News

Extracting silica from geothermal brine – an exciting business case by NZ firm

Silica extraction plant near Wairakei, New Zealand (source: Environmentals Limited)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 29 Mar 2017

A New Zealand-based company has been testing silica extraction from a pilot plant at the Wairakei geothermal power plant in New Zealand and is now looking to raise funds for a commercial plant.

Reported from Australia, a New Zealand company with backing from West Australia, is working hard on harvesting silica from geothermal power plants.

The company, previously called Environmetals, has now rebranded itself as Geo40, and is backed by some strong individuals from the mining sector.

The company aims to finalise commercial development of a patented technology with the aim to harvest silica and other minerals, such as lithium and boron from geothermal brine at operating geothermal power plants.

The backers of the company are led by former mining executives after a takeover of their previous company in 2011.

The West Australian reported that Geo40 has so far raised more than $10 million from 65 private investors, also supported by a grant of $4.9 million from Japan. The funding has allowed proof of concept work and trials of the technology at the pilot plant at the Wairakei geothermal power plant of Contact Energy in New Zealand, and the Kakkonda geothermal plant of Tohoku Electric in Japan.

The company is now evaluating a partial sale or an IPO to fund a commercial silica extraction plant in New Zealand. The estimated cost for the plant is around $7-13 million (NZ10-19 million)

While the company sees the immediate opportunity in an extraction from geothermal power plants, but this could also be applied in the oil sector where silica also constitutes a problem.

Silica in the form of colloidal silica is used in casting, paints, textiles and paper.

For more details see article linked below.

Source: The West Australian