Velocys subsidiary Altalto to build UK waste-to-biofuels plant

By Erin Voegele | August 20, 2019

Velocys has announced its subsidiary Altalto Immingham Ltd., a collaboration with project co-investors British Airways and Shell, has submitted a planning application to develop a waste-to-biofuels plant in the U.K. Subject to planning and funding decisions, Velocys said it plans to begin construction on the plant in 2021, with commercial operations scheduled to begin in 2024.

The proposed plant is planned for North East Lincolnshire, a region in east-central U.K. approximately 200 miles north of London. The commercial-scale plant would process household and commercial solid waste into sustainable fuels. The companies did not disclose a planned annual production capacity for the plant, but noted it would take in more than 500,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste annually.

The facility will feature Velocy’s proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technology that enables the production of drop-in transportation fuels from the embedded carbon sources in a variety of waste materials. The technology was successfully demonstrated at the Envia facility in Oklahoma City. According to Velocys, the process enables the production of aviation and road fuels with 70 percent less net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when compared to conventional fuel.

British Airways said it intends to purchase jet fuel produced at the plant for use in its aircraft. The fuel is expected to enable up to a 90 percent reduction in soot from aircraft engine exhausts and an almost 100 percent reduction in sulphur oxides.

“Velocys has a solution to decarbonise aviation fuel by converting an unwanted feedstock—household and commercial solid waste—to create a highly valuable product: sustainable transport fuels,” said Henrik Wareborn, CEO of Velocys. “This will cut greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, as well as improving air quality and helping to tackle our waste problem. This is a vital step towards the ultimate goal of living in a net zero carbon world by the middle of the century.”

“The submission of the planning application marks a major milestone in this project and we are delighted with the progress being made,” said Alex Cruz, chairman and CEO of British Airways. “Sustainable fuels can be a game changer for aviation which will help power our aircraft for years to come. This development is an important step in the reduction of our carbon emissions and meeting the industry targets of carbon neutral growth from 2020, and a 50 percent in CO2 reduction by 2050 from 2005 levels. It also brings the U.K. another step closer to becoming a global leader in sustainable aviation fuels.”