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Africa-based PE firm to buy Air Liquide assets in 12 countries

Adenia Partners is acquiring 12 Air Liquide subsidiaries in Africa.

Adenia Partners, a leading private equity firm that has been making responsible and sustainable investments in Africa for over 20 years, has signed an agreement with Air Liquide, world leader in industrial and medical gases, for the acquisition of 12 of its subsidiaries in West and Central Africa and the Indian Ocean.

As part of the agreement, the entities and employees in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Togo will form a new, independent, pan-African industrial gases group, that Adenia intends to strengthen and develop through long-term support and additional investments of up to 30 million euros.

In addition, as part of the transaction, Air Liquide has entered a long-term contract with Adenia for the supply of numerous industrial and specialty gases, according to a news release. These supplies, together with Air Liquide’s support in the transition, notably through a technical assistance contract, will complement future investments.

Christophe Scalbert, Partner at Adenia, commented: “With a presence in 12 countries, sales approaching 60 million euros, and unique expertise and teams, we see the emergence of a continental leader that will benefit from strong infrastructure development, increasing industrial activities and natural resources industries on the African continent. Adenia intends to accelerate the growth of this new group by investing heavily in production and storage capacity to better serve its customers.”

Completion of this transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Acquirer advisors :
– Financial, Tax and IT Due Diligence : Deloitte
– Legal (due diligence and documentation) : Asafo & Co
– Strategic and commercial advisor : Decrop Consulting
– Technical DD : DPGS & Alliance Partners
– ESG Due Diligence : ClassM

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First Hydrogen selects Quebec for hydrogen production and vehicle assembly

Vancouver-based First Hydrogen commenced the process to secure and develop sites for the production of green hydrogen and the assembly of zero-emission commercial vehicles.

First Hydrogen Corp. has selected the City of Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada to develop its first green hydrogen ecosystem, according to a news release.

The company has conducted site evaluations and has now formally commenced the process to secure and develop respective sites for the local production of green hydrogen and the assembly of First Hydrogen zero-emission commercial vehicles.

First Hydrogen’s project plan is to produce up to 50 MW of green hydrogen using advanced electrolysis technology and distribute the hydrogen within the Montreal-Quebec City corridor for use with First Hydrogen’s light commercial vehicles (LCV) as well as supporting other hydrogen-fueled vehicles and applications in the region.

First Hydrogen LCVs are planned to be assembled in Shawinigan for distribution throughout North America in combination with the Company’s Hydrogen as a Service product offering. The assembly factory will be designed for an annual capacity of 25,000 vehicles per year when at full capacity and will represent a major boost to green technology jobs in the region.

The Company’s strategy is a close match with the Province of Quebec’s “Plan for a Green Economy” and the “2030 Quebec Green Hydrogen and BioEnergy Strategy” both targeting reduced dependence on fossil fuels, energy autonomy and green prosperity through the use of green hydrogen to decarbonize and strengthen its economy. Further, the Province of Quebec provides a stable and supportive environment for First Hydrogen’s project through its economic, innovation and energy policies and programs aimed at accelerating the pace of the green energy transition.

The project is also consistent with recent federal government announcements supporting green hydrogen and low-carbon fuels initiatives.

Rob Campbell, CEO of Energy for First Hydrogen, says: “Shawinigan, Quebec is a great place for First Hydrogen to plant the flag in North America. Quebec’s first hydroelectric company was established there in 1898 and Shawinigan has a strong history of energy and industry working together. The City and the region are very well positioned with its green energy resources, industrial community and growing green energy economy. It will be also very important to closely collaborate with the regional education network to create the required skills of tomorrow. The region is already the home of the l’institut de recherche en hydrogène de l’UQTR (IRH). Founded in 1994, IRH is one of Canada’s leading institutions in hydrogen research. We wish to thank the City of Shawinigan and Investissement Québec for their ongoing support for this exciting project.”

Balraj Mann, chairman & CEO First Hydrogen states: “We are seeing strong market support for our holistic product offering of zero-emission LCVs and green hydrogen. Customer pull combined with strong Quebec and Canadian policy support has convinced us that now is the time to move forward with this first project. Engineering studies are planned to commence in early 2023. Our announcement today coincides with the unveiling of our next-generation hydrogen fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle in the coming weeks.”

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Mining giant Vale partners with Wabtec on alternative fuels study

The deal includes an order for three of Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery locomotives and a collaboration to test ammonia as a potential clean, alternative fuel to replace diesel.

Vale has agreed a partnership with Wabtec Corporation to advance the decarbonization of the company’s rail operations.

The deal includes an order for three of Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery locomotives and a collaboration to test ammonia as a potential clean, alternative fuel to replace diesel.

The three 100% battery powered FLXdrive locomotives will be used on the Carajás Railroad (EFC), which runs the world’s largest iron ore train consisting of 330 railcars transporting 45,000 tons. Today, three to four diesel locomotives pull the train. Once delivered, the FLXdrives will join the diesel locomotives to form Brazil’s first hybrid consist pulling the train uphill for 140 kilometers in Açailândia, in the state of Maranhão, where fuel consumption is the highest. The FLXdrives will replace the two diesel locomotives, known as “dynamic helpers”, that are used to pull the train uphill today.

Wabtec will build the FLXdrive locomotives at its plant in Contagem (state of Minas Gerais). The locomotives’ delivery is forecast for 2026.

“Initially, we are maximizing energy efficiency, replacing the diesel locomotives in the dynamic helper with battery ones, but the idea is that, in the future, the other locomotives on the train can be fueled by ammonia. This way, we would have a clean operation at EFC,” explains Vale’s Director of Energy, Ludmila Nascimento. “This agreement is the first of many that we are seeking in order to accelerate the decarbonization of our railway operation,” she adds.

Vale and Wabtec will work together on a study to use ammonia as a clean alternative fuel, which does not emit CO2. The study will initially be carried out as lab tests to validate performance, emission reductions, and feasibility. Among the advantages of ammonia is the fact that it allows the locomotive a longer range than other carbon-free fuels. In addition, ammonia has a high-octane rating and an established large-scale distribution infrastructure. The two companies will carry out the study in a laboratory over the next two years.

The FLXdrive locomotive’s energy management system recharges the batteries along the route as the train brakes. “It’s what we call regenerative energy produced by dynamic braking. Today, that energy is lost when a traditional locomotive brakes. In the downhill sections, we will be able to recharge the batteries, without having to stop the train’s operation,” said Alexandre Silva, manager of Vale’s Powershift Program. Vale introduced the Powershift Program to study alternative technologies to replace fossil fuels with clean sources in the company’s operations.

The FLXdrive locomotives are estimated to save 25 million litres of diesel per year, considering the consumption of all the railway’s trains that use the dynamic helper. This savings would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 63,000 tons, the equivalent emissions of around 14,000 passenger cars per year.

“Technological advances in battery power and alternative fuels are accelerating the decarbonization journey for railroads,” said Danilo Miyasato, president and general manager of Wabtec for Latin America. “Vale’s innovative approach to adopting alternative fuels for its locomotives will benefit its customers, shareholders, and communities. The FLXdrive provides Vale productivity, safety, fuel economy, and emission reductions for its rail network.”

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OCI Global supplying low-carbon ammonia for German fertilizer

OCI will supply COMPO EXPERT with ammonia that guarantees a 60% lower carbon footprint than the industry standard from its facilities in Texas.

OCI Global, a producer of nitrogen, methanol, and hydrogen products is supplying COMPO EXPERT, a producer of high-quality specialty fertilizers and biostimulants, with lower carbon ammonia for use in the production of COMPO EXPERT’s NPK fertilizers, with the first delivery having taken place this week, according to a news release.

COMPO EXPERT will initially replace 25% of the ammonia it uses at its facility in Krefeld, Germany, with OCI’s lower carbon product this year and has plans in place to further increase the ratio of OCI supplied lower carbon ammonia in its production over the next two years.

OCI will supply COMPO EXPERT with ammonia that guarantees a 60% lower carbon footprint 60% than the industry standard from its facilities in Texas, USA via OCI’s proprietary ammonia terminal and distribution hub at the Port Of Rotterdam.

OCI has supplied COMPO EXPERT with ammonia for fertilizer production for over a decade and the switch to lower carbon ammonia is testament to both companies’ commitment to sustainability and the decarbonization of their products.

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Renewables developer exploring move into green hydrogen

North Carolina-based Strata Clean Energy is engaged with engineers and consultants in preparations for a potential move into the production of green hydrogen.

Strata Clean Energy, the North Carolina-based utility-scale renewables developer, is researching locations in the U.S. where it could potentially build a green hydrogen production plant, executives said in an interview.

“We’ve been doing some hydrogen work for the past few years,” said Tiago Sabino Dias, former CEO of Crossover Energy, which was acquired by Strata in a deal announced this week. That forward momentum on green hydrogen and other areas of the energy transition was part of the reason the deal with Strata was made, he said.

Sabino Dias is now the senior vice president of origination at Strata following the takeover.

“We’ve done a lot of work thinking about where the high-value locations are,” Strata’s Chief Development Officer Josh Rogol said in a separate interview.

Hydrogen is adjacent to Strata’s core competencies in energy storage, Rogol said. The company is confident it could supply the green kilowatt hours for hydrogen production and is researching offtake scenarios in transportation and industrial uses.

Strata has a 13 GW project pipeline of standalone and combined solar and storage, according to its website, with 4 GW under management.

The company’s IPP has about 1 GW with ambitions to grow, Rogol said. It’s go-forward pipeline comprises more than 100 projects across 26 states.

Strata is now engaged with several consultants and engineers to explore green hydrogen opportunities, Rogol said. The company is open to new advisory relationships across verticals.

“We think we are really well positioned to be both the energy supplier, as well as the molecule producer,” Rogol said. The capabilities and intellectual property acquired through Crossover put the firm six to 18 months ahead of other nascent developers.

Early-stage development in green hydrogen can be funded with Strata’s balance sheet, similar to Strata’s bilateral takeover of Crossover, Rogol said. Later stage development and EPC will require “an ecosystem of partners” potentially both financial and strategic, he added.

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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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Exclusive: Geologic hydrogen startup raising Series A

A US geologic hydrogen startup that employs electric fracking with a pilot presence on the Arabian Peninsula is raising a $40m Series A and has identified a region in the midwestern US for its first de-risked project.

Eden GeoPower, a Boston-based geologic hydrogen technology provider, is engaged in raising a Series A and has a timeline on developing a project in Minnesota, CEO and co-founder Paris Smalls told ReSource.

The Series A target is $40m, with $10m being supplied by existing investors, Smalls said. This round, the company is looking for stronger financial investors to join its strategic backers.

The company has two subsidiaries wholly owned by the parent: one oil and gas-focused and one climate-focused. The Series A is topco equity at the parent level.

Eden was one of 16 US Department of Energy-selected projects to receive funding to explore geologic hydrogen; the majority of the others are academic lab projects. Eden has raised some $13m in equity and $12m in grant funding to date.

Beyond geothermal

Eden started as a geothermal resource developer, using abandoned oil and gas wells for production via electric fracking.

“We started seeing there were applications way beyond geothermal,” Smalls said. Early grant providers recommended using the electric fracking technology to go after geologic hydrogen reservoirs, replacing the less environmentally friendly hydraulic fracking process typically used.

A test site in Oman, where exposed iron-rich rock makes the country a potential future geologic hydrogen superpower, will de-risk Eden’s technology, Smalls said. Last year the US DOE convened the first Bilateral Engagement on Geologic Hydrogen in Oman.

Early developments are underway on a demonstration project in Tamarack, Minnesota, Smalls said. That location has the hollow-vein rocks that can produce geologic hydrogen.

“We likely won’t do anything there until after we have sufficiently de-risked the technology in Oman, and that should be happening in the next 8 months,” Smalls said. “There’s a good chance we’ll be the first people in the world to demonstrate this.”

Eden is not going after natural geologic hydrogen, but rather stimulating reactions to change the reservoir properties to make hydrogen underground, Small said.

The University of Minnesota is working with Eden on a carbon mineralization project, Smalls said. The company is also engaged with Minnesota-based mining company Talon Metals.

Revenue from mining, oil and gas

Eden has existing revenue streams from oil and gas customers in Texas and abroad, Smalls said, and has an office in Houston with an expanding team.

“People are paying us to go and stimulate a reservoir,” he said. “We’re using those opportunities to help us de-rick the technology.”

The technology has applications in geothermal development and mining, Smalls said. Those contracts have been paying for equipment.

Mining operations often include or are adjacent to rock that can be used to produce geologic hydrogen, thereby decarbonizing mining operations using both geothermal energy and geologic hydrogen, Smalls said.

“On our cap table right now we have one of the largest mining companies in the world, Anglo American,” Smalls said. “We do projects with BHP and other big mining companies as well; we see a lot of potential overlap with the mining industry because they are right on top of these rocks.

Anti-fracking

Eden is currently going through the process of permitting for a mining project in Idaho, in collaboration with Idaho National Labs, Smalls said.

In doing so the company had to submit a public letter explaining the project and addressing environmental concerns.

“We’re employing a new technology that can mitigate all the issues [typically associated with fracking],” Small said.

With electric fracturing of rocks, there is no groundwater contamination or high-pressure water injection that cause the kind of seismic and water quality issues that anger people.

“This isn’t fracking, this is anti-fracking,” Smalls said.
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