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Advent Technologies purchases 10m shares of common stock

The Boston firm previously announced intentions to collaborate on deployment of methanol-based fuel cells and green methanol generation development.

Advent Technologies, the Boston-based fuel cell and hydrogen tech firm, has entered into securities purchase agreements with investors to purchase 10m shares of common stock in a registered direct offering at a per share purchase price of $0.20, according to a news release.

The transaction, generating gross proceeds of $2m, is expected to close before the end of the year. Joseph Gunnar & Co. is acting as the exclusive placement agent for the offering.

In September Advent entered an MOU with Emergent Waste for deployment of methanol-based fuel cells and development of large-scale green methanol generation plants.

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OCOChem raises $5m seed round

The Washington-based startup has partnered with investor INPEX to evaluate collaboration opportunities on the transportation of CO2 and clean hydrogen.

Carbon conversion startup OCOchem has raised $5m in Seed funding from lead investor TO VC, according to a news release.

Japan’s INPEX Corp., the LCY Lee Family Office, and MIH Capital Management also participated in the round. They join Halliburton Labs, Halliburton Company’s energy and climate tech accelerator, which has been supporting OCOChem since 2021.

The Richland, Wash.-based company is commercializing a way to make highly versatile carbon-neutral platform molecules by electrochemically converting recycled CO2, water and clean electricity into formic acid and formate chemicals, for use in agricultural and industrial applications.

“Using renewable energy, OCOChem’s technology enables the conversion of water and carbon dioxide into formic acid, which is stable under ambient conditions.” The release states. “The formic acid can also be converted to useful carbon and hydrogen components with minimal energy input.”

In addition to investing in the company, INPEX, Japan’s largest oil and gas production company, has partnered with OCOchem to evaluate collaboration opportunities leveraging the company’s technology to transport CO2 and clean hydrogen.

OCOchem will use the new funds to scale its modular carbon conversion technology to industrial proportions and build a pilot plant for commercial demonstration operations.

“Using OCOchem technology and clean electricity, we can now do what plants and trees have been able to do for billions of years — convert CO2 and water into useful organic molecules using clean energy. But unlike photosynthesis, we can do it faster and more efficiently at a lower cost, using much less land,” said Todd Brix, co-founder and CEO of OCOchem, in the news release.

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NuScale Power, Shell to research hydrogen production from modular nuclear reactor

NuScale, Shell, and industry participants will assess a concept for an energy system for hydrogen production using small modular reactor technology.

Portland, Oregon-based NuScale Power, LLC (NuScale) along with Shell Global Solutions (Shell) and industry participants will develop and assess a concept for an economically optimized Integrated Energy System (IES) for hydrogen production using electricity and process heat from a NuScale VOYGR™ small modular reactor (SMR) power plant, according to a press release.

The project, entitled, “Development and Demonstration of a Concept for an Economically Optimized IES,” will be completed in two phases. Additional research participants include Idaho National Laboratory, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), Fuel Cell Energy, FPoliSolutions, and GSE Solutions.

NuScale’s flexible SMR technology holds the potential to balance and stabilize power grids dominated by renewable energies through hydrogen production, the release states. Energy markets present reliability concerns at times when energy demand is high and renewable energy production is low. In these markets, hydrogen would be used as an end-product or as a stored energy source to be processed through a Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (RSOFC) for electricity generation.

“Hydrogen has been identified as a pathway for global decarbonization and NuScale’s SMR technology complements this goal through low carbon hydrogen production,” said John Hopkins, NuScale Power president and chief executive officer.

A NuScale control room simulator will be modified to evaluate the dynamics of the IES and will include models for the Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) system for hydrogen production, in addition to a RSOFC for electricity production. The research will consider the number of NuScale Power Modules™ needed for use in SOEC hydrogen production and the quantity of hydrogen stored for subsequent electricity production. Further, local economic factors from the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project will be assessed, such as the impact in the Western Energy Imbalance Market, resource adequacy programs, and other local market factors to be defined.

“We are pleased to join this collaboration, which is in line with our efforts to explore technologies that have the potential to enable decarbonization and support the energy transition,” said Dirk Smit, vice president of research strategy at Shell.

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M2X partners on gas-to-methanol-to-hydrogen pathway

M2X and Element 1 are pursuing a joint research and development program on the use of M2X’s low-carbon methanol as a feedstock for point-of-use hydrogen production.

M2X Energy, a startup company with a proprietary process technology that converts stranded gas into low-carbon methanol, and Element 1 Corp, a global leader in advanced hydrogen generation systems for the fuel cell industry, are conducting a joint research and development program to explore the use of M2X low-carbon methanol as a feedstock for point-of-use hydrogen production.

Element 1 is demonstrating the viability of low-carbon methanol produced by M2X’s gas-to-methanol unit as a feedstock for its hydrogen generation unit, and subsequent conversion to electricity, according to a news release.

The process technologies developed by the two companies can unlock the potential for clean energy production in demanding locations, where power grids are overloaded, and operating conditions require adaptability and grid independence. After confirming that M2X’s low-carbon methanol is a suitable feedstock for Element 1’s methanol-to-hydrogen systems, methane-rich stranded gases that today are often flared or vented, may instead be harnessed for downstream stationary power applications, hydrogen refueling stations, and on-board generation for hydrogen-fueled road vehicles, trains, and maritime vessels.

Early testing of methanol produced by M2X Energy shows promising results for unlocking hydrogen as a cost-competitive and low-carbon chemical sourced from stranded gases. “M2X is excited about this collaboration with Element 1. Serving as a supplier of low-carbon methanol for Element 1’s process equipment demonstrates our product market fit and the value of M2X low-carbon methanol as an attractive, low-cost hydrogen carrier, especially during the energy transition,” commented Paul Yelvington, Chief Science Officer at M2X.

With details emerging on the implementation of production credits for hydrogen and clean fuels in the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act (e.g., 45V and 45Z), M2X Energy and Element 1 are well-positioned to provide an integrated pathway to cost-competitive, low-carbon hydrogen with greatly simplified logistics for production, transportation, and storage.

Dave Edlund, co-founder and CEO of Element 1 Corp, said, “Low-carbon methanol, such as that produced by the M2X process, offers the most economical and practical pathway to widespread adoption of grid-independent electricity production while maintaining a low-carbon footprint. We are pleased to be partnering with M2X Energy on this important demonstration.”

This cross-industry collaboration aligns with the strategic priorities announced at COP28 for reducing methane emissions and expanding the role of hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier. It lays the groundwork for future commercial partnerships for the supply of M2X Energy’s low-carbon methanol in deployed hydrogen generation equipment using the Element 1 technology.

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California renewables firm in talks for green fuel co-development

A utility-scale solar and storage developer based in California has started outreach and discussions to have green fuels projects co-developed at some of its larger sites in the western US.

RAI Energy, the California-based solar and storage developer, has started to engage with other companies about developing green fuels along with its utility-scale projects, CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said in an interview.

RAI recently took a development loan from Leyline Renewable Capital. That transaction ends a process launched by Keybanc first reported by The Hydrogen Source.

Alrai remains the 100% equity owner, he said. The liquidity from Leyline will last about two years.

The company’s most impending projects are in Colorado and California, Alrai said. Discussions around green fuels envision a partner coming in as a co-developer and customer for RAI’s renewable power.

“We’re definitely open to entering into conversations with all stakeholders,” Alrai said, adding that the effort could require capital raising. “We will be coming to the market to potentially raise equity.”

RAI is moving toward long-term ownership and operation of projects, he said. The company could also sell projects to raise capital.

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Siemens Energy planning new US electrolyzer capacity

The company is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Siemens Energy North America is laying the groundwork for new electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the United States, President Richard Voorberg said during a panel discussion recently.

Siemens Energy, a global energy technology company, makes an 18 MW PEM electrolyzer, one of the largest in the world, and is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Voorberg said.

The company is building its first gigawatt factory in Berlin, Germany via a joint venture with France’s Air Liquide. The Berlin factory is expected to produce 1 GW of PEM electrolyzers per year starting in mid-2023.

“As soon as we get that first one up and running… I’ve got a plan already to put a 1,000 MW line in the US,” Voorberg said, speaking during an event at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington D.C. last month.

Siemens’ existing manufacturing capacity in the US could expand to accommodate that new line, or the company could look to build an entirely new facility, Voorberg said. He added that the recently passed IRA helps makes the business case to do so.

Following the IRA, customers went from asking for fractions of a megawatt to seeking 2 GW in a single order, Voorberg said. His 18 MW line is now insufficient.

“We’ve got to scale up,” he said. “Scale is everything.”

Voorberg said his company sees hydrogen being used in electricity production around 2035, but mobility can use it now.

The planned move by Siemens underscores the extent to which the IRA legislation has trained the hydrogen industry’s focus on the U.S. Norway-based electrolyzer producer Nel is speeding efforts to expand electrolyzer capacity in the U.S. And Cummins announced last month that it would add electrolyzer production space at its existing facility in Fridley, Minnesota.

Siemens Energy is independent of Siemens AG, having spun off in 2020. The company has about 10,000 employees in the US and roughly 2,000 in Canada.

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Denver green ammonia firm prepping series C capital raise

A green ammonia developer and technology provider is laying the groundwork for a series C capital raise later this year, and still deliberating on a site for its first project.

Starfire Energy, a Denver-based green ammonia producer, is wrapping up a series B capital raise and laying the groundwork for a series C later this year, CEO Joe Beach said in an interview.

The company completed a $6.5m series A in 2021 and finished a $24m series B last year. Investors include Samsung Ventures, AP Ventures, Çalık Enerji, Chevron Technology Ventures, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Osaka Gas USA, Pavilion Capital and the Rockies Venture Club.

Beach declined to state a target figure for the upcoming raise. The firm has not used a financial advisor to date.

Starfire is currently deliberating on locations for its first production facility to come online in 2026, Beach said. Colorado is a primary contender due to ammonia demand, while the Great Plains offer abundant wind energy.

The firm’s strategy is to use renewable energy and surplus nuclear power from utilities to create ammonia from hydrogen with no storage component, eliminating the problems associated with hydrogen storage and transportation.

Targeted offtake industries include agriculture, maritime shipping and peaking power fuel consumption.

“The demand is global,” Beach said, stating that he expects about 150 leads to convert to MOUs. “We get inbound interest every week.”

For future capital raising, Beach said the company could take on purely financial investors, as it already has a long list of strategic investors.

“The expectation is we will wind up with manufacturing plants around the world,” Beach said.

The “new petroleum”

Many hydrogen production projects have been announced worldwide in the last year.

Beach said he expects many of those to transition into ammonia production projects, as ammonia is much easier to export.

Now, Starfire is working on developing its ammonia cracking technology, which converts ammonia into an ammonia/hydrogen blend at the point of use for chemical processes. The final product form in that process is 70% ammonia, 22.5% hydrogen and 7.5% nitrogen – all free of emissions.

The company is using proceeds of its series B capital raise to develop its Rapid Ramp and Prometheus Fire systems. Rapid Ramp uses a modular system design for the production of green ammonia using air, water, and renewable energy as the sole inputs. Prometheus Fire is an advanced cracking system that converts ammonia into hydrogen, operating at lower temperatures than other crackers and creating cost-effective ammonia-hydrogen blends that can replace natural gas.

The advantage to using this technology is that it makes the export of a hydrogen product financially feasible, Beach said.

“You should see ammonia becoming the new petroleum,” he said of the global industry. Ammonia can be deployed internationally like oil and provide the dependability of coal.

Eventually Starfire will undergo a financial exit, Beach said. Likely that will mean an acquisition, but an IPO is also on the table.

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