Shell Ventures, Valent Low-Carbon Technologies invest in Forge

By Forge Hydrocarbons Corp. | February 17, 2020

Forge Hydrocarbons Corp., a Canadian biofuel start-up, announces an equity investment from Shell Ventures and a follow-on contribution from Valent Low-Carbon Technologies, which will help build a first-of-its-kind CAD$30 million commercial-scale, biofuel production plant in Sombra, Ontario.

 

Clean technology

Forge’s patented lipid-to-hydrocarbon (LTH) technology creates renewable jet fuel, diesel and naphtha from waste fats and oils. Forge’s renewable diesel and jet fuels are greater than 90 percent less carbon intensive than fossil-based diesel. They are cheaper to produce than conventional renewable diesel and are “drop-in” ready, which means they require no specialized blending infrastructure.

It is widely recognized that the global transport sector accounts for nearly 30 percent of the world’s energy use and around a quarter of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Different fuels and types of vehicles will be needed to meet the ever-growing demand for transport, while reducing emissions. To continue supplying customers with the fuels they will need in the future, biofuels can play a valuable role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector over the decades ahead.

Forge is initially targeting the over 4-billion-gallon mandated market in North America for renewable diesel and jet-fuels market. Forge will tap into abundant, low-cost and often untapped lipid feedstocks.

The technology was invented by David Bressler at the University of Alberta. It was licensed through TEC Edmonton to Forge which was founded by biofuels entrepreneur Tim Haig, also founder of BIOX Corp., Canada’s first commercial renewable diesel company, now a part of World Energy.

Facility
The capacity of the Sombra production plant is 7.5 million gallons of renewable fuels annually. The project will create approximately 150 construction and engineering jobs during the build phase and more than 45 full-time jobs for the commercial operation of the facility. 

The Support
Shell Ventures joins Forge’s funders and collaborators including World EnergyLockheed Martin, Valent Low-Carbon Technologies and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

The research, development and first pilot facility that enabled Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon technology were made possible by a series of provincial and federal investments from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of CanadaWestern Economic Diversification CanadaAlberta Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Alberta InnovatesFuture Energy Systems: University of AlbertaNatural Resources Canada and Mitacs.

“We know that oil under the earth’s crust was created from lipids without expensive catalysts and hydrogen,” said Tim Haig, founder and CEO, Forge Hydrocarbons. “Forge mimics nature’s processes, except that we do it in hours not millions of years."

“Biofuels are critical in the move to lower-carbon marine, aviation and heavy-duty transport,” said Andrew Murfin, general manager advanced biofuels at Shell. “Collaboration will be key to a successful energy transition and Shell’s investment in Forge to progress this commercial-scale project can help accelerate this technology.”

“Forge has unlocked nature’s ways in a cost-competitive, feedstock abundant and capital-light business model,” said Karlis Vasarais, executive vice presidenbt, Valent Low-Carbon Technologies. “This is a cornerstone technology of the low-carbon fuels value chain that the global transportation sector in air, sea and land, has been searching for.”

“This is a prime example of how basic research can drive remarkable innovations and economic benefits. When a major international company like Shell invests, it further demonstrates the power of research and university-industry connections,” said Matthias Ruth, vice-president (research and innovation), University of Alberta. “The University is very proud to have nurtured Forge’s evolution through 17 years of research to technology development to company creation and beyond.”