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Next Wave Energy Partners Launches Commercial Operations for Ethylene-to-Alkylate Facility
Next Wave Energy Partners Launches Commercial Operations for Ethylene-to-Alkylate Facility

Next Wave Energy Partners Launches Commercial Operations for Ethylene-to-Alkylate Facility

  • 22-Mar-2024 10:33 AM
  • Journalist: Sasha Fernandes

Next Wave Energy Partners, LP (“Next Wave”), a subsidiary company of Energy Capital Partners (ECP), announced today the commencement of commercial operations at its alkylate production facility, named Project Traveler. Situated adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel in Pasadena, Texas, this achievement signifies a significant milestone for Next Wave. The company expresses great satisfaction in the operational launch of this innovative facility, which is now in the process of manufacturing what they believe to be the world’s highest quality alkylate product.

With a profound understanding that the global energy landscape will undergo a gradual evolution over the coming years, Next Wave has strategically positioned itself to offer drop-in solutions that enhance energy efficiency, reliability, and contribute to the ongoing decarbonization efforts. Alkylate, a valuable component used in gasoline blending, typically constitutes 10% to 15% of the overall gasoline pool in the United States. Renowned for its clean properties, including high octane, low vapor pressure, and low sulfur content, alkylate holds immense significance within the energy sector. Next Wave's alkylate product, marketed under the trade name Optimate, stands out due to its superior qualities compared to traditional refinery alkylate. Optimate boasts a remarkable 96.0 road octane (98.0+ Research Octane Number), a low 3.5 Reid vapor pressure, and sulfur content of five parts per million or less. Notably, Optimate is produced without utilizing crude oil, resulting in a lower carbon intensity compared to conventional refinery alkylate.

Michael Bloesch, President and CEO of Next Wave, expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the Project Traveler facility, which has exceeded initial expectations. He highlighted the robust market demand for their Optimate product, emphasizing its lower carbon intensity. Bloesch underscored the strategic advantage of the Next Wave platform, anchored by Project Traveler, which is well positioned for cost-effective expansions of Optimate production capacity. Additionally, the platform retains the flexibility to explore vertical integration into upstream renewable feedstocks and downstream renewable chemical and fuels products.

In addition to the ongoing engineering work aimed at debottlenecking and expanding the capacity of the Project Traveler facility, Next Wave is actively involved in the development stage of a second project known as Project Lightning. This initiative seeks to leverage existing assets while enhancing the platform's flexibility by converting renewable feedstocks into chemical building blocks for various specialty products. These products range from net-zero carbon plastics to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Project Lightning, utilizing ethanol as a feedstock, will have the capability to produce bio-ethylene, renewable Optimate (alkylate), and sustainable aviation fuel. The inclusion of a metathesis unit in the project adds further versatility, enabling the conversion of ethylene and bio-ethylene into propylene and bio-propylene, respectively.

Pete Labbat, Managing Partner at ECP, expressed gratitude to the entire Next Wave team for their dedication in developing a world-class facility. ECP takes pride in its partnership with Next Wave, a company that has been at the forefront of the U.S. energy revolution. Labbat reaffirmed Next Wave's commitment to producing a product that enhances transportation fuel efficiency while adhering to safe and reliable operational standards.

Matt Delaney, Partner at ECP, highlighted Next Wave's proactive approach in identifying the secondary and downstream effects of the shale revolution. By converting natural gas liquids and their derivatives into higher-value, fuel-efficient products, Next Wave has established a mutually beneficial scenario for feedstock suppliers and alkylate customers alike. Delaney emphasized the company's role in fostering a sustainable energy future through innovative solutions and strategic foresight.

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