Utilitas Group was recognised during the quarter at the National Hydrogen Conference in Sydney by Bundaberg Regional Council (BRC) showcasing the success of the Bundaberg and Wide Bay BioHydrogen industry cluster in bringing together the supply chain from biogas (Utilitas) to BioHydrogen (ReCarbon) to enable the planned transition of the BRC waste truck fleet. With key project counterparts, Utilitas continues to move beyond the completed concept validation stage towards advancement of its first three utility scale, commercial grade projects.
The Company participated at the Bundaberg and Wide Bay Bio-Hydrogen Series event at Bargara in February, along with ReCarbon, Inc., with whom Utilitas has a Memorandum of Understanding towards building biogas-to-hydrogen plants across Australia. With key project counterparts, Utilitas continues to move beyond the completed concept validation stage towards advancement of its first three utility scale, commercial grade projects.
This quarter the Company’s first bioHub industrial park opened for business in Bundaberg, Queensland. Stage 1 demolition works were completed at the former Bundaberg East Wastewater Treatment Plant site. Two tenants are already in place in the existing laboratories. Preparations for the remaining ten commercial/industrial tenancies are now underway.
This quarter the Company launched its first asset development, Bundaberg bioHub and commenced early works to prepare the 9.5acre site for new tenancies in the masterplanned industrial park. Expressions of interest from potential tenants are now being received including the Company’s own biogas to hydrogen project.
This quarter the Company settled on the acquisition of the 3.5ha Bundaberg (Queensland) bioHub site with works now underway preparing the master planned bio-manufacturing precinct for new tenants. The Company has been engaged by “anchor tenants” in two other bio-Hubs (Victoria & New South Wales) to carry out Concept Validation.
During the quarter, the Utilitas Group Pty Ltd (Utilitas) (AUH 25.14%) secured investment (convertible note) to enable settlement on its Bundaberg bioHub site and complete planning approvals for its master planned bio-manufacturing precinct. Utilitas moved quickly to put in place measures in response to COVID-19 and has experienced a drop off in revenues from early works and feasibility consulting.
The Utilitas Group Pty Ltd (Utilitas) (AUH 25.14%) remains focused on bringing the first bioHub projects in its portfolio through the final steps to achieve financial close. Utilitas is now negotiating co-development arrangements for the Company’s first two bioHubs sites.
The Company remains focused on bringing the first bioHub project in its own portfolio through the final steps to achieve financial close. This quarter Utilitas Group welcomed an existing shareholder taking up new shares, at 65c per share.
This quarter Utilitas Group welcomed an existing shareholder taking up new shares, at 60c per share.
Operationally Utilitas hit 3 significant milestones in FY2019
- End to End Delivery:
- Demonstrated our ability to do a full end to end design, procurement, installation, commission, operate, decommission at our Bundaberg site at pilot scale. (see case study below table x)
- Bioproduct Value:
- Demonstrated the agronomic value of our digestate based liquid fertiliser concentrate in collaboration with local Bundaberg agronomist and fertiliser distributor. (see case study below table x)
- Market Expansion:
- Extended our laboratory capability into Victoria to support our roll out of commercial services and project portfolio into South Eastern Australia. (see case study below table x)
Six local and international project financiers are currently bidding to fund Utilitas Group’s Bundaberg bioHub. This Quarter the Company consolidated its market position as the local biogas developer of choice for “blue chip” counterparts and investors with an appetite for exposure to this new (to Australia) infrastructure asset class. Utilitas Group also welcomed another new shareholder at 60c per share.
Utilitas Group successfully designed, procured, installed and commissioned a pilot Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) biogas plant, initially to produce enough digestate for commercial trials of a high value liquid fertiliser product. The Company continues to progress the first two regional bioHub projects, Casino Northern NSW and Bundaberg Qld, through financial close with project financiers. The Company also welcomed another new shareholder this Quarter at 60c per share.
Utilitas Group was cashflow positive Q1 FY2019. The Company continues to progress the first two regional bioHub projects, Casino Northern NSW and Bundaberg Qld, through financial close with project financiers. The Company also welcomed four new shareholders this Quarter at 60c per share.
Utilitas Group has made significant progress in Q4 towards developing the first 6 projects in its planned 100 bioHub portfolio. The Project Definition Statement for Bundaberg bioHub has been submitted to project financiers with a view to achieving financial close through September 2018. Anchor tenants for the company’s bioHub developments are now willing to pay Utilitas to prepare a business case. Cash-flow projections indicate that Utilitas will be profitable in FY2019. Three new people are expected to be added to the Utilitas team in Q1 FY2019 to support the anticipated growth.
Significant progress is being made on bringing forward the next 8 bioHubs in Utilitas’ planned “rapid 10” rollout. Utilitas anticipates having secured options around the first 10 by the end of this financial year.
Utilitas was featured in Food and Drink Business Energy Edition in March, and as a result received considerable increase in enquiry from high quality counterparties. There is now a willingness to from potential “anchor tenants” of Utilitas’ bioHubs to pay the cost of development to financial close. Policy settings are also becoming more favourable to for the dispatchable, flexible power that can be produced and pressure is increasing on the waste industry to secure more sustainable disposal options for organic waste streams.
Utilitas Group’s Casino bioHub is progressing towards financial close. Its Bundaberg bioHub is being advanced with the assistance of funding from the Queensland Government Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP). Utilitas will be relocating its laboratory to Bundaberg in February establishing its physical presence in regional Queensland.
Demand for new regional infrastructure such as Utilitas bioHubs that convert organic waste to energy, jobs and value is building as industry and communities experience increased pressure from electricity and gas prices and supply risks.
On the 14th September The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk (Premier and Minister for the Arts) and The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham (Minister for Natural Resources and mines) announced the Queensland Government’s support, through the $4m Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP) for the Bundaberg bioHub, an $18m biorefinery project being developed, over 3 stages by Utilitas Group.
The BAP funding will allow Utilitas to accelerate the development of the Project Definition Statement required by project investment partner DomaCom to commence a crowd funding campaign along the lines of that already underway for the Casino bioHub project in Northern NSW.
The Company’s 25% held Utilitas Group Pty Ltd (Utilitas) and fractional investment fund manager DomaCom Australia Limited have launched Australia’s first crowd-funding campaign to secure a site at Casino, northern NSW and develop a bioHub to service the energy needs of its nearby industries and community. This exciting “new-age” energy project aims to raise $4.3m for the land and the development costs, after which Utilitas will enter into a 10-year lease to operate the bioHub.
The daily run of news headlines about electricity, gas and network crises is a strong signal that the time is right to roll out Utilitas’ pipeline of bioHub projects. Utilitas has mapped, scoped and assessed more than 200 opportunities. The first three in Australia are progressing towards financial close.
Utilitas has progressed the bankable feasibility studies (BFS) for the first two bioHub projects proposed for the company’s own asset portfolio. Front End Engineering design (FEED) is underway for the first stage of bioHub project, located in regional Queensland. Discussions with key counterparties regarding project structuring and construction funding has commenced. It is proposed that Utilitas will have an equity interest in the bioHubs following construction.
During the quarter Utilitas has secured commitments from key counterparties and commenced Bankable Feasibility Studies (BFSs) for the first two bioHub projects. It is intended that project finance be raised off the back of the two BFSs in 2017 to fund the design and construction of the bioHubs, both of which are located in regional Queensland. It is proposed that Utilitas will have an equity interest in the bioHubs following construction.
With its investment in Utilitas Group Pty Ltd in July this year, the company aims to expand its energy portfolio by gaining a foothold into the relatively under-developed but potentially significant biogas sector in Australia.
Closing the Company’s investment in September has enabled Utilitas to add two key sales people to the team. Both are based in NSW reflecting the growing importance of executing sales contracts around their opportunities in both NSW and QLD. The investment has enabled the Utilitas team to maintain a focus toward securing commitments from key counterparties for bioHub* projects.
*A bio hub is a system where Councils and private businesses cooperate to recover the highest value from regional waste streams, offering new industry opportunities, revenue generation and bioenergy opportunities. (Definition by
Regional Development Australia).
Biogas is produced from a range of feedstock materials and the result is a combination of gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen which all have commercial uses for energy use. The by-products of the biogas process provide products such as fertilisers which can be used for a variety of commercial purposes