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PyroGenesis providing high-tech plasma products for a growing number of major industries

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  • High-tech company that designs, develops, manufactures and commercializes advanced plasma processes
  • Three commercial business lines positioned for rapid growth through strategic partnerships with multi-billion-dollar entities
  • Generated net earnings of $42 million in 2020

What PyroGenesis does:

PyroGenesis Canada Inc (CSE:PYR) (OTCMKTS:PYRNF) is a high-tech company that designs, develops, manufactures and commercializes advanced plasma processes.

Plasma, considered the fourth state of matter, comes from an ancient Greek word that means ‘moldable substance’ or ‘jelly.’ In the plasma state, the ionized gaseous substance is highly electrically conductive, making it incredibly useful in high-tech manufacturing industries such as defense, metallurgical, mining, additive manufacturing (including 3D printing), oil & gas, and environmental industries.

The PyroGenesis team is comprised of experienced engineers, scientists and technicians working out of its Montreal office and a 3,800-square-metre manufacturing facility.

The company develops and produces innovative plasma torches, plasma waste processes, high-temperature metallurgical processes, and engineering services to the global marketplace. Its three major business lines are military/environmental, toll manufacturing, and additive manufacturing.

Essentially, PyroGenesis harnesses the unique properties of thermal plasma to melt and transform metal, carry out high-temperature chemical reactions and convert waste into energy.

PyroGenesis has also developed the DROSRITE system which is a proven, salt-free, cost-effective, sustainable process for maximizing metal recovery from dross, a waste generated in the metallurgical industry. PyroGenesis’ patent-pending process avoids costly loss of metal, while reducing a smelter’s carbon footprint and energy consumption, thus providing a high return on investment. The system has been designed to process and recover valuable metals such as aluminum, zinc and copper from dross.

The group has also developed PUREVAP, a patent-pending one-step proprietary process that uses a plasma arc within a vacuum furnace to produce high purity metallurgical grade silicon and solar grade silicon from quartz. It is expected that the silicon grades produced by PUREVAP could be used for different applications, including solar energy.

How is it doing:

PyroGenesis is making money. The company posted net earnings of $42 million in 2020, versus a $9.2 million loss the year before, on rising demand for its technology. 

And that momentumhas carried on into 2021. The company closed its first quarter, ended March 31, with a 771% year-over-year increase in revenue to $6.2 million and a capital runway of $26.2 million. 

That same month in a milestone move that underscored the company’s growth, PyroGenesis started trading on the major tech-heavy NASDAQ stick exchange. Its shares still trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange as well.

To help carry out its expansion plans, the company in June 2021 announced two major personnel appointments - manufacturing and tech industry veteran Nannette Ramsey as an independent board director and Ben Simo as chief financial officer. It also recently named Ben Naccarato - the CFO of Perma-Fix Environmental Services Inc - as an independent director.

Part of the company’s growth plans includes expanding its greenhouse gas-reduction portfolio. Pyrogenesis is seeking to spend C$4.8 million to acquire AirScience Technologies Inc, which designs and builds gas upgrading systems to convert biogas into renewable natural gas – a new market for the company. 

PyroGenesis told shareholders that it has repositioned its offerings to highlight the greenhouse gas emissions reduction benefits associated with the majority of its products, as they don’t require environmental incentives like tax credits, certificates, and subsidies to make sense economically.

Meanwhile, the company has been advancing its products.

PyroGenesis recently announced that its cutting-edge Additive Manufacturing (AM) NexGen Powder production line is now in place and producing powders. The company says its NexGen Plasma Atomization System, with a production rate exceeding 25 kilograms per hour (kg/h), has shattered all published plasma-atomized production rates for titanium known to its management and that several major top-tier aerospace companies and OEMs are awaiting powders.

The company also recently shipped its first commercial samples of plasma-atomized titanium powder to an unnamed client in the aerospace industry. 

As for other sales, the company in June received a cost estimate request for 36 of its plasma torches from a “multi-billion-dollar international producer of iron ore pellets.” The undisclosed client has the ultimate objective of reducing greenhouse gases by replacing its fossil fuel burners with PyroGenesis’ proprietary plasma torches.

Also in June, PyroGenesis received a letter of intent from an existing client to purchase three 10-ton DROSRITE systems to expand its aluminum processing facilities to process an additional 30 tons of dross. The contract, if finalized in its current form, is expected to be in the range of $10 million to $15 million.

The company’s partnership with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc is also paying off. Backed with a $700,000 grant, the companies will build and test a pilot system to investigate if continuous production of fumed silica by plasma is feasible. In addition, they will be responsible for the production of silicon materials from the PUREVAP Quartz Reduction Reactor (QRR) and the PUREVAP Nano Silicon Reactor (NSiR). 

In other contract news, PyroGenesis has signed an additional deal with a US tunneling company for around $1.1 million, which vaulted the total value of all contracts with this particular client to more than $3.6 million. The company will be designing, manufacturing, testing, and supplying the client with a plasma torch (TT1 Torch) tailored specifically for tunneling. The TT1 Torch is expected to be delivered in the second half of 2021, at which time it will then be tested.

Inflection points:

  • Delivery of plasma torch (TT1 Torch) for tunneling in 2H 2021
  • More contracts for other plasma torches
  • Further news on PUREVAP Nano Silicon Reactor development program

What the boss says:

“This is indeed a very interesting development, and one which we did not expect,” said PyroGenesis CEO P Peter Pascali in June’s statement commenting on the company’s DROSRITE re-up contract worth up to a possible $15 million. “Today’s announcement is confirmation of the rapid adoption of our environmental technologies within the aluminum industry. Our Drosrite offering enables smelters to operate in a more economical and environmentally-friendly fashion.”

He added: “Aside from the three systems disclosed today, PyroGenesis now has 11 commercial Drosrite systems either in full operation, delivered or in the process of being delivered. Once all eleven systems are in operation, the company expects to benefit from a recurring revenue stream, from spare parts alone, in excess of $4 Million per year.”

Contact the author: [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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