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jueves, 29 de junio de 2017

Velocys plans for the construction of a commercial BTL plant move forward

Velocys is a company focused on the development of gas-to-liquids (GTL) and biomass-to-liquids (BTL) technologies, providing solutions to transform several feedstocks (natural gas, landfill gas and biomass) into products such as diesel, jet fuel and waxes. These technologies are specifically designed for small-scale and modular plants. The company has a multi-disciplinary staff operating from its commercial centre in Houston (Texas, USA) and technical facilities near Oxford (UK) and Columbus (Ohio, USA).

On 19th June, Velocys announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had invited it to submit a Phase II Application to obtain a loan guarantee for a commercial-scale biorefinery (see press release). This invitation was made after a successful Phase I Application process. Under the USDA 9003 Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program, a material portion of the project debt (up to $200 million) is guaranteed by the USDA, accelerating the timeline and financially de-risking the project to final investment decision (FID). Velocys has engaged Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) as the lender of record and as its financial advisor.

Figure 1. Aerial view of the ENVIA Energy's GTL plant with Velocys’ technology (extracted from the Velocys web page). The new BTL biorefinery would build based on this reference plant.

Available data about the project:
Feedstock and processing capacity
1,000 dry tons per day of woody biomass residues in the Southeast US.
There is an abundant quantity of low-cost feedstock in the region that will provide a long term strategic supply of biomass.
Products and production capacity
19 million gallons per year (1,400 barrels per day) of renewable diesel fuel.
Thermochemical via. Syngas platform.
- Preparation of synthesis gas by the gasification of the solid feedstock.
- The Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process to convert the syngas into paraffinic hydrocarbons.
- Upgrading to produce finished products.
Gasification: ThermoChem Recovery International (TRI).
Front End Loading (FEL-2) study: IHI E&C (see press release).
The final phase of the loan guarantee process will require identify and mitigate risk and complete evaluation of the project.
Velocys has the goal of completing all work packages required by the USDA 9003 Program, concluding commercial negotiations, securing project equity funding and reaching FID during the course of 2018.

The new biorefinery would build on the deployment of the Velocys’s technology at ENVIA Energy's GTL plant in Oklahoma City. This commercial reference plant is adjacent to Waste Management's East Oak landfill site and the first product was produced in February 2017 (see press release). The technology combines super-active catalysts with microchannel reactors, this is the heart of its GTL and BTL plants. Velocys has identified other locations in the Southeast U.S. that could host plants with capacities totalling 100 million gallons over the next 10 years. 

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