Novinda, based in the Denver Place downtown, listed as much as $10 million in liabilities and up to $1 million in assets in court documents.
According to Novinda’s website, the company makes a powder to capture mercury released by coal-powered utilities and other industrial boilers. The product helps coal-fired power plants comply with emissions standards.
“The challenge they faced was that they lacked capital necessary in order to continue operations,” said Joshua M. Hantman of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, who is representing Novinda. “The goal is to continue operations during the bankruptcy.”
Hantman said Novinda is negotiating with existing lenders to obtain new debtor-in-possession financing.
He added that the company has been operating at a loss for the past few years as it incurs research and design costs.
“One of the challenges for them has been to increase the number of customers,” he said. “For that reason, (Novinda’s) operations have been primarily supported by investors.”
ADA Technologies, a Littleton-based technology commercialization firm, received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy in 2000 to begin researching methods to capture mercury, Hantman said.
CH2M Hill, the Englewood-based engineering giant, then joined ADA to develop the technology as a joint venture called Amended Silicates in 2003. The venture was renamed Novinda Corp. in 2009.
Other methods of capturing mercury change the composition of ashes coal plants produce as a by-product so that they can’t be used to make cement, Novinda says on its website. But coal plants that use Novinda’s powder can resell their ashes to cement manufacturers and keep them out of landfills.
In a recent report to its investors, one of Novinda’s competitors noted that lower natural gas prices and increasing regulation of the U.S. coal industry already have caused the number of coal-powered plants to shrink.
The University of Utah is Novinda’s largest unsecured creditor, owed $100,000 in trade debt, according to court documents. Local creditors include Apogee Scientific, an air pollution control company in Englewood that is owed $15,000, and ADA Technologies.
Equity shareholders include Altira Group, a Denver-based oil and energy private equity firm, which has invested $12 million in Novinda in a joint investment with New Jersey-based New Venture Partners.
The company has disclosed raising $25 million in filings with the SEC since 2009, targeting a total of $35 million in outside funding in such capital raises.
Novinda did not return messages seeking comment.