Belfast firm that turns coal mine waste into industrial fuel raises €2.1m

Silform Technologies will use funding to build pilot factory for its unique process

Allen Martin, Partner, Kernel Capital; Ken Flockhart, CEO, Silform; Mervyn McCall, Chairman, Silform; Paul McClurg, Head of Business Banking Belfast, Bank of Ireland UK.

Allen Martin, Partner, Kernel Capital; Ken Flockhart, CEO, Silform; Mervyn McCall, Chairman, Silform; Paul McClurg, Head of Business Banking Belfast, Bank of Ireland UK.

 

Belfast-based Silform Technologies has raised £2 million (€2.1 million) in funding to build a pilot factory in Northern Ireland for its unique process that turns coal mine waste into industrial fuel.

The system, which includes a formula and a process, turns the waste into pellets, providing coal mining operators with a way to deal with the billions of tonnes of waste generated by the mines in a way that will create revenue for the companies. The pellets are also water resistant, making them more robust.

Silform is also developing a metallurgical coal pellet for use in the steel industry, and is a matter of months away from the production of a pellet that mixes 30 per cent biomass in with the coal. The biocoal has 30 per cent less CO2 emissions compared with traditional coal and 70 per cent more calorific value compared to pure wood Biomass pellets.

Fossil fuels

“It’s unique. No one has done this before,” said Silform chief executive Ken Flockhart. “It’s an energy changeover technology. Fossil fuels are reducing but they will continue to be used for 30 years and more.”

However, he said the technology would eliminate the need to mine further, with companies able to create fuel from the waste they had already created, solving the environmental issue of dealing with the waste at the same time.

The funding, which was led by the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund (NI), will establish the plant and also scale the research and development team to enhance the solution to broader applications.

“Kernel Capital is pleased to continue its support of Silform Technologies by leading this investment round,” said Allen Martin, Partner, Kernel Capital. “Following on from our initial investment, the company has successfully developed and patented innovative technology that has the potential to deliver significant environmental and economic returns. This investment will enable the company to establish a pilot plant in conjunction with its commercial partners.”

The company also received significant private investment from Silform Technologies chairman, Mervyn McCall.

“Having worked with Ken and Silform Technologies for the last three years, I see the significant impact this technology could have not just locally, but also on a global scale across a number of industries, and indeed the environment,” he said. “This funding marks a major milestone for the company which can now look to developing the technology further and enhancing the solution for specific markets.”