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Quadrise Fuels posts defensive performance despite COVID-19

Snapshot

MSAR is a cleaner substitute for heavy fuel oil that is burned to power large cargo ships

Cargo ship

Quick facts: Quadrise Fuels International PLC

Price: 1.795 GBX

LSE:QFI
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £19.34 m
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What it does

Quadrise Fuels International PLC (LON:QFI) has been perfecting a type of fuel called MSAR for the best part of 20 years.

MSAR is made from the thick, almost solid residues left when lighter fractions such as gasoline and diesel have been distilled from the crude oil which are then mixed with a small amount of water and speciality chemicals.

What’s created is a synthetic heavy fuel oil which is around one-third water. With a couple of simple, relatively cheap tweaks to a ship’s engine or a power station’s boiler, it can be used as a direct replacement for diesel or heavy fuel oil.

Because of the high-water content, the combustion temperature is much lower which reduces NOx emissions, and as MSAR is pre-atomised, it burns almost completely, meaning next to no black soot is pumped out into the atmosphere.

Not only is it cleaner – it reduces nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions by between 20-50% - but MSAR, being made from quite literally the dregs of a barrel, is also cheaper than typical heavy fuel oils as well.

 

How it is doing

In November, the firm said it is continuing to build “positive momentum” and demonstrate significant progress in several key areas of its business as it has been able to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its business. While the timetable of some specific activities had been impacted by the pandemic, it has worked with clients to ensure that overall programmes remain on track.

A phase 2 study and planning for the larger industrial-scale trial at a client's facilities in Morocco is underway, with both trials scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, for which the company will be paid £100,000. Pending a positive outcome, a phase 2 trial is planned for the second quarter of next year and will be the final precursor for commercial roll-out.

Quadrise is also making progress with Greenfield Energy on plans for the commercial trial at the Asphalt Ridge facility in Utah, USA. Although there have been delays in the start-up the Petroteq Oil Sands Plant (POSP), commissioning of the plant is now planned to begin shortly and a trial of Quadrise’s MSAR heavy fuel oil (HFO) is scheduled to take place at POSP during the first quarter of 2021.

In Saudi Arabia, the group continues to have “constructive discussions” with the major power utility in the kingdom together with its local partners Al Khafrah Holding Group, with whom it has been working to engage with key stakeholders.

The AIM-listed firm continued to progress opportunities with the intention of reaching agreement as soon as possible for the undertaking of letter of no objection (LONO) trials with major companies in the container and/or bulker markets during 2021. Plans under discussion relate to scheduling and vessel and fuel supply preparations being made during the first half of 2021 to commence LONO testing on the main engines of commercial vessels installed with exhaust gas cleaning systems in the second half of the year.

Following rapid progress in Ecuador earlier this year, momentum has now stalled as a result of reorganisational changes by the government impacting the state oil company. 

 

What the boss says: Mike Kirk, executive chairman

"We are very pleased to be able to provide a comprehensive update to our shareholders following the 2020 AGM. This has been a challenging year for many businesses throughout the world, so we are pleased that we have been able to continue to make good progress in our business development and testing and trial activities, and we have an exciting 2021 planned to provide a pathway to commercial revenues."

“Our proactive approach to cost management during the year has meant that we were able to extend the runway of our existing cash resources from December 2020, through to mid-[second quarter] 2021.”
 

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What the broker says

Analysts at house broker Shore Capital noted they were encouraged by the recent progress Quadrise has made and the breadth of opportunities it has to commercialise MSAR.

"Given its economic, environmental and handling advantages over conventional heavy fuel oil, we believe MSAR has huge potential", they commented.

 

Inflexion points

  • Results from the trial with Greenfield Energy
  • A three-year exclusive global collaboration and emulsifiers sales agreement with speciality chemicals giant Nouryon.
  • Re-start of pilot trial in Morocco once coronavirus pandemic eases

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