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Amogy agrees MoU to outfit offshore vessels

Ammonia-to-power company Amogy has signed an MoU with Marco Polo Marine to outfit offshore supply vessels with zero-emission power systems.

Amogy Inc., a pioneer of emission-free, energy-dense ammonia power solutions, and SGX-listed Marco Polo Marine Ltd., a regional integrated marine logistics company actively involved in the offshore wind sector, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), according to a news release.

Under the terms of their MoU, Amogy’s proprietary ammonia-to-power system would also be installed on Marco Polo Marine’s existing or newly built wind vessels, allowing them to operate with zero emissions.

The collaboration dovetails with Marco Polo Marine’s efforts to decarbonize the shipping sector and reduce the carbon footprint of offshore wind farms through the adoption of more sustainable and green practices. The partnership will also allow Amogy to fine-tune its ammonia-to-power solution in order to more effectively support the specific types of wind vessels (including, but not limited to, CSOVs and SOVs).

It is thus an excellent opportunity for both parties to work together to ensure optimal performance, best practices, and successful execution, and to promote sustainability and carbon neutrality initiatives across the maritime and offshore wind industries.

According to a report by the US Department of Energy, global offshore wind energy is a rapidly growing industry and is expected to increase by about five times in size by 2030. By end-2022, Asia is expected to have overtaken Europe as the world’s largest regional offshore wind market by cumulative installations. The region’s offshore wind capacity is forecast to expand at an annual average rate of 15.3% from 27 GW at end-2021 to 109 GW in 2031. Wind vessels like CSOVs and SOVs etc. are important support vessels in the offshore wind industry, and the adoption of ammonia power would see a significant decrease in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from such vessels.

“We’re delighted to work with a respected and innovative maritime operator that shares our bold vision for a greener and more sustainable future,” said Seonghoon Woo, CEO of Amogy. “The APAC region’s commitment to clean fuels makes it important that we have an impact here and we hope that our partnership with Marco Polo can serve as a powerful example for other maritime operators.”

The Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Energy Market Authority (EMA) recently launched an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to build, own and operate low or zero-carbon power generation and bunkering projects on Jurong Island, noting that they saw ammonia power as a “promising pathway” to decarbonization.

“We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Amogy and combine our environmentally friendly and innovative technologies. We think that Amogy’s ability to convert ammonia to gaseous hydrogen in our wind vessels is a step in the right direction that brings us closer to our long-term goal of decarbonizing the maritime industry by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, it will help speed up the global transition towards clean energy sources,” said Sean Lee, CEO of Marco Polo Marine.

Recently, Marco Polo Marine has stepped up its push into the offshore wind industry, following its successful acquisition of PKR Offshore, an established Taiwan-based wind vessel operator, in May 2022. The Group also commissioned the development of a new state-of-the-art CSOV at their Batam shipyard in September 2022 to boost service offerings in support of the offshore wind farm sector. Leveraging on its offshore wind track record in Taiwan, the Group has been supporting the development of offshore wind farms in Japan, South Korea and the wider Asia-Pacific region. It continues to actively identify suitable partners in new markets to expand its reach.

The MoU announcement comes after the news of Amogy’s recent $139 million B-1 raise. The round will enable Amogy to continue its organizational development to support commercialization, begin manufacturing its innovative ammonia-to-power technology, and bring its first product to market in 2024.

This all also comes after Amogy announced it is building a zero-emission ammonia-powered vessel with the intention of sailing the vessel in late 2023.  Ammonia is predicted to become the leading fuel source for the world’s giant cargo ships by 2050.

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Quinbrook Infrastructure moves into renewable fuels

Quinbrook has acquired renewable fuels and biogas company PurposeEnergy.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on the infrastructure needed to drive the energy transition, has acquired PurposeEnergy, according to a news release.

An established US-based renewable fuels and biogas specialist, PurposeEnergy is focused on waste solutions for the food and beverage industries. Over the last 15 years, PurposeEnergy has developed, owned and operated multiple projects that convert organic waste streams to biogas for use in industrial processes, conversion to renewable electricity, or refinement to Renewable Natural Gas (“RNG”).

“Quinbrook is really excited to be moving into such a high growth and important sector that desperately needs more sustainable solutions that convert organic food waste into renewable power and biogas. The demand for renewable fuels is exploding and in PurposeEnergy we have found a highly capable technical and operational team that have been in business over a decade, delivering impactful solutions for customers and the environment,” said Quinbrook’s Managing Partner and Co-Founder David Scaysbrook. “Now is the right time for us to scale this business to realise its full potential. PurposeEnergy is a great example of the Quinbrook model for value-add investing.”

Headquartered in New Hampshire, PurposeEnergy utilizes proven technologies including proprietary methods developed and patented by the company to convert organic waste streams to high value biogas and RNG that is sold to customers under long term contracts. The Company has established an impressive track record developing, designing, constructing and operating projects that have delivered high impact solutions for the food and beverage industry. In many cases, this has enabled customers to materially increase production and improve the economics of their core business.

PurposeEnergy has developed, designed and built seven projects that support the ESG, business and decarbonization objectives of some of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. The Company currently has one project in construction, two starting construction later this year and additional growth projected from existing and new customers. While PurposeEnergy has largely served the food and beverage industries, the Company also works with dairies and depacking operations to convert organic waste streams to energy.

“For more than a decade, PurposeEnergy has demonstrated technical and operational excellence in treating process wastewater and organic residuals for industrial food and beverage producers. The investment by Quinbrook will greatly expand our ability to identify, finance, build and operate new projects, helping our customers achieve their ESG goals while conserving capital to invest in their core businesses,” commented PruposeEnergy Founder & CEO Eric Fitch.

Quinbrook’s acquisition of the Company will deliver the capital resources, enhanced commitment to sustainability and ESG driven impact, and additional strategic relationships to support rapid scale up to meet the growing demand for renewable fuels. The food industry is an attractive sector for investment which is set for enormous growth given more stringent environmental regulations, the critical need for more sustainable solutions for growing food waste and the acute demand for renewable fuels across the board.

Commenting on an example of how PurposeEnergy delivers solutions for its customer partners, Agri-Mark Family Dairy Farm’s Vice President of Strategic Engagement & Sustainability, Jed Davis remarked, “The construction of the Middlebury Resource Recovery Center (MRRC) adjacent to Agri-Mark/Cabot’s flagship cheddar cheese and whey protein plant represents a critical step toward achieving our operational and sustainability goals. PurposeEnergy’s project allows us to send byproducts of cheesemaking to the digester via pipeline, creating renewable energy. This direct diversion eliminates the trucking of over 250 loads per month, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,000 tons a year. Agri-Mark’s family farm owners are committed to protecting the local environment and maintaining a resilient dairy industry for future generations. By repurposing process organics into renewable electricity for Vermont residents, Cabot is providing award-winning dairy products while supporting commitments to our local communities.”

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HSB joining Green Hydrogen and Technology Alliance

The engineering and technical risk insurer will focus on inspection test plans and storage and transportation solutions.

HSB has joined the Clean Energy Holdings Renewable Energy and Technology Alliance Platform, according to a press release.

The engineering and technical risk insurer, based in Hartford, Connecticut, has been a member of Munich Re’s Risk Solutions family since 2009. Its role in the group will be to focus on inspection test plans and storage and transportation solutions.

The Alliance comprises Clean Energy Holdings (with ING Americas as financial advisor), Bair Energy, Chart Industries, Equix, RockeTruck, Coast 2 Coast Logistics, and The Eastman Group.

“As the largest Authorized Inspection Agency (AIA) accredited by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), HSB’s contribution to the Renewable Energy and Technology Alliance will focus on defining safe plans for this clean energy emerging industry,” the release states.

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Renewables developer drops P2X strategy

A US renewable energy developer has dropped its P2X strategy. It had recently added staff to pursue developments in the green hydrogen sector.

Strata Clean Energy has nixed its power-to-X strategy.

The North Carolina-based renewable energy developer has decided not to pursue developments in the green hydrogen sector, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Mike Grunow, who was executive vice president in charge of P2X, as well as KJ Plank, who was chief innovation officer, are no longer with the firm.

Strata announced in November that it was building a P2X platform, and Grunow said in a subsequent interview that the company was pursuing a multiple gigawatt pipeline of projects.

The firm had recently added staff to support the P2X platform, including Plank, who has recently launched his own company called Grid-Scale advisors since departing Strata in February, according to LinkedIn. Plank notes on his LinkedIn page that, “As developers often do with major projects, Strata decided not to pursue P2X.”

Representatives of Strata did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Denver green ammonia firm prepping series C capital raise

A green ammonia developer and technology provider is laying the groundwork for a series C capital raise later this year, and still deliberating on a site for its first project.

Starfire Energy, a Denver-based green ammonia producer, is wrapping up a series B capital raise and laying the groundwork for a series C later this year, CEO Joe Beach said in an interview.

The company completed a $6.5m series A in 2021 and finished a $24m series B last year. Investors include Samsung Ventures, AP Ventures, Çalık Enerji, Chevron Technology Ventures, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Osaka Gas USA, Pavilion Capital and the Rockies Venture Club.

Beach declined to state a target figure for the upcoming raise. The firm has not used a financial advisor to date.

Starfire is currently deliberating on locations for its first production facility to come online in 2026, Beach said. Colorado is a primary contender due to ammonia demand, while the Great Plains offer abundant wind energy.

The firm’s strategy is to use renewable energy and surplus nuclear power from utilities to create ammonia from hydrogen with no storage component, eliminating the problems associated with hydrogen storage and transportation.

Targeted offtake industries include agriculture, maritime shipping and peaking power fuel consumption.

“The demand is global,” Beach said, stating that he expects about 150 leads to convert to MOUs. “We get inbound interest every week.”

For future capital raising, Beach said the company could take on purely financial investors, as it already has a long list of strategic investors.

“The expectation is we will wind up with manufacturing plants around the world,” Beach said.

The “new petroleum”

Many hydrogen production projects have been announced worldwide in the last year.

Beach said he expects many of those to transition into ammonia production projects, as ammonia is much easier to export.

Now, Starfire is working on developing its ammonia cracking technology, which converts ammonia into an ammonia/hydrogen blend at the point of use for chemical processes. The final product form in that process is 70% ammonia, 22.5% hydrogen and 7.5% nitrogen – all free of emissions.

The company is using proceeds of its series B capital raise to develop its Rapid Ramp and Prometheus Fire systems. Rapid Ramp uses a modular system design for the production of green ammonia using air, water, and renewable energy as the sole inputs. Prometheus Fire is an advanced cracking system that converts ammonia into hydrogen, operating at lower temperatures than other crackers and creating cost-effective ammonia-hydrogen blends that can replace natural gas.

The advantage to using this technology is that it makes the export of a hydrogen product financially feasible, Beach said.

“You should see ammonia becoming the new petroleum,” he said of the global industry. Ammonia can be deployed internationally like oil and provide the dependability of coal.

Eventually Starfire will undergo a financial exit, Beach said. Likely that will mean an acquisition, but an IPO is also on the table.

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Exclusive: Residential microgrid developer to seek electrolysis partner, raise capital

A developer of planned microgrid communities will look for an electrolysis partner to provide green hydrogen for use in agricultural applications and is planning to go to market for platform equity and project debt.

Embark Fund and NOVA Constructors, a group of real estate development interests focused on developing three planned residential communities, will look for an electrolysis partner for its community microgrid development efforts, managing partner Craig McBurney said in an interview.

McBurney, who is also solar development manager for the South Carolina-based renewables developer Alder Energy, said the partners are in the process of acquiring land – between 1,500 and 2,000 acres per parcel – in Virginia, Maryland and Illinois. The latter project is the most advanced.

Each is for a planned residential community including microgrid development, he said. The communities will include renewables, which could be used to power electrolysis during times of low demand. He gave the example of a 30 MW solar ground array.  

“We are preparing to announce a [$60m to $80m] equity raise,” McBurney said, adding that between $240m and $300m of debt will also be required. The money will be used for site acquisition, development and EPC. “The whole capital stack is an opportunity.”  

The group has not formally engaged with an investment bank or financial advisor, he said. They will be targeting private equity, sovereign wealth funds, and family offices.

McBurney pointed to communities like Whisper Valley in Texas and Babcock Ranch in Florida as examples of his group’s efforts to develop sustainable off-grid communities.

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Exclusive: Seattle biomass-to-chemical firm planning equity round

A firm with plans for a biorefinery in Washington state will raise its first large equity round early next year.

Planted Materials, a Seattle-based biomass-to-chemicals company, is in early design stages for its first biorefinery in eastern Washington state and planning to raise an equity round in early 2025, co-founders Noah Belkhous and Greg Jenson said in an interview.

The company will seek to raise between $10m and $20m ahead of FID on the biorefinery, Belkhous said. The four-year-old company has raised $500k from angel investors to date and is currently raising another $1m from high net worth individuals in the Seattle region.

Planted Materials does not have a relationship with a financial advisor but is open to one, Belkhous said.

The company’s recycling model takes municipal landfill waste and converts it to chemical materials for pharmaceutical, paper, plastic and other manufacturing industries.

The proprietary recycling process is something the company would like to license to municipalities in the US and abroad, in addition to building biorefineries in the Pacific Northwest, Belkhous said. The company’s lab is currently based in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

Early design work on the first biorefinery is underway. The duo expects CapEx to cap at $50m, reaching FID in 2026 and beginning construction that year.

While the majority of the company’s feedstock will likely come from the major metropolitan regions in the western PNW, refining capacity is more attractive in the east for reasons of space and existing waste management infrastructure. Jenson noted the presence of the relevant research campus of Washington State University in Pullman, as well as the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

Recently, the team accompanied Washington Governor Jay Inslee and members of the Washington State Department of Commerce on a trip to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. The company has applied to a pair of $350k grants from the state.
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