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Agribusiness operator to build Gulf Coast SAF plant

Summit Agricultural Group plans to build a facility producing over 250 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year, expected to be operational in 2025.

Summit Agricultural Group has launched Summit Next Gen, a sustainable aviation fuel production platform that will provide a scalable supply of low-carbon jet fuel.

Summit Next Gen will utilize Honeywell’s Ethanol to Jet processing technology to convert ethanol into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Through the project, Summit Next Gen creates an additional market for low-carbon ethanol producers and advances the sustainability goals of the difficult to decarbonize aviation industry, according to a news release.

The project will produce over 250 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year and is expected to be operational in 2025.

The global aviation industry demands over 100 billion gallons of jet fuel annually and is expected to double in the next 20 years with increasing passenger demand. Governments, companies, and consumers are demanding low-carbon alternatives to traditional jet fuel; however, the current production of SAF remains challenged by the undersupply of feedstocks consisting of vegetable oils, animal fats and waste oils. The ETJ pathway provides a scalable and cost competitive solution now to solve this problem, and this is largely attributable to advancements undertaken by ethanol producers who have continued to reduce their carbon footprints through adoption of new technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and investments to boost efficiency.

Growing low-carbon markets, recent state-level programs, and incentives created under the Inflation Reduction Act that are broadly supported by the biofuels, energy, and aviation industries catalyzed the creation of Summit Next Gen to meet growing demand for SAF. Sustainable aviation fuel is nearly identical to petroleum-based jet fuel sources and is currently approved at blend rates up to 50% by ASTM International providing a “drop in fuel” solution.

“The creation of Summit Next Gen and our partnership with a technology leader like Honeywell UOP sets a new standard for the agriculture, ethanol, and aviation industries,” said Bruce Rastetter, CEO of Summit Agricultural Group. “The agriculture and ethanol industries have a long history of continuous improvement producing more with less, and this has enabled forward-thinking ethanol producers to be favorably positioned for the present challenge of helping aviation reduce its carbon footprint.”

Summit Next Gen will be located in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, providing access to significant logistics and utility infrastructure. The company is advancing engineering and design and has selected Burns & McDonnell in collaboration with Honeywell for the development of the transformational project.

“Replacing fossil fuels with SAF enables a material reduction in aviation related GHG emissions. Expanding SAF feedstocks to include ethanol, biomass, and CO2 is essential to increasing the share of SAF of the total jet fuel demand,” said Barry Glickman, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “We are delighted to collaborate with Summit Next Gen to combine Honeywell UOP ETJ technology with Summit Agricultural Group’s experience low-carbon biofuels to help the aviation industry accelerate its decarbonization.”

“ETJ is a natural next step for the ethanol industry,” said Summit Ag Investors President Justin Kirchhoff. “Scale, cost of production, and carbon footprint are the most important factors for the SAF industry, and we believe ethanol has a material advantage in these areas relative to existing SAF feedstocks.”

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Region-by-region availability of Energy Attribute Certificates

RMI takes a look at theoretical regional availability of Energy Attribute Certificates for purposes of compliance with 45V tax credit guidelines.

RMI has put forward an analysis of the theoretical availability of Energy Attribute Credits across U.S. regional electricity zones to determine if there is enough 45V-qualifying electricity to meet the needs of the seven winning Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs.

In summary, the analysis finds preliminarily that, “There are enough projected tax credit-qualifying EACs available to meet the stated electrolytic hydrogen production goals across Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs.”

However, the report adds that “the system of markets and contracts required to access EACs is underdeveloped, and this is a critical challenge to both market formation and the effective operation of the tax credit.”

Read the full report here.

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H2 Green Steel evaluating North American projects

Sweden’s H2 Green Steel is evaluating projects in North America in partnership with Vale.

Swedish green steel start-up H2 Green Steel is considering projects in North America through a joint feasibility study with Vale that would enable sustainable steel production.

The company said it would explore the potential to produce low-carbon steel value chain products like green hydrogen and hot briquetted iron in industrial centers in North America as well as Brazil.

H2 Green Steel yesterday closed on a €1.5bn equity private placement co-led by new investor Hy24, together with existing investors Altor, GIC and Just Climate. The transaction also includes new investors Andra AP - fonden and Temasek as well as a group of existing investors that continue to support H2 Green Steel with additional equity funding, including AMF, Cristina Stenbeck, Hitachi Energy, IMAS Foundation, Kinnevik, Schaeffler, Vargas and Wallenberg Investments holding company FAM.

The proceeds of that transaction will finance the construction and development of H2 Green Steel’s flagship large-scale green steel plant in Boden, Sweden. Groundworks have been ongoing on the site in Boden since summer 2022, and through this transaction H2 Green Steel takes another big leap towards start of operations end of 2025.

The plant will deliver steel with up to 95 percent less CO2 emissions compared to steel produced with traditional blast furnace technology. This is made possible by replacing coal in the production process with hydrogen, produced on-site with Europe’s largest electrolyzer, using electricity from renewable sources.

Since launch in 2021, H2 Green Steel has raised more than €1.8 billion of equity in three financing rounds. The company closed its series A equity round of €86 million in May 2021 and announced the close of its series B1 round of €260mn October 2022. On the debt side, H2 Green Steel announced in 2022 the structure for its debt financing of over €3.5 billion and renewed commitment letters in July 2023.

Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc acted as sole financial advisor to H2 Green Steel in the private placement.

In the green industrial hubs, Vale is expected to build and operate briquette plants, which will feed direct reduction reactors for the production of HBI and other metallics. The number of industrial hubs that will be built, their location and production capacity will be defined following feasibility studies to be developed jointly by the two companies.

In July, Vale and H2 Green Steel also signed an agreement to supply direct reduction pellets to the Boden plant. Vale expects to reach a production capacity of 100 million tons of agglomerates (briquettes and pellets) after 2030.

“We announced early on our journey that we want to explore other geographies where we can accelerate the decarbonization of the steel value chain. Both Brazil and parts of North America have great potential due to the access to both renewable energy sources, high quality iron ore, and political willingness to support decarbonization projects and it’s a great opportunity for us to explore our partnership with Vale beyond the pellet supply to our flagship plant in Boden,” said Kajsa Ryttberg-Wallgren, EVP growth and hydrogen business of H2 Green Steel, in a news release.

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Topsoe to license waste-to-fuel technology

The agreement with Steeper Energy will allow Topsoe to provide a waste-to-fuel technology solution for sustainable aviation fuel, marine biofuel, and renewable diesel from waste biomass.

Denmark-headquartered Topsoe, a developer and provider of carbon emission reduction technologies, has signed a global licensing agreement for a complete waste-to-fuel solution with Steeper Energy.

With the agreement, Topsoe will be able to provide a complete waste-to-fuel technology solution and at the same time a one-stop solution for refineries, project developers, and industries having access to excess waste biomass, according to a news release. The end-products include sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), marine biofuel, and renewable diesel from waste biomass.

“This will make it easier for refineries and project developers to access the technology they need for advanced biofuels,” Peter Vang Christensen, senior vice president, Clean Fuels & Chemicals – Technology, Topsoe, said. “It will also allow them to access new renewable feedstocks while supporting decarbonization of the transportation sector, not least aviation and shipping.”

“Steeper recognizes Topsoe as a world leader in developing and implementing renewable refining technologies. Steeper’s Hydrofaction™ process, when combined with Topsoe’s technology, completes the pathway from biomass waste to drop-in liquid fuels and is compatible with existing refining infrastructure,” Bevan May, president, Steeper Energy, said. “This reduces capital requirements and allows for the accelerated deployment of these solutions. We are excited to combine our efforts with Topsoe and bring our joint solution to the renewable liquid fuels market.”

Steeper’s Hydrofaction™ has been validated through various stages of continuous pilot and demonstration-scale plant operations over the past 10 years.

With this agreement, the parties are working towards the first commercial scale deployment of Hydrofaction™ technology.

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Exclusive: National RNG developer in equity sale process

A large US developer and operator of renewable natural gas projects has tapped an advisor and is in the early stages of a sale process.

DTE Vantage, a developer of renewable energy projects with a national footprint in the US, is in the first round of a process to sell its RNG business, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Lazard is running the process, the sources said. First round bids were recently received.

The company’s RNG portfolio includes 13 projects, four of which are landfill-to-gas while the remainder are on dairy farms, with more under construction, according to company materials. One of the largest RNG producers in the Midwest, the company also has projects in North Carolina, California, New York, and Wisconsin.

Of note, the Riverview Energy landfill gas asset in Riverview, Michigan produces 8.6 mmcfd of pipeline natural gas and includes 6.6 MW of solar. Pinnacle Gas in Moraine, Ohio, produces 4.5 mmcfd, while Seabreeze Energy in Angleton, Texas produces 5.8 mmcfd.

DTE Vantage is a non-utility subsidiary of DTE Energy. Founded in the 1990s, it has about 600 employees and operates 64 projects in 16 US states, with one asset in Canada. The company serves industrial, agricultural, and institutional clients across three core groups: Renewable Energy, Custom Energy Solutions, and Emerging Ventures.

DTE declined to comment. Lazard did not respond to a request for comment.

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EXCLUSIVE: 8 Rivers co-founder departs firm

A co-founder and executive has departed the North Carolina-based firm, which recently announced an ammonia project in Texas.

Bill Brown, a co-founder of the technology commercialization firm and clean fuels developer 8 Rivers Capital, has retired from the company, a spokesperson confirmed via email.
According to Brown’s LinkedIn profile, he is serving now as CEO of New Waters Capital. He co-founded 8 Rivers and also served as CEO and CTO in this nearly 16 years there.
Brown did not respond to a request for comment.
According to 8 Rivers’ website, Dharmesh Patel is serving as interim CEO. The company recently announced development of the Cormorant Clean Energy ammonia production facility in Port Arthur, Texas
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Canadian renewables major eyeing hydrogen production at pumped hydro facility

Canadian power generation giant TransAlta could co-locate hydrogen production with select wind and hydroelectric facilities.

TransAlta, the Canadian power generator and wholesale marketing company, is contemplating a buildout of hydrogen production capabilities at its 320 MW Tent Mountain pumped hydro storage project in Alberta, Executive Vice President of Alberta Business Blain van Melle said in an interview.

“Our view on hydrogen is that it’s a technology that’s an option, somewhat further out in the future, particularly when it comes to power generation,” van Melle said. “If we can offer our customers maybe a power and hydrogen solution, and they’re using the hydrogen in another process, that would be something we would look at.”

In early 2022 TransAlta made a CAD 2m equity investment in Ekona Power, a methane pyrolysis company based in Vancouver. The company also committed USD $25m over four years to EIP’s Deep Decarbonization Frontier Fund 1.

That latter investment is a way to continue to learn about hydrogen and have exposure to emerging technologies, van Melle said.

The recent 50% stake acquisition in the Tent Mountain project includes the intellectual property associated with a 100 MW offsite green hydrogen electrolyzer and a 100 MW offsite wind development project.

Having hydrogen production co-located with wind and pumped hydro storage could make sense for the company in a few years, van Melle said. FID on Tent Mountain could be reached sometime in 2025 and will require the company to secure a PPA offtake and determine capital cost. Development work will take three to four years and earliest construction could begin in 2026.

The company has not had discussions with potential offtakers, van Melle said, adding that development on the pumped hydro facility needs to mature before a hydrogen component advances.

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