Former Australian Energy Minister Supports The Byogy “Alcohol To Jet” Biofuel Platform
Emerging Silicon Valley biofuel producer, Byogy Renewables Inc. has stepped up plans to commercialize a biofuel industry in Australia. Byogy has recently announced it had appointed the Hon Martin Ferguson AM, that country’s former Federal Resources and Energy Minister, as its founding Australian advisory board chairman.
Mr Ferguson’s appointment follows Byogy’s recent submission to Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, who are jointly running an open market Request for Information, aiming to stimulate a renewable aviation fuel industry in Australia.
Byogy CEO, Kevin R. Weiss, says Mr Ferguson’s appointment is an important step in the company’s path from R&D to commercialization. “Mr. Ferguson remains a key player in Australia’s energy sector and is widely respected as a businessman and an energy policy leader, and by both sides of politics. He was our natural choice,” Mr Weiss says.
Byogy considers Australia as one of its leading locations to commercialize its sugar derived advanced fuels technology. Byogy is a leading representative of the class of fuel known as Alcohol to Jet (ATJ) that received a first phase ASTM specification this past April. This new specification currently allows Byogy to deploy its technology on a global basis using an iso-butanol feedstock.
In March, Virgin and Air New Zealand offered an industry inquiry for companies that could locally produce and supply up to 200 million liters of biojet fuel per year.
“Virgin is very serious about this and if it’s successful, it could lead to significant investment in Australia, which means new opportunity for agricultural industry, investment and jobs,” Mr. Ferguson told The Weekend Australian on June 25, 2016. He said this could be an especially good thing for regions that were struggling following the end of the resources boom.
Mr Ferguson is joined on the new Byogy Australia board by agriculturalist David Travers, the founding chairman of Sundrop Farms and the former Head of University College London engineering department, the UCL School of Energy and Resources. The Australia advisory board also includes:
- John Longhurst, an Estonia-based Briton, who was PIMCO’s first equity research director in London. The 20-year Capital Group veteran was a leading aerospace, defence and agri-tech buy-side analyst.
- Mark Brownley, a Melbourne-educated chemical engineer and former Jet Star executive. He is a member of the Royal Flying Doctor’s Aviation Advisory Board and a group executive of CKI’s Adelaide-based Australian energy distributor, SA Power Networks.
“Being able to produce full replacement biojet fuel is the holy grail,” says David Travers, “The downstream logistics and added handling costs have yet to be determined with the blending fuel products that currently make up the industry”.
Byogy’s planned advanced fuel testing project will be designed to produce 1500 litres per day of jet fuel from ethanol. This facility will be used to advance the ATJ ASTM specification to allow the use of full replacement fuels, and to develop military specifications for Byogy’s high performance aviation and diesel fuels. In addition, Byogy is now developing plans of establishing a commercial plant by 2019 that would produce up to 300 million litres a year at a construction cost of less than $100 million dollars.
Byogy has been in discussions with both the Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy under a collaborative effort to provide Australian grown and produced biofuels for both local military use and sourcing for the US Navy Great Green Fleet.
The company initially plans to raise $10 million for the advanced fuel production facility to aggressively finalize specifications for both ASTM commercial uses as well as strategic military uses.
Mr. Weiss says the company has been working closely with potential Australian strategic partners and is likely to commence an investor equity raising in Australia in the second half of 2016. He says the company is evaluating potential production sites for the 1500 litre-per-day advanced fuel production and testing facility in Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.
A key part of Byogy’s technology was derived from a non-Fischer-Tropsch Gas To Liquids platform that originated more than 15 years out of Texas A&M, and has since been advanced by Byogy to convert any form of alcohols, including ethanol, butanol, iso-butanol, and mixed alcohols, into full replacement renewable fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Unlike most processes that merely produce blending fuel products, Byogy is an industry leader in producing full replacement, premium fuels that do not require any infrastructure modifications or blending.
Byogy’s core process technology has recently achieved the adoption of the first phase specification of the Alcohol-To-Jet (ATJ) classification at ASTM in April 2016. Although this first specification is limited to an iso-butanol feedstock and a 30% maximum blend with petroleum fuel, it represents industry validation of the ATJ technology.
As part of its commercialization efforts in Australia, Byogy intends to advance this initial ATJ adopted specification to that of a full replacement synthetic aviation fuel which will eliminate the inherent challenges and costs associated with downstream handling, transport, and blending.
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