First published in Cleantech magazine, Volume 6 Issue 6 (December 2012)
by John O'Brien, Australian Cleantech
The Water Resources Group (WRG) has global rights to a patented water treatment technology that incorporates an advanced plasma chemical reactor (PCR) originally developed by the US Department of Energy’s R&D facility. The PCR produces ozone from ambient air for pre-treatment of water in place of chlorine.
WRG’s Advanced Sea Water Reverse Osmosis system (ASWRO), which incorporates this technology, is now commercially available. Its key advantages in comparison with other reverse osmosis plants include up to 40% lower energy consumption, elimination of chlorine pre-treatment, reliable factory fabricated modular construction, reduced carbon footprint, scalability and faster installation. The ASWRO systems are able to cater for small to medium municipal and commercial requirements (1,000m3 - 60,000m3 per day).The company, on its own and through joint ventures (JVs), aims to secure long term contracts for offtake agreements with governments and industrial customers. The first 25 year contract was signed in January 2012 with the Santa Catarina Municipality in Cape Verde (Africa) for the supply of 4,000m3/day of drinking water for local residents.
Using a factory fabrication system that reproduces the various modules for containerised shipment to sites throughout the world, the ASWRO system can be installed and producing water for a local population within twelve months of contract approval. The primary objective is for a local WRG-formed JV to provide quality drinking water quickly, with the JV building, owning and operating (BOO) the desalination plant.
WRG is also planning to move into the resources sector for the efficient treatment of problematic waste water generated from coal seam gas recovery and the extraction of rare earth elements from phosphate mining operations.
The company had a successful IPO in December 2010 following the success of the ASWRO demonstration plant in Perth, Western Australia that was commissioned in the previous May. Since the IPO, WRG has been aggressively targeting project opportunities with JV partners in West Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and its recently announced JV in India.
WRG’s results for the half year to June 2012 show minimal revenues and an NPAT loss of A$4.5 million. Cash reserves at the end of the September quarter were very low and the company announced a placement raising A$600,000 in November 2012. The cash reserves are an ongoing concern for the company, one that will be resolved only through the commencement of project cash flows. However, the project pipeline looks healthy and could deliver strong returns if momentum can be achieved in project delivery.
On 13 December 2012 the company’s share price was AU$0.19 giving a market capitalisation of AU$7.8 million.