Shares in Active Energy Group (LSE:AEG) advanced just 0.5pc to 0.5p on Tuesday morning despite the renewable energy business announcing a major government grant. The biomass-focused firm has been awarded $500,000 of building re-use and renovation funding for its new manufacturing site in Lumberton, Robeson County, North Caroline.
The grant was administered after the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority voted to support Active Energy’s project last week. It will be granted through the Community Development Block Grant programme of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Active Energy aims to make the Lumberton site the primary base for all of its US CoalSwitch operations. CoalSwitch is a proprietary piece of technology that transforms biomass material into high-value green fuels. According to Active Energy, it is the world’s only drop-in biomass fuel that can be mixed at any ratio with coal or completely replace coal in existing coal-fired power stations without requiring plant modification.
The Lumberton site will be the outfit’s first permanent production facility, employing up to 50 personnel, and is being developed as part of a $50m project finance investment plan. It was acquired last month and includes c.415,000 square feet of covered factory space and around 151 acres of surrounding land. What’s more, it is located strategically adjacent to Active Energy join venture partner Georgia Renewable Power and prime lumber districts. The company will use the latter to secure feedstock for CoalSwitch.
Active Energy’s chief executive Michael Rowan said: ‘We are delighted to receive this grant from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority and their vote of confidence as we continue to make progress on delivering our first commercial CoalSwitch product to market, which is our primary focus. The Lumberton Site gives AEG an ideal base in the heart of the lumber production region in North America.
‘Importantly, the Lumberton Site provides a foundation for our onward expansion as it benefits from proximity to multiple power stations as well as the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, ensuring AEG is connected to established export routes for sales of CoalSwitch domestically and internationally. We are very excited for the possibility of contributing to the development of the local community while promoting a sustainable business based on renewable technology. We want to thank the local community as well as local and state governments for their support of our initiative.’