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eSAF demonstration plant planned for Saltend Chemicals Park in the Humber, Northern England

Photo: px Group

px Group announced June 19 that OXCCU will develop a demonstration plant at its Saltend Chemicals Park in the Humber, Northern England, U.K., which will convert carbon dioxide (CO2) and green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).


OXCCU develops catalysts and processes to convert carbon dioxide and green hydrogen into fuels, chemicals and plastics.


The climate-tech spinoff from the University of Oxford has demonstrated what px Group said is the world’s first direct CO2-hydrogenation process, turning CO2 directly into hydrocarbons in the aviation-fuel range with minimal oxygenate byproducts.


The project presents a novel approach to SAF production simplifying a multistep process to a single step.


The demonstration plant at Saltend Chemicals Park will be fed by biogenic CO2 and green hydrogen.


The plant is expected to produce 53 gallons of liquid fuel per day, the majority of which will be SAF.


The approach directly aligns with the Advanced Fuel Fund’s objective to use CO2 as a carbon source for SAF production due to feedstock concerns at scale with the other biofuel SAF routes.


px Group will provide the engineering design and construction of the outside battery limits (OSBL) support facilities as well as operations and maintenance when the plant is up and running.


The plan is for operations to start in 2026.


The project has been announced at a time when the U.K. government has developed a framework to cement the U.K.’s status as a world leader in SAF, with a mandate for SAF and a revenue-certainty scheme to boost uptake and help create jobs.


The government has committed to having at least five commercial SAF plants under construction in the U.K. by 2025, viewing low- or zero-emission technologies as key to sustainability targets.


“We are truly excited to be working with OXCCU on a world’s-first project that will shape the long-term sustainability of the U.K. aviation industry,” said px Group CEO Geoff Holmes. “At px Group we are passionate about cutting CO2 emissions and helping the U.K. to meet its sustainability ambitions. This groundbreaking project with OXCCU further meets this commitment and demonstrates the confidence in Saltend as a pioneering center for industrial decarbonization projects.”


Andrew Symes, CEO of OXCCU, added, “The strategic combination of OXCCU’s highly efficient novel catalyst and process with px Group’s world-leading facilities creates the perfect environment for us to scale up. This project will demonstrate CO2 and hydrogen directly converted into jet fuel-range hydrocarbons and the potential for much lower-cost SAF. We look forward to working with px Group on this exciting step for the global aviation industry.”


The announcement with OXCCU follows the Hydrogen-to-Humber H2H Saltend decarbonization project recently being granted planning permission.


Equinor’s H2H Saltend is a 600-megawatt low-carbon hydrogen-production plant with carbon capture, one of the first of its kind and scale to be granted planning permission in the U.K., helping to establish the Humber as an international hub for low-carbon hydrogen while significantly reducing carbon emissions.


px Group is backed by Ara Partners, a private-equity company specializing in decarbonization investments.


OXCCU is backed by investors including IP group (Kiko), Clean Energy Ventures, United Airlines, Eni, Aramco Ventures and Trafigura.


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