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AVANGRID, Sempra joint US hydrogen site analysis to conclude within months

An analysis of potential US-based hydrogen projects will be completed soon, AVANGRIDA CEO Pedro Azagra said.

An analysis by AVANGRID and Sempra Infrastructure of potential US green hydrogen and ammonia site locations should conclude in coming months, according to Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra.

“We’re going to conclude this analysis for specific projects” within two to three months, Azagra said, but declined to offer further details for confidentiality reasons.

The companies announced on 12 October that they have entered into a heads of agreement for the potential joint development of US green hydrogen and ammonia projects powered by renewable sources.

The non-binding agreement provides a framework for the companies to identify, appraise, and potentially develop large-scale green hydrogen projects to help meet the energy and decarbonization needs of both US and international customers, according to a news release.

In regards to the agreement, Azagra said, “We are much better going together to such a massive development that you have ahead of us in the US in hydrogen.”

“They have a very good gas business, gas infrastructure, etcetera,” he added. “And we know we are probably one of the leaders in renewables. We are in the geographies where the ammonia and hydrogen is needed.”

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Emissions reduction technology firm receives $10m strategic investment

A developer of technologies to reduce carbon and methane emissions in natural gas production and utilization has raised $10m from publicly listed RNG company Clean Energy Fuels. The company’s plasma technology produces hydrogen and graphene from natural gas, without any CO2 emissions.

Rimere, a climate solutions company with proprietary plasma technology, announced the closing of a $10m strategic investment from Clean Energy Fuels Corp, according to a news release.

The funding will accelerate development and field testing of Rimere’s two independent devices, the Reformer and the Mitigator, that reduce climate change emissions and enable the use of natural gas to accelerate the transition to a clean hydrogen future.

The Reformer uses proprietary sequential hybrid plasma technology to transform natural gas into clean hydrogen and high-quality graphene, without creating any CO2 emissions. When renewable natural gas (RNG) is used as the feedstock, hydrogen produced by Rimere’s Reformer can achieve a negative carbon-intensity rating, making it substantially lower-emission than even renewable electrolysis.

The Mitigator is a plasma thermal oxidizer that reduces the greenhouse gas (GHG) potency of fugitive methane emissions. It offers a low-cost solution for abating methane emissions that escape from the natural gas infrastructure, particularly compressors and pneumatic controllers located along natural gas pipelines.

“The world continues to consume more natural gas annually for everything from producing electricity to heating our homes. However, this globally abundant, low-carbon and affordable resource can also pose greenhouse gas emissions challenges from pipeline transmission, storage and other operations. Importantly, Rimere’s technology not only cleans up the infrastructure but also repositions and revalues natural gas reserves as a vital solution for climate change and our clean energy future by producing both zero-emission hydrogen and valuable graphene. This investment by Clean Energy enables us to accelerate development of these proprietary technologies that could have an immediate impact on the world’s effort to address climate change,” said Mitchell Pratt, CEO of Rimere.

Rimere’s patented and patent-pending technologies deconstruct methane (CH4) at a molecular level, first exciting it to an ionized state, and then high voltage and high frequency arcs are used to crack the ionized gas under an induced electromagnetic field. Rimere’s Reformer and Mitigator provide important solutions to change the long-term outlook for natural gas leveraging a cleaner extensive infrastructure to deliver clean hydrogen and graphene to end use customers.

“Clean Energy has always been striving to address environmental issues since it was founded over 26 years ago. First, it was to reduce harmful and unhealthy pollutants caused by large vehicles operating on diesel. More recently, we saw the opportunity of turning fugitive greenhouse gas emissions at agricultural facilities into an ultra-clean transportation fuel. It is a logical next step to make this investment in Rimere which is tackling the challenges facing the natural gas and hydrogen industries to produce cost-effective solutions without emissions,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy.

Rimere is currently an equity method investee of Clean Energy and has raised $18.25m of committed capital to date since its formation in 2020.

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CleanBay Renewables signs LOI for SPAC takeover

The proposed transaction values CleanBay, a producer of RNG, green hydrogen and controlled-release fertilizer, at $330m.

CleanBay Renewables, a producer of RNG, green hydrogen and controlled-release fertilizer, has signed a letter of intent for a potential business combination with NASDAQ-listed SPAC BurTech Acquisition Corp., according to a news release.

Under the terms of the letter, CleanBay’s existing equity holders would convert 100% of their equity into the combined public company. The proposed transaction values CleanBay at $330m. The BurTech trust account currently holds approximately $294m in cash.

“BurTech expects to announce additional details regarding the proposed business combination when a definitive merger agreement is executed in the second quarter of 2023,” the release states.

CleanBay’s process converts agricultural byproducts into fertilizer. CleanBay’s Chief Executive Officer Donal Buckley said in the release that the company is pursuing new facility developments for that purpose.

“We are excited to partner with CleanBay and believe that access to capital markets will enable CleanBay to commercialize and scale its proprietary and patented processes,” BurTech Chairman and CEO Shahal Khan said in the release. “CleanBay’s ‘shovel-ready projects’ present an attractive investment opportunity for existing and future shareholders.”

The release also highlights Maryland and California state policies to assist in financing such plants and produce RNG, hydrogen and natural fertilizer on an industrial scale.

“With nine identified facilities and eight potential future facilities in the pipeline, we believe that CleanBay will become a significant player in the North American RNG and natural fertilizer market,” Khan said.

According to CleanBay’s management, at full capacity, each CleanBay bioconversion facility can recycle more than 150,000 tons of poultry litter annually. By repurposing a potential source of excess nutrients, each facility can generate more than 750,000 MMBtus of sustainable RNG, 100,000 tons of natural, controlled-release fertilizer, and up to an estimated 1,000,000 tons of CO2 equivalent carbon credits that can be available for monetization in global carbon markets.

As an alternative to renewable natural gas, the facilities can also produce clean hydrogen at an estimated rate of 20,000 tons per year. CleanBay has accumulated proprietary intellectual property covering its conversion process to include trade secrets, a U.S. patent and pending patent applications in the U.S. and Europe.

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Direct air capture firm launches with venture backing

ZeoDAC, Inc. launches with an international group of investment partners that include: Wilson Hill Ventures, Caltech, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Freeflow Ventures and Global Brain.

Direct air capture firm ZeoDAC has launched with backing from venture capital and strategic investors, according to a news release.

The company is founded by industry veterans and technical pioneers Professor Christopher W. Jones, an international expert in direct air capture of carbon dioxide technologies from Georgia Tech, and Mark E. Davis, a chemical engineering Professor from Caltech, who has brought multiple academic innovations to commercial success, including zeolite-based processes.

ZeoDAC, Inc. launches with an international group of investment partners that include: Wilson Hill Ventures, Caltech, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Freeflow Ventures and Global Brain.

“ZeoDAC’s CO2 capture process leverages chemically and mechanically robust solid sorbents with established supply chains deployed in an energy efficient temperature-vacuum swing adsorption cycle, leading to a simple yet economically advantaged process,” said Christopher Jones.

By combining these innovations and expertise, ZeoDAC aims to provide a compelling economic advantage for large-scale, commercial carbon capture and use. The company has raised several million dollars from institutional venture capital and strategic investors led by Wilson Hill Ventures.

“ZeoDAC can deliver compelling Net Present Value (NPV) to industrial partners on an international scale, enabling a multibillion-dollar market with positive impacts for the climate,” said Ajay Kshatriya from Wilson Hill Ventures.

ZeoDAC not only captures carbon dioxide but also water, allowing for the production of several valuable end-products that can drive an economic return while delivering an environmental benefit.

“We are excited to embark on this journey with ZeoDAC. We believe that Direct Air Capture offers the potential for us to source sustainable ingredients and materials while reducing our environmental footprint. After extensively reviewing the market, we are confident that ZeoDAC’s novel approach provides the affordability, scalability, and energy efficiency needed to become a major player in the DAC industry,” said Nicola Tongue, Associate Director, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

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Pharma and fuels tech provider could be ready for public listing

International biotechnology firm Insilico Medicine is applying the algorithms that produce novel drugs to synthesizing more sustainable petrochemical fuels and materials.

Insilico Medicine, a global biotechnology firm serving the pharmaceutical and carbon-based energy industries, could be ready for a public listing in the next phase of its corporate evolution.

Insilico, founded in Baltimore and now based in Hong Kong, has raised about $400m in private capital to date and is in the position of a company that would be exploring a public listing in the US and Hong Kong, CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said in an interview. He declined to say if he has hired a financial advisor to run such a process but said a similar company in his position would have.

The generative AI platform that the company uses to produce novel drugs can be applied to produce more sustainable carbon-based fuels, Zhavoronkov said. The objective is to maximize btu and minimize CO2, making the fuels burn longer and cleaner.

Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco is a user of the technology and participated in Insilico’s $95m Series D (oversubscribed and split between two sub-rounds) last year through its investment arm Prosperity7.

Petrochemistry is going to be needed well into the future, Zhavoronkov said. In addition to renewable energy and other ESG efforts, the efficiency of petrochemicals should be a top priority.

“If you burn certain petrochemicals in certain combinations, you can achieve a reasonably clean burn and an energy efficient burn,” he said. For specific tasks like space travel or Formula 1 racing, combined fuels produce the necessary torque, and generative chemistry can achieve those objectives in a more sustainable way. “I think that we can make the world significantly cleaner just by modifying petrochemical products.”

The technology can also be used to make organic matter in petrochemical products degrade more quickly, which is useful in the case of plastics, Zhavoronkov said.

The company’s AI is primarily based in Montreal and in the drug discovery business in China, but fuel research takes place in Abu Dhabi. Zhavoronkov said he has hired a lot of “AI refugees” from Russia and Ukraine to work at the latter location. The company has 40 employees in the UAE and will likely scale to 70.

Insilico is capitalized for the next two years or so, he said. That doesn’t account for revenue, which closed at just under $30m in 2022. The petrochemical and materials business is under the AI research arm of the business, which is covered by funds raised to date.

“Our board would probably not allow me to reinvent myself as an energy play,” Zhavoronkov said. But the board does not object to applying resources to petrochemical products.

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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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Denbury to transport CO2 for Louisiana blue methanol project

A subsidiary of Denbury Inc. will transport and store CO2 for a planned blue methanol plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Denbury Carbon Solutions has executed a 20-year definitive agreement to provide CO2 transportation and storage services to Lake Charles Methanol in association with that company’s planned 3.6 MMPTA blue methanol project, according to a press release.

LCM’s facility will be located along the Calcasieu River near Lake Charles, Louisiana, approximately 10 miles from Denbury’s Green Pipeline.

The facility is designed to utilize Topsoe’s SynCORTM technology to convert natural gas into hydrogen which will be synthesized into methanol while incorporating carbon capture and sequestration.

The process is anticipated to deliver more than 500 million kilograms of hydrogen per year as a feedstock to produce the 3.6 MMTPA of blue methanol.

LCM is finalizing its major permits to begin construction. The project is expected to reach a Final Investment Decision in 2023 with first production anticipated in 2027.

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