Bayou Fuels owner Velocys goes private with $40M investment

Published 12:47 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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NATCHEZ – The U.K.-based sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) technology developer Velocys, owner of the proposed Bayou Fuels project, has gone private with a new consortium of growth investors who infused the company with $40 million of growth capital as part of take-private transaction completed in January.

The consortium of investors includes Carbon Direct Capital, Lightrock, GenZero and Kibo Investments.

In a statement released Feb. 12, Velocys said the $40 million in growth capital will be used to accelerate delivery of the company’s proprietary technology to customer projects while further building its technology leadership, scaling its production, and enhancing the breadth and depth of the team’s expertise.

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Velocys in December 2023 announced an agreement to be acquired by Madison Bidco Ltd., a company incorporated in the U.K. in November 2023 that is indirectly owned by a fund advised by Lightrock, a fund advised by Carbon Direct Capital, GenZero and Kibo Investments.

Velocys has been actively developing SAF projects for several years. The company has developed a patented catalyst and micro-channel reactor platform to provide a scalable, flexible solution particularly suitable for projects that produce SAF. According to Velocys, it Velocys’ Fischer-Tropsch technology is compatible with multiple project types employing diverse feedstocks, including municipal solid waste, woody biomass, and CO2 and green hydrogen, and has demonstrated performance at commercial scale.

The company in October 2023 launched a technology facility in Ohio to house its reactor core assembly and catalysis operations. At that time, Velocys said the new site is designed to have the capacity to produce approximately 48 cores per year, enough to support 12 reactors, which is the typical requirement for the operation of a single commercial-scale SAF biorefinery with a capacity to produce approximately 1 TWh per year of energy. In its Feb. 12 statement, Velocys indicated plans to ramp up capacity at the Ohio facility as demand for SAF grows.

Velocys is currently developing two proposed SAF projects. The proposed Bayou Fuels project, under development in Natchez, aims to produce 36 MMgy of SAF from wood biomass feedstock. An integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) project and the use of renewable power is expected to enable the production of negative carbon intensity (CI) fuel. In its half year financial report issued in September 2023, Velocys said it hired EcoEngineers to validate the reasonableness and accuracy of the life cycle assessment (LCA) of the proposed project. That analysis predicts the facility will be able to produce SAF with a deeply negative CI score of -389 grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule (gCO2ei/MJ), which translates into a more than 500 percent carbon savings relative to fossil jet fuel.

The Altalto project, under development in Immingham, U.K., aims to produce 20 MMgy of SAF from municipal and commercial solid waste feedstock. Velocys said in September 2023 that FEED, the final state of engineering prior to a final investment decision (FID) is advancing as planned. In addition, license and engineering services agreements have been concluded with key technology licensors, including Topsoe, Air Liquide and TRI to support the FEED phase. The technology licensing agreement with Velocys is expected to be finalized during the fourth quarter of this year. The company also noted that an archaeological survey has been completed, along with construction of an initial site access road.