Clean-tech business aiming to decarbonise and clean the environment using thermal plasma technologies

Live Synergen Met Ltd ASX: SH2

Synergen Met Ltd IPO | ASX:SH2

Fixed Priced IPOType of Offer
09 May 22Offer Open
08 Jun 22Pay By
$0.20Price
Up to $25 millionSize of Offer
$2,000 Minimum Investment
Lodge CorporateLead Manager

IPO Proces Update

Synergen Met Limited has lodged a supplementary prospectus, and is pleased to provide the following updates to investors:

  •  Pure Earth Plasma Holdings LLC has committed to subscribe for $1 million worth of shares under the IPO. This will increase their interest in the Company to 21.87% assuming the Maximum Subscription is raised;
  • The jurisdictions under which the offer may be made have been extended; and 
  • As a result of the above, the Company has extend the close date of the IPO.

For more information, please see the Supplementary Prospectus here.

Investment Highlights

Introduction

Synergen Met Ltd (ASX:SH2) is an Australian owned and operated clean technology business focussed on developing specialist applications using the Company’s Thermal Plasma Technology. This technology can be applied to assist in reducing carbon emissions in energy production and waste management, both of which produce significant amounts of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Company’s intellectual property portfolio has been developed over the last 14 years by its founders Chris Dunks (Managing Director) and Geoff Duckworth (Technical Director), with a focus on the efficient manufacturing and operation of high temperature plasma systems for multiple applications. This research and development has provided the understanding and know-how to develop and apply plasma technology on the following business opportunities on a global scale:

  • Production of clean hydrogen and carbon black – innovative mobile and scalable production process enabling locations at centralised locations for power generation or at the end users location, such as bus and truck hubs.
  • PFAS water treatment and contamination destruction – enables the isolation and destruction of PFAS contaminants and other hazardous and environmentally harmful materials treatment on-site or treatment on-site and destruction offsite depending environmental constraints.
  • Plasma equipment sales – a leading global manufacturer of thermal plasma equipment with a substantial forward order book to various global customers across a diverse range of applications.

Well respected New York based private equity firm Yorktown Partners LLC, specialising in energy investments, injected US$8m into Synergen in a pre-IPO investment round and will hold board positions. Yorktown has been making long term investments in the energy industry since 1991.

 

Terms of the Offer

Synergen Met Ltd is looking to undertake an IPO on ASX to raise between $20 million and $25 million via the issue of between 100 million and 125 million shares at an offer price of A$0.20 per share. 

The company will be offering two free attaching Options for every four (4) shares subscribed for and issued. One option will be exercisable at $0.25 with 2 years expiry, and one option will be exercisable at $0.40 with three years expiry.

The company will have an indicative market capitalisation of approximately A$142.86 million at maximum subscription.  

Industry Overview

Hydrogen

Hydrogen (H2) is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be used to store, move, and deliver energy produced from other sources. Hydrogen can be produced without a carbon footprint from a variety of sources, including natural gas, coal, biomass, waste materials (i.e., plastics), or splitting water molecules.

The global hydrogen market in 2020 was approximately 70 million metric tonnes (MMT) with 76% produced from natural gas via SMR, 22% through coal gasification (primarily China), and 2% using electrolysis. The global hydrogen market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.6% and is projected to reach US$289.234bn in 2030 as governments continue to introduce policies which is expected to see an upsurge in hydrogen demand, thus boosting market growth.

Synergen’s hydrogen production process currently offers potential customers a clean hydrogen supply with zero carbon emissions where renewal energy sources are utilised. Where non-renewable energy is used for the production of hydrogen, then the end-to-end process will generate greenhouse gas emissions and the process will not be considered green.

Carbon Black

The global carbon black market was valued at US$15.5 billion in 2020. Carbon black is a form of crystalline carbon, which contains 95% or higher of pure carbon and enhances the physical and mechanical properties of materials, making the end product more effective. Carbon black is used in manufacturing tyres, plastics, industrial rubber products, printing inks, and toners, insulating wires and cables. Moreover, it is used in the production of a wide range of rubber products and pigments.

Synergen’s proprietary methane pyrolysis process using renewable energy produces clean hydrogen and clean carbon black, effectively decarbonising (i.e. zero carbon gas emissions) not only the hydrogen production but also the production of carbon black. Existing carbon black production processes are estimated on average to emit 2.3 kg CO2/kg carbon black.

PFAS Contamination Treatment and Destruction

PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) is a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used since the 1950s. This family of chemicals, with a seven decade legacy of use, are resistant to oil, grease, water and heat and as a result have become ubiquitous in modern day living. PFAS chemicals are used in a variety of military, industrial and commercial applications including non-stick cookware (for example, Teflon), fabric, food packaging, clothing and many other industrial processes.

The carbon fluorine bond is amongst the strongest bonds in chemistry, and do not breakdown in nature. Hence PFAS compounds are very stable chemicals that do not have a natural or remediation process which means toxins stay at contaminated sites indefinitely and can bioaccumulate through food chains. These chemicals are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals”. PFAS substances have been linked to various cancers, liver and kidney damage, birth deficiencies and other negative health conditions.

The problem with current PFAS treatments is that none actually break down or destroy the PFAS molecules. Current techniques predominantly involve shifting the contamination from one location to another. 

In the US, approximately 50,000 water systems were evaluated and over 1,400 sites have PFAS contamination issues. While the number of states and systems addressing PFAS is limited to 29, more states will need to adopt policies for an acceleration of expenditure to occur. However, PFAS contamination has sparked legal action, both in Australia and the US. Such action is forcing water treatment utilities to seek remediation techniques, for identified and known PFAS contamination.

Estimates in 2020, had capital and operating expenditure on implementing PFAS remediation technology at >US$3.0bn annually by 2030 in the US alone. Synergen’s business strategy is to specifically target water treatment facilities and utilities for the concentration, removal and destruction of PFAS at water treatment sites.

Company Overview

Synergen is an Australian-owned and operated business incorporated on 4 December 2007 for the primary purpose of developing specialist applications using the Company’s plasma technology (the Thermal Plasma Technology), which can be applied to assist in the decarbonisation of industries such as energy production and waste management which produce significant amounts of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Company is made up of a team of scientific minds with more than 80 years of collective experience working within the global resources industry. Founders, Christopher Dunks and Dr Geoff Duckworth, have developed the Company’s Thermal Plasma Technology over the last 14 years.

Through a combination of research, innovative ideas, trial and error in the lab, extensive field trials, and close collaboration with our key equipment supplier, the Company has developed its ability to leverage its Thermal Plasma Technology applications platform into multiple high value applications, including:

  • hydrogen and solid carbon production via methane pyrolysis;
  • PFAS water treatment and complete contaminant destruction;
  • hazardous and toxic waste destruction; and
  • waste to energy applications including municipal solid waste, tyres and organics.

On 28 October 2021, the Company entered into a binding share sale agreement in respect of the acquisition of 100% of the issued capital of Fluidyne Engineering Corporation trading as Phoenix Solutions Co, a Minnesota registered corporation operating in the field of plasma heating systems and plasma torch construction (Phoenix). The Acquisition forms part of the Company’s strategy to vertically integrate its operations and will enable the Company to manufacture plasma heating systems and plasma torches incorporating its Thermal Plasma Technology.

Phoenix’s business model generates revenue from different projects charging customers for engineering and design work, installation of equipment and selling its proprietary equipment which is manufactured and fabricated by Phoenix. Contracts are typically completed over a 12 to 24 month period.

The Technology

Upon listing, the merged entity of Synergen and Phoenix will be a provider of plasma equipment and innovative applications using Thermal Plasma Technology on a global scale.

Plasma is often referred to as “the fourth state of matter”, along with gas, liquid and solid. Plasma is heated matter, where electrons are ripped away from the atoms forming an ionized gas. In such an environment, molecules are broken down to their base elements.

Synergen’s IP and know-how is based around how to control this environment to split gases and liquids into their base elements and then reform or separate the elements into a desired form. At the heart of the Company’s Thermal Plasma Technology is the plasma torch, also known as a plasma arc, plasma gun, or plasma cutter, plasmatron, which is a device for generating a directed flow of plasma or plasma jet.

Modular Hydrogen and Carbon Black Production

Whilst the process of producing hydrogen via methane pyrolysis is not new, Synergen’s technology is innovative, patentable, more efficient and superior to existing applications. The proprietary methane pyrolysis process is driven through the use of modular and scalable plasma heating systems that provide very high energy density and allow a process of ionisation at very high temperatures to split methane into carbon and hydrogen. The process enables 100% conversion of the gas into the final products of hydrogen and solid carbon.

Where powered by renewal technologies, Synergen’s hydrogen production process can already produce clean hydrogen and solid carbon, with zero carbon dioxide or monoxide emissions.

As a temporary platform, Synergen’s skid equipment is mobile and can be located at the gas well head or export flange from a natural gas resource. Once this resource is exhausted, Synergen’s equipment can be quickly redeployed. As the production grows, additional skids can be added to boost outputs. As a permanent model, Synergen’s equipment can be built to be a permanent plant, and then additional trains added as required.

Synergen intends to own and operate two hydrogen production system projects via joint venture structures. Once all fabrication, construction and commissioning issues have been fully standardised, Synergen will seek to licence clean hydrogen production systems to interested parties. This capital light strategy will enable a quicker global rollout of the technology.

Synergen has executed a binding heads of agreement with TLOU Energy Ltd (ASX:TOU) (TLOU) for a commercially scaled hydrogen plant intended to be operational in Botswana in 2022. Assuming a successful pilot trial at Lesedi Project, the objective is to expand hydrogen gas production capacity of the joint venture with TLOU throughout the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and potentially beyond, subject to mutual agreement.

Part of the Public Offer proceeds will be used for solid carbon product development, including deliverable carbon black and the potential for high value synthetic graphite, graphene flakes and/or carbon nanotubes.

PFAS Water Treatment and Destruction

The Company has developed superior technology to treat PFAS contaminated water and destroy the resultant PFAS concentrate. The Company’s approach uses foam fractionation to separate PFAS chemicals concentrated from contaminated liquids (for example, concentrates, contaminated ground water, sludge water, waste dump leachate) and the Company’s Thermal Plasma Technology used to ionise the PFAS concentrate, breaking the PFAS into gaseous base molecules, then reforming the gases into easily managed inert compounds. Via this two-step process, the PFAS molecule is completely destroyed, and residual water is cleaned to below EPA standard discharge levels.

Synergen’s PFAS plant uses a similar modular, stand-alone equipment design as the Synergen hydrogen plant. The PFAS plant is fully transportable which means Synergen is able to bring the plant to any contaminated site to destroy the toxins on-site. The technology has been successfully applied to the following applications:

  • Destruction of aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) - the original chemical created to make firefighting foam and is the main cause of the global PFAS issue where the foam has seeped into the ground water
  • Destroyed PFAS in groundwater concentrate - a significant issue globally because of the sheer volume of water that needs to be treated
  • Destruction of PFAS in waste water treatment plant sludge pond water
  • Destroyed PFAS in council waste dump leachate

The Company has entered into PFAS destruction contracts. The first is a binding contract with an Australian municipal city council for a PFAS destruction test pilot plant at a local waste dump.  Successful trials will lead to a larger commercial sized plant processing up to 200,000 litres of leachate per day at multiple sites.  Synergen is also in negotiations with several other organisations in respect of both domestic and international PFAS water treatment and destruction projects.

Plasma system equipment sales – Phoenix

The acquisition of Phoenix forms part of Synergen’s strategy to vertically integrate its operations and will enable the Company to manufacture plasma heating systems and expand the applications under its Thermal Plasma Technology.

Phoenix’s plasma heating systems are versatile and used worldwide in a variety of applications. These uses fall into three general categories, including energy production, waste processing, metallurgical refinement and nanoparticle generation.

The business model generates revenue from different projects charging customers for engineering and design work, installation of equipment and selling its proprietary equipment which is manufactured and fabricated by Phoenix. Contracts are typically completed over a 12 to 24 month period.

Phoenix has a substantial existing forward order book which is expected to drive Phoenix’s equipment sales business model, and is expected to help expand Phoenix’s existing business model to include owner/operator recurring revenue opportunities. The owner/operator revenue models provide a smoothing of revenue and earnings for the combined businesses and will provide an opportunity for the Company to steadily grow its technical and operating team.

Phoenix operates a testing facility in Hutchinson, MN, USA for equipment evaluation and process testing. The Hutchinson Test Facility gives Phoenix the ability to install, evaluate and prove each system in operating conditions prior to shipment. This reduces the time to start-up, ensuring our customers meet their demanding operation deadlines.

Intellectual Property

The Company is in the process of determining whether patent protection is required for further developments in the Thermal Plasma Technology platform, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis with the balance being held as trade secrets to prevent unnecessary disclosure. The intellectual property portfolio for one of the plasma applications is centred around a single global patent that began as an Australian Patent Office approved PCT Patent and is now a patent that has been awarded in the following jurisdictions: Australia, USA, Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Mexico and the two African patent regions of ARIPO and OAPI.

Phoenix’s key intellectual property consists of unregistered know-how and trade secrets which have been developed in respect of high temperature aeronautical facilities and product testing, its plasma heating systems and plasma torches.

Key Offer Statistics

Use of Funds

Funds raised from the Offer will be applied as follows:

For further information on the Key Offer Statistics and Use of Funds, please see the prospectus.

Key Board and Management

Synergen Met Ltd is led by an experienced Board with significant expertise and experience in the industrial technology industry and will aim to ensure that funds raised through the Public Offer will be utilised in a cost-effective manner to advance the Company’s business. These include

Lynne Saint – Proposed Non-Executive Chairperson

Ms Saint contributes over 30 years’ financial, auditing, corporate governance, enterprise risk, supply chain management, project management, and commercial experience both within Australia and internationally. Ms Saint will join the Board from Bechtel Group, where she acquired more than 19 years’ leadership experience in her executive career. Having most recently served as Chief Audit Executive, Ms Saint was formerly Chief Financial Officer of Bechtel’s Mining and Metals Global Business Unit.

Christopher Dunks – Managing Director and CEO

Christopher is a founding Shareholder and Director of the Company. Christopher has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Queensland and has also previously completed studies toward a post-graduate business degree. Christopher’s early experiences were gained whilst working with Bechtel Group, specifically on largescale industrial projects such as: Boyne Smelter Expansion (QLD); Portland Aluminium Smelter Operations (Vic); Worsley Alumina Refinery (WA); Araucaria Combined Cycle Power Project (USA and Brazil); Comalco Alumina Refinery (QLD). He had diverse roles in engineering, construction management, project management, project controls and business development.

Terence Gray – Executive Director

Terence is a corporate finance professional who has deep knowledge of funds management and the Australian equity market providing expertise in company valuation, corporate financing and M&A activity. Terence is the principal of Tegis Pty Ltd (ACN 120 347 088) (Tegis), an investment management and corporate advisory services company and is a director of ASX listed Leaf Resources Limited (ASX:LER).

Mr Geoff Duckwork – Technical Director

Dr Geoff Duckworth is a founding Shareholder and Director of the Company. Dr Duckworth’s career spans more than 45 years of minerals industry and processing experience. Dr Duckworth’s career has seen him engaged on greenfield and brownfield projects in Australia and internationally. His strong research background in processing provides him with unique insights to identifying opportunities for optimising existing operations and assessing the potential of greenfield designs.  His experience includes: eight years in design management of 16 major projects, including $2.2 billion Ravensthorpe Nickel and QNI Yabulu expansion project, $1 billion Phosphate Hill Fertilizer Project and $80 million Minproc Chemicals Cyanide Project.

Charles Fox – Proposed Non-Executive Director

Charles E. (Chuck) Fox has extensive experience in operations, engineering, marketing and business development. Charles is chief executive officer and founder of Pure Earth Plasma Holdings LLC. Prior to Pure Earth, he was the CEO of Windy Cove Energy and Windy Cove Energy II. Previously, he was vice president of operations and engineering for Kinder Morgan CO2 Company and managed annual expenditures of approximately $800 million.

Joseph Stopper – Proposed Non-Executive Director

Joseph M. Stopper is a founding director of Pure Earth Plasma Holdings LLC and a partner at Yorktown, a New York based private equity firm that has been making investments in the energy industry since 1997. Joseph has worked at Yorktown Partners since 2013 and presently serves on the board of a variety of other portfolio companies including Evergreen Natural Resources, Windy Cove Energy II, and Triple Oak Power.

Drew Speedy – CFO and Company Secretary

Drew has held numerous finance roles within ASX listed companies over the past 19 years. Most recently, Drew was CFO and Company Secretary of UIL Energy Ltd (previously ASX:UIL) until its (Board Recommended) takeover by Strike Energy Ltd (ASX:STX). Prior to that he was Financial Controller of Bow Energy Ltd until its sale to Arrow Energy Holdings Pty Ltd and has held senior finance roles with other companies including Arrow Energy Holdings Pty Ltd, Blue Energy Limited (ASX:BLU) and Queensland Gas Company during the company’s market cap growth phase from $20 million to ~$2 billion.

Risk

You are encouraged to read the Prospectus carefully as it contains detailed information about the Company and the Offer. Like all investments, an investment in Synergen Met Ltd carries risk. As set out in Section 8 of the prospectus, Synergen Met Ltd is subject to a range of risks, including but not limited to going concern, contractual risk, restraints of the global hydrogen market, environmental approvals to operate, increase in key production costs and workplace incidents or accidents.

 

Section 734(6) disclosure: The issuer of the securities is Synergen Met Limited ACN128 765 284. The securities to be issued are ordinary shares. The disclosure document for the offer can be obtained by clicking on the link above. The offers of the securities are made in, or accompanied by, a copy of the disclosure document. Investors should consider the disclosure document in deciding whether to acquire the securities. Anyone who wants to acquire the securities will need to complete the application form that will be in or will accompany the disclosure document (which can be done via the electronic application form which will become available by clicking the bid button above).

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Update: Pure Earth Plasma Holdings LLC has committed to invest $1 million in the IPO.

 

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