Velocys Completes Oklahoma GTL Plant


Velocys Completes Oklahoma GTL Plant

Construction is finished on joint venture Envia Energys gas-to-liquids commercial reference plant in Oklahoma City. The plant will produce diesel, wax and naphtha.

This included on-site loading of catalyst into Fischer-Tropsch reactors by Velocys with support from Pasadena, Texas-based Mourik, which specializes in catalyst handling. The capacity of the plant, which is adjacent to a landfill, has not been disclosed.

Work on remaining pre-commissioning activities continues, and early commissioning steps have already begun, a Velocys spokesman told Lube Report. The JV is targeting first product by the end of 2016. Some wax will be available for testing purposes. According to the spokesman, the portion of the products produced from landfill gas are eligible for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which are credits used for compliance with the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard Program.

Photo: Velocys plc

In July, the company announced it was halting development of a 5,000 barrels per day GTL plant in Ashtabula, Ohio – pending reassessment as part of a broad review of the strategy of the business that Velocys is undertaking – citing challenges in raising equity and an effort to defer costs. Velocys acquired Pinto Energy and the Ashtabula GTL project in mid-2014. The company believes the Envia plant could eventually benefit the Ohio project.

The company is confident that successful operation of Envias GTL plant will facilitate progress with third-party sales opportunities for Velocys technology, the spokesman said. It will establish a commercial reference site for the Velocys technology, providing commercial-scale performance data for stakeholders to analyze, and a physical site where they can see our technology in action. This will also aid the development of the Ashtabula project – should the strategy review currently underway lift the hold on that project.

Envia Energy is a joint venture announced in March 2014 between Waste Management, NRG Energy, Ventech and Velocys. Velocys increased its financial contribution in February to gain greater ownership and voting rights and subsequently was able to take a bigger management role.

The company believes its serving in a broader set of roles on the Envia project – as part owner and commissioning contractor, as well as technology licensor – is beneficial because Velocys is growing into a company with real-world commercial GTL project execution, commissioning, start-up and operations capabilities beyond the Fischer-Tropsch section of a plant.

Velocys CEO David Pummell said in his chief executives report – part of the companys earnings news release issued Sept. 26 – that Velocys analysis of the wax market in North America in the first half of 2016 confirmed projected economics remained attractive for the GTL plant Velocys was developing in Ohio, focused on production waxes and other specialty products. Prices for wax are decoupled from oil, he asserted in the report. The price for some cuts of Fischer-Tropsch wax is as much as U.S. $300 per barrel, and the U.S. supply of wax for use in-country has decreased by 66 percent since the late 1990s. The outlook for wax pricing, and the wax market in general, is positive.

U.K.-based Oxford Catalysts Group PLC changed its name to Velocys plc in September 2013. Velocys technology, protected by several hundred patents in over 30 countries, is specifically designed for smaller scale GTL plants, combining super-active catalysts with intensified reactor systems. The companys standardized modular plants are marketed as easier to ship and faster to install, at lower risk, even in the most remote or challenging locations.

Photo: Velocys plc

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