In January 2015 representatives of Japan’s Geothermal Energy Research and Development Company Limited (GERD) visited New Zealand to learn more about Geo40’s silica extraction technology. GERD is an industry company that has 31 shareholders made up of Japan’s leading companies involved in geothermal power production. This initial visit was followed by visits from Tohoku Electric Power Company Limited (TOHEC) and the Japanese government agencies of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) and New Energy Development Organisation (NEDO).
In October 2015, GERD applied to NEDO for a government grant to trial Geo40’s silica extraction process at TOHEC’s Kakkonda power station site in Japan. In March 2016 it was announced that GERD had secured a three year US$4.9m grant to establish a silica extraction pilot plant at Kakkonda. As part of this grant, Geo40 has been paid to supply a purpose built pilot plant and provide staff to run the plant for the duration of the project. The pilot plant was successfully commissioned on the Kakkonda site in August 2016. Under a license agreement with GERD, all new developments in the process are owned by Geo40 and all new product developments are jointly owned by Geo40 and GERD.
The project has been successfully completed and further work is being planned during 2019.