Geo40 is evaluating options, including a partial sale of the business and an initial public offer, to fund the start-up of its first $NZ10-$NZ19 million commercial silica extraction plant in New Zealand next year.
Managing director John Lea, a former executive with NZ dairy company Fonterra, said the group was working to finalise contract talks with two major utilities by the end of May.
The venture will open up export income for Geo40 but could also be a game-changer for the fast-growing global geothermal industry where silica is a corrosive and costly headache.
Proof of concept work and trials of the company’s technology has been carried out at on-site pilot plants at Contact Energy’s Wairakei power plant and Japanese utility Tohoku Electric Power’s Kakkonda plant.
The extraction plants, which are erected in modular form, remove the silica from waste geothermal fluids that have been used for power generation. The fluids are pumped back into the underground reservoir through existing reinjection wells, or recycled first to generate further electricity.