Increasingly globe-spanning aviation-fuel-from-waste provider Velocys is looking to the US and to US project engineers Bechtel Corporation for imminent expansion.

A deal with Bechtel, the oil services leviathan, concluded after 2023’s books were closed, points the way.

Velocycs has hired the US firm to scope design & construction of its intended Altalto plant with British Airways on Humberside, part-funded by last year’s £ 27 million grant from the Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuel Fund.

As costings emerge this summer from Bechtel’s calculations, further external funding for Altalto will be sought.  Construction earmarked to begin in two years could see the Immingham factory delivering at scale aviation-grade fuel purged from dead plastics by 2027.

Columbus, Ohio is one north American centre for Velocys’ focus to turn wood chips into low carbon diesel and avgas.

The company last year finished building a reactor core factory there, capable of turning out up to twelve units a year. Each containing four cores, the reactors are the key to Velocys’ – or its licencees’ – conversion of low-value forestry waste into high-value fuels.

The Columbus plant is now being fitted out and staff hired, ready for catalyser production to begin in April, the company told investors this morning.

In Japan, the company continues to provide services to Toyo Engineering Corporation under a licencing deal signed in 2021.

Velocys’ proprietary manufacturing chemistry is based on the Fischer-Tropsch process. This is a catalytic chemical reaction, which turns synthesis gas – carbon monoxide and hydrogen – into liquid hydrocarbons, such as diesel or jet fuel.

Financially, the company is in line with market expectations.  At December’s year end, it had an unaudited cash balance of £13.4 million, down on 2021’s £25.5 million.  Audited figures are due in May.

“Our progress and partnerships reflect the significant achievements made in 2022 and Velocys’ position of strength in a rapidly evolving global market for advanced synthetic fuels technology”, CEO Henrik Wareborn observed.

“We have the here-and-now technology to enable SAF production close to sustainable feedstock sources to decarbonise the aviation industry at scale”.

Continuing government regulatory support, abundant feedstock, carbon capture and sequestration, supply of renewable power, and most of all, a technology that works, gave the firm a  solid platform from which to deliver, Wareborn said.


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