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Aemetis receives air permits for Riverbank SAF plant

The Authority to Construct permits were issued by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District following a technical review and two public comment periods.

Aemetis, Inc., a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on low and negative carbon intensity products, today announced receipt of the Authority to Construct (ATC) air permits for its planned sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel (RD) production plant in Riverbank, California, according to a news release.

The plant is designed to produce 90 million gallons per year when allocating 50% to SAF and 50% to renewable diesel production, and 78 million gallons per year when allocating 100% of production to SAF for the aviation market.

The Authority to Construct permits were issued by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District following an extensive technical review and two public comment periods.  In September 2023, Aemetis received approval from the City of Riverbank for the Use Permit and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review after a separate technical review and public comment process. Together, these permits are the key permits needed for Aemetis to proceed with engineering and financing to construct the plant.

“Building our sustainable aviation fuel business is a high priority to meet rapidly increasing global demand for SAF from airlines,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “Achieving this essential permitting milestone is a critical step in advancing the project to financing, procurement, and construction. Reflecting the positive environment for replacing petroleum jet fuel with SAF, the $380 billion Inflation Reduction Act includes specific SAF tax credits to support this type of project, and the USDA has provided financing support for other Aemetis renewable fuels projects to enable attractive 20-year guaranteed funding from lenders,” added McAfee.

The 125-acre Riverbank Industrial Complex has 100% renewable hydroelectricity; a rail line and storage for 120 railcars; 710,000 square feet of buildings; and 50 acres of developable industrial land. An agreement for the lease/sale of the Riverbank Industrial Complex to a subsidiary of Aemetis was signed in December 2021.

The Aemetis Five Year Plan projects that the Aemetis sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel plant will generate $672 million of revenues with $195 million of adjusted EBITDA in 2027.

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Visolis and Ginko Bioworks team up on synthetic rubber and SAF ingredient production

The two companies are leveraging each other to achieve commercial development of a monomer used in the production of synthetic rubber and SAF.

Visolis, a California-based sustainable materials company, has formed a partnership with cell programming and biosecurity firm Ginkgo Bioworks to reach commercial production of a key feedstock ingredient used to make bio-based isoprene and SAF, according to a news release.

Isoprene is a monomer used for commercial scale synthetic rubber production.

“Achieving the production of bio-based isoprene at scale represents a significant step toward decarbonizing tire manufacturing,” the release states. “Isoprene can also be used as an intermediate for high performance, lower carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.”

Achieving bio-based isoprene production at scale is difficult because the molecule is highly volatile and combustible.

“Visolis has developed a novel process by using a more stable intermediate, making isoprene through a two-step manufacturing process and enabling more efficient and reliable production,” the release states. “Through the partnership with Ginkgo, the two companies are working to further optimize the efficiency of this biomanufacturing process.”

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Air Liquide and Siemens inaugurate Berlin electrolyzer factory

With one gigawatt currently, the companies expect a ramp-up to annual production capacity of three gigawatts by 2025.

Air Liquide and Siemens Energy officially inaugurated their joint venture gigawatt electrolyzer factory today in Berlin.

The mass production of electrolyzer components will allow the manufacturing of low-carbon hydrogen at industrial scale and competitive cost, and foster an innovative European ecosystem. The gigawatt factory will ramp-up to an annual production capacity of three gigawatts by 2025, according to a news release.

Located in Berlin, the new manufacturing site inaugurated today spans over 2,000 square meters. It leverages automation and robotics for the series production of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer modules, the main component of the electrolyzer. The PEM modules offer a high degree of efficiency and are particularly adapted to an intermittent renewable energy supply.

With one gigawatt currently, Air Liquide and Siemens Energy expect a ramp-up to annual production capacity of three gigawatts by 2025. Once produced, the assembly of the modules to be implemented in electrolyzer projects can be carried closer to the project sites, contributing further to the cost effectiveness of the solution.

The strategic partnership benefits from a portfolio of hydrogen projects combining both Air Liquide and Siemens Energy’s pipelines, targeting large industrial-scale projects worldwide in collaboration with customers.

In Europe, a number of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen projects are already under development. In Oberhausen, Germany, the Air Liquide’s Trailblazer 20 MW large-scale electrolyzer project is reaching completion and aims to accelerate the decarbonization of the Rhine-Ruhr industrial basin. Near Port-Jérôme, France, the Air Liquide Normand’Hy 200 MW electrolyzer project is the largest PEM electrolyzer under construction, avoiding the emission of 250,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Both groups are working on several other large-scale electrolyzer projects, such as Siemens Energy’s ones in Kassø (Denmark) or FlagshipONE (Sweden), which will provide hydrogen for the synthesis of efuels for shipping.

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Chevron acquires majority interest in ACES Delta

ACES Delta is developing the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project in Delta, Utah. Chevron last year backed out of its plans to acquire a stake in the joint venture.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc., through its Chevron New Energies division, announced it has closed a transaction with Haddington Ventures to acquire 100% of Magnum Development, LLC (Magnum Development) and thus a majority interest in ACES Delta, LLC (ACES Delta), which is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc. (Mitsubishi Power) and Magnum Development, according to a news release.

ACES Delta is developing the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project in Delta, Utah.

Chevron last year backed out of its plans to acquire a stake in the joint venture.

The Advanced Clean Energy Storage project plans to use electrolysis to convert renewable energy into hydrogen and will utilize solution-mined salt caverns for seasonal, dispatchable storage of the energy.

The first project, designed to convert and store up to 100 metric tons per day of hydrogen, is under construction and is expected to enter commercial-scale operations in mid-2025 to support the Intermountain Power Project’s “IPP Renewed” initiative. Several other opportunities for the project to produce and supply hydrogen to customers in the utility, transportation and industrial sectors in the western region of the United States are in development.

“As we continue to pursue lower carbon energy solutions, we are excited to move forward with the Advanced Clean Energy Storage hydrogen project, through our acquisition of Magnum Development and partnership with Mitsubishi Power, to build on Chevron’s 75-year history in Utah,” said Austin Knight, vice president, Hydrogen, Chevron New Energies. “We seek to leverage the unique strengths of each partner to develop a large-scale, hydrogen platform that provides affordable, reliable, ever-cleaner energy and helps our customers achieve their lower carbon goals.”

As part of broader efforts to pursue lower carbon energy solutions, Chevron New Energies is working to enhance demand for lower carbon intensity hydrogen – and the technologies that support cost-effective supply – as a commercially viable alternative in the transportation, power, and industrial sectors where greenhouse gas emissions are hard to abate.

“Reaching this milestone in the development of our hydrogen project will not only have significant benefits to the western U.S. population, but it will also serve as a blueprint for future hydrogen opportunities,” said Michael Ducker, senior vice president of Hydrogen Infrastructure for Mitsubishi Power. “With Chevron New Energies’ involvement, we expect to expand hydrogen supply more quickly. Together, we are investing in the future of hydrogen, helping to create a viable, cost-competitive market for emerging lower carbon solutions.”

“People look to Utah as the place where we work together to find solutions addressing today’s biggest challenges,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. “This announcement demonstrates that our state has fostered a landscape where clean energy innovation is possible.”

“I look forward to this partnership with Chevron in the ACES Delta mission. Chevron will add tremendous strategic value as we develop a hydrogen production and storage facility,” said Craig Broussard, president, CEO and board chairman of Magnum Development.

“Haddington Ventures is very excited to see Chevron coming on board as the new majority owner at ACES Delta,” said John Strom, managing director, Haddington Ventures. “Having been the primary financial sponsor behind this key energy hub since 2008, we believe this transaction will accelerate lower carbon intensity solutions that reduce emissions in the western United States. Haddington Ventures will remain committed to the success of ACES Delta through its role in management of the investment vehicle that is providing construction equity to the current project.”

Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. served as financial advisor to Chevron. Jefferies LLC served as financial advisor to Haddington.

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Hydrogen firm launches equity raise

A US hydrogen infrastructure and project development outfit has mandated a banker to conduct a raise for equity and project capital.

Lifte H2, the Boston-based hydrogen infrastructure and project developer, has mandated a banker to conduct a Series A capital raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Energy & Industrial Advisory Partners is running the process, which launched recently, the sources said. Lifte H2 is seeking equity in the topco and development capital for its first project.

Talks with strategic and financial investors are being conducted now.

Lifte H2, which also has offices in Berlin, is led by Co-founder and CEO Matthew Blieske, who served as global hydrogen product manager for Shell before starting Lifte H2 in 2021. The founding team also includes Jeremy Manaus, Angela Akroyd, Richard Zhang, Paul Karzel, and Richard Wiens, all of whom previously worked at Shell.

In January, the company launched two hydrogen transport and dispensing products, the MACH₂ Mobile Refueler, which is a combination dispenser and high-capacity trailer; and the MACH2 High-Capacity Hydrogen Trailer, which has a capacity of 1,330 kg at approximately 550 bar and, according to the company, enables the lowest cost per kilogram for over-the-road transport.

The company signed an MOU last year with Swiss compressor manufacturer Burckhardt Compression to develop a joint offering of hydrogen solutions.

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Pennsylvania blue hydrogen DevCo planning project equity raise

A natural gas company has tapped an advisor and is planning to launch a process to raise project equity in the fall for a blue hydrogen production facility with contracted offtake in Pennsylvania.

KeyState Energy, a Pennsylvania-based development company, has engaged a financial advisor to launch a $60m equity process in September, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Young America Capital is advising on the forthcoming process, the sources said.

The capital raise is for the company’s marquee Natural Gas Synthesis blue hydrogen project in Clinton County, one of the sources said. CapEx for the project is estimated at $1.5bn. OCGI is a pre-FEED investor in the project and the coming equity raise is meant to attract a FEED investor.

The 200 mtpd project has contracted offtake with Nikola Corporation, one of the sources said. In October it was reported that Nikola and KeyState were working towards a definitive agreement to expand the hydrogen supply for Nikola’s zero-emissions heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles.

The 7,000-acre natural gas and geologic storage site was formerly known for coal, iron and rail, according to the company’s website.

KeyState Energy did not respond to a request for comment. YAC declined to comment.

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Waste-to-energy company interviewing advisors for strategic capital raise

Vancouver-based Klean Industries plans to run a process to raise between $250m – $500m of capital to deploy into projects, some of which would use green hydrogen to upgrade recovered fuel and pyrolysis oils.

Waste-to-energy specialist Klean Industries is interviewing financial advisors and planning to run a process to find investors for a strategic capital raise.

The Vancouver-based company is seeking to raise between $250m – $500m in a minority stake sale that would value the company around $1bn, Klean CEO Jesse Klinkhamer said in an interview.

Klean had previously intended to list on the NASDAQ exchange but those plans were nixed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. The company still plans to list publicly in 2024 or 2025.

Proceeds from a capital raise now would be used to “rapidly deploy” into the projects that Klean is advancing around the globe, Klinkhamer said.

For one of those projects – a flagship tire pyrolysis plant in Boardman, Oregon – Klean is raising non-recourse debt to finance construction, the executive said. Klinkhammer declined to name the advisor for the project financing but said news would be out soon and added that the company has aligned itself with infrastructure funds willing to provide non-recourse debt for the facility.

The Boardman project, which is expected to cost roughly $135m, is an expansion of an existing site where Klean will use its advanced thermal conversion technology to recover fuel oil, steel, and refined carbon black from recycled tires. The end products are comparable to virgin commodities with the exception of being more cost-effective with a lower carbon footprint.

“A lot of what we do is of paramount interest to a lot of the ESG-focused infrastructure investors that are focused on assets that tick all the boxes,” Klinkhamer said, noting the consistent output of the waste-to-energy plants that Klean is building along with predictable prices for energy sourced from renewable power.

Klean has also partnered with H2Core Systems, a maker of containerized green hydrogen production plants, and Enapter, an electrolyzer manufacturer. The company will install a 1 MW electrolyzer unit at the Boardman facility, with the green hydrogen used to upgrade recovered fuel oil and pyrolysis oil into e-fuels that meet California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standards.

“We were exploring how we could improve the quality of the tire pyrolysis oil so that it could enter the LCFS market in California,” he said, “because there are significant carbon credits and tax incentives associated with the improved product.”

The company received proposals from industrial gas companies to bring hydrogen to the Boardman facility that were not feasible, and Klean opted for producing electrolytic hydrogen on site in part due to the abundance of low-cost hydroelectric power and water from the nearby Columbia River.

Addressable market

Discussing Klean’s addressable market for waste-to-energy projects, Klinkhamer points to Japan as an example of a comparable “mature” market.

Japan, an island nation of 126 million people, has built roughly 5,000 resource recovery, waste-to-energy plants of various scopes and designations, he notes. For comparison, the United Kingdom – another island nation of 67 million people – has just 20 waste-to-energy plants.

“The opportunity for waste-to-energy in the UK alone is mind boggling,” he said. “There are a thousand opportunities of scope and scale. Nevermind you’ve got an aging, outdated electrical infrastructure, limited landfills, landfill taxes rising – a tsunami of issues, plus the ESG advent.”

A similar opportunity exists in North America, he noted, where there are around 100 waste-to-energy plants for 580 million people. The company is working on additional tire, plastic, and waste-to-energy projects in North America, and also has projects in Australia and Europe.

Hydrogen could be the key to advancing more projects: waste-to-energy plants have typically been hamstrung by a reliance on large utilities to convert energy generated from waste into electricity, which is in turn dependent on transmission. But the plants could instead produce hydrogen, which can be more easily and cost effectively distributed, Klinkhamer said.

“There is now an opportunity to build these same plants, but rather than rely on the electrical side of things where you’re dealing with a utility, to convert that energy into hydrogen and distribute it to the marketplace,” he added.

Hydrogen infrastructure

Klinkhamer says the company is also examining options for participating in a network of companies that could transform the logistics for bringing feedstock to the Boardman facility and taking away the resulting products.

The company has engaged in talks with long-haul truckers as well as refining companies and industrial gas providers about creating a network of hydrogen hubs – akin to a “Tesla network” – that would support transportation logistics.

“It made sense for us to look at opportunities for moving our feedstock via hydrogen-powered vehicles, and also have refueling stations and hydrogen production plants that we build in North America,” he said.

Klean would need seven to 12 different hubs to supply its transportation network, Klinkhamer estimates, while the $350m price tag for the infrastructure stems from the geographic reach of the hubs as well as the sheer volume of hydrogen required for fueling needs.

“With the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. has set itself up to be the lowest-cost producer of hydrogen in the world, which will really spur the development of hydrogen logistics for getting hydrogen out,” he said. “And to get to scale, it’s going to require some big investments.”

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