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And the winners are….

The US DOE announced the seven winners of $7bn in funding for regional hydrogen hubs.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $7bn to launch seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) and accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost, clean hydrogen.

Selected projects for negotiation include:

  • Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2); West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania) — The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub will leverage the region’s ample access to low-cost natural gas to produce low-cost clean hydrogen and permanently store the associated carbon emissions. The strategic location of this H2Hub and the development of hydrogen pipelines, multiple hydrogen fueling stations, and permanent CO2 storage also have the potential to drive down the cost of hydrogen distribution and storage. The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub is anticipated to bring quality job opportunities to workers in coal communities and create more than 21,000 direct jobs—including more than 18,000 in construction and more than 3,000 permanent jobs, helping ensure the Appalachian community benefits from the development and operation of the Hub. (Amount: up to $925 million)
  • California Hydrogen Hub (Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES); California) — The California Hydrogen Hub will leverage the Golden State’s leadership in clean energy technology to produce hydrogen exclusively from renewable energy and biomass. It will provide a blueprint for decarbonizing public transportation, heavy duty trucking, and port operations—key emissions drivers in the state and sources of air pollution that are among the hardest to decarbonize. This H2Hub has committed to requiring Project Labor Agreements for all projects connected to the hub, which will expand opportunities for disadvantaged communities and create an expected 220,000 direct jobs—130,000 in construction jobs and 90,000 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $1.2 billion)
  • Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity H2Hub; Texas) — The Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub will be centered in the Houston region, the traditional energy capital of the United States. It will help kickstart the clean hydrogen economy with its plans for large-scale hydrogen production using both natural gas with carbon capture and renewables-powered electrolysis, leveraging the Gulf Coast region’s abundant renewable energy and natural gas supply to drive down the cost of hydrogen—a crucial step to achieving market liftoff. This H2Hub is expected to create approximately 45,000 direct jobs—35,000 in construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $1.2 billion)
  • Heartland Hydrogen Hub (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) — The Heartland Hydrogen Hub will leverage the region’s abundant energy resources to help decarbonize the agricultural sector’s production of fertilizer, decrease the regional cost of clean hydrogen, and advance the use of clean hydrogen in electric generation and for cold climate space heating. It also plans to offer unique opportunities of equity ownership to tribal communities through an equity partnership and to local farmers and farmer co-ops through a private sector partnership that will allow local farmers to receive more competitive pricing for clean fertilizer. The Heartland Hydrogen Hub anticipates creating upwards of 3,880 direct jobs–3,067 in construction jobs and 703 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $925 million)
  • Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2); Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey) — The Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub will help unlock hydrogen-driven decarbonization in the Mid-Atlantic while repurposing historic oil infrastructure and using existing rights-of-way. It plans to develop renewable hydrogen production facilities from renewable and nuclear electricity using both established and innovative electrolyzer technologies, where it can help reduce costs and drive further technology adoption. As part of its labor and workforce commitments to the community, the Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub plans to negotiate Project Labor Agreements for all projects and provide close to $14 million for regional Workforce Development Boards that will serve as partners for community college training and pre-apprenticeships. This H2Hub anticipates creating 20,800 direct jobs—14,400 in construction jobs and 6,400 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $750 million)
  • Midwest Hydrogen Hub (Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2); Illinois, Indiana, Michigan) — Located in a key U.S. industrial and transportation corridor, the Midwest Hydrogen Hub will enable decarbonization through strategic hydrogen uses including steel and glass production, power generation, refining, heavy-duty transportation, and sustainable aviation fuel. This H2Hub plans to produce hydrogen by leveraging diverse and abundant energy sources, including renewable energy, natural gas, and low-cost nuclear energy. The Midwest Hydrogen Hub anticipates creating 13,600 direct jobs—12,100 in construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $1 billion)
  • Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNW H2; Washington, Oregon, Montana) — The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub plans to leverage the region’s abundant renewable resources to produce clean hydrogen exclusively via electrolysis. It’s anticipated widescale use of electrolyzers will play a key role in driving down electrolyzer costs, making the technology more accessible to other producers, and reducing the cost of hydrogen production. The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub has committed to negotiating Project Labor Agreements for all projects over $1 million and investing in joint labor-management/state-registered apprenticeship programs. This H2Hub is expected to create more than 10,000 direct jobs—8,050 in construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $1 billion)

Read more about individual projects at the DOE website.

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BASF electrolyzer project gets 134m from European Commission

The European Commission has approved a EUR 134m German measure to support BASF SE in the production of renewable hydrogen.

The European Commission has approved a EUR 134m German measure to support BASF SE in the production of renewable hydrogen, according to a news release.

The aid will support the construction and installation of a large-scale electrolyser at BASF’s Ludwigshafen site, which will have an annual production capacity of 54 MW and produce approximately 5,000 tonnes of green hydrogen and 40,000 tonnes of oxygen per year. The electrolyser is envisaged to start operating in 2025.

The measure will support BASF’s production of renewable hydrogen mainly to replace fossil-based hydrogen in BASF’s chemical production processes. Additional renewable hydrogen produced will be delivered for emerging hydrogen mobility applications like hydrogen-powered trucks or buses.

 

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Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners invests in 220 GW green hydrogen pipeline

CIP, through its Energy Transition Fund I, has acquired a 26.67% stake in a development platform within CWP’s green hydrogen business.

CWP Global and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) today announced CIP’s strategic investment in CWP’s development portfolio of ultra-large-scale green hydrogen hubs, including projects across Africa, Australia and the Americas, according to a news release.

Under the deal announced today, CIP, through its Energy Transition Fund I, has acquired a 26.67% stake in a development platform within CWP’s green hydrogen business, thus seizing the opportunity to invest in the latter’s pipeline of green hydrogen hubs under development globally.

The investment brings together CWP’s leading green hydrogen team, built off the back of a two-decade track record in developing and operating utility-scale renewables projects, and CIP’s expertise in financing and developing large-scale green transition infrastructure. CIP’s backing represents a significant vote of confidence in the emerging green hydrogen sector from one of the world’s largest renewable energy infrastructure investors, according to the release.

As it currently stands, CWP’s green hydrogen hub portfolio has a planned combined renewable power generation capacity of nearly 220 GW.

Alex Hewitt, CEO of CWP Global, said, “We’re thrilled to welcome CIP to the CWP family, a new partnership that could not have come at a more important time. The race to net zero is on, and green hydrogen at scale will be a critical pillar for global decarbonisation, perhaps meeting one-fifth of global energy demand by 2050.”

Felix Pahl, Partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, said, “Achieving decarbonisation targets requires green hydrogen and green ammonia to be produced at scale. Through this investment, CIP’s Energy Transition Fund now further expands its participation in the development of gigawatt scale PtX developments. CWP has a proven track record in delivering onshore renewables and has already built a strong pipeline of PtX development projects.

With a strong management team and established regional footprints in Australia, Africa and Latin America, we expect CWP to become a global leader in developing ultra gigawatt-scale PtX projects and contribute significantly to decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors.”

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Ohmium inks 120 MW electrolyzer deal with NovoHydrogen

The electrolyzers will provide 120 MW of green hydrogen capacity to an IPP to run through a natural gas plant in New Jersey.

California-based Ohmium International has finalized an agreement to provide Colorado-based NovoHydrogen with PEM Electrolyzers, according to a press release.

The electrolyzers will be used to provide 120 MW of green hydrogen capacity to an independent power producer to run at a natural gas peaking power plant in New Jersey.

Ohmium manufactures standardized interlocking modular PEM electrolyzers that produce pressurized high-purity hydrogen.

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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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Quantron kicks off Series B equity raise

The German and American mobility provider is seeking to raise EUR 200m in a Series B equity raise, as the company plans to become a one-stop-shop for hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles, according to a teaser.

Quantron, the Germany and US-based hydrogen trucking manufacturer, is seeking to raise EUR 200m in a Series B capital raise, and has further plans to raise money in a Series C in 2024 or 2025, followed by an anticipated IPO beyond 2025.

The company plans to use proceeds from the Series B accelerate the roll-out of existing production and make additional market entries included expanding its operations in the US, according to a sale teaser seen by The Hydrogen Source. Stifel is leading the capital raise, as previously reported.

By advancing a full-scale zero-emission ecosystem, Quantron is seeking to take part in the sourcing and distribution of green energy and hydrogen, as well as building fuel cell and battery electric vehicles and components and offering customer solutions like aftersales, the teaser notes.

Quantron, which has offices in Augsburg, Germany and Detroit, Michigan, has brought in about EUR 28m in revenues since inception and expects EUR 60m in revenue this year, fueled by a EUR 100m order book and pipeline. The company has put 150 vehicles on the road to date and has 130 employees.

Its Series A capital raise of EUR 45m, completed in September, 2022, implied a EUR 250m pre-money valuation. The ongoing EUR 200m capital raise will come in the form of the Series B financing as well as working capital facilities.

The company recently announced commitments with FirstElement Fuel and Goldstone Technologies Limited. Quantron debuted its Class 8 hydrogen fuel-cell truck in the US at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, California in April.

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Government money still top of mind for early movers in US hydrogen

Gaining access to funding from government and other agency sources is top of mind for many developers seeking to de-risk their projects and reach FID. But only hydrogen, ammonia, and other clean fuels projects exhibiting “the best in the business” are garnering support from government financing agencies and commercial lenders, experts say.

The US Department of Energy came out this week with the news that it was not yet ready to release the long-awaited winners of its $8bn hydrogen hubs funding opportunity, as Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm noted Monday at the Hydrogen Americas Summit in Washington, DC.

The delay disappointed many in the industry, who are also waiting for crucial guidance from the IRS on rules for clean hydrogen tax credits.

Gaining access to funding from government and other agency sources is top of mind for many developers seeking to de-risk their projects and reach FID. But only hydrogen, ammonia, and other clean fuels projects exhibiting “the best in the business” are garnering support from government financing agencies and commercial lenders.

Speakers on a financing panel at the summit yesterday pointed to the successful FID of the Air Products-backed NEOM green hydrogen project in Saudi Arabia as an effective project finance model, where major sponsors working together helped to de-risk the proposal and attract support from export credit agencies and global banks.

In the US, large players like ExxonMobil (Hydrogen Liftoff Hub), NextEra (Southeast Hydrogen Network), and Chevron (ACES Delta) have applied for DOE hydrogen hubs funding, according to the results of a FOIA request, joining major utilities and other oil and gas companies like bp and Linde in the running for funds.

In addition to inadequate regulatory guidance, some developers have already started grumbling that the proposed government assistance will not be enough to meet the scale of decarbonization needs. And the nascent clean fuels project finance market still needs to sift through techno-economic challenges in order to reach its potential, according to comments made yesterday on a panel called Financing Clean Hydrogen.

Leopoldo Gomez, a vice president of global infrastructure finance at Citi, sees a big role for the project finance framework for hydrogen facilities undertaken by independent project developers as well as strategics looking to strike the appropriate risk allocation for new projects.

And Michael Mudd, a director on BofA’s global sustainable finance team, said hydrogen projects are similar in many ways to established facilities like power and LNG, but with additional complexities, like understanding the impact of intermittent power and how to appropriately scale technologies.

Credibility

This year, Pennsylvania-based Air Products along with ACWA Power and NEOM Company finalized and signed an $8.5bn financing agreement for NEOM the project, which will build 4 GW of renewables powering production of up to 600 tons per day of hydrogen. The National Development Fund and the Saudi Industrial Development Fund kicked in a total of $2.75bn for the project, with the balance covered by a consortium of 23 global lenders.

“It is very important from the financing side to make sure the parties that are at the table are the best in the business, and that’s what we’re seeing with the projects that are able to receive either commitments from the DOE Loan Programs office or from commercial lenders and export credit agencies,” Gomez said.

Highly credible engineering firms are also critical to advance projects, and the EPCs themselves might still need to get comfortable integrating new technologies that add more complexity to projects when compared to power generation or LNG projects.

“The bottom line is that having someone that’s very credible to execute a complex project that involves electrolyzers or carbon capture or new renewable power generation within the parameters of the transaction” is critical for providing risk mitigation for the benefit of investors, Gomez added.

Funding sources

Additional funding sources are intended to be made available for clean fuels projects as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, the panelists said.

Most notably, tax credit transferability and the credits in section 45Q for carbon capture and sequestration and 45V for clean hydrogen are available on a long-term basis and as a direct-pay option, which would open up cash flows for developers.

“If you can use [tax credit transfers] as a contract, you can essentially monetize the tax credits in the form of debt and equity,” Mudd said. And if a highly rated corporate entity is the counterparty on the tax transfer, he added, the corporate rating of the buyer can be used to leverage the project for developers that don’t have the tax capacity.

Still, section 45V is potentially the most complex tax credit the market has ever seen, requiring a multi-layer analysis, according to Gomez, who advised patience among developers as prospective lenders evaluate the potential revenue streams from the tax credit market.

“First and foremost we’ll be looking at cash flows driven by the offtake contract, but it will be highly likely that lenders can take a view on […] underwriting 10 years of 45V at a given amount,” Gomez added.

Crucial guidance on how to conduct a lifecycle emissions analysis is still outstanding, however, making it difficult to bring all project parties to the table, according to Shannon Angielski, a principal at law and government relations firm Van Ness Feldman.

“It’s going to hinge on how the lifecycle analyses are conducted and how you have some transparency across states and borders” regarding the potential for a green premium on clean hydrogen, she added.

Agency support

In Canada, the Varennes Carbon Recycling plant in Quebec has received CAD 770m of provincial and federal support, primarily from the Canada Infrastructure Bank and the province of Quebec, noted Amendeep Garcha of Natural Resources Canada.

Around CAD 500m of funding from the Canada Infrastructure bank is also going to support hydrogen refueling infrastructure, Garcha said, with the aim of establishing a hydrogen highway that will form the basis of the hydrogen ecosystem in Quebec.

Pierre Audinet, lead energy specialist from World Bank Group, noted how the international development agency was stepping in to provide support for projects that might otherwise not get off the ground.

“In the world where I work, we face a lot of scarcity of capital,” he noted, adding that the World Bank has backed the implementation of clean fuels policies in India with a $1.5bn loan.

Additionally, the World Bank has supported a $150m project in Chile, providing insurance and capital for a financing facility that will reduce the costs of electrolyzers. Chile, while it benefits from sun and wind resources, said Audinet, is less competitive when it comes to transportation given its geographic location.

The agency is also working to help the local government in the Northeastern Brazil port of Pecem. Shared infrastructure at the port will help reduce risks for investors who have taken a stake in the port facilities, Audinet said.

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