Ottawa-based Plasco Energy Group says its energy-from-waste technology is now proven and it’s time to move to commercial delivery. To help in that effort, it announced today a $110 million private equity placement led largely by Ares Management LLC of Los Angeles. Since 2005 Plasco had already managed to raise $135 million in equity, so this latest haul bring the total to $245 million — not bad in today’s markets. Another $25 million in government grants rounds out the total to $270 million.
Plasco chairman and CEO Rod Bryden called the latest investment in the company “a remarkable expression of confidence.” The company is targeting its efforts at North America, Europe and China. It has two pilot facilities already — a 100-tonne-per-day plant in Ottawa and a much smaller plant in Spain — but a 300 tonne-per-day facility is in the works in Red Deer, Alberta, and is expected to be completed in 2012. One can only assume that the Ottawa facility has worked out its kinks, otherwise I can’t see any responsible investor throwing down $100 million to pursue commercial projects.
This is good news for Plasco and another shot of confidence in the emerging market for new energy-from-waste technologies. Montreal-based Enerkem is another Canadian company riding this wave with its ethanol-from-waste systems, having recently raised nearly $54 million from Waste Management and a number of venture capital firms. Don Roberts, vice-chair of CIBC World Market’s clean technology and green energy team, recently told me that energy-from-waste was one of three main areas to watch over the coming years, along with energy efficiency and water. He may be right.