Quarterly Activity Report & Appendix 4C

Quarterly Activity Report & Appendix 4C

Highlights

  • Commenced commissioning of the Bacchus Marsh COLDry project as planned with potential for greater efficiencies identified
  • Partner engagement with major industry participants continued to grow as COLDry project advanced
  • Settlement of site purchase for the proposed Latrobe Valley Net Zero Emission Hydrogen refinery project.
  • Early repayment of Equity Lending Facility used for settlement of the Latrobe Valley property
  • Second Draw of InvestVic R&D Loan
  • Continued to deliver Peer-Best-Practice ESG reporting
  • HydroMOR patent accepted in EU & issued in Russia
  • Wood247 pilot business divested after 6-month trial to focus on Bacchus Marsh and Latrobe Valley projects
  • Subsequent to the quarter, ECT entered into a binding Joint Venture Agreement with GrapheneX to expand the Bacchus Marsh COLDry Project and received firm commitments to complete a capital raising to fund its joint venture commitments

29 April 2022: Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ASX: ECT) (ECT or Company) is pleased to provide the following update and Appendix 4C for the quarter ending 31 March 2022.

Bacchus Marsh COLDry Demonstration Plant (“Bacchus Marsh Project”) 

The Company announced a significant step forward with the commissioning program for Phase 1 of the Bacchus Marsh COLDry Demonstration Project.

The engineering team has identified significant potential process efficiency gains which centres on a new, five-pass conditioning system. If confirmed, the efficiency gain would produce substantial CAPEX and OPEX savings across Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Bacchus Marsh Project and flow-on benefits for the planned Latrobe Valley project.

Project partner discussions progressed over the quarter, culminating in the GrapheneX JV announced subsequent to the end of the quarter. The company continues discussions with other partners and will update the market as and when they become certain.

Group Chief Engineer Ashley Moore commented:

“The engineering, research and project management teams have developed a deep understanding of low-temperature drying and substrate plasticisation and densification, with the Bacchus Marsh Project representing the culmination of that knowledge and experience in action. Phase 1 of the Bacchus Marsh Project has seen significant advancements to the milling, mixing, extruding and, most notably, the conditioning of the pellets, which targets performance improvements of 3-10x better than the previous pilot-scale design.”

Chairman, Jason Marinko, commented:

“I am pleased to see the Bacchus Marsh project progress to a key milestone this quarter, as planned. This is despite confronting significant industry-wide labour shortages, supply chain delays and COVID related impacts on the workforce. The Board of ECT is proud of the team’s commitment to this achievement and how the demonstrable progress is leading to greater engagement and opportunities with commercial partners.”

Latrobe Valley Net Zero Emission Hydrogen Refinery (“Latrobe Valley Project”)

On 22 February 2022, the Company announced the property purchase settlement adjacent to the Yallourn power station and mine complex.

The site has been acquired to host the deployment of the Company’s proposed headline Latrobe Valley Net Zero Emission hydrogen refinery project, which aims to deliver:

  • Net-zero emission hydrogen: supporting the energy transition needed to achieve emission reduction targets
  • Critical minerals: supplying the crucial battery storage and industrial minerals market
  • Agricultural char: supporting national agricultural industry through soil health and productivity
  • Other valuable products: including high-value carbon and minerals products

The Company signed a binding purchase agreement with the vendor in late November 2021, with cash and share payments completing the settlement of the land acquisition. Covering an area of 4.2Ha, the acquisition enables the Company to progress its full feasibility study for the Latrobe Valley Project. In addition, the property is strategically located adjacent to the T15/16 upgrade program that is being co-developed by ECT and the owner of the Yallourn mine and power station, Energy Australia.

The Company engaged engineering firm GHD to commence the approvals planning process, covering EPA works approvals and licensing and local government planning application requirements. Additionally, GHD has undertaken process modelling activities in preparation for engineering development works. This work package has been completed, and actions as a result are underway.

Update on Status of Grant Application

The Company previously submitted an application under the Federal Governments Clean Hydrogen Industrial Hubs program in support of its Headline Project, with the outcome initially expected to be announced during March 2022. The results will now be announced sometime after the 21 May Federal Election.

The Company continues to investigate opportunities to access government support and industry partnerships.

Subsequent to the End of the Period

During April, ECT announced the signing of a binding Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with GrapheneX. This agreement supports the rollout of Phase 2 of ECT’s Bacchus Marsh 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 also announced the completion of a $5m capital raising to fund its commitment to the JVA and provide additional working capital.

Corporate & Finance 

During the December 2021 quarter, the Company established a $1.968M low-interest R&D loan with Invest Victoria, with $1.18M drawn in December. The remaining balance on this facility of $788K was drawdown during the March 2022 quarter.

Following the Company’s decision to divest the Wood247 pilot retail business and focus on its Bacchus Marsh and Latrobe Valley Projects, the sale of Wood247 occurred in April 2022.

Further to the acceptance of the Company’s first HydroMOR patent application in the jurisdiction of Russia, notification has been received confirming the acceptance of the patent in the European Union. Subsequent to the period, the Company received confirmation that the HydroMOR patent had been issued in Russia.

The HydroMOR process offers an alternative to conventional CO2-intensive blast furnace steelmaking, enabling the use of lower-cost, abundant lignite in place of higher-cost coking coal, delivering a lower emission, lower cost, metal production process. The Company remains committed to the potential industrial applications for this technology.

International Patent Application Status – HydroMOR 

Key aspects of IP protection include:

  • Patents – The HydroMOR Process is covered by patent applications/patents in major markets with suitable lignite deposits
  • Confidentiality Agreements – Comprehensive agreements cover engagement with potential partners and customers
  • Licence Agreements – Technology transfer is protected by detailed agreements to minimise risk and maximise compliance

The table below outlines the status of the various international patent applications for HydroMOR.

Case Ref. CountryCase Status 
35519103 India Response to Exam Report Filed 
35526602 Australia Exam requested 
35526603 Canada Application filed 
35526604 China Response to Exam Report Filed 
35526605 European Patent Office Accepted 
35526606 Russian Federation Issued 
35526607 United States of America Examination report received 
35527133 Indonesia Response to Exam Report Filed 
35540529 Hong Kong Application filed 

ESG Reporting

ECT continues to be assessed by, and report to, the ESG framework under the World Economic Forum (“WEF”) Environment, Social and Governance (ESG Metrics).

The Company has decided to take a best-of-peer approach to ESG and, over the reporting period, has initiated or progressed key developments in support of our continued commitment to the WEF Pillars of Governance, Planet, People and Prosperity, and associated 21 core ESG metrics. The ESG Dashboard below (provided by ESG technology partner, Socialsuite) provides a snapshot of the Company’s progress from the end of the previous quarter to 31 March 2022.

Full details of the quarter’s ESG progress and achievements are detailed in the Company’s report, ESG Highlights Q3FY22, which can also be found on the Company’s ESG web page: www.ectltd.com.au/esg

Commentary to Appendix 4C

Approximately $1.7M was spent on property, plant and equipment during the quarter. Of this, $640K was the cash portion for the property settlement at Yallourn (see announcement 23 February 2022), including $95K for GST, which will be refunded in April 2022. The remaining expenditure of $1.06M (prior quarter $594K) is related to the COLDry Project. This increase is due mainly to capital expenditure on electrical works that have been undertaken now that the primary process equipment has been installed.

Product manufacturing and operating costs were reduced by $165K compared to the prior quarter. These costs are associated with the Wood247 business, which was being readied for sale (see announcement 17 January 2022). Receipts from customers are also reduced during the sale process. Sale proceeds of $66K have been received in April 2022, which are not included in the Appendix 4C.

The prior quarter included cash receipts from government grants and tax incentives of approximately $2M. This was the receipt from the ATO following the lodgement of the Company’s 2021/22 income tax return, which included the R & D tax incentive. As such, there was no corresponding receipt in the current quarter. $1.3M of these funds was used to repay the 2021/22 R & D loan facility.

The Company has a loan facility with Invest Victoria of $1.968M, of which $1.18M was drawn down during the quarter ended 31 December 2021. In the quarter ended 31 March 2022, a further $788K was drawn down, which took the facility to its limit.

During the quarter, the Company received payments totalling $650K which were the repayment of 3 Equity Lending Facilities (refer to ASX announcement 8 February 2022).

Payments of $68K to related parties of the entity include payments of directors’ fees and payments to the Company’s full-time executive director.

// END //

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

For further information, please contact:

INVESTORS

Glenn Fozard
Managing Director

[email protected] / +613 9849 6203

MEDIA

Adam Giles
Marketing & Communications Manager

[email protected] / +613 9849 6203

220331-Appendix-4C