- Active Energy Group's renewable energy division AEG CoalSwitch has revealed its revolutionary Biomass fuel manufacturing process to an international audience of more than 30 representatives of power generation utilities, government bodies, manufacturing partners and investment firms at a four-day event in Utah.

The AEG CoalSwitch technology, which has been heralded as the world's only 'drop-in' coal replacement or supplement for power generation and other industrial uses, converts any fibrous or wood-based Biomass material into valuable high-energy feedstock via a pioneering process - protected by 19 international 'greenfield' patents - which removes the vast majority of minerals, salts and other contaminants that have prevented renewable Biomass-derived fuels from entering the energy mainstream.

AEG CoalSwitch Biomass fuel can be utilised in traditional coal-fired power plants as a direct substitute for coal - or, more likely, mixed with coal in co-firing operations in higher concentrations than existing Biomass fuels such as white pellets or simple/torrified black pellets - in most cases without requiring any furnace, handling or storage modifications; enabling existing coal-fired power plant owners to speedily and inexpensively comply with government legislation, such as the US Clean Air Act, under which they are mandated to reduce air pollution levels.

It therefore represents the first viable solution to overcoming the global problem of coal-fired power plants either having to shut down or being forced to invest in retrofitting and conversion of their facilities to meet stringent new regulations curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gas emissions, the primary causes of global warming and climate change; potentially saving plant operators billions of dollars and enabling them to avoid the only other likely option: closure.

At the AEG CoalSwitch reveal event, held at the company's Centerville Research & Development facility in Utah, attendees witnessed the first live demonstration of an industrial-scale prototype of the AEG CoalSwitch manufacturing system; in which raw Aspen wood chip - specifically selected because of the significant Aspen reserves under the management of the AEG TimberLands joint venture and elsewhere in Western Canada - was processed in minutes into high-energy Biomass fuel with a calorific value of over 23 Gigajoules (GJ) per metric tonneā€¦ which compares favourably with industrial coals (which range from a calorific value of 15-32 GJ per metric tonne).

AEG chief executive Richard Spinks said: "My colleagues and I are greatly encouraged by the initial feedback from the AEG CoalSwitch manufacturing and burn tests, which validate our conviction that we possess a game-changing renewable energy solution. Creating a clean-burning Biomass fuel that can replace or supplement coal in existing power plants without retrofitting or facilities conversion has long been the' holy grail' of the power generation industry, and I applaud the entire AEG CoalSwitch team for their achievements.

"The phenomenal level of international interest from potential customers for AEG CoalSwitch fuel far exceeds our ability to manage such a large number of long-term commercial relationships, so we are in the process of bringing on board some experienced industry figures to negotiate offtake agreements with power generating utilities and asset owners.

"At the same time, we are concluding the funding arrangements for us to construct the first large-scale AEG CoalSwitch manufacturing plant, capable of producing more than 300,000 tonnes of high-quality fuel per annum; and continuing our efforts, via the Group's AEG TimberLands division, to secure ever greater volumes of raw Biomass feedstock from Canada, the US, Europe and elsewhere.

"The success of the Utah event, and the exceptional reaction of all the attendees, including from the State of Utah, underscores the immense value that AEG CoalSwitch represents to the power generation industry as it seeks to reduce the harmful pollutants and emissions caused by existing technologies, and to improve air quality across the globe."

At 9:24am: [LON:AEG] Active Energy Group share price was +0.35p at 5.53p

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