Greenpower Energy’s shares have been decimated because of a mistake made in a trial run by Monash University.

The company (ASX:GPP) is testing whether the liquid that comes out of its coal-to-liquid process might be useful as a fertiliser, or “bio-stimulant” in their words.

Unfortunately, the US company Greenpower is working with sent Monash “oxidative hydrothermal dissolution” (OHD) from that was four times stronger than they thought they were getting.

The studies of wheat and glasshouse-grown tomatoes had to be chucked out.

Greenpower’s shares slumped 13 per cent to 0.6c.

Greenpower did however note that there was “some increase” in plant fruiting.

The OHD process, developed in 2011 by a researcher in Illinois, can convert a solid biomass into a liquid. The resulting organic compounds can be separated and used as industrial chemicals, fuels, or pharmaceutical or even food purposes.

Greenpower is using it to turn coal into a liquid, and is testing that on plant growth because it has a similar chemical makeup to products that are marketed as agricultural bio-stimulants.

They are planning to build a demonstration unit that will end up on a site in Victoria. The design of the plant, based on the only existing plant in the world in Illinois, is due to be reviewed in June and construction in the US will start after that.

Greenpower expects to have an operational plant by mid-2019.