Hydro-Processing Catalysts For Biomass-Based Synthetic Fuels

Oxford Catalysts' hydro-desulphurisation Catalyst
Oxford Catalysts’ hydro-desulphurisation catalyst

Oxford Catalysts Group PLC, the leading technology innovator for clean synthetic fuels, has been awarded a $2.7 million non-repayable technology grant under the US Recovery and Reinvestment Act, applicable over a period of two and a half years. The Group’s grant proposal was one of a small number of successful applications out of more than 900. Alongside the $5 million grant awarded by the State of Ohio, announced in May, this grant will assist in commercialising the Group’s technology for hydro-processing – an important step in the production of synthetic fuels used to maximise the yield of commercially desirable liquid fuels such as diesel.

Successful commercialisation of the Group’s technology for hydro-processing will enable better economics for the production of clean fuels from renewable biomass and biowaste, especially on a distributed small scale, as well as from smaller stranded natural gas reserves.

The addition of hydro-processing alongside its technologies for Fischer-Tropsch and Steam Methane Reforming will also consolidate the Group’s position as a leader in synthetic fuel technologies.

The grant was awarded to the Group’s US subsidiary, Velocys, Inc., by the USDA-CSREES Biomass Research and Development Initiative Program with funds provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Roy Lipski, Chief Executive of Oxford Catalysts said, “This award underscores the commercial and environmental relevance of our technology. Successful commercialisation of our hydro-processing offering will further consolidate our leading market position in synthetic fuels.”

Oxford Catalysts Group PLC designs and develops technology for the production of clean fuels from both conventional fossil fuels and renewable sources such as biowaste. The Group is primarily focused on the emerging market for distributed smaller scale production of synthetic fuels via Fischer-Tropsch (“FT”) synthesis – a market that has the potential of producing as much as 25 million barrels of fuel a day.

The FT reaction is used when converting natural gas, coal, or bio-mass into clean high-performance liquid synthetic fuels, processes known as GTL, CTL, and BTL respectively. The Group is the recognised world leader in the design and development of high-activity catalysts and associated novel chemical reactors for the small scale production of synthetic fuels. (The Group’s reactor technology – known as microchannel process technology – is marketed under the brand name of Velocys).

Oxford Catalysts Group PLC has some 90 employees with facilities near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK and Columbus, Ohio, USA.

The Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service (CSREES) is an agency within the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Its mission is to advance knowledge about agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by helping to fund research at the state and local level and providing programme leadership. The CSREES Biomass Research and Development Initiative Competitive Grants Program (BRDI) provides grants to research, develop, and demonstrate biomass projects, including biofuels.

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