Velocys plc, the developer of smaller scale gas-to-liquids (GTL), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc. (TRI), establishing a strategic alliance. TRI—a leading provider of steam reforming gasification systems suitable for woody biomass and other waste feedstocks—will be Velocys’ preferred supplier of gasification systems for its biomass-to-liquids (BTL) plants.
The agreement will see the alliance partners rapidly deploy an integrated biorefinery offering that combines Velocys’ Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology with TRI’s proven gasification technology.
TRI’s proprietary gasification technology transforms carbonaceous feedstock into a medium calorific value syngas. It offers the ability to dial in the H2 to CO molar ratio to match the synthesis reaction or fermentation step for biofuels and/or biochemical production.
The TRI gasification system utilizes an indirectly heated medium-temperature, low-pressure fluidized bed steam reformer primary stage and a higher temperature, low-pressure fluidized bed gasifier second stage to generate syngas.
The feedstock flexibility allows the system to take advantage of the most economically available feedstock in a given region and in a given season (i.e. lowest-cost, most readily-available waste biomass). TRI has demonstrated that the technology can transform everyday garbage into jet fuel in a fully integrated process demonstration unit.
TRI’s multi-feedstock demonstration plant in Durham, North Carolina has run for more than 10,000 hours, and has successfully shown that the syngas it produces is well-suited to the FT process and upgrading to ASTM-certified fuels.
Moreover, its systems have been selected for and deployed on various commercial North American projects including to Norampac, a division of Cascades Paper, at its Trenton facility in Ontario.
The partners have already started a joint development of the engineering design for a 1,400 barrel per day BTL plant to produce renewable diesel and jet fuels from woody biomass. TRI will support Velocys and its partners to further optimise overall plant cost and the financing of BTL plants through, for example, accessing governmental loan guarantee processes and securing independent engineering reviews.
A key next step will be an integrated technology demonstration; Velocys will relocate its skid-mounted pilot plant from Ohio to the TRI facility in North Carolina. The joint demonstration has been selected for support as part of a competitive award granted by the US Department of Energy for the development of smaller scale integrated biorefineries.
The agreement is not exclusive on either party. The company expects the terms of the MoU to be reflected in legally-binding documentation within the coming months.
This is the second strategic partnership that has been agreed since a review of Velocys’ strategy was completed in 4Q 2016. (Earlier post.) A core theme of the new strategy is to deliver, jointly with partners such as TRI, a “one-stop-shop” offer to customers—a fully integrated and financed, cost effective and operations-ready plant solution.