Environmental Clean Technologies Limited (ECT) signed a binding Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with GrapheneX to support the rollout of Phase 2 of ECT’s Bacchus Marsh COLDry project, Australia.
The project proposed commercial-scale net-zero hydrogen and electricity production. To support the rollout of Phase 2, ECT also announced to have received firm commitments from sophisticated investors to raise $ 5 million under a placement which was joint led by Kaai Capital and Peak Asset Management.
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.
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 $3.5 million for the 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 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 $3.5 million 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.
Ashley Moore, Chief Group Engineer, ECT, said, “Based on ECT’s internal engineering modelling, the upgraded Bacchus Marsh plant would have the capacity to produce up to 1000 tonnes/year of Hydrogen that can be used for derivatives like formic acid and dimethyl ether (DME).”
Glenn Fozard, MD of ECT, 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.”
Like the HESC project, the 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 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.
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.
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.