to meet our mutually agreed timeframe of 31 July (2018).

“Next steps involve finalisation of the sub-agreements as a package, followed by their signing in India.

“This process includes review by the three key departments within NLCIL and NMDC, being Company Secretariat, Legal and Finance, ahead of conclusion.

“Following the execution of the sub-agreements the engineering, procurement and construction program will commence.”

The Company will continue to provide updates and guidance on this key activity.

Australia Activity

The Company is pleased to provide updates on the following activities:

Coldry HVTF

The Company’s previous update on the progress of its Coldry solid fuel trials in the Victorian and Tasmanian markets (6 February 2018) noted:

Under the AusIndustry R&D Tax Incentive program, product generated from eligible experimental activity is permitted to be sold.

ECT is pleased to report that the Coldry solid fuel test product consumed by participants has performed well and as a result, the Company continues to supply these customers with further product generated by our experimental activity, on an ongoing basis.

The Company is now expanding its HVTF test program and will continue to make Coldry solid fuel available for sale to these consumers across Victoria and Tasmania.

ECT COO Jim Blackburn commented, “In addition to the successful initial testing across several consumers and the subsequent ongoing sale of available Coldry solid fuel over recent months, we’ve also assisted customers with the review and scoping of boiler upgrades, with a focus on Coldry handling systems, allowing for progressive scale up as we expand capacity at our Bacchus Marsh site.

“Not surprisingly, we’ve received increased interest from shareholders in recent weeks seeking to know the identity of the customers, how many tonnes we’re supplying and the price. These details remain commercial-in-confidence given the emerging interest in the market from parties that may seek to market alternate products to the same consumers.

“Importantly, the establishment of regular sales of Coldry solid fuel test product supports our planned Stage 3 upgrade of the HVTF to a capacity of up to 35,000 tonnes a year, including development of an expanded raw materials handling and finished product storage capacity.

“The upgrade activity at the HVTF will further support collection of critical scale-up research data to inform aspects of both the integrated Coldry demonstration and Matmor pilot plant project in India and our proposed Latrobe Valley project here in Australia.”

Latrobe Valley Project

The Company previously announced the commencement of the feasibility study for the proposed establishment of a large-scale Coldry demonstration plant of ~170,000 tonnes per annum capacity (4 September 2017).

The feasibility study scope entailed:

Phase 1 was completed and announced (15 November 2017), highlighting our partnership with Energy Australia for potential site location and coal supply.

The Company’s focus on advancing the India project has taken priority since the conclusion of Phase 1, resulting in a pause in activity around the Latrobe Valley project in recent months.

ECT Chairman Mr Glenn Fozard commented “The initial scoping and site selection provided a solid foundation to proceed to pre-feasibility and we look forward to progressing this program in coming months.

“This proposed project holds significant short-term interest in providing increased energy security and affordability through diversification of Victoria’s energy solutions and longer-term interest as a gateway enabler to the deployment of High-Efficiency, Low Emissions (HELE) electricity production and low emission chemical production, including hydrogen, from Victoria’s world-class lignite assets.

“HELE power stations, hydrogen production and fertilizer production are all industries of the future for the Latrobe Valley and they all share the common need to dry brown coal. Following successful scale-up, Coldry has the potential to deliver this outcome economically and with zero-emissions when integrated with a waste heat source. A claim unmatched by any other process.”

Background – India Project

The project entails the development of ECT’s two leading technologies:

Commencing with an ~AUD35 million R&D phase, the project aims to scale up ECT’s Matmor and Coldry technologies to deliver an integrated Coldry demonstration and Matmor pilot plant to validate their technical and economic feasibility at a capacity of ~2 tonnes of metal per hour.

Following successful phase one R&D outcomes, the project agreement provides the framework to proceed with a commercial-scale integrated steelmaking facility. The parties have previously contemplated the potential scope for the commercial phase via the techno-economic feasibility study completed in July 2016, which includes a notional capacity of 500,000 tonnes per annum steel output and an estimated AUD300 million capital investment. The site for the R&D plant at NLCIL has been chosen to allow room for expansion into a commercial-scale facility.

The Technologies

Steel produced via the Matmor process

Matmor is the world’s first and only lignite-based primary iron making technology capable of replacing metallurgical coal and high-grade lump iron ore with lower-cost alternative raw materials thanks to its unique chemistry and furnace design.

The process is built on a unique chemical pathway that utilises hydrogen, enabling lower operating temperatures and shorter process times than the traditional blast furnace route.

Coldry is a unique, zero-emission, lignite upgrading technology capable of producing a solid fuel for use in power generation, industrial thermal applications and as a feedstock to higher-value downstream applications such as coal to liquids, gas, fertiliser, chemicals, chars, activated carbon, hydrogen and steelmaking (via the Matmor technology). Coldry solid fuel is significantly less CO2 intensive than lignite.

The anticipated lower cost of the integrated Coldry-Matmor technologies when commercialised provides a realistic basis for achieving zero-net CO2 emissions from primary iron production, a goal which has eluded the commercial world of steel making despite many attempts.

 

For further information, contact:

Glenn Fozard – Chairman          [email protected]

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ESI) (ECT or Company) is pleased to provide the following update on the Group’s Coldry commercialisation program.

Key points:

Latrobe Valley Coldry Feasibility Program – Site selection

The Company wishes to advise that, following a detailed assessment process involving nine potential locations within the Latrobe Valley, it has selected Yallourn power station as the site for the previously announced large-scale Coldry demonstration project (see announcement 4 Sept 2017).

Factors having the greatest bearing on the final choice included:

Yallourn power station, owned by EnergyAustralia, was deemed to be the most preferable location and will form the basis for the current feasibility study. Within the Yallourn site, there are two candidate locations vying for ultimate selection.

The Company is currently in discussions with EnergyAustralia as the site and coal supply partner for the project, with the next step entailing a more detailed assessment of the two candidate sites identified within the power station facility.

ECT Chairman, Glenn Fozard commented, “Early identification of a target site will allow us to concentrate our efforts on a narrower set of variables as we progress feasibility. The Yallourn power station offers unique attributes which allow us to progress the feasibility of Australia’s only zero-emissions brown coal upgrading facility and in doing so, provide a gateway for the future use of brown coal.”

Background to Latrobe Valley Coldry project

Running parallel to the Company’s continued R&D programs to support its India project, 2017 has seen the re-emergence of project development opportunities in the Latrobe Valley.

Formal preparations for the feasibility program for the construction of a large-scale Coldry demonstration Coldry plant in the Latrobe Valley began in July (announcement 12 July 2017).

Titled the ‘Gateway Fuel Victoria Project’, this initiative stands in strong alignment with government policy and regional development directives and responding to clear energy market signals, our plans to develop a zero-emissions Coldry plant have so far been well received and well supported.

This program holds significant short-term interest in providing increased energy security and affordability through diversification of Victoria’s energy solutions and longer-term interest as a gateway enabler to the deployment of High-Efficiency, Low Emissions (HELE) electricity production and low emission chemical production, like hydrogen, from Victoria’s world-class lignite assets.

In line with the established project planning structure, the Feasibility Study program is divided into several phases, including:

The project team is finalising the scoping study and with site selection completed, aims to complete a clearly defined scope, budget and plan for the Pre-feasibility Study.

The selection phase focuses on analysing the potential project scenarios (site, scale and configuration) together with the best financial and technical options for the project. This phase will deliver a set of preferred options, refining the scope for the subsequent work programs.

The full Feasibility Study will aim to establish the business case for the construction of a large-scale Coldry demonstration plant in the Latrobe Valley.

Gateway Fuels Victoria (GFV) – Latrobe Valley Coldry Project

ECT is the sponsor of the Latrobe Valley Coldry project, named Gateway Fuels Victoria (GFV), which aims to build a first-of-a-kind, zero-emissions brown coal de-watering plant using the patented Coldry process.

Coldry converts low-value brown coal into high-calorific value, low-moisture solid fuel pellets suitable as a gateway feedstock for applications such as:

Coldry utilises low-grade waste heat, producing the world’s most cost-effective brown coal fuel pellet via a drying solution with zero direct emissions.

Gateway Fuels Victoria aims to build a plant with a capacity of up to 170,000 tonnes per annum by the end of FY 2019 and will hold the exclusive licence to expand this production footprint to over 10,000,000 tonnes per annum.

EnergyAustralia to support 3,000-tonne trial program

As communicated previously (see announcement 1 November 2017), ECT is continuing to implement its Coldry commercialisation strategy which is comprised of three targeted programs aimed at testing our alternative solid fuel, produced using our Coldry technology, under commercial conditions.

These programs include:

At present, Phase 1 of the program has been completed, and in addition, phase 2 of the program which is focused on the development of improved pellet conditioning and drying methodology to further refine the process as we progress feasibility of the Latrobe Valley Coldry project, is nearing completion.

In support of feasibility program progress, EnergyAustralia has entered into a coal supply agreement to support large-scale production test work at the Bacchus Marsh High Volume Test Facility (HVTF). Coldry solid fuel pellets produced during this test program will be supplied to end-user applications, including steam and hot water boiler systems.

ECT recognises the potential for improved brown coal use in helping balance affordability, reliability and emissions intensity across the nation’s energy system. The establishment of a large scale, zero-emission Coldry plant will take the Latrobe Valley one step closer to becoming, once again, the national flagship for reliable, affordable energy production in the context of an emissions constrained environment.

Glenn Fozard commented, “High Efficiency, Low Emissions (HELE) power stations, hydrogen production and fertilizer production are all industries of the future for the Latrobe Valley and they all need dry brown coal. Coldry can achieve this economically and with zero-emissions. A claim unmatched by any other process.”

For further information, contact:

Glenn Fozard – Chairman             [email protected]

Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ESI) (ECT or Company) is pleased to announce the formal commencement of its Feasibility Program for the development of a zero-emissions commercial demonstration Coldry plant in the Latrobe Valley to support the growing need to diversify Victoria’s access to industrial energy supplies and establish a footprint for commercial expansion.

Key points:

Commencement of a Formal Feasibility Program

Further to recent announcements regarding the development of a zero emissions solid fuel plant in Victoria (23 June 2017 & 12 July 2017) the Company is pleased to advise the formal commencement of a feasibility program for the construction of a commercial demonstration scale Coldry plant in the Latrobe Valley.

A Steering Committee has been formed comprising senior ECT executives, and a project team established which is jointly led by ECT Chief Engineers Warrick Boyle and Lachlan Bartsch.

ECT Chairman, Glenn Fozard commented, “Building a zero-emissions Coldry plant, aligns well with the State Governments “Future Use of Brown Coal” policy (see ECT announcement 12 July 2017). The industrial and political environment are now fully supportive of technologies that deliver low or zero-emissions solutions to higher value use of lignite. Our vision is to establish a scalable gateway application, enabling a broader, more environmentally sensitive use of lignite which will support economic activity and employment for the region. This program holds significant short-term interest in providing increased energy security through diversification of Victoria’s energy solutions and longer-term interest as a gateway enabler to the deployment of High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) electricity production and low emissions chemical separation, like hydrogen from Victoria’s world class lignite assets.”

ECT Chief Operating Officer, Jim Blackburn commented “We are very pleased to have made a solid start to this program and are delighted in the lead management roles that both Warrick and Lachlan are able to play in this process aligned with, and in parallel to, their greater responsibilities at our Bacchus Marsh R&D facility and on our project in India”.

In line with the established project planning structure, the Feasibility Study program is divided into a number of phases, including:

Scoping Study and selection phase

The project team is currently undertaking a scoping study and selection phase aimed at clearly defining the scope, budget and plan for the Pre-feasibility Study.

In particular, the selection phase focuses on analysing the potential project scenarios (site, scale and configuration) together with the best financial and technical options for the project. This phase will deliver a set of preferred options, refining the scope for the subsequent pre-feasibility level study.

The Pre-feasibility Study will refine estimates for the project’s capital requirements, identify challenges and enable the establishment of a budget, scope and schedule for the Feasibility Study for consideration by the Board. A detailed assessment of the various design configurations, production processes and site options will follow the Pre-feasibility Study, with the aim of identifying the optimum project scenario to proceed to full feasibility.

Upon completion of the Pre-feasibility Study, the ECT project team will, if appropriate, make a recommendation to the Steering Committee for the project to proceed to full feasibility. The full Feasibility Study would aim to establish the business case for construction of a commercial demonstration scale Coldry plant in the Latrobe Valley.

The Scoping Study and Pre-feasibility Study process is expected to be undertaken over the coming months.

 

Figure 1: Project delivery framework (click to enlarge)

 

Jim Blackburn further commented, “With the support of its shareholders, ECT has invested significant resources into the development of its unique technology suite and the framework for commercialisation. This Feasibility Study program, led by our Chief Engineers, and under guidance and support from the executive team, is a great opportunity for the Company to deploy these assets and, we hope, establish a commercial basis for future domestic revenues”.

Subsequent announcements will provide further information on project costs, partners, site selection and other relevant details that will flow from the progress of the Feasibility Program.

 

For further information, contact:

Glenn Fozard – Chairman               [email protected]