By Richard Gill, CFA
EQTEC (EQT), the waste gasification to energy technology provider, has announced updates on progress at two of its UK development projects.
Firstly, at the Southport Hybrid Energy Park in Merseyside, EQTEC has selected Wood Group as its technology partner for the design and deployment of a clean, waste-to-hydrogen solution during Phase 2 of its development. This follows last November’s Strategic Collaboration Agreement with the FTSE 250 listed consulting and engineering company. Under the deal the two parties are jointly targeting and pursuing market opportunities for collaborative development and deployment of clean, waste-to-synthetic natural gas (SNG) and waste-to-hydrogen solutions and delivery of related projects.
For Southport, EQTEC and Wood have signed a Letter of Intent to formalise their joint intent to collaborate. This specifies that they will be exclusive partners for pursuit of the Southport RDF-to-hydrogen solution and will jointly develop an integrated, RDF-to-hydrogen solution applicable at the plant. EQTEC will be appointed to lead the customer interaction for the joint proposal and sub-contract to Wood for the VESTA elements of the integrated, RDF-to-hydrogen solution – VESTA is Wood’s methanation technology which enables producers of clean syngas, such as EQTEC, to connect to existing natural gas networks.
The project at Southport, being developed with Rotunda Group, currently has planning permission for a waste recycling facility, an anaerobic digestion facility, and 9 MW of electrical generation with 2 MW of battery storage, exporting 11 MWe to the grid annually. In September 2021 EQTEC showed that it was taking the project to the next stage by announcing that wholly owned subsidiary, Southport WTV Limited, the project SPV, had signed a Share Purchase Agreement with Rotunda to acquire full ownership. EQTEC is co-developer and gasification technology provider, acting as the project developer at Southport, providing the design and core Advanced Gasification Technology.
The Phase 1 plan for the plant includes a waste processing facility, an anaerobic digestion facility, combined heat and power engines and a 2MW battery storage facility, all developed with Anaergia, Inc., which has also agreed to provide EPC and O&M services for Phase 1. The waste processing facility would separate renewables for recycling elsewhere, separate organics for use by the AD facility and produce refuse-derived fuel. The Phase 1 Plant would convert 80,000 tonnes of waste per year for six million cubic metres of biomethane to be injected into the national gas transmission system, also pulling gas from the grid to generate 9MWe for export to the national electricity transmission system.
However, EQTEC has been working on a Phase 2 plan which could add its synthesis gas (syngas) technology to convert 25,000 tonnes of RDF per year, supplied by the plant’s waste processing facility, into an estimated 2.5 – 3.0MWe of clean electricity. EQTEC and Wood have agreed to co-develop an RDF-to-clean hydrogen solution that would replace or augment the Phase 2 RDF-to-electricity solution. The solution would combine EQTEC’s syngas technology with Wood’s VESTA syngas-to-hydrogen technology. Implementation of the solution is subject to further planning permission. With both Phase 1 and Phase 2 solutions in place, the full plant facilities are expected to export to the grid the equivalent of 20% or more of Southport’s energy requirement.
In other news, at the company’s RDF-to-energy project at Deeside in Wales, EQTEC has reached agreement with partner Logik Developments to further extend the date for completing the share purchase agreement signed last December to 31st August 2022. In October, EQTEC announced that planning consent had been granted for a proposed 9.9MWe plant to enable a complete and local waste-to energy solution that would combine a 182,000-tonne waste reception plant with 2MW anaerobic digestion facility and EQTEC Advanced Gasification Technology.
In further recent developments at Deeside, EQTEC is in the final stage of discussions to appoint Black and Veatch, a global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company specialising in sustainable infrastructure development, for the powertrain FEED (front end engineering design) which follows the EQTEC gasification plant. Discussions with shortlisted technology partners are ongoing so selected companies can provide their technical and commercial proposal for the downstream technology to convert syngas into hydrogen. There are also ongoing discussions with development and infrastructure investors, as well as owner-operators, for a minimum £15 million sale of the project SPV, with a number of parties engaged at due diligence stage.
Southport and Deeside are two of EQTEC’s largest development projects in the UK so it is good news that further progress is being made to their eventually commissioning. It is also good to see that the relationship with Wood Group is developing following last year’s major deal. As we commented in our latest update note, EQTEC is currently at the stage where it is proving that its technologies work in a commercial context – so proving that EQTEC’s syngas works with Wood Group’s VESTA technologies will enable the technology to be showcased to further potential customers. The hydrogen element here is also important given its increasing attraction as a zero waste, green fuel.
We last updated coverage on EQTEC in April, noting that the company has set itself up nicely for strong growth over the coming years. All this comes under the backdrop of a global effort to reduce waste, increase the use of alternative sources of energy and achieve net zero carbon emission targets – three things which the company’s market leading Advanced Gasification Technology has been designed for.
With the current share price of 0.52p being well below our EV/EBITDA multiple based target of 2.41p, we retain our stance of Conviction Buy.
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