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Exclusive: U.K. startup seeks up to $25M for carbon-to-fuels plant

Illustration of an origami airplane/rocket made from paper money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

OxCCU has started outreach to investors as it prepares to raise $15 million to $25 million to build its next emissions-to-jet-fuel plant in the UK, the company tells Axios.

Why it matters: The startup says it can turn carbon into sustainable aviation fuel at a lower cost than its competitors.

Catch up fast: Transforming carbon dioxide into jet fuel typically requires two big steps: first a transition to carbon monoxide, and then a reaction that converts those carbon and oxygen molecules into fuel.

  • OxCCU says it's pioneered an approach to make jet fuel in a single step, reducing plant construction and operating costs.

Flashback: The company last summer raised nearly $22.7 million in a Series A led by Clean Energy Ventures, joined by United Airlines Ventures and Aramco Ventures, among others.

  • That funding supported a demonstration plant at London Oxford Airport, which OxCCU expects to bring online in July.

The latest: The company is aiming to roughly double that raise starting later this year.

  • "We still have plenty of cash, but not quite enough to comfortably get through the next milestone," CEO Andrew Symes tells Axios.

The round will support a planned 160 kg/day facility, which OxCCU plans to build in the UK's industrial Humber region.

  • OxCCU expects to announce a site location and project partners later this year.

Between the lines: OxCCU is crossing into a tricky startup phase. Its planned facility is bigger than a pilot and smaller than what investors would see as fully commercial. Technology risk also looms over the operation.

  • That first-of-a-kind phase is behind the company's path of an equity raise over project finance or other forms of debt.

What's next: OxCCU ultimately plans to pursue licensing agreements.

  • It's started early conversations about an eventual 1,000 to 50,000 kg/day commercial plant, with a general target date of 2028.
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