NPT – 2014 Review – $39/barrel at 1.99gCO2e/MJ

It’s been a busy year for NPT and the Board is proud to have achieved a number of significant milestones leaving the company well positioned for the year ahead. CEO Ed Wilson summarised the outlook for the next 12 months “We’re looking forward to a very exciting year in 2015 as we work with our growing group of partners, finish designs and, importantly, start construction of our first pre-commercial demonstration plant in Teesside.”

Running through this year’s successes chronologically: NPT were delighted to receive a full process patent from the US, some 4 years after the initial preliminary application. The remaining applications covering 71 countries are also 4 years old. Management expect the EU application to be granted within the next 2 quarters, with the rest to follow thereafter.

While preparing a grant application under BESTF2 (BioEnergy Sustaining the Future) we submitted process details (specific to the BESTF project) to E4 Tech to enable them to undertake a GHG assessment.

Their report summary was excellent:

Fuel chain: Ethanol produced from UK forestry residues via NPT’s proprietary biomass fractionation technology with co-produced lignin used as process fuel.

Approach: The calculation has been carried out using the E4tech Biofuels Carbon Calculator and is fully coherent with that set out in Annex V.C of the Renewable Energy Directive.

Fuel chain carbon intensity: 1.99 gCO2e/MJ(ethanol)

GHG saving: 97.6%

When we go back to E4 Tech next year and ask them to repeat the GHG analysis on our ‘Biomass to Chemicals’ process we are expecting to see a significant uplift from the, already excellent, result.

Much of Q4 has been given over to preparatory works for the Teesside project, including site visits, vendor visits and a very valuable meetings with our partners, including a major forest industry company and technology/catalyst company who visited our laboratory works to explore in greater detail the Refnova technology and in particular the process’s efficiency that ensures almost all of the feedstock is converted into marketable products at very low energy consumption. These 2 characteristics are key to the forecast of best in class economic returns for licensees.

This summer NPT joined the Bio-Based Industries Consortium and spent a significant amount of time preparing and submitting a grant proposal for the EU’s BBI – Joint Undertaking (BBI VC1.D2 – 2014: ‘Chemical building blocks and value-added materials through integrated processing of wood’.)

These initiatives enabled us to strengthen relationships with a number of industrial and technological collaborators, including a range of feedstock providers upstream and a “Global Top 10” chemical company, who will be working with our laboratory, pilot and demo-plant output to help develop downstream chemical value chains.

Excellent results have been obtained from individual pilots of the key process steps and we are now building a closer pilot of our complete in-line process at 10-15Kg scale.

Management are focussed on timely execution of the pilot programme (ahead of the pre-commercial project at Teesside) and are currently preparing a bid document for contractors to supply the new equipment. Commissioning is expected by the end of Q1 2015, and output will be available for our partners to evaluate in Q2.

All of those steps forward have been gratefully acknowledged by NPT’s shareholders.

Chairman Barry Hedley confirmed “partnership success and the external endorsements received are enormously gratifying, and have allowed the company to successfully close a round of angel backed fund raising that will facilitate the significant steps forward that the company plan for 2015’.

Lastly it was worth highlighting than in response to a very recent enquiry about the strength of NPT’s commercial proposition, we re-checked our commercial forecasts.

Competitive with crude at $39/barrel.

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