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Equipment sits idle last fall at the North Fork biomass plant site

Phoenix Energy CEO Blasts NF Biomass Project Patent Lawsuit

WALNUT CREEK – Phoenix Energy, the company building a new 2-MW biomass-fueled power plant in North Fork, has responded publicly to a lawsuit filed against the company late last week by a Tennessee firm claiming patent infringement.

Phoenix Energy CEO Greg Stangl

Greg Stangl, Phoenix Energy’s CEO, called the lawsuit filed by Aries Clean Energy “meritless” and “totally bogus.”

“Phoenix Energy remains puzzled about the lawsuit and intends to mount an aggressive defense against the spurious claims of patent infringement,” Stangl said Wednesday.

Founded in the Bay Area in 2007, Phoenix builds, owns and operates community joint venture biomass plants that reduce fire danger and create jobs and renewable energy in rural California areas like North Fork where timber mills once operated.

With regard to the lawsuit, Stangl emphasized this week that his company does not “manufacture, design, sell or receive commissions on equipment.”

“The North Fork project selected equipment on the open market that was most suitable for its needs,” Stangl said. “We can’t understand why some energy company from Tennessee would sue us or North Fork for a project they were never even considered for.”

“If Aries has concerns about equipment, take it up with the manufacturer and let us work towards making the Sierra safer,” Stangl added. “Any other action makes the suit seem like an attempt to harm our company” which, Stangl emphasized, “is bringing sustainable jobs” and locally produced power back to eastern Madera County.

Last week (July 9), Aries filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California alleging that Phoenix Energy and EQTEC PLC — infringed on advanced “gasification” patent technology owned by Aries.

EQTEC, based in Ireland, came into the joint venture in 2019 and owns 20 percent of the North Fork project. The company also is supplying the equipment to build the plant.

“We just bought some equipment….so you can come to your own conclusions about why this might be happening,” Stangl said.

Earlier this week, EQTEC’s board of directors also commented on the litigation, calling Aries’ lawsuit “without merit” and vowing to “vigorously” defend against it.

“The Board believes it is due to the nature of EQTEC’s technological pre-eminence in the gasification of waste into energy market that the Group could be the subject of spurious and unfounded potential claims,” a statement from the company stated.

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