Velocys releases 2018 results, provides update on proposed plants

By Erin Voegele | May 29, 2019

Velocys plc released 2018 financial results in mid-May, highlighting progress with the development of its proposed biorefineries in Mississippi and the U.K. and discussing the recent close out of the Envia joint venture.

Regarding the proposed biorefinery in Natchez, Mississippi, Velocys said it has completed the environmental assessment required under the National Environmental Policy Act and completed approximately 1,000 hours of integrated demonstration of wood chips to fuels in North Carolina at a rate of 4 metric tons per day. The demonstration used dry Southern Yellow pine wood chips, which the company said allowed it to demonstrate actual biofuel yields from representative feedstock and actual syngas composition. Velocys also noted it completed a final product upgrade pilot run for more than 12 weeks at Haldor Topsoe in Denmark. That pilot run generated final product samples to further aviation fuel blending studies. Drop-in diesel and gasoline products were also produced. According to Velocys, the proposed Mississippi project has been optimized to achieve negative lifecycle carbon emissions. The 20 MMgy facility is expected to begin operations in 2024.

The proposed 15 MMgy jet fuel biorefinery in Immingham, U.K., is also moving forward. Velocys said it secured £4.5 million in partner funding for the project, which is under development in collaboration with British Airways and Shell. The project was also awarded £434,000 from the U.K. Department for Transport. Velocys has secured a 100 acre site for the project and said “engagement with the U.K. government to secure sufficient and stable policy support continues for the project to reach financial close.”

Velocys announced the close out of its Envia joint venture in late April. The project was used to demonstrate the company’s Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids technology. Operations at the plant were suspended in September 2018, with FT reactors returned to Velocys in late March.

“Velocys is now in the possession of our two full-scale commercial FT micro-channel reactors with a combined cumulative runtime of more than 5,000 hours from the recently concluded Envia technology demonstration in Oklahoma,” said Henrik Wareborn, CEO of Velocys, in a statement. “These two reactors have operated under a wide range of conditions with a relatively challenging feedstock. We have collected a vast amount of performance data from this demonstration allowing us now to further optimise for resilience, volume and product quality directly benefiting our two full-scale renewable fuels projects under development in Natchez, Mississippi, and Immingham, U.K., as well as our first licensee; Red Rock Biofuels in Oregon.

According to Wareborn, post-operative analysis of the reactor and catalyst from the Envia project has allowed the company to demonstrate the robustness of its technology and has contributed to de-risking the Mississippi and U.K. projects.

Velocys reported £700,000 in revenue for 2018, down from £800,000 in 2017. Operating loss was £18.6 million, compared to £21.4 million in 2017.