We relish the opportunity to show just what can be achieved with our DMG energy recovery process to address the plastic waste crisis.
David Ryan, chief executive
What PowerHouse does
The company’s technology, called DMG, uses a process of small scale gasification to turn the waste products into energy rich clean syngas (synthetic gas similar to natural gas) from which electrical power and hydrogen can be produced.
The syngas can also be used to power traditional gas engines, while the hydrogen can be used to power fuel cells that can be used in buses, lorries, and cars.
“We’re becoming post-pre-revenue,” says PowerHouse chief executive David Ryan in mid-July. “I can’t say the group’s washing its face but for my operational team we’re beginning to wash our face.”
Six months after Ryan took the CEO job, a year after becoming commercially ready and eight years after the company started business, revenues are flowing from a project on the Protos Energy Park in Cheshire.
The Protos contract, PowerHouse's first revenue-generating contract, was set up by project developer partner Waste2Tricity (W2T).
Under the agreement, the AIM-listed company will provide planning and engineering design services to W2T, leading to a build contract and license for use of the DMG technology.
PowerHouse will provide site modelling and engineering services as part of the agreement, as well as defining the parameters of a front-end engineering design contract that would be placed with a third-party contractor.
The deal also included terms relating to PHE as the supplier of DMG to the site, covering design rights, build contracts and licensing of the technology.
Progress on various fronts
Ryan, an engineer with 38 years’ experience at the likes of ThyssenKrupp and BHP, said the company is also carrying out trialling and testing work for other companies with waste feedstock and sites who want process development.
As well as getting the first major commercial deals over the line, since he was promoted to CEO from technical director in February, one of the first things Ryan did was to look at where the company were unnecessarily spending money.
The run rate has now been slashed “at least 50%” from last year and, having ended last year with just over £0.8mln in the bank, he feels the company is sitting on a “reasonably healthy” cash balance as it awaits revenues from the first engineering work.
“I’m not saying I won’t be going to the market but I’m not desperate. I’m running the company properly, getting in monies that we were due. We’re healthy for the near future.”
Ryan says he wants to add a new “cornerstone investor” into the company, in the coming six to eight months.
“Either an EIS type VC fund or it might be an industrial partner who might put an arm round us. We are at the stage where we need to move on up in terms of who are our investors are.”
A solution for the plastic waste crisis
Looking at the bigger picture, he could not be more confident about PowerHouse's technology and how it can help the planet.
“We relish the opportunity to show just what can be achieved with our DMG energy recovery process to address the plastic waste crisis. It is the responsible thing to do alongside other commendable initiatives being deployed,” he said recently.
"The scope of our DMG technology is truly global.”
- First plant come on stream at the Protos business park
- Other orders start to come through
- Testing of feedstock underway
- Talks underway with two dozen potential leads
- Opportunities in Europe, SE Asia plus an emergence of a US market, says Ryan
PowerHouse is not just restricting its ambitions to the UK; it has also targeted the established Japanese hydrogen markets.
Development partner W2T is now in commercial negotiation with Toyota Tsusho Corporation, which PowerHouse believes could lead to Toyota Tsusho agreeing to be one of the companies introducing the DMG technology for hydrogen generation into Japan and other parts of Asia.
In June, a documentary, War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita broadcast on BBC1 highlighted the mountain of plastic waste that could have been recycled but instead was dumped in Malaysia.
At 0.4p, the market cap is £7.6mln.