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Atome seeking project finance for Paraguayan fertilizer project

The UK-based developer is seeking investors for a green fertilizer project in Paraguay to serve the South American and European markets.

Atome, the UK-based green hydrogen, ammonia, and fertilizer project development company, has issued a notice to seek project financing for a fertilizer project in Paraguay, according to information from the company.

The financing is for Phase 1 of the Villeta project, issued by Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking. The project will deliver green fertilizer to both South American and European markets.

The publicly traded company has large-scale projects in Latin America and Europe.

Carbon footprint analytics indicate a significant amount of carbon credit revenue generation, with some 500,000 credits potential each year, an alert sent out by the company states.

Management will present to all shareholders on 6 September at 11 a.m. BST. IDB Invest, the Washington DC based multilateral for the Americas, is already onboard with a signed mandate.

Initial carbon footprint analysis indicates a potential displacement of some 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent each year from the production of green fertilizer at Villeta.

“As a result, the company estimates that it has the potential to generate approximately 500,000 valuable carbon credits each year,” company materials state.

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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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Strata Clean Energy launches P2X platform

Strata’s initial projects will produce ammonia derived from renewable energy, while future projects will focus on alternative e-fuels.

Strata Clean Energy, a renewable energy developer, is building a Power-to-X (P2X) development and technology platform to decarbonize segments of the modern economy where direct electrification is not viable, according to a news release.

The P2X platform leverages the firm’s state-of-the-art, hourly-matched, renewable energy supply solutions to produce low-carbon hydrogen derivatives (ammonia, e-methane, and SAF) critical to the hardest-to-abate industrial, agricultural, and ocean freight and aviation markets.

“Strata will transform non-dispatchable clean energy into carbon-free alternatives for the modern industrial economy. Our structured power products and merchant BESS development track record underpin our differentiated approach to serving large loads which require hourly matched renewable energy supply,” said Mike Grunow, EVP & general manager, P2X, Strata Clean Energy. “For the past 12 months, we have been actively siting projects in ideal locations for logistics, water rights, permitting, energy cost, and grid interconnection. Our team is quickly advancing site engineering with Tier 1 partners, and we are accelerating talks with long-term buyers of the low-carbon intensity commodities. We are going to make this a reality.”

Strata’s initial projects will produce ammonia derived from renewable energy, while future projects will focus on alternative e-fuels that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions where no other alternative exists. As a 1:1 replacement for natural-gas-derived ammonia, low-carbon-intensity ammonia can be the workhorse of the zero-carbon economy as it lowers the shipment cost of green hydrogen by a factor of 30.

“For the past 15 years, Strata has been instrumental in bringing over 270 utility-scale solar and storage projects online,” commented Markus Wilhelm, Strata’s CEO. “In the coming decade, regional grids will be loaded with unscheduled wind and solar. Converting a fraction of this generation into zero-carbon, alternative fuels is the next step in the global energy transition to a net-zero future.”

In the fourth quarter of 2022, Strata P2X began recruiting a dedicated team of experts from the petrochemical and utility sectors to play critical roles in advancing the company’s ambitious goals. Among the new hires is KJ Plank, Chief Innovation Officer, who is building out the technology, engineering, energy, and procurement teams within P2X at Strata.

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Montana Renewables completes startup, gets bridge loan from I Squared

Calumet Specialty Products Partners said this week that its Montana Renewables subsidiary completed the startup of its sustainable aviation fuel and pretreatment units.

Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. said this week that its its Montana Renewables subsidiary completed the startup of its sustainable aviation fuel and pretreatment units.

Calumet and its SAF off-taker plan to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10, 2023 to recognize this important milestone.

“We are pleased to report that our leading Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Renewable Diesel, and Renewable Hydrogen platform is fully complete and operating,” said Bruce Fleming, CEO of Montana Renewables. “As we ramp up our pre-treater and draw down existing safety stock of clean feed, we reconfirm go-forward EBITDA guidance of $1.25 to $1.45 per gallon based on local sourcing of untreated feedstocks.”

On April 19, MRL closed a $75 million bridge loan with I Squared Capital. The bridge loan bears a variable rate of interest at SOFR plus 6.0 to 7.3% per annum and we have the flexibility to prepay 50% of principal under the bridge loan from free cash flow by the end of 2024. “Our capital markets strategy remains unchanged,” said Fleming. “This transaction provides strategic optionality as we continue to build North America’s largest SAF business.”

Calumet’s CEO Todd Borgmann added “Following a year in which we’ve demonstrated the power of Calumet’s legacy Specialty business, we can now add the full earnings power of Montana Renewables. Over the past two years, our Montana Renewables team has quickly launched a leading renewables platform and created a first mover advantage in SAF. This major accomplishment is the most recent step in our transformational plan to unlock value for Calumet’s unitholders.”

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Hydra Energy raising equity and debt capital for hydrogen refueling infrastructure

The hydrogen-as-a-service provider for commercial trucking fleets is pursuing an equity raise that will unlock a debt facility for scaling up hydrogen refueling infrastructure in Western Canada.

Hydra Energy, a hydrogen-as-a-service provider for commercial trucking fleets, is in the midst of a CAD 14m equity capital raise.

The Vancouver-based company is pursuing the equity raise in support of its Prince George hydrogen fueling station, which is set to be operational in 2024 and would be the largest in the world, Hydra CEO Jessica Verhagan.

The equity portion of the financing is needed to unlock an additional CAD 150m debt facility to complete initial scale-up of the company’s planned hydrogen corridor along Highway 16 in Western Canada, Verhagan added.

Verhagan said the company is not working with a financial advisor on the capital raise but could issue RFPs for advisory services in the future. She declined to name the provider of the proposed debt facility, apart from clarifying that it was not government-sponsored.

“To date, Hydra has been signing up commercial fleets and building out its initial hydrogen refuelling infrastructure throughout Western Canada, but the company is about to announce expansion throughout the rest of the country via licensing to a national fossil fuel distributor looking to extend its low-carbon alternative fuel offerings,” the executive said via email.

Hydra’s target market to date has been the roughly 5 million Class 8 trucks within North America, Verhagan said, with the company aiming to “conservatively” capture 1% of that market by 2030 through commercial discussions already underway. Hydra is also exploring expansion into the UK as well as Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.

“Hydra’s initial focus has been on proving out its Hydrogen-as-a-ServiceTM (HaaSTM) template which includes the company providing its proprietary hydrogen-diesel, co-combustion conversion kits to commercial fleets at zero cost (in exchange for long-term hydrogen fuel contracts at diesel equivalent prices) as well as an initial hydrogen refuelling station to service 65 Hydra- converted trucks in Prince George, B.C.,” she said.

Verhagan said the company will announce its first electrolysis partner for the Prince George hydrogen refueling station early next year. The station will be able to refuel – as quickly as diesel – up to 24 Hydra-converted trucks each hour across four bays. The station will provide hydrogen from two onsite, 5 MW electrolyzers powered with electricity from BC Hydro.

“The adoption of Hydra’s technology really comes down to availability of low carbon hydrogen – showing fleets it’s possible to go green cost-effectively – and government support to utilize hydrogen to reduce trucking emissions right now,” Verhagan said.

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Exclusive: Liquid hydrogen at room temp: Tech firm raising money to scale

A provider of liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology is finishing a second seed round with designs on a Series A next year. The technology allows hydrogen to be transported as a liquid at room temperature.

Ayrton Energy, the Calgary-based provider of liquid organic hydrogen carrier storage technology, is preparing to launching a second seed round and plans a $30m Series A next year, CEO Natasha Kostenuk told ReSource.

Ayrton, with 10 employees, allows hydrogen to be transported as a liquid at room temperature, Kostenuk said. The liquid can also be transported in existing infrastructure while mitigating pipeline corrosion.

The company’s target customers are hydrogen producers, utilities and hub-and-spoke logistical servicers.

To date Ayrton has raised $5m from venture capital and a similar amount will come from the next seed round, Kostenuk said. A 30 kg per day pilot project with a gas utility in Canada is underway and Ayrton will look to 10x that next year, she said, with eyes on 3 metric tonnes per day commercialization.

“It scales like electrolyzers,” she said of the technology. “We can get very large, very easily.”

Ayrton is now engaging investors and potential advisors, Kostenuk said. “It would be good to engage with us now.”

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Low-carbon crude refinery developer lining up project cap stack

The developer of a low-carbon crude refinery is in talks with banks and strategics to line up project financing for a $5.5bn project in Oklahoma.

Texas-based Southern Rock Energy Partners is holding discussions with banks and potential strategic investors with the aim of shaping a $5.5bn capital stack to build a low-carbon crude refinery in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The project, a first-of-its-kind 250,000 barrel-per-day crude refinery, would make it the first crude facility of that size built in the United States in several decades.

The company is evaluating a project finance route with a debt and equity structure for the project, and has held talks with several major investment banks as well as “industry-leading” strategics in midstream, industrial gas, and electricity generation, Southern Rock Managing Partner Steven Ward said in an interview.

In support of the refinery, the city of Cushing and the Cushing Economic Development Foundation approved $75m in tax-exempt private activity bonds, Ward noted. He added that the company could also tap industrial revenue bonds as well as PACE equity financing.

Seed capital for project development has so far come from strategic partners, some of which are operational partners, Ward said. He declined to comment further on the capital raise, noting that engagement letters have yet to be signed.

Engineering firm KBR is conducting a feasibility study for the Cushing project, and the company is moving through land acquisition, air permit preparation, and EPC selection, Ward said.

While most crude refineries consume natural gas, off-gasses, and ambient air, Southern Rock’s proposed refinery would use oxygen along with blue hydrogen produced from the refining off-gasses and green hydrogen from electrolysis. The process would eliminate 95% of greenhouse gas emissions at the proposed refinery.

“Our furnaces and our process heating units are fed 100% hydrogen and oxygen,” Ward said, noting that this type of system does not currently exist in the market. The company is expanding on technology it licenses from Great Southern Flameless, he said.

The size of the refinery would make it the largest to be built in the US since Marathon Petroleum built a 200,000 barrels-per-day facility in 1976.

Certain other low-carbon crude projects have been in the market for several years. Meridian Energy has been seeking to build cleaner crude refineries in North Dakota. Raven Petroleum ran up against environmental concerns while seeking to build a clean refinery in Texas. And MMEX is aiming to build an “ultra clean” crude refinery in West Texas.

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