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Velocys makes commercial microchannel FT reactor sale in CIS; 175 bpd

6 January 2014

Velocys plc, the developer of smaller scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) systems based on microchannel reactors (earlier post), has executed an agreement for the sale of a commercial Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reactor to a customer in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The 175 bpd reactor, with accompanying catalyst, will be installed in a small GTL plant processing natural gas into synthetic crude, and is intended to be delivered in the second half of 2014. Along with the accompanying engineering services, the transaction is expected to generate more than $2 million of revenue to the Company during 2014-15.

We’re pleased to have sold another commercial reactor and to be making further headway in this important region. Velocys’ GTL technology is well suited to the needs of the CIS, allowing cost-effective monetization of stranded gas resources and dealing with the problem of associated gas flaring, which is a priority in the region for oil producers and governments alike.

—Roy Lipski, CEO of Velocys

Velocys smaller scale GTL plants are built in a modular fashion and can be scaled up to match the gas resource. The plants are fabricated mainly in a factory environment, with each unit designed to fit into a standard-sized shipping container for ease of transport. Because roughly 70% of the plant is complete before the modules are shipped, the time and cost needed to construct the plant on site is greatly reduced. This approach allows good control of the capital cost and engineering quality, and a faster project schedule.

Microchannel technology enables lower cost, smaller and more productive processes by improving the heat and mass transfer performance and reducing the dimensions of the reactor systems. Mass and heat transfer limitations reduce the efficiency of the conventional large FT reactors. The use of microchannel technology makes it possible to overcome these limitations and to intensify the chemical reactions, enabling them to occur at significantly higher rates than in conventional systems.

The microchannel FT reactors are compact reactors containing thousands of channels with characteristic dimensions in the millimeter range. The FT process is highly exothermic, or heat generating. In microchannel FT reactors process channels, filled with catalyst, are interleaved with water-filled coolant channels. The small-sized channels dissipate heat more quickly than conventional fixed-bed reactors with relatively larger tubes in the 2.5 – 10 cm (1 – 4 inch) range. As a result, more active catalysts can be used.

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