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Ammonia-to-industrial heat provider raising early-stage capital

An early-stage technology provider targeting clients in hard-to-abate industries is engaging investors and financial advisors to raise a seed round, with sites on a Series A in 2025.

Captain Energy, a Houston-based provider of ammonia-to-industrial heat technology, is seeking strategic investors for an early-stage seed round with plans for an eventual Series A, co-founder and interim-CEO Kirk Coburn said in an interview.

The company is developing a single-step process that can create industrial heat from cracked ammonia up to 700 degrees Celsius with zero NOX emissions, with hydrogen as a byproduct, Coburn said. The process uses a ceramic-based tubular solid oxide fuel cell that Captain manufactures in Dundee, Scotland.

“The results from the testing are that we’re 85% efficient,” Coburn said.

He likened the company to Amogy, but serving steel, cement and chemicals instead of transportation. Getting the kind of high-quality heat those industries need in a clean way can only come from a few sources, he noted.
“Ammonia is one of the greatest ways to do it if you can crack it efficiently like we can,” he said.
Past lab

The company is “past the lab stage” and needs to develop a pilot product to showcase to customers, Coburn said. About $5m will get the company to a 100-kilogram-per-day product, up from 25 kilograms now.

“That’s not, probably, big enough for most customers, but we can stack them,” Coburn said. “At this point we need to demonstrate commercially the product… after showcasing it we want to make larger units.”

Captain is owned by three co-founders, including Coburn. They have an 18-month line of site on a “much larger” Series A, Coburn said.

Strategic investors that would be end users of the technology are of interest to the company, particularly in Asian and European markets.

“We’re not getting in the game of making ammonia,” Coburn said. “We have to buy green ammonia.”

The company’s model is at “grid-parity” in Europe now, Coburn said, pointing to Germany in particular.

“We think we’re almost at subsidy-free pricing,” he said.

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Carnival and Proman working on methanol as cruise fuel

The partnership aims to decarbonize existing cruise ships through retrofitting, as well as deploy investment in methanol-fueled new builds.

Costa Group, part of Carnival Corporation, and methanol producer Proman have signed an MOU to push methanol as a marine fuel for the cruise industry, according to a news release.

The partnership aims decarbonize existing cruise ships through retrofitting, as well as deploy investment in methanol-fueled new builds.

The technology to retrofit a vessel to burn methanol as a fuel is available today, as noted by Tim Cornelius, managing director of corporate development at Proman.

“As one of the most widely traded chemical commodities, the infrastructure for ship supply could be adapted from existing infrastructure,” the release states. “All forms of methanol, whether natural-gas based, low-carbon or renewable, can be blended regardless of production pathways.”

The Costa Group includes cruise brands Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises.

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CCUS developer closes 45Q direct transfer deal

A Mercuria Energy-backed CCUS developer has closed a 45Q direct transfer deal with assistance from Marathon Capital.

CapturePoint LLC has closed on a private Section 45Q direct transfer tax credit transaction for carbon dioxide (CO2) captured at the company’s Arkalon facility near Liberal, Kansas and utilized for Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) operations in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, according to a news release.

The CapturePoint Arkalon CO2 capture facility has the capacity to capture 250,000 metric tons of CO2 annually from nearby bio-ethanol production. CapturePoint transports the captured CO2 through its 170-mile regional network of dedicated CO2 pipelines to over 75 active CO2 injection wells the company uses for CO2-EOR operations. Once CO2-EOR operations cease, the CO2 is ultimately securely stored permanently underground.

The new Arkalon CO2 capture facility was placed in service in April 2023, generating Section 45Q tax credits for capturing and utilizing industrially sourced CO2 emissions. The Tax Credit Transfer Agreement between CapturePoint and the buyer includes placement of 100% of the 45Q tax credits generated by the Arkalon facility for a total of 12 years. At closing, CapturePoint will transfer all 2023-generated 45Q tax credits to the buyer.

“CapturePoint is at the leading edge of carbon management innovation in the United States,” said CEO Tracy Evans, “and our Arkalon CO2 capture facility and Panhandle CO2-EOR operations are helping the nation achieve important environmental and energy security goals. Our team is also developing expansive deep underground carbon storage sites – like our CPS Central Louisiana Regional Carbon Storage Hub — to permanently and safely sequester much larger volumes of CO2 currently released into the atmosphere by industrial emitters.”

The Section 45Q transaction announced today was placed privately by Marathon Capital. ReSource previously interviewed Evans last year about the company’s plans.

“We were honored to support CapturePoint on one of the industry’s first Section 45Q tax credit transfer transactions for their Arkalon CO2 capture facility,” said Matthew Shanahan, Managing Director at Marathon Capital. “We wish the CapturePoint team continued success as a leader in carbon management services.”

With both the Arkalon CO2 capture facility Section 45Q placement and an earlier transaction announced in January 2023 for CO2 captured at a nitrogen fertilizer facility in Coffeyville, Kansas, CapturePoint now has nearly one million metric tons per year of industrially sourced CO2 being utilized in CO2-EOR operations and generating 45Q tax credits.

CapturePoint LLC and its affiliate CapturePoint Solutions LLC offer a wide array of carbon management services and are pioneering the U.S. development of leading-edge carbon solutions including deep underground geologic carbon storage sites. The companies are privately held, with significant financial backing from prominent investors in clean energy innovation including an affiliate of Mercuria Energy, one of the world’s largest independent energy and commodity groups.

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Climate Adaptive Infrastructure, DigitalBridge to collaborate on renewable diesel and green hydrogen strategies

The firms will include renewable diesel and green hydrogen as part of a joint effort to identify and invest in sustainability-focused initiatives.

Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and DigitalBridge Group, Inc. today announced a decarbonization partnership to accelerate the Digital Infrastructure ecosystem’s transition to Net Zero.

CAI, an infrastructure investment firm specializing in low-carbon real assets in the energy, water and urban infrastructure sectors will work with DigitalBridge to identify, develop and invest in sustainability-focused initiatives and projects that complement DigitalBridge’s existing and future investments.

As part of the partnership, CAI has allocated up to $300m of capital to support strategic opportunities identified by CAI and DigitalBridge.

CAI’s first investment under the initiative is in Switch, a 100% renewable powered data center platform, which a DigitalBridge-managed investment entity acquired last year. In addition, the parties have identified other potential investment opportunities within the DigitalBridge portfolio that address measurable decarbonization and water and energy resilience.

As a thought leader in the climate adaptive infrastructure industry, CAI will work with DigitalBridge to implement technologies from within and beyond the DigitalBridge portfolio. These include deployment of utility-scale solar and wind, low-impact hydro, electrochemical and pumped storage, water conservation and re-use, renewable biodiesel and green hydrogen, as well as the advanced climate impact measurement strategies developed by CAI. These projects, which may be financed, built, owned and operated by CAI, are expected to support DigitalBridge’s Net Zero 2030 commitment, and to drive economic efficiency across the DigitalBridge digital ecosystem.

“The DigitalBridge team is broadly recognized for their success in the sector and, through this initiative, continues to demonstrate forward thinking around further decarbonizing their ecosystem,” said Bill Green, managing partner of CAI. “We are excited to be launching this innovative partnership with DigitalBridge.”

“We are pleased to partner with Bill and the entire CAI team to accelerate DigitalBridge’s path towards a more sustainable digital infrastructure ecosystem,” said Marc Ganzi, CEO of DigitalBridge.

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Exclusive: Former green hydrogen executive raising capital for fusion startup

A former executive that developed large hydrogen and ammonia projects in Texas is raising money in a new role with a fusion energy firm with ambitions to co-locate generation with heavy industry and fuels production.

Tokamak Energy, the UK-based fusion energy startup, is seeking to raise about $80m in a self-conducted Series C capital raise, President Michael Ginsberg told ReSource.

The company previously hired Bank of America to run a $1bn raise but pulled back on the process in favor of more incremental growth, Ginsberg said. The company has already raised $40m of the $120m Series C and is aiming for a close by mid-summer.

With US operations in West Virginia (where co-founder Mark Koepke is a professor of physics at WVU) and headquarters in Oxford, England, Tokamak was recently included in the US Department of Energy’s multimillion-dollar Fusion Development Program and partnered with General Atomics on advanced magnet technology.

Ginsberg previously worked as vice president of technology and project execution at Avina Clean Hydrogen, where he was instrumental in developing the Nueces Clean Ammonia project in Texas. He said Tokamak is planning to build fusion generation in the United States, but has a magnets business with a near-term return profile.

Magnets business

Tokamak is a developer of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets.

They are developed for fusion to contain plasma energy, but like the semi-conductor business, they’ve had applications in other industries, such as defense, offshore wind turbines, and mineral separation.

First revenue from those magnets, from another fusion company, came in last year, he said. There are ongoing contract negotiations with the US Department of Defense and an imaging device maker that uses magnets.

Rail companies interested in maglev (from magnetic levitation) technology are also in discussions with Tokamak, he said.

Turnaround for that business for investors is expected to be three to five years, Ginsberg said.

Fusion-to-X

Tokamak is planning to develop its first commercial scale plant (COD after 2030) in the US.

Requirements for site selection are dependent on nearby capabilities; if deuterium and tritium are to be used as fuels, there needs to be a nearby facility that can handle those hydrogen-isotope fuels. For example, Oak Ride National Labs in Tennessee can handle tritium.

The other siting concern is use case.

“It could be, certainly, pumping electrons onto the grid, in which case your limited by transmission lines,” Ginsberg said. “But also, we could create industrial thermal energy, thermal heat, and co-locate with decarbonized heavy industry.”

Co-location with data centers is another option, he said. Tokamak is also exploring hydrogen production.

“Obviously you could do the traditional electrolysis process, and we’re talking to some companies that just need electrons to convert the H2O into hydrogen and oxygen, and they want baseload power to do that as opposed to intermittent power,” he said. “Also, there’s thermal energy and thermal processes to produce hydrogen that we could use from the fusion reaction.”

Ginsberg, who oversees US operations at Tokamak, was hired following the DOE award.

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3Q deals in focus: Macquarie’s investment in Atlas Agro

In one of the largest and most compelling clean fuels deals of 3Q23, Macquarie made a $325m investment into Americas-focused Atlas Agro, a developer of industrial-scale green nitrogen fertilizer plants that utilize green hydrogen as a feedstock. William Demas, head of Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments in the Americas, provides a closer look.

Macquarie Asset Management’s investment into green nitrogen developer Atlas Agro gives the manager a stake in the company along with the ability to invest in the developer’s projects.

The $325m investment, made via the Macquarie GIG Energy Transition Solutions fund, will benefit Atlas Agro’s previously announced fertilizer plant project in Richland, WA, and will also support the company’s global pipeline of green fertilizer facilities, according to William Demas, head of Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments in the Americas.

In addition to the 700,000 tons-per-year Richland project, Atlas Agro is pursuing a project in Minas Gerais, Brazil that will produce 500,000 tons per year. Both projects would make nitrate fertilizer and are estimated to cost $1bn. An additional facility is planned for the US Midwest.

In the production process, the plants utilize air, water, and renewable electricity as the only raw materials.

“There are a number of things that attracted us to Atlas Agro,” Demas said in response to written questions. “They have a strong management team with an established track record managing established companies and delivering projects in the fertilizer space.”

The GIG Energy Transition Solutions fund has a target size of approximately $1.9bn, which to date is just over 50% committed, according to a source familiar with the fund.

Next phase

Equally important for the Atlas investment, Demas added, is that the company is aligned with Macquarie’s next phase energy transition thesis in the US – in this case hydrogen. 

“In this application, green hydrogen will be used as a feedstock rather than as an energy carrier, and the end-product of green fertilizer will attract customers looking to enter into long-term offtake contracts,” he said.

Through the development of plants in Washington state and the US Midwest, Atlas Agro is seeking to take advantage of favorable logistics to displace the need for imported fossil-fuel based fertilizer. Brazil also imports around 95% of its nitrogen fertilizers, according to Atlas.

“An important benefit of Atlas Agro’s model is the availability of locally produced, high-quality fertilizer, eliminating many of the issues associated with international supply chains,” Demas said, noting that offtakers are local to Atlas Agro’s operations.

Further, Macquarie and Atlas plan to pursue a project finance model for funding the projects under development.

“As an infrastructure investor, we focus on opportunities that are bankable, which means, ultimately project financeable,” Demas said. “We backed Atlas Agro because we believe their approach to project development, commercialization, construction and operations aligns with our views on how to underwrite infrastructure investments.”

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Exclusive: Carbon conversion startup planning capital raise

A Halliburton Labs-backed startup is developing a pilot plant in the Pacific Northwestern US, while forming financial relationships for an industrial-scale carbon conversion facility in the same location.

OCOchem, a Washington state-based carbon conversion startup, will seek new capital partners to build its first commercial scale facility in 2026, CEO Todd Brix said in an interview.

Starting in late 2024 or early 2025, the company will likely go to market for new liquidity – including project debt and equity, Brix said. He declined to talk about capex, but said the first commercial plant in Richland, Washington will cost “multiple tens of millions of dollars.”

The company is working with two EPCs now and is represented legally by Miller Nash law firm in the Pacific Northwest, Brix said. The company does not have a formal relationship with an investment bank but will likely form one for a Series A and later rounds.

“We’ve been in touch with a number of private equity and project finance people,” Brix said of early-stage discussions.

OCOchem is considering land options in Richland for its first plant and is organizing to begin permitting, Brix said. There is opportunity to form relationships with industrial partners in need of an offtaker for their CO2 emissions and new incremental revenue streams, as well as customers for chloral hydrates and other formic acid products.

“We expect to build hundreds of these plants all around the planet,” Brix said, referring to the process of electrochemically converting emitted CO2 and water to formic acid, which can then be used to make a suite of products like hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and formate (methanoate) derivatives. “We are close to industrial size on our plants right now.”

CO2 is captured from steam methane reformers, natural gas processing and piping, and ammonia production, among other processes. The gas is then combined with water in a cellular, modular process producing formic acid, derivatives of which can be used in a range of industries like pharmaceuticals.

The company recently raised $5m in seed funding from lead investor TO VC, which joined backers LCY Lee Family Office, MIH Capital Management, and Halliburton Labs. An additional $8m has been raised in grant funding from the US departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD).

The company is also partnered with the Nutrien Corporation on a small scale facility in Kennewick, Washington, just upriver from Richland, Brix said. Financing for that project is largely arranged with the FEED completed.

Brix owns a majority of the company with his father.

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