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Aemetis closes $53m tax credit transfer from RNG

The company expects it will qualify for more than $800m in ITC and PTC tax credits over the next five years.

Aemetis, Inc. a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on negative carbon intensity products, closed the sale of $53m of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) investment tax credits generated by its subsidiary Aemetis Biogas LLC to a corporate purchaser on September 29, 2023.

This sale is the company’s first IRA tax credit transaction.  The Section 48 investment tax credits were generated from biogas projects built by Aemetis Biogas, including six dairy digesters, a biogas pipeline and a renewable natural gas (RNG) production facility, Aemetis said in a press release.

The Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in August 2022, and provides for the issuance of transferable federal income tax credits for certain renewable fuel projects and products.

“We believe that this $5m tax credit sale is the largest IRA tax credit transaction in the dairy biogas industry, demonstrating the transferability of tax credits under the federal Inflation Reduction Act and the ability of renewable fuels projects to generate funding from IRA tax credits to support investments,” stated Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “The Aemetis Five Year Plan is expected to qualify for more than $800m of IRA investment and production tax credits during the next four years to support our biogas projects, CO2 re-use by our ethanol plant, the construction of our sustainable aviation fuel plant and CO2 sequestration.”

Aemetis Biogas is building anaerobic digesters at California dairies to capture biomethane from animal waste. Aemetis has seven operating digesters and is actively growing with an additional five digesters under construction and a total of the 37 dairies under contract to supply animal waste. After removal of contaminants and pressurization of gas at the dairy, a biogas pipeline connects the dairies to a centralized facility located at the Aemetis Keyes ethanol plant where the biogas is upgraded into below zero carbon intensity RNG.  The RNG is injected into PG&E’s natural gas pipeline for delivery to transportation fuel customers in California.

Aemetis is also building its own RNG fueling station at the Keyes ethanol plant to fuel trucks with locally produced renewable natural gas that provides a 90% reduction in emissions compared to petroleum diesel fuel.

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Schlumberger changes name to SLB, eyes hydrogen opportunities

Schlumberger has changed its name to SLB and is exploring opportunities in the hydrogen sector, among other areas in its New Energy business.

Schlumberger has changed its name to SLB, according to a press release.

The change underscores the company’s commitment to a decarbonized future, the release states.

In 2020, SLB launched its New Energy business to explore partnerships and opportunities in clean technology. Hydrogen is one of five areas SLB is looking to develop through New Energy, along with carbon solutions, geothermal and geoenergy, energy storage and critical minerals.

This includes Genvia, a clean hydrogen technology company formed as a public/private partnership with France’s renewables research agency, CEA, and other partners.

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CAD $20m awarded to 18 Alberta hydrogen projects

The total value of the funded projects, including matching investments for project partners, is more than CAD $200m.

The Alberta Hydrogen Centre of Excellence is awarding CAD $20m to 18 projects to advance innovations in hydrogen through its first funding competition, according to a press release.

A full list of the projects can be seen here.

One of the projects is the proposed Bremner 100% Hydrogen Community in Strathcona County, Alberta. ATCO and Qualico are studying the logistics, technology requirements and other considerations involved in developing 100% pure hydrogen communities – an step toward eliminating carbon emissions produced by hot water use.

“Other successful projects in the competition will examine the safe and effective use of pipelines for hydrogen transmission,” the release states. “Another project will look at how to convert heavy-duty long-haul trucks to dual-fuel machines. In all, projects will examine everything from production, transmission, distribution, and storage, to end-uses of hydrogen.”

A total of 68 project proposals were received. The HCOE will fund up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for the successful projects, or up to 75 per cent of eligible costs for projects led by post-secondary institutions, or those with a significant Indigenous component.

The total value of the funded projects, including matching investments for project partners, is more than CAD $200m. Projects have 24 months to complete their proposed work.

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Woodside Energy invests in US CO2-to-protein technology company

Woodside will invest $3m into California-based NovoNutrients under a technology development agreement.

NovoNutrients has announced the signing of a technology development agreement under which Woodside Energy would contribute up to $3m to NovoNutrients, subject to the completion of certain milestones by NovoNutrients, according to a news release.

NovoNutrients’ technology converts industrial CO2 emissions into high-quality protein, with the potential to abate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the world’s food and feed supply. The collaboration with NovoNutrients is aligned with Woodside’s view of carbon capture and utilization (CCU) as an emerging field offering alternative lower-carbon solutions.

NovoNutrients’ technology has been operating at a lab-scale. This agreement supports the construction and operation of a larger pilot-scale system. The pilot-scale system will seek to both advance the design of commercial-scale plants and deliver increased sample product volume for further validation by NovoNutrients’ strategic partners, including Woodside.

“Our agreement with Woodside means, together, we can deliver meaningful carbon benefits sooner, while also tackling the world’s need for protein,” said David Tze, CEO of NovoNutrients.

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See all 79 DOE hydrogen hub applicants

The list, obtained by this publication, shows whether projects were ‘encouraged’ or ‘discouraged’ to submit a final application.

The complete list of 79 applicants to the US Department of Energy’s hydrogen hub funding opportunity includes previously unreported projects from oil majors and renewable energy giants.

The list, obtained by this publication via a FOIA request, shows whether or not projects were ‘encouraged’ or ‘discouraged’ by the DOE to submit a final application before the April 7, 2023 deadline. The program is expected to offer $8bn in federal funding for six to 10 clean hydrogen hubs, with no single project receiving more than $1.25bn. A decision of funding recipients is expected this fall.

Over nearly nine months, the DOE FOIA office was unwilling to send information about the initial 79 applications that were submitted last year, citing confidential materials in the concept papers. The resulting list is therefore scant in details, showing only the name of the project and the lead entity.

While many of the concepts have been publicly announced by proponents, several major projects that have not been reported previously appear on the list: among others, ExxonMobil was encouraged to apply for funding for a project called “Hydrogen Liftoff Hub”; and NextEra has a “Southeast Hydrogen Network” project, which was also encouraged to apply.

The full list of project names and proponents has been added to The Hydrogen Source’s project database, which now showcases over 370 projects in North America, including hydrogen, ammonia, and sustainable aviation fuel as well as eFuels, carbon capture, direct air capture, and more.

The full database is available only to paid subscribers. Simply click over to the database and select the “DOE applicants” filter for the full list.

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Exclusive: OCI Global exploring ammonia and methanol asset sales

Global ammonia and methanol producer OCI Global is working with an investment bank to explore a sale of ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

OCI Global is evaluating a sale of several ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

The global producer and distributor of methanol and ammonia is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its ammonia production facility in Beaumont, Texas, as well as the co-located blue ammonia project under development, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The evaluation also includes OCI’s methanol business, one of the sources said.

Representatives of OCI and Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.

As part of the earlier strategic review announced last year, OCI in December announced the divestiture of its 50% stake in Fertiglobe to ADNOC, and the sale of its Iowa Fertilizer Company to Koch Industries, bringing in $6.2bn in total net proceeds.

However, OCI has received additional inbound inquiries from potential acquirers for the remaining business, leading it to re-open the review, CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said last month on OCI’s 4Q23 earnings call.

“As such, OCI is exploring further value creative strategic actions across the portfolio, including the previously announced equity participation in its Texas blue clean ammonia project,” he said, adding: “All options are on the table.”

The comments echoed the remarks of Nassef Sawiris, a 40% shareholder of OCI, who recently told the Financial Times that OCI could sell off most of its assets and become a shell for acquisitions.

In the earnings presentation, El-Hoshy took time to lay out the remaining pieces of the business: in particular, OCI’s 350 ktpa ammonia facility in Beaumont; OCI Methanol Group, encompassing 2 million tons of production capacity in the US and a shuttered Dutch methanol plant; and its European ammonia/nitrogen assets.

Texas blue

The Texas blue ammonia project is a 1.1 million-tons-per-year facility that OCI touts as the only greenfield blue ammonia project to reach FID to date. The company has invested $500m in the project as of February 24, out of a total $1bn expected investment, according to a presentation.

“Commercial discussions for long-term product offtake and equity investments in the project are at advanced stages with multiple parties,” El-Hoshy said. “This reflects the very strong commercial interest and increasing appetite from the strategics to pay a price premium to secure long-term low-carbon ammonia.”

El-Hoshy’s comments highlight the fact that, unlike most projects in development, OCI took FID on the Texas blue facility without an offtake agreement in place. The executive did, however, highlight the first-mover cost advantages from breaking ground on the project early and avoiding construction cost inflation.

Additionally, the project was designed to accommodate a second 1.1 mtpa blue ammonia production line, which would be easier to build given existing utilities and infrastructure, El-Hoshy said, allowing for an opportunity to capitalize on additional clean ammonia demand at low development costs.

“Line 2 probably has the biggest advantage, we think, in North America in terms of building a plant where a lot of the existing outside the battery limits items and utilities are already in place,” he said, emphasizing that by moving early on the first phase, they avoided some of the inflationary EPC pressures of recent years. 

At the facility OCI will buy clean hydrogen and nitrogen over the fence from Linde, and Linde, in turn, will capture and sequester CO2 via an agreement with ExxonMobil.

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exclusive

Renewable hydrogen developer in exclusivity with strategic investor

A renewable hydrogen developer based in the western US is reaching the final stages of a capital raise with an investor in exclusivity.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, is in exclusivity with clean energy investment platform Modern Energy, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

ReSource reported in February that GreenFront Energy Partners was advising the company on a Series A.

NovoHydrogen CEO Matt McMonagle said previously that the company has about 30 projects in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts. Its most active markets are the West coast, Northeast, Appalachia, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, though the company is not geographically constrained.

The company aims to begin construction on its first projects by the end of this year, the executive had said.

NovoHydrogen declined to comment. GreenFront and Modern Energy did not respond to requests for comment.

Modern Energy, a certified B-Corporation, recently put $90m into net metered solar developer Industrial Sun along with partner EIG. In 2020 EIG committed USD 100m to Modern Energy through a debt facility to fund the development of clean energy assets.

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