Manufacturers and operators are under significant financial pressure by way of fines to reduce CO₂ emissions following the decision of governments around the World to set allowed pollution levels in this sector. Failure for the manufacturers to meet the already legislated ‘policed’ emission targets with their new equipment would result at best in loss of market share, or worse, no physical sales of equipment at all. For the existing operators the choice is even simpler; reduce and clean up, or shut the station down, because after fines it will simply not be commercially viable to operate.
A clear example of this post the ‘LCPD 2001/80/EC’ (Large Combustion Plant Directive) coming into force is the closure of Didcot-B & Kingsnorth Power stations.
Key Information Summary
The Companies proposed to raise £10,300,000 in 3 tranches. Initially via 2 x Round 1 ‘New Founder Shareholder’ SEIS offers issuing 150 Ordinary Shares at £1000.00 per share in each company to complete Stage 1 of the project. The proceeds of which will be used by the Companies to secure a globally exclusive development licence, together with the services of Professor Jeremy Ramsden, to develop a ‘proof of concept’ paper covering the possibilities of creating an Nickel Nano-particle filtration device for use within the Global Coal-fired & Gas-fired Power Generation Industry, project planning for the Scientific component of Stage 2, plus IP identification leading to the application for further patents (within the specific field mentioned above) to provide maximum protection for the company and investors.
Advanced assurance from HMRC for inclusion in the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme has been granted.
An IP Development Licence in relation to the ‘Removal of CO₂ from Coal Fired Power Generator emissions by way of Nickel or other nano-particles used within a water screen filter’, deriving from an International patent application has been negotiated with the beneficial owner Viridis Navitas IP Ltd (VN-IP) to complete a technology application development programme. This will be conducted in conjunction with industry partners such as Siemens AG Energy Sector – Fossil Power Generation Division and Energy Solutions (Siemens) together with Professor Ramsden, Loughborough (East Midlands) University and Pragma Energy. All additional IP created by this development will be owned jointly by VN-CC(C) Ltd and VN-IP for their mutual benefit, royalty free. The programme will be developed in three stages each with a clear ‘Go’ – ‘No Go’ break-point at each stage.
The companies issued a full project report in August to investors, but for completeness reiterate below:
The goal of this VN-CC project was to assess the viability of the discovery by Newcastle University, in other words, its potential for becoming a practical technology capable of fulfilling the needs of CO2 emitting industries, especially gas and coal-fired electricity generating stations, utilising the most cost-effective and time efficient methods. A positive assessment would likely lead to its widespread adoption in order to fulfil the regulatory requirements and first-mover advantage would be paramount.
On the replication of the Newcastle University experiment Professor Ramsden explains: “The results differed from those of Bhaduri and Šiller in three important respects:
- We see no effect of nickel nanoparticles
- Under realistic CO2 flow conditions, our reaction rate (with or without nickel nanoparticles) is much faster than that of Bhaduri and Šiller with nickel nanoparticles
- We do not observe the sigmoidal course of reaction observed by Bhaduri and Šiller in the absence of nickel nanoparticles”.
(Note: “sigmoidal” defines a reaction in which the reaction rate starts out slowly and then rapidly accelerates before slowing down again).
Confronted with these glaring discrepancies, the team then appraised the possibility of using numerical simulations to investigate the overall reaction system represented by individual reactions, and decided this would be the most cost and time efficient way of progressing. This would also allow ranges of conditions to be investigated rapidly (each individual simulation takes a very short time to run on a highly spec’d workstation). Hence a rather comprehensive investigation was carried out within a few weeks, where an experimental investigation of equivalent comprehensiveness would certainly have taken well over one year to carry out with the relevant additional cost implications.
The results were that in practical terms, there was no impact in the reaction by the addition of nickel nano-particles, and so the experimental simulations were tuned to establish the effects, reactions and timescales of other reagents for catalysis, and their potential for a commercial solution. Whilst these experiments demonstrated a suitable methodology and catalyst in the form of caustic soda, this solution is not commercially viable today, as per page 5 of the Final Report.
VNCC will use the existing funds carry out further research targeted with identifying other potential reagents/catalysts that could be used as a ‘proton sponge’ to ‘soak up’ CO2, calculate the volumes of water required, speed of process, cost of reagents, commercial markets for bi-products etc. and use this information (if positive) to create a practical business model.
There is also a move toward increasing CO2 fines which, if raised sufficiently will allow the ‘proton sponge’ process to be used commercially.
Exit for investors in VNCC is currently unknown, and is subject to the successful ongoing investigation into reagents/catalysts as described above, along with conditions in the power generation and carbon credit markets.
Recently China and the US, the twin CO2 giants, agreed a far-reaching deal to curb greenhouse gases, as part of a global agreement under COP 21 in Paris, which includes another 200 countries under a legally binding emissions agreement.
However, more than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide new research has revealed.
Therefore, we could soon see an increase in the financial pollution penalties, which in turn would make the VN-CC solution commercially viable.