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Advent Technologies receives Danish R&D funding

The project aims to develop power converters for use in fuel cell systems that ultimately serve heavy-duty mobility applications.

Advent Technologies has secured funding approval for a research and development project from the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP), according to a news release.

The project, titled ‘Modular Efficient Power Generation with Advanced Fuel Cell Power Converters’, has secured approximately $1.83m to date and is scheduled to kick off in the second quarter of 2024, spanning a three-year duration.

Funded by EUDP, the project will be overseen by a consortium that will also include Aalborg University – Department of Energy, TKT Electronics ApS and DanTrafo A/S.

“This initiative will pioneer the development of a cutting-edge modular, scalable, and high-density DC-DC power converter, specifically tailored for Advent’s next-generation High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HT-PEM) fuel cell applications,” the release states. “Advent’s next-generation HT-PEM fuel cell applications are built on the groundbreaking Ion-Pair™ Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) technology.”

That technology is commercialized by Advent, made available through the company’s participation in the US Department of Energy’s L’Innovator program, and developed in collaboration with US research institutions, such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“Advent’s Ion-Pair™ MEA technology aims to revolutionize the global fuel cell market by extending the expected lifetime of fuel cells to at least three times longer and delivering double the power density of Advent’s earlier fuel cell systems,” the release states. “This makes them ideal for heavy-duty mobility applications.”

Manufacturing of the fuel cell systems will take place in Kozani, Greece, as part of the EU-approved Green HiPo IPCEI Project.

Green HiPo encompasses the development, design, and manufacture of HT-PEM fuel cell systems and electrolyzer systems to produce power and hydrogen, respectively. Green HiPo will significantly contribute to the region of Western Macedonia’s transition from a coal-based economy to a greener economic model, with a new facility in Kozani serving as the production hub for fuel cells and electrolyzers.

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New Fortress Energy executives detail hydrogen project progress

New Fortress Energy executives detailed the amount of EBITDA they expect to generate — once fully operational — from three US green hydrogen projects under development.

Executives from New Fortress Energy believe the company will generate $150m of EBITDA from three green hydrogen projects when fully operational.

NFE’s ZeroPark I facility in Beaumont, Texas is the most advanced, having broken ground on construction after securing offtake for green hydrogen from OCI Global and contracting with Electric Hydrogen to install electrolyzers at the site.

The original design for the facility called for 100 MW of capacity or up to 50 tons per day of hydrogen production. The company is now increasing the scope of the facility to 200 MW or 100 tons per day, and expects to have the ability to turn on the facility next year with full operations entering 2025, NFE Managing Director Ken Nicholson said on an earnings call.

The company is pursuing two additional green hydrogen project developments, one in the Pacific Northwest and one in the Northeast that will start construction in the next six months.

“We have a fourth facility also on the Gulf Coast that we think is very interesting and we’re in advanced negotiations to secure that site,” Nicholson said.

The business segment, known as ZeroParks, will provide green hydrogen and hydrogen logistics terminals to customers in the energy, industrial and transportation sectors, he said. The terminals are focused on regional North American demand but are also on waterfront, allowing for expansion into exports to international markets.

“If all we do is build three parks in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast and down in Beaumont, this is a business that will generate $150m of EBITDA annually,” he said.

Meanwhile, the cost to build the facilities comes largely from debt financing with a borrowing rate under 5%, Nicholson said.

The company has said previously — and continues to stress in investor materials — that it will soon spin out ZeroParks into a pure-play green hydrogen business.

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LSB Industries outlines blue ammonia project economics

US fertilizer producer LSB Industries gives a glimpse at the economics of two in-development blue ammonia projects.

LSB Industries estimates its Houston Ship Channel blue ammonia project will add approximately $150m of EBITDA annually, CEO Mark Behrman said today.

The facility, which would produce approximately 1.1 million metric tons of ammonia and capture and sequester 1.6 million metric tons of CO2 annually, is currently in the pre-FEED phase and planned for construction on the Vopak Exolum Houston Ship Shuttle Ammonia Terminal.

Behrman gave a back-of-the envelope estimate assuming the cost of the facility would come in at $800m, resulting in the added $150m of annual EBITDA .

“If you could tell me what the cost is, we’re only in pre-FEED now, but if we used an $800m cost, and I’m not suggesting that that’s the cost, I think we really need to go through our engineering, and we look at the types of returns that we would want, I would guess that for a very stable and steady stream of income, it’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million annually,” Behrman said.

Oklahoma-based LSB will use a project finance model to fund the project, the company previously said, giving estimates of between $500m – $750 for the cost.

LSB expects initial offtakers based out of Japan and Korea, but Behrman said today that, more recently, “we have had conversations with potential European offtakers and are encouraged as we now believe Europe to be a viable target market as well.”

The company is developing the facility in partnership with INPEX, Japan’s largest E&P company, and plans to build and operate an ammonia synthesis loop using low-carbon hydrogen produced by Air Liquide, who will also handle the carbon capture and sequestration as well as the nitrogen supply.

El Dorado

Meanwhile, LSB expects to add up to $20m of EBITDA per year from the installation of a carbon capture unit at its ammonia facility in El Dorado, Arkansas.

LSB has partnered with Lapis Energy on the project, which will capture and sequester 450,000 metric tons of CO2 per year from El Dorado’s ammonia production. Lapis will receive 45Q tax credits of $85 per ton of CO2 sequestered and pay a fee to LSB for each ton.

In turn, LSB will produce 375,000 tons of low-carbon ammonia that can be sold at a premium, executives said on an investor call today.

“All combined, this should equate to an estimated 15 to $20 million in annual incremental EBITDA for LSB,” CEO Mark Behrman said.

“The main gating factor is the approval of our Class VI permit application from the EPA that will enable Lapis to begin construction and then capturing and permanently sequestering,” he said. Indications from the EPA are that they are on track to issue the permit during 2025, he added.

At the same time, LSB elected to delay the expansion of production capacity at the El Dorado facility citing commodity market conditions, planned turnarounds and other initiatives the company has underway.

The El Dorado expansion project has been selected to receive funding under the USDA Fertilzer Production Expansion Program, a financing element under which LSB expects to have five years to complete the project once approved for the grant.

LSB previously paused a green ammonia project planned for Pryor, Oklahoma, citing lower gas prices, higher power prices, and uncertainties around tax credit incentives under 45V that created conditions favoring blue ammonia projects.

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Nel to build electrolyzer gigafactory in Michigan

Norwegian electrolyzer manufacturer Nel will construct an electrolyzer plant in Michigan, building on its existing relationship with Detroit-based General Motors.

Norwegian electrolyzer manufacturer Nel will construct an electrolyzer plant in Michigan, building on its existing relationship with Detroit-based General Motors, according to a news release.

CEO Håkon Volldal said the company will make electrolyzers in the Detroit area to supply up to 4 GW worth of electrolyzers each year, making it among the largest such factories in the world.

“We’re thrilled to bring home up to $400 million in investment from Nel Hydrogen creating more than 500 good-paying, clean energy jobs right here in Michigan,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Volldal said earlier this year that the company had narrowed its search to three sites that could support a 2 GW manufacturing plant producing both PEM and alkaline electrolyzers.

Nel executives also said they would spend $25m to expand PEM electrolyzer production capacity at its Wallingford, Connecticut plant to 500 MW, from 50 MW currently. The company has received a $5.6m grant from the US Department of Defense for advanced PEM electrolyzer development. The Connecticut facility is estimated to be at full capacity by 2025.

“The choice of Michigan is based on an overall assessment of what the state can offer in terms of financial incentives, access to a highly skilled workforce, and cooperation with universities, research institutions, and strategic partners. I will also highlight the personal engagement from Governor Whitmer and her competent and service-minded team,” Volldal said.

Volldal emphasized that the short distance to General Motors, headquartered in Detroit, has played a decisive role in the choice of state. The two companies collaborate to develop further and improve Nel’s PEM electrolyser technology.

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Hydrogen developer raising equity for US and EU projects

A Washington, DC-based hydrogen developer has hired an advisor to raise equity for three projects in California, and is laying the groundwork for a second capital raise in the EU.

SGH2 Energy, a Washington D.C.-based hydrogen developer, is in the early stages of a process to raise project equity for its three California projects.

Morgan Stanley has been retained to run the process, which could result in taking on two investors, CEO Robert Do said in an interview. The company hopes to have the process wrapped up within three months, he added.

Do declined to disclose the amount he is seeking to raise, but said the company prefers a strategic investor that can co-develop projects outside of California.

Meanwhile, SGH2 has filled out 70% of the senior debt commitments it will need for its Lancaster, California plant, Do said. At the Lancaster plant, SGH2 plans to produce up to 12,000 kilograms (1,380 MMBtu) of clean hydrogen per day, and 4.5 million kilograms per year (517,000 MMBtu) from the conversion of 42,000 tons per year of rejected recycled mixed-paper waste.

An additional set of three projects in Germany, Belgium and Holland will need an equity provider as well, Do said. That process could launch at the end of this year and the company could hire additional financial advisors.

A less expensive proposition

In addition to the Lancaster plant, SGH2 is advancing a Bay Area agricultural waste-to-hydrogen project in Stockton and a Sierra Valley forest residue-to-hydrogen plant.

Lancaster has offtake agreements for 10 years, and the company is in talks with the same offtaker for the other projects.

SGH2’s process requires about five acres of land for a project, as opposed to about 300 acres for solar-powered electrolysis, Do said. The process also requires less water.

“It gives us a cost-competitiveness where we can be two-to-three times cheaper,” Do said.

SGH2 is exporting that process to Europe, Do said. The EU is still going through iterations of new legislation, particularly the Renewable Energy Directive III, that could clarify SGH2’s place in that market.

“Until the legislation is clear it’s hard to really launch the project and know what kind of support you’re getting,” Do said. SGH2 has sites, feedstock and development partners in place for Europe.

SGH2 was spun off from a technology development company that raised about $50m from various VC firms and energy companies, Do said. He is the controlling owner of SGH2.

Do plans to expand across the globe and will be raising money to fund projects in Korea, South Africa and elsewhere.

“There will be indeed opportunities for us to work with additional bankers and funders,” he said.

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exclusive

Arizona RNG firm seeking equity capital

A renewable natural gas developer with sites proposed in southern California and Arizona is seeking additional equity investors.

True North Renewable Energy Company, a Phoenix-based waste-to-energy developer, is undergoing a Series B equity raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Whitehall & Company is advising, the sources said.

True North develops, builds, and operates organics-to-energy facilities, including large, regional, high solids anaerobic digestion infrastructure, according to its website.

The firm is primarily active in southern California and Arizona. Sites have been announced in Imperial County, Kern County and Mojave (all in California) as well as Yuma County, Arizona. Collectively, these could produce up to 3m mmbtu per annum, using up to 700,000 tons of organic compost from regional farms.

The company is a holding of True North Venture Partners, of Phoenix and Chicago.

TNRE and Whitehall did not respond to requests for comment.

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Exclusive: Hydrocarbon recycling firm raising pre-IPO equity

An early-stage company capturing and recycling CO2 from hydrocarbon engines in the northeastern US and Germany has hired an investment bank to help them with a public listing and is raising pre-IPO platform equity.

ESG Clean Energy, a Massachusetts-based carbon capture and recycling firm formed in 2016, plans to go public in 2025 but will first raise pre-IPO platform equity, CEO Nick Scuderi said in an interview.

ESG Clean Energy will change its name in a re-brand and has hired an investment bank to help with the IPO, which does not yet have a targeted quarter, Scuderi said. He declined to name the advisor.

After the name change but prior to the public listing, ESG is seeking to raise between $20m and $40m in platform equity, he said. The company is interested in a traditional IPO, not a SPAC or private debut opportunity.

Angel investors have backed the company to date, with some $40m total raised, Scuderi said. He owns a controlling stake in the company.

Power, water and CO2

ESG Clean Energy, billed as a thermal dynamics and fluid mechanics engineering company, has patented technology for use in fossil combustion engines – both piston-driven engines and bottoming cycles (secondary thermal dynamic waste-to-energy systems). Exhaust is treated to produce CO2 and water.

The technology is commercialized, producing power at a facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts under a 5 MW/20-year PPA with Holyoke Gas & Electric. The 5,000 square-foot plant in the city proper has two Caterpillar G3520 natural gas engines each producing 2 MW of power running on natural gas during peak hours.

The waste-heat from Holyoke One is used to create commodities, including distilled water.

“What we have is a design, a system, where we utilize our technology to separate the water from the exhaust,” Scuderi said. “We can utilize this technology in any power plant in the US that’s running on natural gas.”

In arid regions, the distilled water aspect has obvious potential. The Holyoke One facility makes up to 14,000 gallons of distilled water per day, Scuderi said.

The system is also applicable in ICE engines, Suderi said. The company has been in discussions with auto manufacturers to license ESG’s IP; he declined to name which auto companies.

The CO2 is sold to offtakers who do not re-emit it into the atmosphere, such as cannabis growers and CO2 beverage makers. ESG is also able to sell carbon credits.

Bankable opportunities in the US and Germany

Holyoke One, at a cost of $20m, can be replicated throughout the US and, post-IPO, ESG has eyes on power projects in New England, California and Florida, Scuderi said.

Power plants that produce from 100 MWh to 200 MWh will cost between $400m and $450m, and each of those projects will be set up as a separate LLC, Scuderi said. The demand is particularly large in powering data storage.

“We have different [investment] funds that are very large that are willing to put up the money” to fund the projects, Scuderi said. “It’s bankable because the power sales agreement is tied to a data storage company that’s triple-A rated.”

Data-heavy geographies like Virginia are targets for this kind of development, and ESG plans to sharpen its focus on these projects, as well as project finance efforts, following the IPO.

Now, the company has six large scale projects in development in Germany, including one advanced project serving a cloud computing offtaker in the Berlin area, needing 150 MW to 200 MW of power per hour, Scuderi said.

“In Germany, we’re very far along with getting power sales agreements,” he said. “Once we deploy this technology in one location, the world’s going to want it.”

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