Mayor Visits Chemicals Firm At Front Line of Aviation Innovation

Business & Invest | Published on: 8th February 2022

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (8 February) visited a local chemical firm working to revolutionise air travel by leading on the development of clean, sustainable aviation fuel.

Nova Pangaea Technologies, based at Redcar’s Wilton International, is a clean technologies firm which has established a process called REFNOVA to create biochemicals and biofuels from plant biomass.

It was recently awarded £484,201 as part of Government’s Green Fuels, Green Skies competition to help develop sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plants in the UK. The company has also raised a further £2.4million in funding and plans to build its first commercial plant in the UK, with Teesside is being considered strongly as the location.

It has formed a partnership with British Airways and alcohol to jet technologists LanzaJet for a feasibility study into the design of a facility producing more than 100million litres of SAF per year from woody residues, integrating technology developed by the firm and LanzaJet.

During his visit, the Mayor was joined by Michael Moore, Director General of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, and the pair learned more about its process and the groundbreaking, innovative technologies at the forefront of the work.

The visit came just days after a hydrogen refuelling station and a number of 100% zero-emission hydrogen-powered cars, plus a forklift, began operating at Teesside International Airport as part of a Hydrogen Transport Hub trial into such vehicles.

Mayor Houchen said: “Nova Pangaea is another one of our brilliant businesses leading the way in the innovation and development of the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of tomorrow – and it’s doing it right here on Teesside. Today’s visit was an eye-opening experience as to just what is possible in these industries and it was fantastic to hear that the company has earmarked our region for a commercial plant too.

“Alternative and sustainable fuel sources for planes are increasingly becoming a pressing issue for the aviation sector as it works to do its bit to decarbonise and shift its focus onto renewables, as the industrial and energy sectors are also doing.

“This cutting-edge project shows how Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are continuing to make names for themselves in the industries of the future and complements schemes taking place right across our region in aviation and elsewhere.

“Whether it’s hydrogen transport over at Teesside airport, our in-development blue and green hydrogen projects, the Net Zero Teesside carbon capture, utilisation and storage power plant or our offshore wind ambitions, we’re leading the charge – while securing good-quality, well-paid jobs for generations to come.”

Sarah Ellerby, CEO at Nova Pangaea Technologies, said: “It was a great pleasure to host Ben and Michael at NPT today. It’s an exciting time for NPT as we scale-out our current pre-commercial plant into commercial production and deliver sustainable alternatives to fossil-based products and right here on Teesside. We have the opportunity to enable decarbonisation within sectors such as transportation and industrial and Teesside has the infrastructure, people and skills to support our first commercial plant (NOVAONE). NOVAONE will not only bring jobs and investment to the area but will showcase Teesside globally as a leader in industrial decarbonisation which will require an alignment of private and public sector investment in decarbonisation enablers like NPT.”

Michael Moore, Director General of the BVCA, said: “Today’s visit to Nova Pangaea Technologies has been a real pleasure, witnessing first-hand how this fantastic business can, and is, playing a leading role in the generation of more sustainable aviation fuels.

“Supported by BVCA members, Nova Pangaea is one of many examples of how private equity and venture capital are prioritizing positive social outcomes through their work; a strong commitment from the industry to securing our greener future.”

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