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SulNOx burns brighter and cleaner with near 300% return over a year

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SulNOx [AQSE:SNOX], the Aquis-listed, green technology company operating from London is starting to make ripples in the shipping industry with its patented eco-fuel conditioner and demulsification products.

A fairly new addition to Aquis, SulNOx debuted on market in December 2019, and is in a similar trade to one of The Archair Trader’s stalwarts, AIM-listed Quadrise Fuels International Plc [LON:QED], the London-headquartered synthetic emulsion fuels developer, which as reported has been an excellent growth opportunity over the past year.

SulNOx’s performance hasn’t been too shabby either, Opening the week (26th February) at 36p, the company has returned around 300% over one-year. Established in 2013, SulNOx develops fuel-additives that it says improve the operational and environmental performance of traditional hydrocarbons-driven combustion engines and has applied its technologies in road and marine transport.

The company’s technology improves the combustion efficiency of a range of fuels, including gasoline, regular diesel, marine diesel oil (MDO), marine gas oil (MGO) and biofuels including hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) and kerosene. Fuel additives aren’t a new thing – it’s always a good idea to add an additive to the petrol tank of an older car just before it goes for its MOT, to make the emissions cleaner.

Additives help engines burn fuel harder and brighter

However, most additives are also hydrocarbons-based, often using waste products like xylene or naphthalene that are left over in the refining process as an accelerant to combustion, making the engine burn its fuel harder and brighter and avoiding some noxious emissions. However, in the bigger picture traditional additives don’t do very much to reduce overall greenhouse emissions, as being based on hydrocarbons, you are still burning hydrocarbons which release greenhouse gases.

As SulNOx claims: “[They are] not a solution for decarbonisation; [they] simply mask the real problem of poorly-combusted fuel by increasing octane rating/cetane points which are not green credentials.” What SulNOx decided to do was completely redesign the concept, working out where the problem of poor combustion originates, and trying to deal with it at its root.

The big issue with fuels is that despite oil and water seemingly being opposite ends of the spectrum in liquid terms – after all oil floats on water – there is still water dissolved in oil and one reason that fuels aren’t as efficient as they can be is that the inherent water in fuel affects clean combustion.

SulNOx reinventing the concept

The key is removing this water before the fuel is injected and sparked. Again, the concept of removing this water before combustion isn’t a new idea as technologies have existed for some time that emulsify the water content. However, traditional water-in-diesel emulsification has often proved to be unstable, and often separated, which isn’t good for your engine and most vehicle manufacturers raised objections to the technology, which they said if used in their engines would void warranty, and so the concept never really got past the lab.

However, SulNOx decided to reinvent the concept, and instead of using naphthalene, xylene or other waste chemicals derived from the refining process, instead use natural, biodegradable ingredients. This takes excess hydrocarbons emissions out of the product, and SulNOx has designed a formula that make fuels combust cleaner and more efficiently through a unique combination of mechanisms including the emulsification of residual water in fuel, increasing oxygen availability, cleaning actions and increasing lubricity. The company claims that the formula is a lot more stable than other water-in-diesel emulsions and it has added its accelerants to HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil) to create, in the company’s own words: “[…] a remarkably stable new emulsified fuel, which is a vast improvement on the water-in-diesel emulsions of yesteryear.”

SulNOx has developed three patented products for commercial sale: Berol 6446 HFO Fuel Emulsifier, SulNOxEco Diesel Conditioner and SulNOxEco Petrol Conditioner, which the company says enhances all diesel, petrol and biofuels by improving the burn profile with the effect of increasing miles-per-gallon and therefore reducing the net cost of fuel to the user – reducing emissions, whilst saving users money

And, with fuel prices as upwardly-mobile as a Hackney two-bed apartment, the opportunity to save money by using fuels more efficiently has become an attractive prospect for heavy fuel users, such as commercial shipping.

Significant market opportunity

Just like Quadrise, the market that SulNOx is targeting is huge, arguably 10 billion litres of fuel a day, but the company also sees application for its technology in waste remediation, where it can use its demulsification process to clean contaminated water of waste fuel and oil, and believes that it can expediate oil recovery from contaminated water.

The company manufactures its products under licence with partner, Nouryon, the Dutch multinational speciality chemical company, which allows SulNOx to produce its demulsification products in bulk, distribute globally and maintain short lead times.


SulNOx reports record revenues

In its latest results, for the quarter to end-December 2023, published last month, SulNOx reported revenues of GBP98,400, a jump of 82% quarter-on-quarter and up 115% year-on-year, which was SulNOx’s best set of results in its history.

This comes on the back of significant progress in shipping trials last year with mid-size, Bermuda-based tanker business, Teekay Corporation agreeing to  to pilot SulNOxEco, and Greek shipping group, Spring Marine adopting SulNOx products in its fleet to reduce fuel consumption and cut emssions. Marfin Management expanded its trial after intial tests cut bunker consumption by more than 6%.

After nine months of the financial year completed SulNOx had already delivered double the revenues it had posted for the full year 2022/23 at GBP240,100, and its momentum has carried through into a new calendar year, with invoiced sales to 16th January of GBP64,500. The company has GBP2.88m cash in the bank.

The company secured GBP1.8m of new funding in December from existing shareholders, shipping magnate, Constantine Logothetis and Norweigian investor, Nistadgruppen in a share placement with Logothetis subscribing to 2.6 million new shares taking his holding to 23.5% and Nistad taking a further 1.3 million, increasing its holdings to 14.5%. The new money will be used for further R&D and for new key hires.

Whether the firm can continue its roll remains to be seen, but as it is now, this stock is burning bright and burning hot.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Make sure you do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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