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Feature article April 4, 2018:

 

PyroGenesis new generation of 3D metal powder production poised to skyrocket valuation

  

PYR.V is the Company that invented plasma atomization, the current gold standard for Titanium-metal powder used in 3D printing, and it is now becoming a manufacturer capable of customizable narrow particle size distribution -- MAJOR upside revaluation is at play.

 

Important note; March 22, 2018 - "TSX Venture Exchange chooses PyroGenesis to be included in the Exclusive TSX Venture 50®" click to view related release.

 

PyroGenesis Canada Inc.

(TSX-V: PYR) (US Listing: PYRNF) (Frankfurt: 8PYF)

  

Share data, Capitalization, & Corporate info

 Shares Outstanding:  ~123 million

 Recently Traded: CDN$0.68/share (TSX-V: PYR)

 52 Week High/Low: $0.98 / 0.19

 Current Market Capitalization: ~83.5 million Canadian

 Corporate Website: www.PyroGenesis.com

 

PyroGenesis is active and on the cusp of breakout on four key plasma solution fronts, each with company-maker potential.

 

Near-term (12 month) price target for PYR.V: $3.00+/share

 

 

Valuation Commentary: PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (TSX-V: PYR) (OTC: PYRNF) (Frankfurt: 8PYF) is arguably the most advanced plasma technology Company in the world, with one of the largest concentration of plasma expertise under one roof working out of a ~40,000 sq. ft. facility in Montreal, is considered the go-to source for the US Military when an application requires a plasma solution, it has 54 patents (issued or pending), including being the inventors of 'plasma atomization' which is considered the current gold standard for production of Titanium-metal powder used in additive manufacturing (3D printers). The Company's latest innovations/plasma solutions in chemical warfare agent destruction, metallurgy, and especially additive manufacturing, are all revolutionary, each on the cusp of exponential growth, and position the share price of PYR.V at a major inflection point, presenting opportunity for astute shareholders. It appears only PyroGenesis' new generation plasma atomization system, able to produce any size cut, will be able to cater to what is setting up to be explosive growth in future 3D metal printing.

 

 

PyroGenesis has been advancing plasma solutions for over 20 years, it currently has delivered Plasma Arc Waste Destruction Systems (PAWDS) for two US aircraft carriers and its technology is built into the design of future aircraft orders. Its trusted relationship with the military (which has the very highest DD/vetting standards) speaks to PyroGenesis' credibility and reliability -- something that gives it a leg-up as it commercializes/monetizes the latest applications of its technologies. Only recently has a confluence of opportunity materialized that will see demand grow exponentially for new applications of its technologies on four key fronts:

 

A) Military/environment: Besides another PAWDS aircraft order expected for 2018 and additional land based system sales, the big catalyst in this sector will be orders for special forces as they are currently spending ~US$100 million testing PyroGenesis' mobile plasma chemical warfare agents destruction system. DARPA is funding part of this development and given the size of total investment just for testing, it is likely to translate into several orders near-term at US$6M a system, just for starters.

 

Figure 2. (right) Seen on the bottom left is PYR.V's mobile unit that is being tested by the special forces, able to vaporize agents on site.

 

Table 1. (left) Summary of environmental projects that should contribute to Company growth near-term.

  

B) Mining metallurgy DROSRITETM: PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (PYR.V) invented DROSRITETM, a process for reclaiming dross (waste) onsite at smelters without salt -- sales are gaining traction and exponential growth appears in store.  Its first customer has just ordered another system and is in negotiations to buy more, also numerous other groups have requested demos that should convert to sales. This is a ~$400 million market potential in Aluminum production alone, then there is zinc, and copper.

  

C) Mining metallurgy PUREVAPTM solar grade silicon production: PYR.V has ~$8M contract with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc. to develop PUREVAPTM process for it, able to turn quartz into 6N (99.9999% purity) solar grade silicon in one step. HPQ will be positioned to singlehandedly disrupt the silicon market pricewise once the contract is complete -- PyroGenesis gets 10% royalty upon commercialization.

 

Figure 3. (above) - Illustration. Bench test success has validated that HPQ PUREVAPTM Quartz Reduction Reactor purifies in one step while transforming quartz into silicon metal. A 200 TPY pilot plant is almost completed, operational in 2018. Commercial operation is budgeted to start in 2019. On December 21, 2017 PyroGenesis announced that HPQ Silicon has signed a Development Agreement with solar silicon specialist Apollon Solar, a world leader in silicon manufacturing, further validating the PURVAPTM technology.

    

Figure 4. PYR.V plasma atomization tower.

D) Metal Injected Molding (MIM) powder production for additive manufacturing (3D Printing): PyroGenesis' new generation plasma atomization process can do what no one else can and will give it significant advantage in the marketplace; able to produce any narrow particle size with no waste, and can be adapted for different metals. If all goes according to plan, the marketplace will see PyroGenesis quickly capture market share, filling the immediate need for a credible 2nd producer of Ti-metal powder, and put a target on its back in the process, able to readily scale-in systems to service this explosive market. GE has effectively cornered the current market with old IP/technology that PyroGenesis invented (but sold before 3D metal printing evolved and became in demand). On October 23, 2017 the Company announced ramp-up of its first plasma atomization reactor is complete, the system is fully functional, ready to operate 24/7, and the Company has added extra shifts in anticipation of large scale commercial order(s). Several highly motivated big potential customers have already signed NDAs and are prequalifying product now (see November 6, 2017 news "PyroGenesis Signs Non-Disclosure Agreement with Rolls-Royce plc for Additive Manufacturing Powders" and December 4, 2017 "PyroGenesis Signs Non-Disclosure Agreement with Second Global Aircraft Engine Manufacturer"). PyroGenesis' new process is able to produce Tungsten-free Ti metal powders, very important to the high-end market as Tungsten has much higher melting point than Titanium and is thus problematic for 3D printers and intolerable. PyroGenesis' move into powder production appears to be the beginning of what is shaping up to be a massive growth story that will richly reward shareholders astute enough to establish a long position now. Each plasma atomization production tower PYR.V brings online, at current commodity pricing, should be capable of generating ~$12M in revenues per year (with very healthy margins) -- if the Company conservatively brings say 16 towers online over the next couple years that would represent LESS THAN 6% of the market demand. For those familiar with the shifting fundamentals afoot in the marketplace, PYR.V is poised to dwarf conservative projections as it appears to be the only entity with technology able to cater to the explosive growth in future 3D metal printing (see overview/analysis section further below). 

 

PYR.V currently has a market cap of ~C83.5 million (~123 million shares outstanding (~141M fully diluted) recently trading at ~C$0.68/share), miniscule compared to what is shaping up. Forward discounted metrics of revenue dictate PYR.V trade at a significantly higher valuation, the share price is apt to rise in spurts as developments/news catalysts unfold; a near-term upside share price revaluation closer to $3/share for PYR.V is in order to better reflect the reality of what is unfolding, on its way to even higher valuations from there.

  

PYR.V on solid footing -- The Company has started to cash flow positive on an adjusted EBTDA basis in 2017 from its core/traditional business lines alone; revenue is up in Q1 (+67%), Q2 (+165%), Q3 (+7%) over the same periods the year prior (click here to view latest news regarding financials). Its gross margins are 57%, and this is from its core business incorporating the expenses of ramping up the additive manufacturing business (the cost of the tower, the salaries, and the analytical equipment -- the Company still made 48% Gross Margin in Q2 & 57% in Q3. The backlog of signed contracts from its core business is $7.41 million (which is respectable as it had been running $5M - $6M/year for the past 3 years). Its pipeline (defined as contracts it is in serious negotiations with (e.g. Aircraft Carrier PAWDS, mobile tactical chemical warfare agent destruction units, and DROSRITETM) is ~$21 million. Comforting to know that the Company is increasingly diversified and can weather an attack on its new metal powder production business line should such an unlikely scenario develop, unlikely as the demand for what PYR.V offers is just too large and the Company is working with next level/next-generation technology that should see the financial picture explode for the Company over coming years.

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Overview of why PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (PYR.V) has potential for >10X market cap upside revaluation

 

1) Metal Injected Molding (MIM) powder production for additive manufacturing (3D Printing) - 100% Owned

 

The Company's first next generation plasma atomization tower is operational and filling prequalification orders. PyroGenesis has a near-term conservative goal of being a credible 2nd producer of Ti-metal powder.

 

The Back-Story

How PyroGenesis came to invent plasma atomization, and the original IP ends up in the hands of GE...

Figure 5. Scanning electron microscope 400X of PyroGenesis powders (45μm) -- small, pure, spherical, metal powders.

 

Several years ago PyroGenesis was developing light-weight armor for NATO and in that process it needed small spherical titanium powders that were uniformly the same size. The powder particles required to be the same size in order to melt them and spray onto a surface -- as the powders dropped through the plasma flame they would only splat on the surface if they were precise in size; if the powders are too big they would go through the flame, if the particles are too small they bounce off the flame. It was difficult to get specific powders in the marketplace so the Company decided to make titanium metal powders for itself using thermal plasma and it patented the process. During the NATO contract the Company also found buyers for the powder in the biomedical industry which loved the powders for biomedical implants (e.g. titanium knee implants; they liked how the powders flowed into the molds and compacted tightly). When the NATO contract ended there was insufficient market to take up the slack and keep PyroGenesis' interest, this was before 3D metal printings time/growth spurt, and it made better sense to sell the rights.

 

In 2007 AP&C bought the rights and also received a 5 year non-compete clause from Pyrogenesis. AP&C eventually had to seek creditor protection. When AP&C came out of creditor protection 3D printing started to have a need for these exact powders. Arcam was a client of AP&C, Arcam made one of the first 3D metal printers and decided to purchase AP&C out from bankruptcy for C$35M in 2013. Under Arcam AP&C became the dominant supplier of titanium powders to metal printers, using technology PyroGenesis invented. It does not seem that AP&C has improved much, if any, on the technology since it was first incepted, there was no need to as the economics made sense for them to do nothing and they have had no pressing need to change, plus they likely do not possess the plasma expertise to do any major changes.

 

After the non-compete was up PyroGenesis surveyed the market and at first decided it would take the conservative route of making plasma atomization towers (which make powder) for someone else, instead of Pyrogenesis itself getting into the powder manufacturing business. Within 3 months PyroGenesis received an order for 10 systems for US$10M and it was going to make ~50% margin, it was a sweet and easy contract to fill. Before fulfilling the contract PyroGenesis' engineers began to toy with improvements to its original design and soon realized it was in the wrong business, instead of selling the towers it made better economic sense for it to consider getting into the powder manufacturing business; one system, operating flat-out, could make $12 million a year with 40% to 70% margins (depending on grades) selling powders. The Company got out of its contract at the beginning of 2016 and immediately the market thought PyroGenesis was nuts, cancelling out on a $10+M contract, and that perhaps something was wrong. Just the opposite, however it was not apparent to the market that PyroGenesis was right until September 2016 when news broke of GE purchasing Arcam for $696 million. Arcam is the Company that manufactures 3d metal printers and wholly-owns the powder manufacturer AP&C which uses the first generation plasma atomization technology that PYR.V developed. That $696M valuation was in part due to GE believing it had locked up the market on the gold standard of Titanium powder for metal injecting molds (3D printing). There began a consolidation wave in the market and put the spotlight on the value of being a player in the markets.

 

Many printer manufacturers, distributors, and end users are eager to see PyroGenesis come into the market as consolidation has disrupted the supply chain -- there is room for a credible second supplier of Ti-metal powder.

 

 

Figure 6. (above) CONSOLIDATION & DISRUPTED SUPPLY CHAIN -- AP&C was purchased by Arcam in 2013 and became the dominant supplier of Ti64. Many suppliers of 3D printers are now buying their powders from Arcam - a competitor. GE purchased Arcam (AP&C) for US$696M. GE’s competitors now need to find other powder producers. GE also purchased ConceptLaser for US$599M. Other consolidation of note; Carpenter recently bought Puris.
 

Essentially GE thought they had a leg up on the market by its acquisition of AP&C via Arcam. GE caught everyone with their pants down, it secured what they thought were the only entity that could make this type of powder, spent a billion+ dollars buying printer companies, and have effectively cornered the market. Competition to GE has been very nervous, there is little doubt PyroGenesis will do VERY well -- not only can PryoGenesis do what AP&C can do, it can do it much better. GE’s competitors are reluctant to buy off of AP&C as they are essentially telling GE what they are doing through a trade of information (e.g. particle size, amounts of powder), and even if there is not a trade of information they are giving their competitor profits that they may not want to give them. Companies that purchased from AP&C will naturally gravitate to PyroGenesis as the process used to made the powder are similar (via plasma atomization) and it is easier to qualify product that was made using the same process. Only AP&C and PyroGenesis use plasma atomization, the very few other niche metal powder producers (e.g. Tekna) that are out there use alternate processes with limitations that would rule them out for most printer manufacturers, end users, and distributors.

 

Growth of 3D printing, and growth of metal powder demand - Clearly PyroGenesis is entering at an opportune time.

 

Respected independent market experts Wohlers Associates have noted (2016 Report) the cumulative number of 3D printing machines sold worldwide (for all types) will rise from 3,017 in 2015 to 14,379 in 2020, and metal powder demand will rise from 1,810,200 kg in 2015 to 8,625,000 kg in 2020.

 

Figure 7. (left) - Wohlers Report numbers.

 

New metal composites could propel PyroGenesis to the very fore of the industry: The above projections are based just on expansion of what is happening today -- the sandbox that PyroGenesis is playing in is very large, right now we are talking just about one corner; titanium powders. However important to note is that PyroGenesis has recently successfully switched-out titanium wire for another metal in its plasma atomization tower; the Company filled a test batch order for inconel powder. The future is obviously VERY bright for PyroGenesis in Ti-metal alone, however the Company is able, on paper, to make all sorts of composites using plasma atomization, and composites are the next new frontier for where 3D printing is going. It went from plastics, it’s going to metals, the next evolution is composites. ‘Composites’ is a mixture of material. Let’s say you want to make an aluminum nitrate composite; on paper PYR.V scientists believe they can take an aluminum wire, fuel the plasma torch with nitrogen gas, and combine the two in-flight to make a composite. This is something no one has ever looked at with plasma, PYR.V is very comfortable experimenting in that space. Beryllium for example is a very tough metal, it so happens to be used as a coating on re-entry vehicles, like missiles for the US military. If you could make beryllium powder and run it through a 3D printer you could save the US military millions of dollars – PYR.V on paper can do this.
 

Understanding particle size use in the marketplace for Ti-metal production, and limitations of old powder manufacturing technology. PyroGenesis has a major advantage:

 

 

PyroGenesis has invented an adjustment to its plasma atomization process which increases the production and narrows the particle sizes that come out of each production run.

 

Figure 8. (left) - Particle size distribution, current old technology of AP&C.

 

In the past, PyroGenesis' old production run (what AP&C is using) is a broad spectrum; at the edges there is waste, and in the middle the particles that are made are used by either one type of printer or another type of printer. 90% of printers use powders between 15μm and 106μm; either A) between 15μm and 45μm, or B) between 45μm and 106μm. So if you had an order from customer A you had to do a production run to satisfy customer A and then you were left with a whole bunch of another powder size and you had to find a market for the unwanted size. So this is a dilemma if you want to go into full production. PyroGenesis can produce any narrow particle size it wants, it can do so for any customer without waste, this will have more impact on the market than its original plasma atomization patent did. The original patent has allowed 3D printers like EOS, ConceptLasers, Arcam, to print, because before plasma atomization these type of powders weren’t readily available.

 

New ultra-fine market: Note the ultra-fine 0 to 15μm off-cuts, which were traditionally not used in printers, there are now printer manufacturers (e.g. Desktop Metals) that are looking to make a new generation of mass printing using this specific powder range (this powder range flows like water). There is discussion in 3D printing circles that this market segment is waiting for an entity capable of reliably filling the 0 - 15μm range in size. PyroGenesis is the only one that can do it this way.

 

Compare the old tech production distribution (seen above) to what PyroGenesis can do now (seen below):

 

 

 

 

 

PYR.V's new process narrows the particle size distribution and increase the production rate -- a beautiful system that can cater to different clients.

 

Figure 9. (above) PyroGenesis' new plasma-based atomization system capable of custom narrow distribution - It appears only Pyrogenesis' new generation plasma atomization system, able to produce any size cut, will be able to cater to what is setting up to be explosive growth in future 3D metal printing.

 

Additive Manufacturing Milestones/Press Releases:

Where things sit now: The markets have opened up to PYR.V’s strategy, the GE acquisition of Arcam shows that PyroGenesis’ powders have an impact on what is taking place in additive manufacturing. However the understanding of just how big this is going to be for PyroGenesis has not yet sunk in, when the first contract is announced we expect the valuation to rise dramatically.

 

In March-2017 PyroGenesis had the first of its new generation plasma atomization systems up and running. The system was in ramp-up, testing, and experimentation/innovation mode from March until October-2017, ensuring all the parts are communicating properly, working properly, angled properly. On October 23, 2017 the Company announced ramp-up of its first plasma atomization reactor is complete, the system is fully functional, ready to operate 24/7, and the Company has added a second shift in anticipation of large scale commercial order(s). The Company did not expect interest in its powders until ramp-up was complete, however people in the industry knew that PyroGenesis were the inventors of plasma atomization, a name PyroGenesis coined in its original patent, it is a household name now. There is a buzz developing, "The inventors are back, they are producing powder, and they are going to be as good or better than AP&C" -- so far PyroGenesis has received six sample orders and so far it has delivered four. Also during this ramp-up period it has signed six NDAs, and it is currently negotiating two NDAs with major competitors to GE. PyroGenesis never expected to get this type of interest until at least a year later, in 2018, its budget called for the Company buying sieving and analytical equipment next year – turns out PYR.V needs it RIGHT NOW! There is a lot of good pressure on the company. PyroGenesis is currently on a schedule of four days of production and one day of innovation/refinement (getting the production level higher, narrowing the particle size, getting the oxygen content down – all these things no one has ever done before). PyroGenesis is going to be selling into the market with a spec sheet that is better than anyone in the world; customized particle size, at higher production rates, with no waste. The current business strategy is to be a second supplier, but it appears conversation are underway that will see PYR.V become much more than that.

 

There is a need for PyroGenesis’ powder, a large contract could easily dwarf production from the one first tower, so the Company is making arrangements now to cut down the turn-around time, to ~3 to 4 months by ordering long lead-time components, for commissioning of the next three tower systems. PyroGenesis will find willingness in its clients to negotiate financing of the capital costs of its new towers by forward selling production (e.g. if a buyer pays PYR.V say $25/kg up front in advance, PYR can give a matching discount off the end sale price, offering pricing at say $350/kg instead of $375/kg). Clients signing NDA's now understand the Company's position, they like the fact PyroGenesis has been around for a while, they like the Company's  relationship and credibility from its arrangement with the US Military. If a client says they want production that can take up several systems, PYR can assure them a fixed time schedule.

 

UPDATE from PyroGenesis on February 26, 2018:

 

PyroGenesis Announces ISO 9001:2008 Certification for the Production of Metal Powders; Provides Update

 

MONTREAL, Feb. 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (http://pyrogenesis.com) (TSX-V:PYR), (the "Company", the “Corporation” or "PyroGenesis") a Company that designs, develops and manufactures plasma waste-to-energy systems and plasma torch systems, is pleased to announce today that it has received certification for the production of metal powders under a quality management system which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. This certification is an amendment to the Company’s existing ISO certification, and pertains specifically to metal powder production, and was received under the auspices of a major independent risk and standards company; SAI Global.
 

Mr. P. Peter Pascali, President and CEO of PyroGenesis, provides an update on PyroGenesis Additive’s activities in the following Q&A format. The questions, for the most part, are derived from inquiries received from investors, analysts, and potential customers:
 

Q. You announced today that you received the ISO Certification amendment for the production of metal powders. That was fast. What does this mean to the company exactly?
 

A.
We did receive this certification relatively quickly, and I would partly attribute that to our history of meeting stringent military specifications/standards in our other major projects. We always have been ISO compliant and as such this amendment was relatively easy to obtain.
 

As we all know, having an ISO certification confirms that our management systems, manufacturing processes, and documentation procedures have met all the requirements for standardization, quality assurance, traceability, and batch to batch consistency. This gives prospective customers assurances that our house is in order. In addition, such efficient quality management systems will ultimately save time and money, as well as improve efficiencies.
 

We have found that many of our customers will only do business with vendors that are certified as ISO 9001 compliant, and many requests for quotes are from companies that make ISO 9001 certification a “must-have.” We are also in the process of applying to AS9100D for the aerospace industry, and ISO 13485 for the medical devices industry.
 

In short, having this certification gives potential customers the additional confidence to accept PyroGenesis as a qualified vendor.
 

Q. There has been a flurry of press releases announcing sample orders and significant NDAs being signed, then there was nothing. So, what happened? Has there been any other activity?
 

A.
Rest assured, the level of activity, including both sample orders and NDAs has not abated, but in fact, has increased. The reason you haven’t heard anything regarding this activity is simply because we no longer consider additional sample orders and NDAs newsworthy. We decided that the first sample orders and NDAs were significant in that they were the first and as such we announced them as they occurred. We decided that subsequent orders and NDAs, have become part of the normal course of business and as such were not, as I said, newsworthy.
 

Q. The burning question is, with all this activity, where are the big orders?
 

A.
I know it is hard to understand, as one might expect significant orders to be placed shortly after a sample order is requested, but PyroGenesis is actually ahead of the curve/schedule in this respect. Let me explain…
 

In order to appreciate this, one has to understand the ordering process which, although not carved in stone, it will, for the most part, follow this general pattern. Initial powder orders are placed by the customer who typically will perform some basic analytical tests to ensure the powder quality (such as sphericity, porosity, flowability, chemical purity, inclusions) is as we purport it to be, and meets their specifications. Once satisfied, they will then order larger quantities of powders for sintering testing of parts which will then be further analyzed for such characteristics as tensile strength, and density, amongst others. Once satisfied, another order for greater quantities is placed where the powder is then used to build a first batch of final parts using 3D printers. These parts are then further analyzed for part to part consistency. Once the homogenous nature of our powders is demonstrated, from batch to batch, the discussion with the customer turns to purchase orders or a strategic partnership.
 

The progression from a small “look-see” sample order to larger orders implies, at times, a change in strategic direction, or relationships, on the part of the customer, which, is normal but takes time. In other situations, the decision to make us a qualified supplier requires significant internal time and money, on the part of the customer. These are expected steps as the customer goes through the decision process, identifies/allocates the necessary funds, and ultimately allocates the time. Layering on top of this process is the fact that most of these customers already had a strategy in place before we came along.
 

All this to say, without going into all the details, we are at every one of these stages with one customer or another, which we never expected so early in the game. After all, we are less than 6 months from when ramp up was completed.
 

Q. You said that you are ahead of the curve/schedule. What else can you add?
 

A.
This time last year, we did not have an operational powder production system, and we were relatively unknown in the industry despite having invented Plasma Atomization. As we are quite conservative by nature, internally, we worked under the assumption that it was going to be more difficult to open doors, so we allocated more time for market penetration.
 

We must admit that GE’s acquisition of Arcam, and by default AP&C, helped the market focus on powder supply which in turn helped us, but we felt it was still going to take some time. All this to say, it has been less difficult to open doors.
 

A year ago, we never expected to be so far along, or to have accomplished this much, or to be in such high-level discussions with major players so soon after ramping up. One year later, we have met the original schedule and had a system assembled, with a first test run, by March 31, 2017, ramp-up was completed in October 2017 and after being in operation for less than 4 months, we have managed to secure a large number of sample orders, signed significant NDAs, and are in discussion with several potential strategic partners. As if all this were not enough, during this time, we also managed to develop game-changing IP, and we are in the process of concluding an industrialization plan for a build-out which would be implemented on the signing of a significant take-or-pay contract.
 

Q. Industrialization plan? I thought you were already commercial?
 

A.
Yes, we are. The difference between a commercial facility and an industrial plant is a bit subtle but it is important to understand and appreciate how far we have come and how we are proactively preparing for the future. A commercial facility demonstrates process control and repeatability, where there is continuous operation, and where R&D and special test runs for customers are also contemplated. It runs as needed. An industrial plant, on the other hand, is dedicated to continuous production, with no R&D, 24/7. A commercial facility may still be run by highly skilled technicians whereas an industrial plant can be run by less skilled operators.
 

It is currently estimated that our industrialization plan will incorporate cookie-cutter units, each with 3-5 powder production towers designed to build out to any contracted demand.
 

Our approach to the market is very conservative, which is why we probably have lasted so long. Our strategy is not to build excess capacity and wait for customers. This approach may be risky for a number of reasons. First, it is costly. Second, we do not want to find ourselves across the table negotiating price with a potential customer who knows we have excess capacity on our hands (which is hard to hide when a customer asks how fast you can deliver).
 

Our approach is built on the recent disruption in the supply chain caused by GE’s acquisition of Arcam and by default AP&C, and the overall serious lack of quality independent powder producers. Recent discussions with potential customers confirm our supposition that these customers find our products compelling enough that they will allow us to grow into their need or, in cases where the need is developing as with new printer companies, grow in-step with their needs.
 

Q. What type of feedback are you getting from your sample orders? Have you been rejected by anyone? Can you give us an example of feedback?
 

A.
First and foremost, we have not received any negative comments on our powders and not one has been rejected. If one considers the number of sample orders delivered this is quite impressive. Furthermore, all the sample orders were paid for except for one, which was given for free.
 

As an example of feedback, we received results from one of the largest OEM Metal Printer manufacturers who had performed the usual characterization tests on our Ti-6Al-4V Grade 23 powders (composition, flowability, density, moisture). The results exceeded expectations and were exceptional especially when compared to powders from other suppliers. PyroGenesis’ powders met or exceeded all the specifications required for the several series of tests. Now, additional powders will be procured to make actual test parts to test tensile and yield strengths. As mentioned, the qualification process includes several stages of analysis and we are in the final stage. There is no reason to think that we will not succeed and become a primarily supplier to one of the OEMs sometime very soon.
 

This is just one example of the many customers which are at various stages of evaluation and discussions.
 

Q. Let’s turn to operations for a moment. Are you still running two shifts? Are you stockpiling? What are your plans for additional systems?

A.
Currently we are operating with two shifts, and over the next few weeks will be adding overtime. We may add a third shift in the near future. We do not stockpile per se, but we do keep a small inventory in anticipation of demand.
 

Although I will not speak to specific demand I can share with you the fact that we are in continuous discussions for sample orders, repeat orders, long term orders, contract R&D, and strategic partnerships. As such, we have ordered the long lead items for two powder production systems, both of which should be fully operational by the end of July 2018. These new powder production units will incorporate some of the cutting-edge IP that we recently developed. We expect these units will cost significantly less to manufacture, generate higher production rates, and provide us with greater control over particle size distributions.
 

Q. Let’s get back to strategic partnerships. You have alluded to this before. What are we talking about? How close are you to a conclusion?
 

A.
For obvious reasons, I cannot disclose to whom we are speaking or the specifics of the discussions, however, I can confirm that we are speaking to more than one player and that a successfully concluded agreement with any of them will be significant not just for PyroGenesis and our shareholders, but arguably for the marketplace as a whole. Pyogenesis has had quite a bit of success with strategic partnerships; one just need only to look at our relationship with the US military for proof.
 

Management is of the view that a well-structured partnership can not only accelerate PyroGenesis’ growth but also open the doors to new revenue streams which otherwise would be long in coming.
 

As I said, we are involved in more than one discussion, with the longest one taking place for several months, and the most recent one over the past several weeks. I must caution readers that although everything looks very positive, these discussions could all go nowhere very quickly, although I highly doubt it given the level and type of discussions and the caliber of players.
 

Q. This might be a good point to ask how you may answer those who say you sometimes announce things too early, like the spin-off of PyroGenesis Additive or that you do not do things fast enough like hiring a COO, or CFO, or more business development people, or or or….?
 

A.
This is a very good question and as I have said before a lot has transpired in the world of Additive Manufacturing since we announced our desire to spin off PyroGenesis Additive. It would have been highly questionable to have continued along a path, ignoring all the changes, just because we announced we would. We are beholden to our shareholders and constantly review our decisions based on new information, all with the goal of maximizing shareholder value. I would challenge any investor to point to a time between when we announced our intention to spin off PyroGenesis Additive, and now, that would have maximized shareholder value more than if we did the spin off today. Today we have created more value in PyroGenesis Additive, and at the same time the non-additive part of PyroGenesis is tending towards profitability as noted in our last press release dated February 1st, 2018. Even with 20/20 hindsight our strategy to postpone the spin off was correct. Rest assured we are still committed to this spin off.
 

As far as those that say we are not moving fast enough in certain directions, particularly in hiring, I would say keep your comments coming. I read them all, and I would say you are all, for the most part, correct. In the world of limitless cash, we could do a lot of things faster. In the real world, we are challenged to make choices. Where is this next $1 best spent? At what time do we sacrifice sales for technology, or technology for administration or any combination of the aforementioned? That is the challenges that face us every day. Would hiring a CFO have helped us with our technology improvements or sales with DROSRITE™? No. Would hiring a CFO have helped us during our ramp up and sample sales with PyroGenesis Additive? No. That is not to say that having additional help in that department wouldn’t have helped. I am just saying the help would not have been worth the sacrifices which would have to have been made in other areas. These are the tough decisions we face every day, and you can rest assured the management of your Company takes these decisions very seriously. That is not to say we get it right each and every time but, given where we are, I would say we are doing very well.
 

Q. Conclusion?
 

A.
We are entering into a very exciting period for PyroGenesis Additive. If the next year is anything like the past one has been, and I expect it to be even better, then hold onto your horses. Things are lining up well as our market penetration strategy is starting to bear fruit, and faster than we expected. Again, we fully expect that there will be disappointments along the way, but as I have said in the past, we will meet them as we have all previous challenges, and that is with a perseverance and tenacity that is unique to PyroGenesis.
 

In an unrelated matter, the Corporation announces today that it has granted stock options to acquire up to 200,000 common shares of the Corporation (the “Common Shares”) to Mtre Ilario Antonio Gualtieri, Senior Legal Counsel and Corporate Secretary. The stock options have an exercise price of $0.60 per Common Share and are exercisable over a period of five (5) years. The options are granted in accordance with the Corporation’s stock option plan and remain subject to regulatory and Exchange approval.

About PyroGenesis Canada Inc.
 

PyroGenesis Canada Inc. is the world leader in the design, development, manufacture and commercialization of advanced plasma processes. We provide engineering and manufacturing expertise, cutting-edge contract research, as well as turnkey process equipment packages to the defense, metallurgical, mining, advanced materials (including 3D printing), oil & gas, and environmental industries. With a team of experienced engineers, scientists and technicians working out of our Montreal office and our 3,800 m2 manufacturing facility, PyroGenesis maintains its competitive advantage by remaining at the forefront of technology development and commercialization. Our core competencies allow PyroGenesis to lead the way in providing innovative plasma torches, plasma waste processes, high-temperature metallurgical processes, and engineering services to the global marketplace. Our operations are ISO 9001:2008 certified, and have been since 1997. PyroGenesis is a publicly-traded Canadian Corporation on the TSX Venture Exchange (Ticker Symbol: PYR) and on the OTCQB Marketplace. For more information, please visit www.pyrogenesis.com

 

...click here for full copy from source

 

Potential for spin-off of the 3D metal powder production division

 

PyroGenesis will be very popular as the Company announces NDAs converting to contracts. The markets may not understand all the other business lines the Company is engaged in, thus PyroGenesis investors would be best served (maximize shareholder value) by spinning the unit off as a standalone entity, with its own people, its own product, and it could get funding for that as/if needed. At that time PYR.V would likely have a direct dividend to existing shareholders with maybe a concurrent financing. The landscape is changing rapidly and there are a lot of developments to accommodate that will make matters that much more powerful for PyroGenesis' new metal-powder unit. The fact that GE has acquired Arcam, and PyroGenesis has pre-order samples being vetted by major players that should translate into orders, this will all increase the value. Obviously once the first order(s) (long-term contract) comes in the valuation will be larger. Spinning-off has its advantages; it will be a clearly identifiable entity that can be JVed with or acquired, it can attract its own investment and probably have a much higher multiple rather than being stuck inside PyroGenesis proper. The Company has coined the name ‘Pyrogenesis Additive’ and it is already starting to work and function internally as a separate Company; separate employees, a separate accounting system, and the Company is renovating part of its facilities so it can have its own area.

 

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Below is expanded insight on PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (TSX-V: PYR) (OTC: PYRNF) and its other business lines.

 

     Content found herein is not investment advice see Terms of Use, Disclosure & Disclaimer 

Recent Company news of significance:

 

• April 3, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Announces Receipt of Balance of $3 Million Secured Convertible Debenture Private Placement".

 

• April 2, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Announces Closing of $3 Million Secured Convertible Debenture".

 

• March 22, 2018 - "TSX Venture Exchange chooses PyroGenesis to be included in the Exclusive TSX Venture 50®".

 

• March 19, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Announces Significant Development: PyroGenesis Additive Can Now Offer Tungsten-Free Titanium Powders".

 

• March 14, 2018 - "PyroGenesis is Nominated for “Materials Company of the Year” at the 3D Printing Industry Awards 2018".

 

• March 8, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Provides Update on its PUREVAP™ Project with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.".

 

• March 7, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Announces Closing of Private Placement After Subsequent Subscriptions".

 

• February 26, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Announces ISO 9001:2008 Certification for the Production of Metal Powders; Provides Update".

 

• February 9, 2018 "PyroGenesis Announces Closing of Private Placement".

 

• February 1, 2018 "PyroGenesis Provides Update on DROSRITE™ Business Line; Poised to be Significant Contributor in 2018".

 

• January 30, 2018 "PyroGenesis Announces Receipt of Military Contracts for $280,000; The Exercise of $2,182,741 in Warrants and Options, and an R&D Tax Credit Financing of $537,400".

 

• January 15, 2018 "PyroGenesis Submits Gen 2 PUREVAP™ Progress Report to HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.; Confirms Higher Yield and Rate".

 

• December 21, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces that HPQ Silicon Signs Development Agreement with Solar Silicon Specialist Apollon Solar".

 

• December 13, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Receipt of New Military Contract for Can$325,000 Bringing Total Orders Received to Over Can$1.8 Million".

 

• December 4, 2017 "PyroGenesis Signs Non-Disclosure Agreement with Second Global Aircraft Engine Manufacturer".

 

November 28, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Q3-2017 Results: Cash Flow Positive on EBITDA (Modified) Basis; Revenues Increase by 7%; Positive Gross Margin of 57%; Current Backlog $7.41MM".

 

November 27, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Receipt of $508,000 Down Payment on Previously Announced Sale of Second DROSRITE™ Furnace System to North American Automobile Parts Manufacturer".

 

November 16, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces $1.02 Million Sale of 2nd DROSRITE™ Furnace System to North American Automobile Parts Manufacturer".

 

November 13, 2017 "PyroGenesis Additive to Reveal Completion of Powder Performance Characterization Results by Independent Parties at FormNext".

 

November 6, 2017 "PyroGenesis Signs Non-Disclosure Agreement with Rolls-Royce plc for Additive Manufacturing Powders".

 

November 1, 2017 "PyroGenesis Submits Final Gen 1 PUREVAP™ Report to HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.".

 

October 26, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Grant of Two (2) US Patents for a Total of 54 Patents owned (Issued and Pending)".

 

October 23, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Completion of Ramp-Up Phase of 1st Plasma Atomization System".

 

September 29, 2017 "PyroGenesis Comments on Stock Trading Activity; Provides Company Snapshot/Update".

 

September 19, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Commencement of Advanced Second Phase Lab Scale Testing with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc., Totalling CAN$170,000 which has been Received".

  

September 18, 2017 "PyroGenesis Additive Confirms Production, and Orders, for Both Ti-6Al-4V Grade 23 & Grade 5 MIM Cut".

  

September 12, 2017 "PyroGenesis Additive Announces Significant Developments to its New Plasma-Based Atomization Process; Higher Production Rates, Higher Yields, Narrower Particle Size Distributions, Lower Costs".

  

August 28, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Q2-2017 Results: Cash Flow Positive on EBITDA (Modified) Basis; Revenues Increase by 165%; Gross Margins Increase to 48%; Current Backlog $7.64MM".

  

August 14, 2017 "PyroGenesis Additive Announces the Development of New Plasma-Based Process to Produce Metal Powders; Production of MIM Cut in Quantity; Ramp-Up Update".

 

July 17, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Receipt of CAN$445,950 Under Existing Military Contract; Plus CAN$300,000 of Warrants exercised".

 

July 11, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces Receipt of $230,168 Contract for Support During Testing of its Chemical Warfare Agent Destruction System Using Real Chemical Warfare Agents".

 

 

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2) DROSRITETM - 100% Owned

 

DROSRITE™ recovers metal from dross (a waste generated in the metallurgical industry)

 

Features & Benefits of DROSRITETM include:

  • More than 10% higher metal recovery than with third party treatment.

  • Lower operating cost than using a subcontractor.

  • Recyclable non-hazardous residue with no atmospheric emissions – zero landfill potential.

  • Lower carbon footprint, ideally for large greenhouse gas emitters such as smelters.

  • With in situ treatment, DROSRITETM serves as an excellent tool to control skimming practices.

Figure 10. Dross piled up in front of smelter.

The DROSRITETM process can be applied at smelters for aluminum, zinc, or copper. Currently the Company's first sale has been in the aluminum industry.

 

Dross is a problem for smelters, it forms at the top of hot batches where the metal comes in contact with oxygen, it is an unfavorable contaminated waste product. The traditional method of dealing with dross is to scoop it off the top and set aside to cool down. Recognizing that that the waste still has valuable metals in it, the dross is sent offsite to be reclaimed using salts, the process occurs offsite as salt cannot come in contact with the main smelter batch as salt would ruin the whole batch. The current traditional method of dealing with dross involves cooling, transport, heating, processing, cooling and transporting back – its laborious and costly.

 

PyroGenesis has developed a system that can be slapped right up against the smelter, take the dross hot, process it hot, and send the metal back hot. PyroGenesis can do this under $100/t compared to $250/t to $350/t using conventional methods. That alone is impressive. On top of that PyroGenesis is getting between 10% to 15% better recovery.

 

PryoGenesis has its first DROSRITETM client up and running with a full commercial system operational at an aluminum smelter in Mexico, at a subsidiary of an American mining Company. The Company in Mexico purchased the system after successfully testing out a demo unit. So impressed is the first client that they have ordered a 2nd (see related November 16, 2017 news "PyroGenesis Announces $1.02 Million Sale of 2nd DROSRITE™ Furnace System to North American Automobile Parts Manufacturer") and indicated they require two additional systems, currently PyroGenesis is in negotiations for the other systems, negotiating pricing and trying to work out a recurring revenue stream/maintenance contract.

 

A potential new client from the Middle East has since requested and received a demo unit, they have indicated a need for 4 systems and negotiations on specs and pricing are underway. The near-term pipeline (not yet signed contracts, but likely to occur) for DROSRITETM is ~b/w US$5M and $9M between the Mexican group and the Middle Eastern group.

 

PyroGenesis has also sent a demo unit to a big group in India, the business case for India is very compelling as they don’t even try to recover from dross, right now they are carting it off to the dump.

  

 

Table 2. (above) DROSRITE potential market, based on world-aluminum.org. PyroGenesis' first client is an Aluminum casting producer.

 
DROSRITE
TM is a commercial system that is gathering traction now, if you look at the above target market in the grid, there is Aluminum, Copper, and Zinc divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary producers – that’s nine different segments. PyroGenesis' existing Mexico client is a tertiary aluminum producer in the automotive sector, so PyroGenesis' market penetration strategy from here is to leverage the success of that client and approach other producers in the same sector and sell the same thing to them. The group in the Middle East is a primary smelter. Primary smelters alone worldwide represent a realistic potential market of $280M to PyroGenesis. It is estimated that all the aluminum production categories would represent $400M, plus there is Copper and Zinc on top of that.

 

PyroGenesis should be able to methodically advance the business division toward a snowball effect of managed growth. The growth potential in India alone over the coming years has the very real possibility of exponential growth. PyroGenesis has recently hired a new sales person for this job beginning in 2018, their job will be to visit potential clients and let them know the success of the first client (results speak for themselves), plus the Mexico client has agreed to act as a site-visit demonstration for interested prospects.

 

Excerpt of February 1, 2018 news release regarding DROSRITE:

 

PyroGenesis Provides Update on DROSRITE™ Business Line; Poised to be Significant Contributor in 2018

 

MONTREAL, Feb. 01, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (http://pyrogenesis.com) (TSX-V:PYR) (OTCQB:PYRNF), a high-tech corporation (the “Corporation” or “PyroGenesis”) that designs, develops, manufactures and commercializes plasma waste-to-energy systems and plasma torch products, provides herein a general update on its DROSRITE™ business line.

Mr. P. Peter Pascali, President and CEO of PyroGenesis, provides this update in the following Q&A format.  The questions are for the most part derived from inquiries received from investors, analysts, and potential customers:

Q. For those that are new to the story, could you please describe to us what DROSRITE™ is and some of its many advantages?

A.  Most certainly.

PyroGenesis' DROSRITE™ system is a salt-free, cost-effective, sustainable process for maximizing metal recovery from dross, a waste generated in the metallurgical industry. PyroGenesis' patented process avoids costly loss of metal while reducing a smelter's carbon footprint and energy consumption, thereby providing an impressive return on investment.

With metal manufacturers, such as aluminum, being subjected to increased pressure from regulatory authorities to eliminate landfilling of hazardous salt cakes from traditional recovery operations, combined with tight operating margins, PyroGenesis’ DROSRITE™ system is able to (i) increase metal recovery from waste, without producing any hazardous by-products, while at the same time (ii) reducing operating costs.

In short, we are (i) salt-free, so no hazardous by-products, (ii) we can process the dross cheaper than conventional methods, and (iii) we have demonstrated higher metal recovery rates. Who could ask for more?

Q. Given the above, the DROSRITE™ business line must be getting quite a bit of attention these days.  What is happening?

A.  It certainly is.  We announced last November the sale of a second commercial DROSRITE™ furnace system to a North American automobile parts manufacturer which was quite significant for three reasons.  First, it was the second commercial DROSRITE™ furnace system sold to date. Second, and more importantly it was the first re-order of a DROSRITE™ system from an existing client, and last but not least, we managed to secure a higher price for the second system which was essentially a carbon copy of the first (Can $1.02 Million vs. Can $600,00 for the first), which underscores what we have said all along, which is that PyroGenesis’ DROSRITE™ system provides significant value to end-users.

Since that time, we now have visibility on an additional 6-10 systems to be sold and delivered in 2018. 

Q. When you say “visibility” what do you mean exactly?

A.  By “visibility” I mean that we are over 90% confident that we will sign and deliver on those contracts in 2018.

Let me explain where the confidence comes from:

  1. We are currently discussing the purchase of an additional two (2) systems with our existing client.
  2. In the Middle East, we have demonstrated the system and are currently in the process of closing on the equivalent of three (3) systems.
  3. Our demonstration system is currently in India on contract for paid-for-demonstrations, and if successful could result in 1-4 system orders. We are booking additional paid-for demonstrations in India as we speak.

Plus,

  1. Our demonstration system is fully booked until September.

…and this is just coming out of the box in 2018 with no additional efforts.  If you recall we announced late last year that we hired a fulltime business development Account Manager whose role is exclusively to secure DROSRITE™ system sales. He is aggressively targeting both primary aluminum smelters in Asia and the Middle East where the market is estimated to be in excess of 1 million tonnes of dross1, as well as tertiary casting producers worldwide. These two markets alone represent a potential market for DROSRITE™ systems numbering in the hundreds of units. 

Q. What does this mean for PyroGenesis?

A.  The answer to that question is what is newsworthy.

There is a high probability that PyroGenesis will be profitable in 2018 from DROSRITE™ system sales alone, and not just from a cash flow basis.

Q. Are you sure you want to make that claim, that PyroGenesis will be profitable in 2018?  You got burnt once before doing that.

A.  That’s a valid point, but in all fairness when I did go out on a limb, that one time, and predict profitability, it was when we were manufacturing powder production systems catering to the Additive Manufacturing Industry.  That all changed when we subsequently decided to get out of that business and get into powder sales which, in retrospect, was the correct choice…although it took GE’s acquisition of Arcam, 1 year later, for the market to understand our strategy.

But your question is a good one and yes, I stand by the claim that PyroGenesis should be profitable in 2018.  I am confident for a number of reasons: As you can see DROSRITE™ is laying down a firm base of orders.  When you factor in the backlog of signed contracts which are expected to be accounted for as revenues in 2018 (approximately $4MM of the $7MM in backlog) then I think you can see how 2018 looks like it will be profitable.  This is quite conservative as it does not account for any revenue contrition from either the US Military (even though it looks like an aircraft carrier will be ordered in 2018), or powder sales.

Q. Any challenges for the DROSRITE™ business line?

A.  There are always challenges, it would be foolish to say it is ever clear sailing.  Right now we could use a second demonstration system for sure.  As we noted above, the current demonstration unit is booked to September in India/Asia.  If we had a second system on hand we could start booking paid-for demonstrations in North America as well. We have had to postpone potential contracts due to this delay.

Rest assured we are in the process of addressing this need.

Q. Any closing comments?

A.  The important take-a-way, and one that management only came to realize recently, is that the demand for PyroGenesis’ DROSRITE™ system is gaining traction faster than expected.  The DROSRITE™ business line’s contribution to PyroGenesis is becoming more significant and as such de-risks, to some extent, the rest of the Corporation’s activities.

2018 is shaping up to be a very exciting time for both DROSRITE™ and PyroGenesis.

...click here for full copy from source

  

  

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3) PUREVAPTM - IP owned by HPQ Silicon Resources, PyroGenesis receives 10% Royalty

 

Developed by PyroGenesis, PUREVAPTM is 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 PUREVAPTM could be used for different applications, including solar energy.

 
Features & Benefits of PUREVAPTM:

  • One-step direct transformation process.

  • Lower cost for producing silicon compared to current practices.

  • Lower CO2 than current processes.

  • Remove impurities: Phosphate, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, and other elements.

PyroGenesis is being paid ~$8 million to develop the PUREVAPTM process (to convert quartz to solar grade silicon) for the benefit of HPQ Silicon Resources, however important to note is that PyroGenesis retains IP ownership of any other application the process can be applied towards.

 

HPQ Silicon Resources is looking to take the process to commercial production and PyroGenesis will receive a 10% royalty off all future revenue generated by the process, with no waiting period. This arrangement is risk-free for PyroGenesis and will be particularly lucrative should HPQ Silicon Resources execute according to its business plan, not only will HPQ Silicon Resources shareholders do very well, PyroGenesis will also.

 

We urge the reader to take the time to review HPQ Silicon Resources corporate presentation and plans as the projections are impressive. The process is so revolutionary that it could result in the pricing of solar grade silicon to drop as much as 90%.

 

Click here to see HPQ Silicon Resources' presentation regarding its HPQ PURVAPTM process, the silicon market, and its very impressive plans.

 

Excerpt from March 8, 2018 news release from PyroGenesis regarding PUREVAP:

 

PyroGenesis Provides Update on its PUREVAP™ Project with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.

 

MONTREAL, March 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (http://pyrogenesis.com) (TSX-V:PYR), (the "Company", the “Corporation” or "PyroGenesis") a Company that designs, develops and manufactures plasma waste-to-energy systems and plasma torch systems, is pleased to provide herein a general update on its PUREVAP™ Project with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc (“HPQ”).
 

Mr. P. Peter Pascali, President and CEO of PyroGenesis, provides this update on PUREVAP™ in the following Q&A format. The questions, for the most part, are derived from inquiries received from investors, and analysts:

 

Q. For those that are new to the story, could you please describe to us what the PUREVAP™ technology is and some of its many advantages?

 

A.  Most certainly.  HPQ is the owner of quartz properties.  Quartz can be processed, through multiple steps, into a high purity silicon metal which is an important element in solar panels.  It helps convert solar energy into useful electricity. Many in the solar panel industry consider the cost of converting Quartz into solar grade silicon metal to be a limiting factor in the growth of the solar panel industry.

 

PyroGenesis was first engaged by HPQ to demonstrate, on a laboratory scale, that its one-step proprietary PUREVAPTM process could produce high purity silicon metal from quartz in just one step.

 

PyroGenesis was taken by the prospect of using a plasma-based process to convert Quartz into solar grade silicon metal as there seemed to be a strong market need for such.  A number of years ago, a company by the name of Timminco saw its stock soar from 20 cents to over $30 and its market cap increased to over 3 billion of dollars when it was perceived that they had found a way to reduce the number of steps, not eliminate all steps, just reduce the number of steps, in the processing of quartz into solar grade silicon metal1.  That is not to say that this is what we expect here, but it did give us confidence that there was a significant need for a cheaper way to make solar grade silicon metal and, on paper, at the time, it looked like plasma might be able to address issues where other processes failed (Figure 1).

 

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/616c51e5-4644-46e2-b77d-2de4e8d362e7

 

 

Figure 1 (above) - Comparison of PUREVAP™ vs. Conventional and Timminco Process.

 

To date, we are very pleased with the results and, in fact, believe we have already demonstrated better results than the Timminco process had in its day.

 

Q. That is quite impressive and quick. Tell me…the project has been described in several phases; Gen 1, Gen 2, and now the Pilot Plant.  Could you please explain what the targets were in each generation, what was accomplished, and what the targets are now? 

 

A.   Sure. 

 

It goes without saying that, from a 30,000 ft level, it all has to do with purity and production rates.  GEN-1’s goal was simply to prove the concept on a bench test scale and, if possible, identify parameters that could affect purity and production rates. GEN-2’s goal was to test the observations in GEN-1 at scale more representative of the pilot unit and was also geared towards optimizing the final pilot scale design.

 

GEN-1 was limited in that it was a batch system.  This means that the feedstock, quartz, was fed into the system in batches…i.e. there was not a continuous feed of material.  This limited the running time to batch runs of only a few hours. GEN-1’s primary goal of proving out that the PUREVAP™ technology could convert quartz into pure silicon metal in only one step was successful. From tests with GEN-1, we were also able to estimate the impurity removal efficiency of the PUREVAP™ process which turned out to be higher than expected from bench tests.

 

Some of the most interesting developments with GEN-1 were the observations relating to production yield.  GEN-1’s thermal efficiency was very low due to certain characteristics inherent with GEN-1 (excessive cooling rate and long ramp ups for example). To make a long story short, PyroGenesis was able to conclude, by the end of GEN-1, that operating under a batch process with low thermal efficiency, lowered production yield (i.e. % conversion of silicon in quartz to elemental silicon) and in turn production rate. In other words, we concluded that by increasing production yield, we would not only generate larger amounts of output (higher production rate), but that output, by all accounts, should be at higher yields of wanted end-product.  This was later proven out in GEN-2 and remains an important parameter in the final purity of silicon metal.

 

Another significant observation with GEN-1 spoke to the efficiency of the PUREVAPTMprocess.  During testing with the GEN-1, we used lower quality quartz to see how the system would handle impurities.  Low and behold, we managed to produce high purity silicon metal.  Not the high purity metal demanded by solar panels, but high enough to be suitable for other commercial applications. We found this to be extremely significant as it opened up other markets for the PUREVAPTM process which were not identified at the outset.  Remember, the original goal was to convert high purity quartz to high purity silicon metal for solar panels…now we can add to that equation the conversion of low purity quartz to high purity silicon for other applications (such as casting and chemical industries).

In short, GEN-1 accomplished the following:

 

  • Proof of concept: converting quartz to high purity silicon using PUREVAPTM,

  • Production rates and yields move in step,

  • Use of lower quality quartz for the production of high purity silicon: PUREVAP™ has a very high impurity removal efficiency which enables the use of lower quality quartz for silicon production.

GEN-2 was designed and fabricated to operate semi-continuously in order to test the observations made in GEN-1.  We also wanted to operate at higher temperatures and confirm the impact of thermal efficiency on production yield and ergo, purity (i.e. the more heat that goes towards the process rather than being lost to various system components should allow for a higher rate of silicon production and as such higher product purity).

GEN-2 was also made at a scale more representative of the operating mode of the pilot unit and as such was also geared towards optimizing the final pilot scale design.

GEN-2 demonstrated the following:

  • PUREVAP™ can operate semi-continuously,

  • A higher thermal efficiency was obtained resulting in a higher operating temperature,

  • A higher production yield was achieved.

 

The challenges going forward relate to typical scale up issues, as well continually improving the process and focusing on removing individual impurities towards achieving solar grade silicon metal.  Given the accomplishments to date and that, in many aspects, the GEN-2 is similar to the pilot plant, we are confident that at the end of the day we will have a commercial success. However, we don’t know what we don’t know, right?  That is what development is all about.  I am confident that any challenges will be met head on, as they have in the past, by arguably the best team around to do that.  Together with Apollon Solar, which have signed an agreement with HPQ to provide valuable input into the process, we are well positioned to successfully complete the design and testing of the next phase.

 

Q. Interesting.  In your press release dated January 15th, 2018, you announced that your GEN-2 process is now operating “semi-continuously under vacuum”. What does that mean exactly, “under vacuum”? And what difference does it make?

 

A.  This is a huge development.  Essentially it means that rather than operate at normal pressure, the PUREVAP™ process can operate at very low pressure when converting quartz into high grade silicon metal.  Lowering the operating pressure favors something called volatilization of impurities.  Without getting too technical, this volatilization of impurities essentially improves the purity of the end product by forcing the impurities out of the reacting system thus leaving behind a purer silicon metal.  It effectively enhances the removal efficiency of impurities. Bottom line:  the main advantage of being under vacuum is the fact that impurities don’t accumulate in the silicon phase.  This is a huge development on our road to success. To our knowledge, there is no other process that produces silicon metal directly from quartz under vacuum. Don’t get me wrong, vacuum refining does exist in the market to remove certain impurities from silicon that has already been produced (i.e., silicon is produced, re-melted, then it goes under vacuum), but it is a total different animal altogether.  It requires a post-treatment process which is limited and thereby adds additional costs. As far as we know, we are the only players to operate under vacuum in the production of silicon metal.  As I said, this is huge, and the impact of which has not really been fully understood by the market.

 

Q. How transferable are the results obtained from GEN-2 to the pilot plant?

 

A.  We believe they are very transferable. In fact, we expect the results to be even better at larger scale. By increasing the scale, we are increasing the production rate.  Theoretically, this will give us a better conversion yield according to our results so far.

As you can imagine, we are already extremely excited about the results we have had with GEN-2, and we can only imagine what the results will be with the pilot plant. As mentioned, at a larger scale, the production rate is automatically higher which, we have proven with GEN-2, should lead to a higher conversion yield and better purity.

 

Q. Tapping tapping tapping… Everyone is asking for tapping.  Why hasn’t it occurred and when will it occur?

 

A.  It is an interesting question because it reflects a belief that there is a connection between tapping and success to date.  The accomplishments noted above with GEN-1 and GEN-2, in my opinion, are more reflective of success than tapping. 

 

Tapping will come naturally. When liquid accumulates enough, tapping can occur.  The purity of silicon in liquid form is expected to be very high. Tapping was not part of the GEN-2 objectives and, as such, we never operated with the goal of creating the conditions to tap.   At this point, we spent our time and money on testing that had a direct impact on production, purity, and design.  Tapping, as nice as it would be to see, and possibly a nice press release, has more value to our knowledge and progress in the pilot phase. As such, rest assured, that at the pilot plant phase tapping will be demonstrated as production and conversion yields should be higher.

 

Q. An often-asked question is, how comfortable are you with the patent application?

 

A. The short answer is: very comfortable. PyroGenesis has never failed in obtaining a patent when we have applied for one, and we have extensive experience over many years doing so. 

 

It is understandable that a person unfamiliar with our history, patents in general and the patent process specifically, may get hung up or side tracked by this question.

 

I answered this type of question once before, in another forum, by describing the players and the process.  It basically works something like this: when one applies for a patent it behooves one to try and describe in as much detail what the patent can uniquely do and, at the same time, get the best coverage surrounding the patent claims.  That is the role of one who applies for a patent.   The examiners role, on the other hand, is to challenge the patent and/or limit the claims.  That is their role. Of note is that the examiner cannot be expected to be an expert in every field so oftentimes, the challenges are more of a “please explain why…” type of a challenge.  We have faced on numerous occasions extremely negative comments from the examiner at the PCT level.  This is quite common, and it has never prevented us from obtaining patents at the end of the day.

 

As I said, we feel very comfortable with the patent application and, without getting into specifics, we have a very well thought out and articulated patent and IP strategy regarding the PUREVAP™ technology.  Just remember, this is a costly and time-consuming process and we don’t have either to waste. Rest assured, if we did not think we would succeed we wouldn’t waste our time or money.  It’s not more complicated than that.

 

Q. Some investors/shareholders are skeptical about the whole process.  Do you have any comments?

 

A. …and so they should be.  Seriously, we are talking about a process that potentially could be game changing beyond description. Who wouldn’t be skeptical?  You would have to be a fool not to be.  Adding to this is the fact that the results to date are beyond our expectations which, in a weird way, fuels the skepticism, no?  It’s almost too good to be true…makes one think that a little bit of bad news might put people at ease.  Just joking, but you get my drift.

On the other hand, how many chances do you get to invest into such potential, at 10 cents a share and market cap of under CAD$20 million?  I am talking about HPQ here.  Anyways, just food for thought.

 

Q. PyroGenesis is a shareholder of HPQ, isn’t it?

 

A.  Yes, we are.  We currently hold over 5 million common shares and over 3 million warrants which are reflected on our balance sheet.

 

Q. Would you invest more into HPQ?

 

A. Yes, we would consider it if it made sense, but let me be very very clear on this point. PyroGenesis is investing each and every day into HPQ. I have said this before and I will say it again, PyroGenesis does not have time or money to waste on projects that do not have future potential.  Each and every day PyroGenesis has to decide where to allocate its resources, the most important of which is its time.  Plasma expertise, such as ours, does not grow on trees and we must be very discerning as to where we dedicate this valuable resource.  Do we dedicate it to Additive Manufacturing (powders for 3D printers), DrosriteTM, other development projects…or HPQ? The profit from the HPQ contract does not in and of itself justify dedicating such scarce resources to the project, the royalty from the success of the project, does.

 

Q. And that is a good segue into our last question.  Some investors of HPQ have accused them of paying PyroGenesis for a project that has no risk to PyroGenesis.  How would you respond to them?

 

A.  Besides my answer above, where I describe the opportunity cost of the HPQ contract and the risk associated with that, I would have to add that PyroGenesis is not a charity and we are in the business of making money.  Our expertise is unique and arguably, it is that exact expertise that has given this project, and HPQ, a life and a future.  In short, you get what you pay for and we would not have done it for less…in fact, we wanted more and were negotiated to the current arrangement. 

My final comment to any detractor of HPQ and HPQ management is: wake up.  Wake up to the unique management you have, a management that was not only able to identify this opportunity, but also the players required to carry out the project.  In fact, it took a lot of convincing by HPQ management to get PyroGenesis’ interest as HPQ did not fit our client/risk profile at all.  All this to say that, take it from experience, encouraging management and getting behind it goes a long way to getting management up in the morning…to do it again and again …which, can do nothing but help the stock…. then bashing them with perverted 20/20 hindsight.  Just a thought.

 

Q. Conclusion?

 

A.  We believe the PUREVAP™ process to be game changing and has the potential to revolutionize the solar panel industry.  We don’t know of any other process or technology that is able to do what we have done to date.

 

Not only have we progressed along the path to processing high purity quartz to solar grade silicon metal, but we have demonstrated the ability to convert low purity quartz to quality silicon metal suitable for other industries which was not contemplated when the project was initiated.

 

In short, PyroGenesis is happy with the progress to date and stand firmly behind the project.  We are more convinced than ever before that we will be successful in having a commercially viable process at the end of the day.

 

...click here for full copy from source

 

Summary of latest news headlines from PyroGenesis regarding developments surrounding PURVAP:

 

• March 8, 2018 - "PyroGenesis Provides Update on its PUREVAP™ Project with HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.".

 

January 15, 2018 "PyroGenesis Submits Gen 2 PUREVAP™ Progress Report to HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.; Confirms Higher Yield and Rate".

 

December 21, 2017 "PyroGenesis Announces that HPQ Silicon Signs Development Agreement with Solar Silicon Specialist Apollon Solar".   

 

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4) Military/environment - 100% Owned

 

Plasma Waste Processes
 

PyroGenesis has developed a suite of highly advanced, yet easy-to-operate processes which integrates well with the 3Rs, but which maximizes the energy and/or resource recovery from a vast range of waste streams generated by municipalities or by industry.

 

Figure 11. PRRS

PRRS - A Plasma Waste-to-Energy Solution

 

Proven out by the US Department of Defense (DoD), the game-changing PRRS harnesses the power of plasma to provide industry, municipalities and the defense sector with a comprehensive, all-encompassing solution to waste management, while producing much-needed clean energy to meet our growing needs. PyroGenesis' team of technology professionals has integrated flexibility and versatility into the PRRS platform, giving it the ability to both process virtually any form of waste, and to generate clean energy and marketable construction materials, completely eliminating the need for landfill.

 
Features & Benefits of the PRRS include:

  • Available in capacities ranging from 1 to 100 metric tons per day per module.

  • Processes a wide variety of wastes (MSW, hazardous, biomedical, etc.), transforming it to electricity, steam, hot water, and/or liquid fuels.

  • Inorganic waste feed transformed to an inert, non-toxic glassy slag, a building material for construction.

  • A one-stop, waste-to-energy solution for remote communities.

  • Reliable, easy-to-operate and maintain with minimal manpower requirements.

Using the proprietary two-step plasma-based technology, operating at extreme temperatures under gasification conditions, the PRRS transforms waste to syngas, a gaseous fuel which can then be used to make electricity, heat or liquid fuels, all to the end-user’s exacting requirements. Using PRRS, the inorganic fraction of the waste generates a glassy slag which is inert and non-toxic, and has been demonstrated to be effective as a building material for construction.

 

Figure 12. PAWDS Marine, image of client installation. Handles shipboard waste and sludge oil.

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PAWDS Marine

 

Recognized by the US Navy as the premier shipboard waste processing technology in the market, the Plasma Arc Waste Destruction System (PAWDS) is the world’s most compact, easy-to-operate, high temperature, plasma-based waste treatment system. With one-button rapid start-up and shutdown capabilities, PAWDS effectively destroys combustible wastes such as paper, plastics, food, oily rags, as well as waste oil, all with minimal segregation. Developed by our team in partnership with the US Department of Defense, PAWDS has been specified into all of the Gerald R. Ford Class supercarriers, and has been ordered by their contracted shipyard for their first two ships in this class: the CVN-78 USS Gerald R. Ford and the CVN-79 USS John F. Kennedy.

 
Available at its standard 200 kg/hour capacity, but adaptable to various means of energy recovery and easily scalable both upward for cruise ships and downward for frigates and destroyers, PAWDS has received from Lloyds Register MED Type Approval for the processing of solid waste and sludge oil, confirming its stature as THE standard in the market.
 

Features & Benefits of PAWDS for marine use include:

  • Very compact design: Impressive space savings for newbuilds and retrofits.

  • Fully automatic / sailor friendly one man operation.

  • Rapid start-up and shutdown (no refractory/brick).

Bags of waste are fed to a shredder, followed by a mill, transforming the feedstock into a powder, or lint-like materials. These tiny particles (or waste oils) are fed continuously to our patented plasma-fired eductor and chamber, which completely obliterates the waste. The offgases are immediately quenched to prevent dioxin and furan formation, and subsequently cleaned and exhausted to the atmosphere.

 

Figure 13. PAWDS Land, idea for remote community waste, mining camp waste, military camp waste, solvents & chemical waste, waste sludge oil from IC engines.

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PAWDS Land

 

Already the US Navy’s choice for the Gerald R. Ford Class of aircraft carriers, the Plasma Arc Waste Destruction System for Land (PAWDS-Land), being the world’s most compact, easy-to-operate, high temperature, plasma-based waste treatment system, is perfectly suited to meet the demands of remote communities and camps (mining, military). Open pit burning generates toxins in the air; open field dumps generates toxins in the water table, and an engineered sanitary landfill is extremely costly in these locations. Developed by our team in close collaboration with the US Department of Defense, PAWDS-Land cost effectively destroys community-generated wastes, while generating excess heat which can be available for heating buildings or for greenhouses, and all the while exceeding local environmental regulations.

 
Available at its standard 200 kg/hour capacity, PAWDS can be turned on and off rapidly in minutes, unlike standard incineration technologies which need to be kept running to work its best. As such, with its flexibility, PAWDS can accommodate 4 hour, 8 hour or even up to 24 hour operation, all depending on the community’s needs or requirements.

 
Features & Benefits of PAWDS-Land include:

  • Compact design: five 20-foot or three 40-foot rugged-design containers needed for up to 5 metric ton per day operations.

  • Fully automated system: one button start-up.

  • Rapid start-up and shutdown up and running within minutes.

  • Safe design.

  • Heat can be captured and reused by the community.

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SPARC - Waste Streams include; Ozone Depleting Refrigerants (ex. R11, R12, R22), Ozone Depleting Substances (ex. Halons), Super Greenhouse Gas Refrigerants (ex. R134a, R141), Fluorinated Hydrocarbons.

 

Evolving from PyroGenesis' plasma platform developed for the US Military, SPARC is a highly effective, patented process for the complete destruction of ozone depleting substances and other environmentally noxious chemicals. SPARC is the latest innovation from our team of engineers, scientists and technicians.

 
Refrigerants and other fluorinated chemicals (CFC, HCFC, HFC, PFC) that often have very high global warming potential (GWP) are fully cracked and safely eliminated using high temperature steam plasma. Already deployed for a major Canadian refrigerator recycler, SPARC can also be used to generate offset credits in the regulated or voluntary carbon markets.

 
Features & Benefits of SPARC include:

  • More than “seven 9s” destruction efficiency ( > 99.99999% with R12).

  • Treats R11, R12, R22, R134a, R141, halons and other PFCs.

  • Available in capacities of up to 50 kg per hour.

  • Lowest operating cost, with a quick return on investment (ROI).

  • Small plant footprint.

Operating with steam plasma as a heat source, the waste is fed continuously to the two-zone plasma reactor. With a reactor temperature of over 1300°C, the steam plasma hydrolysis reaction quickly and efficiently breaks down the waste into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). The gas stream is then rapidly quenched to prevent any reformation of dioxins and furans. Acid gases generated by the process are readily scrubbed out of the stream and neutralized, resulting in an offgas that far exceeds environmental regulations.

 

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Tactical PACWADS - Destruction of Chemical Warfare Agents (ex. Sarin (GB), Mustard (HD), and VX).

 

Situations that have recently developed, particularly in Syria, have brought to the forefront the striking need for a safe, versatile, and efficient mobile system, deployable on a moment’s notice to eliminate chemical warfare agent (CWA) stockpiles. In fact, the worldwide inventory of CWAs, both home and abroad, poses an immense risk to military personnel and nearby civilians, either from accidental release or from the CWAs entering into the enemy’s hands.

 
Using as a platform the US Navy-selected and team-developed PAWDS process for waste destruction on board the Gerald R. Ford Class aircraft carriers, the Tactical Plasma Arc Chemical Warfare Agents Destruction System, or Tactical PACWADS is designed to rapidly and safely destroy a wide range of chemical warfare agents (CWAs), as well as their precursors reagents in the field. As opposed to the risky proposition of transporting enemy CWAs to another location, putting soldiers and civilians at risk to ambush and to the catastrophic release of these highly toxic chemicals, the Tactical PACWADS would be used in situ to destroy CWAs such as Sarin (GB), Mustard (HD), and VX.

 
Using a 5000°C plasma torch, the compact Tactical PACWADS reactor and associated self-contained gas cleaning equipment, will allow the warfighter to rapidly set up two readily-deployable, mobile 20 foot containers and safely destroy up to 2 barrels per day of CWAs.

 

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PAGV - Bottoms and Fly Ash from MSW Incinerators, Haz./Biohaz. Waste Incinerators, Asbestos Waste.

 

As the forerunner for our game-changing PRRS waste-to-energy technology, the Plasma Arc Gasification and Vitrification (PAGV) system eliminates future legacy issues for operators of incinerators with a simple process for inerting their grate and fly ash and turning it into a useful construction material. Municipalities, along with managers of incineration operations for industrial, hazardous, biomedical, and animal (slaughterhouse) waste, all can profit from the PAGV by turning their otherwise hazardous ash into a vitrified slag, a glassy, non-toxic, non-leaching material which can be used in wide-ranging applications as aggregate asphalt and flooring, as a partial replacement for cement in concrete, and even as jewelry. Asbestos waste from decommissioning operations is also an excellent use for the technology.

 
Features & Benefits of the PAGV include:

  • Available in capacities ranging from 1 to 250 metric tons per day per module.

  • Processes grate ash and fly ash generated from a wide variety of waste combustion processses (MSW, hazardous, biomedical, etc.), as well as other inorganic waste streams such as asbestos from decommissioning and site clean-up operations.

  • No liabilities from improper ash or asbestos disposal.

  • Reliable, easy-to-operate and maintain with minimal manpower requirements.

  

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PyroGenesis' Technical Leadership, Management, and Governance

The current management team and board of directors has a well rounded combination of people that each contribute expertise in disciplines necessary for a successful multifaceted technology Company:

 

P. Peter Pascali, Founder, Founder, President and CEO, Director

 • Founded PyroGenesis.
 • 12+ years in investment banking in NYC.

  

AlanCurleigh, Chair of the Board, Director

 • Former Chairman of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (“CCC”).

  

RobertRadin, Member of the AuditCommittee, Director

 • US Army Major General (Retired).

 

ChristopherTwigge-Molecey, Dr., Director

 • Past board member of the Hatch Group of Companies, Engineering consultants.
 • 40 years experience in Metallurgy and Engineering Consulting.

 

AngelosVlasopoulos, CPA, CA, Chair of the Audit Committee, Director

 • 18+ years financial experience.
 • President and CEO of Aeson Leeds Inc.

 

Note: This article is not intended to be a complete overview of PyroGenesis Canada Inc. or a complete listing of PyroGenesis' projects. The reader is urged to contact the subject company, the following sources for information have been identified:

 

For more information contact Pyrogenesis' head office at: Ph (514) 937.0002

 

Company's web site: www.PyroGenesis.com   SEDAR Filings: URL

 

     

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Content found herein is not investment advice see Terms of Use, Disclosure & Disclaimer. This is a journalistic article and the author is not a registered securities advisor, and opinions expressed should not be considered as investment advice to buy or sell securities, but rather journalistic opinion only. Technical terms used by the writer may be used/expressed in simplified layman terms and should not be relied upon as appropriate for making investment decisions unless the reader contacts the company directly for independent verification.

 

     

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