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Oxford Catalysts in $5.9M Fischer-Tropsch Demonstration and Commercialization Agreement; Focus on Biomass- and Waste-to-Liquids Applications

Oxford Catalysts Group PLC, signed a definitive joint development agreement (JDA) with SGC Energia, SGPS, S.A. (SGCE) for the demonstration and commercialization of the Group’s Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology, primarily for Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) and Waste-to-Liquids (WTL) applications. Oxford Catalysts has a platform catalyst technology that provides the increased activity in microchannel reactors. (Earlier post.)

Oxford Catalysts’ US subsidiary, Velocys, Inc. and SGCE have been working together since 2007 under a memorandum of understanding. The recently signed JDA formalizes the commercial relationship between the parties and provides $5.9 million of further funding directly to the Group over the balance of 2009 and 2010.

The demonstration plant, which will have a capacity of approximately 10,000 gallons/year, will be operated on gasified wood chips. Under the terms of the JDA, SGCE will have lead responsibility for commercializing the Group’s FT technology for BTL, WTL and Coal-to-Liquids applications. The JDA also provides for commercial involvement by one of SGCE’s partners, a very large industrial multinational.

In addition to other Group expenses, the JDA will contribute towards the costs incurred for the FT demonstration unit, now ready for shipping, as well as covering all the expenses associated with the extended demonstration run, planned to take place in Güssing, Austria. Güssing is a prime location for demonstrating bio-conversion technologies such as BTL, as it has a commercial-scale biomass gasifier (using wood chips as feedstock), operational since 2005, that supplies supports a power station with an output of 4.5 MW heat and 2 MW electricity for domestic and industrial customers. The biomass gasifier at this facility will also be used to supply synthesis gas for conversion to fuels via the Group’s FT demonstration unit.

The demonstration equipment is due to be received in Güssing in December; commissioned and started up in the first quarter of 2010; and thereafter operated for some six months. Following demonstration, the equipment will be relocated to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, USA where it will be evaluated for the production of synthetic jet fuel.

SGCE is a holding company that acts as the renewable energy investment arm of João Pereira Coutinho, one of Portugal’s most successful businessmen. It is owned by Mr Coutinho and his SGC Group; the latter is active in 13 countries and has an annual turnover of €1 billion (see notes to editors).


Henry Gibson

Do the arithmetic people; Austria does not have enough land to supply itself with food let alone biofuels. Go to a local supermarket in the USA and you can buy ordinary cucumber pickles from India in glass jars.

The National Geographic magazine published the figure that it took 100 units of fossil fuel energy to make 130 units of ethanol energy. This is a much better gain than some allow, but it can be shown from this figure alone that it would still reduce CO2 levels if no corn ethanol at all were made and trees grown to capture the thirty percent additional CO2 given off by just burning 30 percent additional fossil fuels. The land that grew the corn can obviously capture 130 units of CO2, but the no maintenance large trees that could be grown on it need only capture 30 units of CO2 to make it better to grow permament non fuel trees and burn fossil fuel instead.

Many of the wood pellets in the US can contain carbon from US forests that is even two thousand years old. How is this old wood different than fossil fuels.

Most of the fuel in the US should be made from natural gas or coal. The extra CO2 release from making gasoline from Coal rather than oil may be illusionary because the heat wasted can actually be used for other purposes including cogeneration and cooling and heating. It is also not known how much green house gases are actually released for every tanker of oil comming to the US. If it comes from some places where there is so much natural gas flared off, gasoline from coal produces even less global warming than gasoline from oil.

Natural gas can be used in most cars directly as a fuel for the majority of the average trips. Cars and trucks can easily and cheaply be retrofitted to burn natural gas as an alternate short distance fuel or even just to substitute for some of the fuel for short distances. Bi fuel cars can save much gasoline for much of their use, but can always use gasoline for long distances.

Diesel engines with exhaust filters and catalysts are clean enough and are more fuel efficient than gasoline cars. Any real effort to reduce CO2 from automobiles, must include the eventual complete transition to diesel automobile engines. Again natural gas can substitute for part of the diesel used. As always a hybrid car can reduce the need for fuel by as much as a half for many trips. The Artemis hydraulic system demonstrated this in a real modified production car even with the same big engine. Who knows what economies a smaller engine would bring. The Parry People Mover uses a hydraulic and flywheel system for rail trolleys. ..HG..

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