The Oxford Catalysts Group has raised £21 million (US$34 million) before expenses from the conditional placing of 26,250,000 new shares, which will be used to accelerate its ongoing transition from a research and development organization to a commercial product company. In particular, additional staff will be hired to support its commercial and manufacturing operation, the Group’s supply chain capabilities will be bolstered and investments will made in development and testing infrastructure.
This is the latest step in the Oxford Catalysts Group’s drive to commercialize its technology for the production of synthetic fuels from conventional fossil fuels and renewable sources such as biowaste, primarily through its microchannel process technology platform which is able to accelerate chemical reactions by 10- to 1000-fold. As a result, microchannel Fischer Tropsch (FT) processes can operate economically when producing just 500 barrels per day of oil equivalent (boe) from a wide variety of carbon-containing wastes, while achieving greater productivities than for conventional FT reactors (earlier post).
The Group’ FT technology has been demonstrated in Güssing, Austria since the summer of 2010 in partnership with SGC Energia, SGPS, S.A. (SGCE). In addition, the Group’s Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) technology is due to be demonstrated in summer 2011 along with its FT technology in a six barrel per day integrated gas-to-liquids (GTL) pilot plant at a Petrobras refinery in Fortaleza, Brazil. SGCE placed the first order for one of the Group’s commercial scale FT reactors and catalyst in December 2010 (earlier post), and the company expects that further commercial sales to multiple partners will follow in 2011.
The Group's technology makes viable the distributed production of fuels from gas biomass, coal and waste. Microchannel processing is emerging at a time of the discovery and development of vast shale gas reserves in North America, increasing focus on the utilization of stranded and associated gas and the emergence of biomass-to-liquids (BTL) and waste-to-liquids (WTL) as a viable option for the sustainable supply of transportation fuel in the decades ahead. In addition, the growing political, geological and environmental complexity of oil exploration and production has focussed attention on the monetization of associated and stranded gas reserves and cessation of flaring, for which distributed GTL is suited, the company says.