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Advent Technologies in maritime JDA with Siemens

The pair will develop an integrated high-temperature PEM fuel cell solution for maritime applications and then evaluate to scale down/up the system to fit with market requirements from motor and Giga Yachts to ferries and container/commercial ships.

Advent Technologies Holdings, Inc., a provider of fuel cell and hydrogen technology, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Advent Technologies A/S, has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Siemens Energy, one of the world’s leading energy technology companies.

The newly signed JDA outlines the collaboration between Advent and Siemens Energy, combining Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cell 50kW modules utilizing its innovative Ion-Pair™ membrane electrode assembly (MEA) technology with Siemens Energy’s electrification and automation solutions for hybrid and electric vessels.

The goal is to develop an integrated 500kW High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (“HT-PEM”) fuel cell solution for maritime applications and then evaluate to scale down/up the system to fit with market requirements from motor and Giga Yachts to ferries and container/commercial ships.

The innovative clean energy solution resulting from this multi-year collaboration is expected to initially address the power needs of large yachts, according to a press release. Subsequently, plans are underway to broaden its application to include ferries and commercial/container vessels.

The initial prototype testing for the HT-PEM fuel cell module is expected to take place at Siemens Energy’s testing facility in Erlangen, Germany, in 2025, with the testing of the first fuel cell module scheduled for completion in 2026. Advent is currently engaging with world-leading customers in the maritime industry and anticipates signing commercial term sheets in the near term to pursue upcoming Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

This agreement builds upon the strong collaboration between Advent and Siemens Energy, which began in February 2022 with the Sanlorenzo Life Ocean pilot project. In this project, the companies jointly developed a marine HT-PEM fuel cell solution to provide clean power for hotel functions aboard a 50-meter Sanlorenzo superyacht. Additionally, in March 2024, Advent and Siemens Energy deepened their collaboration by joining as consortium partners in the RiverCell 3 research and development project, which is partially funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport as part of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

Advent Technologies’ HT-PEM fuel cells utilizing the innovative Ion Pair™ MEA technology, offer high-temperature operation between 80°C and 240°C. This advancement extends their lifespan by at least threefold and doubles the power density compared to earlier Advent systems. Additionally, Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cell technology enables the use of liquid green fuels like eMethanol, enhancing efficiency by utilizing both heat and electricity, resulting in high resilience. These fuel cells can function with impure hydrogen, impure air intake, and in extreme ambient temperature and humidity conditions, making them an ideal choice for widespread adoption in the maritime industry.

As the world advances towards extensive green hydrogen production, eMethanol emerges as a leading choice for marine fuel in the maritime industry, promising a potential 100% reduction in CO2 emissions. Methanol and its derivatives function as versatile energy carriers and storage solutions, efficiently releasing hydrogen catalytically through fuel reformers. With its efficient storage capabilities, ease of handling, and utilization of existing infrastructure for transportation, methanol stands as a secure and economically viable alternative to fossil fuels.

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Bloom Energy partners for expansion in Spain and Portugal

The California-based company has teamed with Telam Partners, a leading senior advisory firm specialized in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects.

Bloom Energy has teamed with Telam Partners, a leading senior advisory firm specialized in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects, to expand Bloom’s footprint into Spain and Portugal, according to a press release.

The two companies will market and deploy the Bloom Electrolyzer, as well as Bloom’s Energy Servers, supporting customers with solutions that can efficiently meet their energy security needs and green hydrogen demand.

“Business and political leaders are looking for clean technologies and energy solutions,” said Tim Schweikert, senior managing director of International Business Development, Bloom Energy Inc. “Bloom is now engaged to address these priorities in Spain and Portugal. Telam is a partner of choice, supporting Bloom’s long-term commitment to the Iberian Peninsula and to respond promptly to green transition policies and environmental imperatives.”

“At Telam we are excited to be able to work with the solid oxide fuel cell leader on the very important and urgent challenge of transitioning towards renewable energy,” said Jaime Malet, CEO of Telam Partners. “We are convinced that Spain and Portugal, thanks to an abundance of wind and solar resources, are among the clearest candidates to lead the production of green hydrogen in Europe.”

In line with Spanish and Portuguese objectives to become global green hydrogen hubs, Telam and Bloom will market Bloom’s solid oxide electrolyzer. With impressive efficiency confirmed in testing at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs, the Bloom Electrolyzer provides hydrogen with low cost of ownership. Further, the Bloom Electrolyzer is well suited for large-scale installations, as well as projects such as ammonia and renewable fuels synthesis, which can be integrated with the electrolyzer.

Telam and Bloom will also market Bloom’s highly efficient fuel cell Energy Server™ to decarbonize port activities when ships are at berth. Bloom’s fuel-flexible technology, which can operate on natural gas, biogas or hydrogen, produces electricity without combustion and reduces carbon emissions compared to the auxiliary diesel gensets usually used for shore power.

This represents Bloom Energy’s first deal for the Iberian Peninsula. It confirms Bloom’s commitment to the European market, after announcing the installation of its energy platform at Ferrari’s Italian plant and a strategic partnership for the Italian market with the engineering, procurement and construction company CEFLA in 2022.

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Pattern Energy: Offtakers increasingly want equity in projects

Ammonia and hydrogen offtakers are increasingly interested in taking equity stakes as a way of understanding the complex dynamics of the projects they will be offtaking from.

Potential offtakers of ammonia and hydrogen around the world want to take equity stakes in the projects that they will be offtaking from, Erika Taugher of Pattern Energy said last week.

The offtakers – fertilizer and industrial firms, commodities traders, and power conglomerates, mostly in Japan – are seeking to take equity ownership as a means of understanding the novel complexities involved in building first-of-kind projects, said Taugher, a director of green fuels at Pattern.

While initial conversations for offtake for Pattern’s projects involved more standard 10 to 20 year contracts, the negotiations have evolved to include equity stakes.

“All the conversations I’m having with these offtakers – they’re now interested in equity in the project,” she said. “I think that’s interesting to note because there’s so much uncertainty that these offtakers really want to get an inside view on where the money is going, how it’s being spent. They want to collaborate with us on the model. They want to know how many ships we’re sending to Europe a month.”

Pattern, which is owned by CPP Investments, is involved with the Port of Corpus Christi hydrogen hub, and is aiming to bring hydrogen from West Texas to Corpus Christi. The company is planning to export ammonia in the near term until hydrogen transport infrastructure is more mature, Taugher added.

Taugher detailed the main challenges for securing offtake for projects, including pending policy issues, questions about financeability, and logistics.

Pattern and its partners are collaborating with a company that is building a 500-mile pipeline from West Texas to the Gulf, she said. Shared infrastructure with other large players at the Port of Corpus Christi helps to keep costs down.

The company is nearing a deal for offtake, and is openly sharing project information with various potential counterparties, she said, “one of which the exclusivity period ends and we go right into negotiations on the offtake contract before the end of the year.”

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United Airlines invests in NEXT Renewable Fuels

Houston-based NEXT is permitting a biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, which could produce 50,000 barrels per day of renewable fuels.

United Airlines Ventures has made a strategic investment in NEXT Renewable Fuels, according to a press release.

Houston-based NEXT is permitting a flagship biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, with expected production beginning in 2026. At full production, the facility could produce 50,000 barrels per day of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, renewable diesel, and other renewable fuels.

UAV could invest as much as $37.5m into NEXT contingent on milestone targets.

NEXT has secured an agreement with BP for sourcing 100 percent of its feedstock. Once all the necessary approvals and permits are obtained and the biorefinery is operational, it has the potential to be used as a platform to scale SAF and deploy additional future technologies, the release states.

The announcement marks UAV’s fifth SAF-related technology investment and its first investment directly in a biorefinery.

United is the latest major airline to deploy equity in the hydroge space. Last month, American Airline announced an equity investment in Universal Hydrogen Co.

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Former Denbury executive targeting growth through CCS at industrial emitters

Tracy Evans, a former COO of Denbury Resources, has launched a business unit aimed at offering carbon capture and sequestration services for existing industrial emitters.

CapturePoint, a Texas-based carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery specialist, is seeking to grow by offering carbon capture services to existing industrial emitters.

The company, started with an initial focus on enhanced oil recovery operations using CO2, has launched a subsidiary called CapturePoint Solutions to capitalize on growing demand for carbon capture services at industrial plants, CEO Tracy Evans said in an interview.

Evans, a former chief operating officer of Denbury Resources, has years of experience operating CO2 capture units, pipelines, and oil wells. “The only difference between EOR utilization and sequestration is going to the saline aquifers,” he said of the pivot.

The company’s primary focus is on existing emissions, Evans said, emphasizing the immediate opportunity over proposed plants that might take many years to build. He added that the company would target “pure” sources of CO2 versus diluted sources.

Evans brought in a JV equity partner for the CCS business, but declined to name them. He said the company is sufficiently capitalized for now but might need to raise additional equity as it signs up new projects in the next 12 to 16 months.

Tax equity and CCS

CapturePoint recently completed a tax equity deal for a CCS facility that has been operational since 2013, thanks to changes to provisions governing the use of 45Q for carbon capture that allowed existing plants to qualify if they capture over 500,000 tons of CO2.

The deal, at CVR Partners’ Coffeyville fertilizer plant, opened up an initial payment of $18m and includes installment payments, payable quarterly until March 31, 2030, totaling up to approximately $22m.

An ethanol facility where CapturePoint operates will also qualify for 45Q benefits because 80% or more of the carbon capture unit is being rebuilt, Evans said. The company was able to finance the new construction at the ethanol facility from cash flow out of its oil & gas operations.

Going forward, new projects installed at existing emitters will follow a project finance model, with equity, debt, and 45Q investors, Evans said. The company will use a financial advisor when the time is right, the executive noted, but said there’s more work to be done on sizing and costs before an advisor is lined up.

“The capture costs are similar for each site,” he said. “The pipeline distances to a sequestration site is what drives significant variation in total capital costs.”

Evans believes that tax credit increases in the Inflation Reduction Act – from $35 per ton to $60 per ton for CO2 used in EOR, and $50 per ton to $85 for CO2 sequestration – should help the CCS market evolve and lead to additional deals.

“There wasn’t much in it for the emitter at $35 and $50, to be honest,” he said, “whereas at $60 and $85 there’s something in it for the emitter.”

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Interview: Vinson & Elkins’ Alan Alexander on the emerging hydrogen project development landscape

Vinson & Elkins Partner Alan Alexander, whose clients include OCI and Lotus Infrastructure, has watched the hydrogen project development space evolve from a fledgling idea to one that is ready for actionable projects.

Vinson & Elkins Partner Alan Alexander, whose clients include OCI and Lotus Infrastructure, has watched the hydrogen project development space evolve from a fledgling idea to one that is ready for actionable projects.

In the meantime, a number of novel legal and commercial issues facing hydrogen project developers have come to the forefront, as outlined in a paper from the law firm this week, which serves as a guide for thinking through major development questions that can snag projects.

In an interview, Alexander, a Houston-based project development and finance lawyer, says that, although some of the issues are unique – like the potential for a clean fuels pricing premium, ownership of environmental attributes, or carbon leaking from a sequestration site – addressing them is built on decades of practice.

“The way I like to put it is, yes, there are new issues being addressed using traditional tools, but there’s not yet a consensus around what constitutes ‘market terms’ for a number of them, so we are having to figure that out as we go,” he says.

Green hydrogen projects, for example, are “quite possibly” the most complex project type he has seen, given that they sit at the nexus between renewable electricity and downstream fuels applications, subjecting them to the commercial and permitting issues inherent in both verticals.

But even given the challenges, Alexander believes the market has reached commercial take-off for certain types of projects.

“When the hydrogen rush started, first it was renewables developers who knew a lot about how to develop renewables but nothing about how to market and sell hydrogen,” he says. “Then you got the people who were very enthusiastic about developing hydrogen projects but didn’t know exactly what to do with it. And now we’re beginning to see end-use cases develop and actionable projects that are very exciting, in some cases where renewables developers and hydrogen developers have teamed up to focus on their core competencies.”

A pricing premium?

In the article, Vinson & Elkins lawyers note that commodities pricing indices are not yet distinguishing between low-carbon and traditional fuels, even though a clean fuel has more value due to its low-carbon attributes. The observation echoes the conclusion of a group of offtakers who viewed the prospect of paying a premium for clean fuels as unrealistic, as they would need to pass on the higher costs to customers.

Eventually, Alexander says, the offtake market should price in a premium for clean products, but that might depend in the near term on incentives for clean fuels demand, such as carbon offsets and levies, like the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism.

“Ultimately what we need is for the market to say, ‘I will pay more for low-carbon products,’” he says. “The mindset of being willing to pay more for low-carbon products is going to need to begin to permeate into other sectors. 30 or 40 years ago the notion of paying a premium for an organic food didn’t exist. But today there are whole grocery store chains built around the idea. When the consumer is willing to pay a premium for low-carbon food, that will incentivize a farmer to pay a premium for low carbon fertilizer and ammonia, which will ultimately incentivize the payment of a premium for low-carbon hydrogen. The same needs to repeat itself across other sectors, such as fuels and anything made from steel.”

The law firm writes that US projects seeking to export to Europe or Asia need to take into account the greenhouse gas emissions and other requirements of the destination market when designing projects.

In the agreements that V&E is working on, for example, clients were first focused on structuring to make sure they met requirements for IRA tax credits and other domestic incentives, Alexander says. Meanwhile, as those clean fuels made their way to export markets, customers were coming back with a long list of requirements, “so what we’re seeing is this very interesting influx” of sustainability considerations into the hydrogen space, many of which are driven by requirements of the end-use market, such as the EU or Japan.

The more stringent requirements have existed for products like biofuels for some time, he adds, “but we’re beginning to see it in hydrogen and non-biogenic fuels.”

Sharing risk

Hydrogen projects are encountering other novel commercial and legal issues for which a “market” has not yet been developed, the law firm says, especially given the entry of a raft of new players and the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

In the case of a blue hydrogen or ammonia project where carbon is captured and sequestered but eventually leaks from a geological formation, for example, no one knows what the risk truly is, and the market is waiting for an insurance product to provide protection, Alexander says. But until it does, project parties can implement a risk-sharing mechanism in the form of a cap on liabilities – a traditional project development tool.

“If you’re a sequestration party you say, ‘Yeah, I get it, there is a risk of recapture and you’re relying on me to make sure that it doesn’t happen. But if something catastrophic does happen and the government were to reclaim your tax credits, it would bankrupt me if I were to fully indemnify you. So I simply can’t take the full amount of that risk.’”

What ends up getting negotiated is a cap on the liability, Alexander says, or the limit up to which the sequestration party is willing to absorb the liability through an indemnity.

The market is also evolving to take into account project-on-project risk for hydrogen, where an electrolyzer facility depends on the availability of, for example, clean electricity from a newly built wind farm.

“For most of my career, having a project up and reaching commercial operations by a certain date is addressed through no-fault termination rights,” he says. “But given the number of players in the hydrogen space and the amount of dollars involved, you’re beginning to see delay liquidated damages – which are typically an EPC concept – creep into supply and offtake agreements.”

If a developer is building an electrolyzer facility, and the renewables partner doesn’t have the wind farm up and running on time, it’s not in the hydrogen developer’s interest to terminate through a no-fault clause, given that they would then have a stranded asset and need to start over with another renewable power provider. Instead, Alexander says, the renewables partner can offset the losses by paying liquidated damages.

Commercial watch list

In terms of interesting commercial models for hydrogen, Alexander says he is watching the onsite modular hydrogen development space as well as power-to-fuels (natural gas, diesel, SAF), ammonia and methanol, given the challenges of transporting hydrogen.

“If you’re going to produce hydrogen, you need to produce it close to the place where it’s going to be consumed, because transporting it is hard. Or you need to turn it into something else that we already know how to transport – natural gas, renewable diesel, naphtha, ammonia.”

Alexander believes power-to-fuels projects and developers that are focused on smaller, on-site modular low-carbon hydrogen production are some of the most interesting to watch right now. Emitters are starting to realize they can lower their overall carbon footprint, he says, with a relatively small amount of low-carbon fuels and inputs.

“The argument there is to not completely replace an industrial gas supplier but to displace a little bit of it.”

At the same time, the mobility market may take off with help from US government incentives for hydrogen production and the growing realization that EVs might not provide a silver-bullet solution for decarbonizing transport, Alexander adds. However, hydrogen project developers targeting the mobility market are still competing with the cost of diesel, the current “bogey” for the hydrogen heavy mobility space, Alexander says.

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