Waste Management, Ventech, NRG and Velocys form joint venture

By Waste Management Inc. | March 25, 2014

Waste Management Inc., Ventech Engineers International LLC, NRG Energy Inc. and Velocys plc have announced the formation of a joint venture to produce renewable fuels and chemicals from biogas and natural gas using smaller-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology.

The joint venture, comprised of WM Organic Growth Inc., NRG GTL Holdings LLC, VPI LF-GTL LLC, and Velocys Inc., brings together the right parties, the right assets and the right capabilities necessary to pursue opportunities in the sector.

As part of Waste Management’s commitment to sustainability, the company continually explores new ways to extract value from the biogas managed at its landfills. Under this program, Waste Management has pioneered the use of smaller-scale GTL utilizing landfill gas, including building and operating a demonstration unit at East Oak landfill in Oklahoma. The demonstration unit has accumulated more than 10,000 hours of successful operation.

“From developing gas recovery and cleanup techniques, to registering GTL diesel as a fuel for on-highway use, Waste Management has been a leader in this area. We are pleased to take this opportunity forward with a very strong team. Velocys’ leading smaller-scale GTL technology, Ventech’s engineering capabilities, and NRG’s clean energy development expertise will complement Waste Management’s strengths in the joint venture,” said Joe Vaillancourt, vice president of corporate venturing at Waste Management. 

Ventech, as the engineering contractor to the joint venture, has optimized the design and engineering of the joint venture’s first facility. “Ventech brings to the joint venture its deep expertise in the development of modular construction and specialized fabrication of refineries, gas processing systems and chemical facilities, and we are proud to be able to apply our significant and specific expertise to this effort,” said Kevin Stanley, CEO of Ventech Engineers International. 

NRG brings extensive experience in developing large renewable capital projects, strong green customer focus and expertise in the acquisition and transportation of large quantities of natural gas. “With one of the largest and most diverse generation fleets in America including extensive natural gas generation capacity and a leading solar portfolio as well as numerous innovative and green options for large and small customers, NRG is focused on delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices,” said John Ragan, executive vice president and regional president, Gulf Coast, NRG. “We are pleased to be part of this joint venture that fits squarely within our commitment to provide customers with more options to reduce their environmental profile and look forward to helping develop the capabilities to leverage biogas and natural gas resources into a source for higher value, clean burning diesel fuel.”

Velocys, the leader in smaller-scale GTL technology, will supply the Fischer-Tropsch reactor and catalyst to the joint venture. “With the benefit of more than fifteen years of development, over $300 million of investment, and the world’s largest microchannel patent portfolio, Velocys is pleased to bring its leading position in smaller-scale GTL technology to this partnership and the exciting opportunities being pursued together,” said Roy Lipski, CEO of Velocys.

The joint venture’s first facility is under development and will be located at Waste Management’s East Oak site in Oklahoma. The joint venture intends making a final decision to proceed on this first plant this year. Engineering and design work is substantially complete, final draft permitting documents have been submitted, and development activities for additional facilities are expected to commence shortly.