Eqtec gives waste and bioenergy plants’ update

Company has secured more funding and plans to convert biomass-fired plant to RDF, while also making progress on a UK-based waste wood gasification project

The Newry-based plant is to be converted to RDF
The Newry-based plant is to be converted to RDF

London Stock Exchange-registered Eqtec has told ENDS it has made good progress over the past 12 months on a number of waste and biomass-fired facility projects.

The company’s chief executive, Luis Sanchez, said his two main priorities were developing a 12MWe biochar gasification plant in Vietnam and the company’s project with Brooke Energy and Poland-based Rafako to build and operate a facility in Usk, south-east Wales, which will also use Eqtec’s gasification technology.

Sanchez revealed the company was effectively scrapping its Newry-based biomass gasification plant, which was developed under a previous incarnation called React Energy. The technology from the plant, a gasification system with 4MW of electricity capacity, is expected to be shipped to Vietnam as part of a £19.2m (€22m) deal with Indonesia-based Pt Citra Metro Jaya Energi (Citra), which was announced last month.

Eqtec is looking at potential options to redevelop the Newry site as a waste processing facility using gasification with a capacity of up to 10MWe, according to Sanchez. "The [previous] model based on renewables obligation certificates is over, and it won’t come back," he explained. "What we are going to do is look at the possibility of transforming the site into a refuse-derived fuel facility."

Before any work would get underway in Newry on the RDF conversion, the company would focus on its waste wood-fired project in Usk, Wales, Sanchez said.

The Usk project is intended to process about 42,000 tonnes per year of biomass and and have a capacity of 6.4MWe. Talks with financial backers are progressing, according to Sanchez.

In a further announcement, issued today, Eqtec revealed it had secured a new loan facility of up to £2.4m (€2.7m) from the Cuart Investments Fund, a consortium led by Origen Capital LLP.

Sanchez also explained the company’s development of two waste processing gasification plants with Energy China, known as Reliable Melton Hull and Reliable Seal Sands in north-east England, had "suffered a delay."

He added: "In the UK, the use of syngas to produce steam instead of syngas to gas engines is more profitable to the customer, due to high prices for gate fees and not so high prices for the electricity. That is why we’ve changed to a steam turbine to get a higher return for the investors. This is taking some time, but we expect to conclude in Q1 2019."

The first of three biomass gasification plants under development in Croatia, which were revealed last year, could be declared operational in September, when it will start commercial operations, according to Sanchez.

Sanchez further said the company expected to generate revenues this year in either Q3 or 4, but added that 2019 was "when the stream of revenues starts properly."

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