By Martin Clark
London AIM-listed PowerHouse Energy (PHE) released its full-year 2021 results last week to cap off what has been a busy few months for the UK technology group, which specialises in commercialising syngas and hydrogen production from non-recyclable waste plastic.
Cash reserves were up, losses were down and revenues climbed, albeit marginally — enough positive news all round for the new-look management team to present to investors. Those new faces include chief executive, Paul Drennan-Durose, following his appointment in February, and more recently, the announcement of Keith Riley as interim chairman.
PHE is still making headway at Protos Energy Park, a flagship strategic energy and resource hub near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, in north-west England, where its DMG Technology is being implemented by its UK channel partner, Peel NRE.
While this missed some anticipated milestone dates during 2021, it continued to progress through the year and saw a restructuring and strengthening of the project team, of which PHE is a key member.This a crucial project for PHE in the early commercialisation of its technology, but what might captivate investors more are longer-term are plans to build scale and expand the company’s footprint. Some good news on that front after it announced in early June that Peel NRE, part of Peel L&P, had been granted planning approval for a hydrogen facility in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.
The 13,500 tonne facility, at Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde, will be the second UK site planning to use PHE’s technology to turn waste plastic into hydrogen. This will then be used as clean fuel for vehicles, with plans for a linked hydrogen refuelling station on the site.
It follows the government doubling its hydrogen production target by 2030 as part of the recently-published Energy Security Strategy, so more clean and affordable energy can be produced in the UK as energy prices continue to float upwards globally.It’s only early days for the initiative but consent for a second site is another substantive step for PHE, as it rolls out the process of commercialising its technology.
Looking further ahead, Peel NRE has signed a collaboration agreement with PHE to develop 11 waste plastic to hydrogen facilities across the UK in the medium term, with the option of exclusive rights for a total of 70 facilities. Elsewhere, PHE also signed a collaboration agreement with development partner, Hydrogen Utopia International Plc on the prospect for a plastics to hydrogen project at Konin in Poland.
Next year, the company also hopes to open a UK-based, Global Technology and Innovation Centre (GTIC), after unveiling its plans this summer. This facility is designed to to support the development of technology readiness levels, expand the range of products PHE can offer, and lessen the risk of impact to growth from delays the company has experienced at its first-of-a-kind commercial site in the UK. A specific site search is underway to find a suitable location, with PHE looking to commit a £1.3m investment to the launch.
Announcing the 2021 results on 9 June, 2022, the new PHE boss highlighted how his company’s position and expertise dovetails with overarching government plans to reduce waste and decarbonise the economy. “These expectations represent significant opportunities for Powerhouse as the transition to net zero continues to evolve,” said Drennan-Durose.
“The company is encouraged by the progress made in 2021 and, with a new and invigorated leadership team, we look to the future with optimism.”This management team, along with the board, has also begun to craft a new three-year strategy designed to meet the challenges of each phase of PHE’s evolution. More details on this are expected during the year as the strategy is further developed.