Active Energy provides update of Lumberton CoalSwitch plant

By Erin Voegele | June 06, 2019

U.K.-based Active Energy Group released a progress update June 4 on its CoalSwitch manufacturing facility in Lumberton, North Carolina, reporting the company is making rapid progress in advancing construction of the project.

Active Energy’s CoalSwitch technology produce a high-calorific, high-bulk-density biomass pellet. According to the company, CoalSwitch is produced primarily from forestry waste and other industrial cellulose waste products. The product can be fired with coal in existing coal-fired power plants at any ratio, up to 100 percent.

In order to fast-track development of the Lumberton plant, Active Energy has decommissioned its CoalSwitch test plant in Utah and is currently trucking the remaining equipment to Lumberton. The company said trucks with the reactors left Utah on June 3 are due to arrive by the end of the week, with ancillary kit arriving the following week.

Active Energy said engineering crews are expected to arrive at Lumberton within the next week weeks. Construction is anticipated to start at the time. “Further ancillary construction activities are expected to commence at Lumberton in the next month to build weighbridges and other infrastructure for handling biomass,” the company said in a statement.  “Importantly, the test reactor is operational and a testing program for various prospective clients has commenced, with the first test results being completed.”

The company also announced it has signed a five-year contract for up to 800,000 metric tons per year of feedstock for the CoalSwitch plant.

"We are delighted to have entered into the final stages of transporting and installing all the removed equipment from the Utah site to the Lumberton site, which will soon be operational,” said Michael Rowan, chief executive of Active Energy. “The company is now making significant commercial progress and, with the first goal of a new long-term feedstock contract signed, we are excited about moving toward production at Lumberton.  Having already re-constructed the test plant for biomass testing, our focus is now on completing the installation of the initial 5 [metric ton] per hour CoalSwitch plant, so that we can start delivering our first commercial product to market and drive near term revenue generative opportunities.  

Active Energy entered into a joint venture agreement with U.S.-based Georgia Renewable Power LLC in late 2018 for the installation of CoalSwitch plants at GRP’s three power plant sites in North Carolina and Georgia. The Lumberton project represents the first installation under that agreement.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce awarded Active Energy a $500,000 grant in April to support development of the Lumberton facility.