Velocys signs pact to produce aviation fuel in Natchez

Published 7:16 pm Friday, July 2, 2021

NATCHEZ — Velocys, a technology company that uses wood and forest material to produce sustainable aviation fuel, is well on the way to establishing roots in Natchez.

Company officials announced this week that they have signed a framework agreement with Koch Project Solutions to develop their biorefinery project which produces standard aviation fuel, in Natchez.

“The framework agreement with KPS is an important step in the progress of staged development of the Bayou Fuels biorefinery in Mississippi … which will support a financing package for the FEED phase of the project,” Velocys CEO Henrik Wareborn said in a news release Wednesday. “We selected KPS due to their expertise in strategically evaluating and managing complex projects, particularly in the energy infrastructure space.”

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The project is expected to produce approximately 30 million gallons of fuel every year.

“Koch Project Solutions is proud to support the Velocys Bayou Fuels project and look forward to using the full breadth of our resources to deliver this pioneering biorefinery project on time and to budget,” said Paul Switzer, President of Koch Project Solutions. “KPS is committed to contributing to the advanced renewable fuels industry and the Bayou Fuels project fulfills our vision.”

Velocys has plans for two projects: Altalto in Immingham, UK, and Bayou Fuels in Natchez, according to the company’s website.

Earlier this month, this product — created using a new technology that utilizes CO2 from woody biomass — was used in the first commercial flight by Japan Airlines, the company said.

Velocys has paid $1 million to Adams County thus far for the use of space at the Belwood Industrial Park. Velocys paid $500,000 for the first two years at Belwood and recently paid an additional $500,000 for the renewal of that lease, said Chandler Russ, executive director of Natchez Inc.

“We’ve been working on this project two years with Velocys,” Russ said. “We’ve got many milestones to go before it’s complete, but we are very optimistic that it will succeed. They have spent a tremendous amount of money and resources, including $20 million to date on engineering, design and development. It has the potential to be more than a $1 billion project.”

When the new facility is complete, Velocys would create approximately 100 direct jobs as well as 500 indirect jobs, Russ said. Their plan is to complete all of the engineering work by 2022 and begin construction in the first half of 2023.