Velocys moves forward on UK plant, partners with PQ for catalyst

By Erin Voegele | June 20, 2018

Velocys plc has secured funding to support a waste-to-jet fuel project in the U.K. and announced the formation of a partnership with PQ Corp. to supply commercial quantities of its proprietary catalyst for multiple biorefineries.

On June 18, Velocys announced that it has secured £4.9 million ($6.46 million) to deliver the next development phase of a waste-to-jet fuel project the company is developing in the U.K. The funding includes a £434,000 grant from the U.K. Department of Transport under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C).

Velocys said the grant, together with ongoing policy support provided by the U.K.’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, will help the proposed project bring jobs and clean growth to the U.K. The project is being developed with financial and technology support from Shell and British Airways.

The initial feasibility stage of project development has been successfully completed. According to Velocys, the next stage of development will include a detailed pre-front end engineering and design (pre-FEED) engineering study and site permitting activities, which will be funded by the F4C grant and £4.5 million committed by industry partners and Velocys. The company said it will continue to lead the project, and has committed £1.5 million to the next phase of development.

The proposed plant is expected to process hundreds of thousands of tons of post-recycled waste and convert it into clean-burning, sustainable fuel. Jet fuel produced at the facility is expected to deliver a 70 percent greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and a 90 percent reduction in particulate matter, when compared with conventional jet fuel. Final investment decision on the project is expected to be reached during the first half of 2020.

“Successful funding of this next development phase further demonstrates the strength of Velocys’ renewable fuels business,” said David Pummell, CEO of Velocys.  “Today the U.K. has taken another step forward towards becoming a world leader in low carbon aviation. Government funding, recent policy changes and successful completion of the feasibility study have enabled Velocys and its partners to move forward to the next phase in developing the U.K.’s first waste-to-renewable jet fuel plant. With Shell and British Airways we have a terrific set of partners to complete the project.”

The following day, on June 19, Velocys announced it has partnered with PQ for the supply of commercial quantities of Velocys’ proprietary catalyst to be used in multiple biorefineries incorporating its technology.

Catalyst produced by PQ has been used to successfully produce renewable fuel and other products at Envia’s gas-to-liquids plant in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Under the new agreement, PQ will manufacture the catalyst to be used by Velocys’ licensees, as well as by the biorefinery projects that the company is developing with its industry partners.

“PQ has the proven capability to produce Velocys’ catalyst following our rigorous commercial production methodology,” said Paul Schubert, chief operating officer of Velocys. “Our relationship with PQ gives us a great combination of a trusted and high-quality manufacturer who can deliver for us all over the world. After their successful production and deployment of our catalyst at the Envia biorefinery, we’re now ready to move to the next phase of catalyst manufacturing, with greater commercial quantities produced for future projects.”