CoalSwitch: AEG’s Big Clean Energy Hoax

I’ve been researching Active Energy Group (AEG) for several years now. AEG developed a torrefied wood pellet (black pellet) fuel called CoalSwitch. AEG also developed a black pellet which combines coal fines and wood to make its patented SuperFuel pellet. The SuperFuel pellets are a double carbon whammy; extracting more precious forest carbon while continuing to support the dirty coal industry. AEG’s biomass pellets are meant to be used as drop-in replacement and/or co-generation fuel in coal-fired plants. Fortunately, U.S. media and NGOs are finally taking notice of AEG and their carbon polluting biomass pellets.

Below is a timeline of events and tweets I’ve posted related to AEG’s activities.





In 2017, AEG negotiated a 20-year Crown Timber license agreement with Canada to harvest wood in Newfoundland and Labrador for its CoalSwitch fuel. “The two forestry management districts have a total land area of 1,211,000 hectares on the Northern Peninsula of the Province, proximate to ocean port facilities, with direct access for shipping routes to Europe.”




In 2018, AEG started testing their first CoalSwitch plant in Utah. “The plant is now undergoing full commissioning, following which Active Energy says it will be able the to deliver commercial quantities of what it calls its “revolutionary” CoalSwitch fuel, described as a “drop-in” biomass replacement for coal, which “can be mixed in any ratio with coal fines or completely replace coal in existing coal-fired power stations, without retrofit, globally.” 

Additionally, AEG received their CoalSwitch plant project funding from Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED) and Rocky Mountain Power.




AEG partnered with Cobant, a Polish coal producer, to secure a steady supply of coal fines for its SuperFuel biomass pellets. “This is in line with the aim to produce a new “super fuel” product using CoalSwitch, produced from sawmill waste and forestry residue and combined with reclaimed and cleaned coal fines from Upper Silesia’s many coal waste dumps and processed from Cobant’s own patented coal waste reclamation technology.”









AEG signs agreement with PowerWood Canada to manage 5 million hectares of Crown Forests in Alberta. “MoU (AEG) signed to acquire a controlling interest in PowerWood Canada to secure feedstock and support the proposed roll-out of CoalSwitch™ in the Province of Alberta”

The massive 5 million hectares of boreal forest is equivalent to 19,305 square miles, which is an area larger than Vermont and New Hampshire combined. 



The first installation will be at the plant in Lumberton, North Carolina. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. This project will make use of some equipment owned by AEG at its site in Utah. CoalSwitch facilities will then be built over the coming 36 months at each of GRP’s other biomass-to-energy power plants in Carnesville, Georgia and Colbert, Georgia, which are currently under construction. The three power plants have a combined capacity of 165 MW.”

Coincidentally, the Lumberton location has a long history of burning multiple sources of dirty energy, including: poultry litter (chicken shit), construction debris and waste and green wood chips, under the guise of “clean” energy.










Here is Sheila Fitzgerald, the mayor of Roddickton-Bide Arm, realizing that AEG is changing its location of their proposed pellet plant from St. Anthony to Hawke’s Bay, which would do little to benefit the local economy.









Former forestry operator questions deal, forestry minister defends permit approval. “Leander Pilgrim, a former forestry operator on the Great Northern Peninsula and former mayor of the town of Main Brook, has been opposed to AEG’s proposed operation since it was first discussed in the media in 2017.”

“His concerns at the time focused on the environmental impact forest clear-cutting may have on the Great Northern Peninsula. This issue remains a major priority for Pilgrim. He is now questioning why the provincial government did not require Active Energy to submit an environmental preview report.”

In addition, Pilgrim questioned AEG’s shady financial record and their ability to raise capital and deliver their CoalSwitch pellet plant as promised.

“He (Pilgrim) points out that according to a Sept. 28, 2018 audit, the company did not generate any revenue after its wood fibre operations closed in Ukraine, between December 2017 and June 2018. The company’s retained earnings show losses of $37,247,881 (USD) and its total equity is listed as minus-$254,270 (USD). AEG’s own report on Sept. 28 indicated uncertainty about its future.”




On April 24, 2019, AEG announced that their CoalSwitch “Test Reactors” had arrived at their Lumberton Mill location in North Carolina. “The Lumberton Site will serve as Active Energy’s first permanent commercial production facility and the primary base for all of the Company’s United States CoalSwitch™ operations.  The transfer of all the equipment from the Company’s Utah site is targeted to be completed within 8 weeks, with closure of the Utah site expected by the end of May 2019.”







AEG sends CoalSwitch pellet samples to EU markets looking to phase out coal.




Here’s some background on RMD Environmentals, Inc. (RMDE)
(Based out of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada)

The former CEO of AEG, Richard Spinks, now works as a consultant for RMDE.
RMDE, which is an AEG shareholder, became the first licensee partner for use of AEG’s CoalSwitch pellet fuel.

“RMDE is a wholly indigenous-owned business and has been incorporated by Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, RMDE’s controlling shareholder and one of AEG’s long-term shareholders. RMDE has an in-depth knowledge of the CoalSwitch™ technology and has been working with a broad spectrum of partners including government, industry and off take partners to develop commercial opportunities within the Territories.”

RMDE’s $2.4 Million CoalSwitch Licensee PR Statement:
“As a leading BC based environmental engineering and consultancy group, and following the purchase of the CoalSwitch™ licenses for BC and Alberta, RMDE is now uniquely positioned to develop and implement investment projects involving the use of AEG’s proprietary CoalSwitch™ technology in the Crown Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and is now set to progress a number of projects in both provinces.”

Keep in mind, AEG’s former CEO, Richard Spinks has a troubled past working with Chief Ronald Derrickson to procure BC forest timber for their joint ventures. In 2015, “a KPMG investigation found that the East Prairie, Paddle Prairie and Peavine Métis Settlements violated the Métis Settlements Act by entering into a joint venture agreement with Active Energy Group without due diligence.” It seems that AEG and Chief Derrickson failed to include all of the required tribal parties in this massive timber deal, which was named Kaquo Forestry and Natural Resources Development Corporation.  Coincidentally, Chief Ronald Derrickson brokered the timber harvest deal between Spinks and Metis Settlements, and he was handsomely rewarded with 10% of the profits. “Active Energy Group and the three settlements will each hold 45 per cent of the shares. The remaining 10 per cent goes to B.C. Grand Chief and Kaquo board chairman Ron Derrickson.” More on this story.


Here are some of Richard Spinks latest tweets:




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