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Black Hills Energy studying hydrogen production from coal

BHE will partner with Babcock & Wilcox to study the cost and economics of deploying chemical looping technology at commercial scale to produce hydrogen from Powder River Basin coal and a nearly pure stream of CO2.

Black Hills Energy (BHE) has selected its BrightLoop hydrogen generation technology from Babcock & Wilcox for the feasibility study of a proposed project to produce clean hydrogen from coal and capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at BHE’s Neil Simpson Power Plant in Gillette, Wyo.

BrightLoop is a novel chemical looping technology that can use a variety of fuels to produce clean energy with complete CO2 capture, according to a news release from the companies.

BHE will partner with B&W to study the cost and economics of deploying the BrightLoop chemical looping technology at commercial scale to produce low carbon intensity hydrogen gas from Powder River Basin (PRB) coal and a nearly pure stream of CO2 suitable for beneficial use or storage without the need for expensive carbon separation equipment.

“As the United States and much of the world transitions to near-zero emissions fuels, our BrightLoop technology – which captures COand other pollutants while producing hydrogen – can provide a vital pathway to utilize our abundant natural resource of coal in a net-zero world,” said B&W Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morgan.

“We are excited to utilize our highly experienced U.S. engineering team to work with BHE to develop a solution that will help them achieve their goals of creating and preserving jobs, diversifying Wyoming’s energy production and establishing new markets for the state’s natural resources,” Morgan said. “We thank BHE for this opportunity and for the confidence they have shown in B&W’s BrightLoop technology.”

Mark Stege, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of Wyoming operations agreed, adding, “Over 30 years of research has led us to this opportunity to unite clean energy technology with Wyoming’s important and abundant energy resources. We appreciate the partnership with B&W and the prospect of leveraging innovative hydrogen technology to deliver efficient energy to customers.”

B&W’s BrightLoop chemical looping technology is part of its ClimateBright suite of decarbonization and hydrogen technologies. The BrightLoop process uses a proprietary, regenerable particle and has been demonstrated to effectively separate CO2 while producing hydrogen, steam and/or syngas.

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Renewable fuels company Raven SR awarded EU commission grant

The Wyoming-based company received the grant for the development of a waste-to-hydrogen plant in Spain.

Raven SR Inc., a renewable fuels company, has been awarded a €1.7m (USD$1.75m) grant from the European Commission for the development of a waste-to-hydrogen production facility in the Aragón region of Spain, according to a news release.

The funding is part of a broader €14m European Commission grant to Hy2Market, a multi-regional project led by the New Energy Coalition to research and produce hydrogen on an accelerated timeframe.

The company has been working on a $100m capital raise expected to close last month, as reported by ReSource.

Raven SR earlier this year established Raven Iberia, a wholly owned subsidiary in Zaragoza, the capital of Aragón, in conjunction with planning the $35m waste-to-hydrogen production facility in the region. The modular project’s commercial operations are targeted to begin in 2024 and the fuel supply will serve hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The Raven SR project in Aragón will produce 1,600 metric tons per year of renewable hydrogen from approximately 75 tons of organic solid waste per day. Raven SR’s patented, non-combustion technology reduces waste and emissions while creating clean, renewable fuel. Its design provides higher energy output per ton of waste than any other waste-to-hydrogen technology worldwide.

“We are honored to receive such broad support for our first waste-to-hydrogen production facility in Europe,” said Raven SR CEO Matt Murdock. “This initial project in Spain provides a foothold in a regional market that is highly supportive of shifting away from carbon-intensive fuels to achieve a net-zero energy economy. We also look forward to collaborating within the wider Hy2Market consortium to potentially expand to additional sites in the European Union.”

Raven SR’s project in Spain was chosen late last year by the S3 European Hydrogen Valleys Partnership as the best new industrial European initiative linked to hydrogen due to its advanced technological development stage and potential for scaling up in the European Union. Raven SR is also part of the Pilot Action Hy2Market and European Consortium related to the Interregional Innovation Investment Funding Instrument I3, which aims to support the commercialization and scaling up of interregional European innovation projects and investments through the development of European hydrogen value chains.

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Norway’s Nel to expand production capacity for US and EU green hydrogen

The norwegian electrolyzer manufacturer is to spend $36.2m to double the total annual alkaline production capacity in its Herøya factory, to 1GW, on the strength of rising demand for green hydrogen and production equipment.

Norwegian electrolyzer manufacturer, Nel, is to spend $36.2m to double the total annual alkaline production capacity in its Herøya factory, to 1GW, on the strength of rising demand for green hydrogen and production equipment that extends beyond Europe to the US.

The North American market will be important to Nel after US hydrogen tax credits were included in the Inflation Reduction Act, according to a company presentation.

In July, Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser AS, a subsidiary of Nel ASA, received its “largest ever purchase order” from an undisclosed US customer for 200 MW of alkaline electrolyser equipment for industrial application.

The contract for the electrolyser stacks is a firm order with a value in excess of $46m. Production and delivery of stacks is planned from February 2023 until mid-2024 at Nel’s large-scale electrolyser production facility at Herøya, according to a press release.

Following an ongoing engineering study, Nel could also get the opportunity to provide additional balance-of-plant (BoP) equipment for the project.

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Raven SR: “We haven’t had a problem finding offtakers”

Waste-to-hydrogen firm Raven SR has offtakers knocking on its door.

An official from waste-to-hydrogen firm Raven SR has a counter for the hydrogen offtake naysayers out there.

“We haven’t had a problem finding offtakers,” JuliAnne Thomas, director of external affairs at the company, said yesterday.

“We’ve got people coming to us on a regular basis looking for hydrogen, whether it be a city bus transport, somebody like Hyzon, the Chevrons, the Shells of the world,” she said in remarks at the Reuters Energy Transition conference in Houston. “People are looking for this molecule.”

The firm has three projects in California, one of which, the Richmond project, is nearly permitted. It was undergoing a Series C capital raise last year with advisory support from BofA Securities and Barclays. In February it took a strategic investment from Stellar J Corporation.

Raven SR is looking for partners with skin in the game, Thomas said. “We want the offtaker, we want the waste company that wants to come in on a partnership,” she added. “We’re helping the landfills use up the methane that would otherwise be flared.”

‘Complicated puzzle’

On the same panel, David Galey of Orsted outlined some of the Danish multinational’s Power to X plans on the Gulf Coast.

The company is developing Project Star, which will use onshore wind and solar PV to produce 300,000 tonnes of e-methanol annually under a partnership with Maersk. It is also looking at ammonia on the Gulf Coast, for a different offtaker in the chemical feedplant business, Galey said.

“Methanol production is a very complex, integrated process where you’re not just relying on renewable electricity to create hydrogen, you also have the biogenic CO2 side of things,” he said.

“So the partnerships that you need in order to support methanol production […] each have their own challenges,” he said, noting considerations for large sources of biogenic CO2, cheap renewable power, and proximity to offtakers.

“It’s a complicated puzzle of how you try to find the best balance between those different constraints that you have,” he said.

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Exclusive: Monarch Energy targeting green hydrogen FID in 2024

Monarch is moving forward with several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Green hydrogen developer Monarch Energy aims to take its first final investment decision as soon as next year, CEO Ben Alingh said in an interview.

Monarch is moving forward with several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Alingh said the company is seeking to advance the projects to FID by late 2024 and early 2025. Monarch has not engaged a project finance banker yet, he said.

The company recently announced a $25m preferred equity investment and $400m project equity commitment from LS Power.

The proceeds of the preferred equity raise will fund pre-FID aspects of Monarch’s 4.5 GW green hydrogen development platform: overhead, project development, interconnection, land, permitting, and engineering.

The $400m commitment, meanwhile, is earmarked for project equity investments in Monarch’s pipeline of projects. Under the arrangement, the projects will be dropped into a new entity, Clean Hydrogen Fuels, LLC, where LS Power provides the capital and Monarch provides the project, Alingh said.

“On a project-by-project basis the projects will be transferred to Clean Hydrogen Fuels if they are selected,” he said. The Clean Hydrogen Fuels entity is jointly owned by Monarch and LS Power.

Monarch did not use a financial advisor for the capital raise. Clean Energy Counsel served as Monarch’s law firm.

For both the Beaumont and Geismar facilities, Monarch has signed MoUs with Entergy to supply long-term renewable power. Monarch is engaged with industrial users of hydrogen in each location as potential offtakers. It plans to deliver hydrogen via local Monarch-developed hydrogen pipelines that it is developing with EPC partners, he said.

“We endeavor to be as close to our end user as possible with our electrolyzer project, to limit development and execution risk on delivery,” he said. For the volumes of Monarch’s projects, trucking solutions are not on the table, he said, as it would simply require too many trucks.

The company has additional production facilities under development in Freeport, Texas, as well as four other locations in Texas, according to the ReSource project database.

Monarch is also interested in end markets for hydrogen derivatives like methanol and ammonia, but Alingh notes that every project “starts with one core focus, and that is making the cheapest green hydrogen possible.”

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Exclusive: Glenfarne exploring hydrogen projects on existing asset base

Glenfarne Energy Transition is advancing its flagship liquefied natural gas project, Texas LNG, and evaluating hydrogen projects on or near its existing asset base on the Gulf Coast.

The Biden administration’s pause on permits for new US liquefied natural gas facilities hasn’t hurt all unbuilt projects.

Glenfarne Energy Transition, a subsidiary of Glenfarne Group, is moving ahead with its fully permitted lower-carbon flagship LNG export facility, Texas LNG, as the project is now set up to be the only such US project to reach FID this year.

Texas LNG, a 4 million MTPA facility proposed for Brownsville, Texas, will be the lowest carbon emitting LNG facility approved in the US, largely due to its use of electric motors in refrigerated compression. 

As designed, the plant would emit .15 metric tons of CO2e per ton of LNG produced, placing it slightly lower than the much larger Freeport LNG facility, which also has electric motors and emits around .17 metric tons of CO2 per ton of LNG.

The carbon intensity measurement counts emissions at the Texas LNG plant only, and not related emissions from the electric grid, which is why Glenfarne is seeking to source power for the project from wind and solar generation in south Texas, Adam Prestidge, senior vice president at Glenfarne, said in an interview.

In fact, the lower carbon aspects of Texas LNG helps with every element of the project, Prestidge said, including conversations with European offtakers and potential debt investors.

“Having a focus on sustainability is table stakes for every conversation,” he added. “It’s the finance side, it’s the offtake side, it’s our conversations with regulatory agencies.”

LNG pause

Glenfarne is seeking to raise up to $5bn of equity and debt for the project, according to news reports, a process that could benefit from the Biden administration’s pause on issuing permits for LNG projects that export to countries without free-trade agreements with the US.

“Our confidence and our timetable for that has probably been accelerated and cemented by the fact we are fully permitted, despite the Biden LNG pause impacting the broader market,” Prestidge said.

“The market has pretty quickly recognized that if you want to invest in LNG or buy LNG from a project that’s going to FID in 2024, you really don’t have very many fully permitted options right now.”

Glenfarne’s other US LNG project, called Magnolia LNG, has not yet received the required federal approvals and is therefore on pause along with a handful of other projects.

For Magnolia, Glenfarne is proposing to use a technology for which it owns the patent: optimized single mixed refrigerant, or OSMR, which uses ammonia instead of propane for cooling, resulting in less feed gas needed to run the facility and thus about 30% lower emissions than the average gas-powered LNG facility, Prestidge said.

Hydrogen projects

Glenfarne Energy Transition last year announced the formation of its hydrogen initiative, saying that projects in Chile, Texas, and Louisiana would eventually produce 1,500 kilotons of ammonia. 

“We’ve got existing infrastructure in the US Gulf Coast, and in Chile. A lot of the infrastructure required to produce LNG is similar or can be easily adapted to the infrastructure needed to produce ammonia,” Prestidge said. “And so, we’ve looked at locating hydrogen and ammonia production at sites in or near the ports of Brownsville and Lake Charles,” where Texas LNG and Magnolia LNG are located, respectively.

“The familiarity with the sites and the infrastructure and the local elements, make those pretty good fits for us,” he added.

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Exclusive: Waste-to-fuels developer preparing capital raise

A waste-to-fuels developer has lined up an advisor and is planning a capital raise for a project in West Texas, in what is expected to be the first of up to 20 similar fundraising efforts totaling $500m in external capital needs.

Recover, Inc., a Calgary-based waste-to-fuels project developer, is preparing to launch a capital raise for its first US-based projects in West Texas.

The company has lined up CIBC to assist with the capital raise while a large Canadian Crown Corporation is expected to sign on as a lending partner for the debt portion of the cap stack, CFO Shane Kozak said in an interview.

Kozak said he will need to raise $70m – $75m for the West Texas project, which will process waste from oil and gas drilling fluids and recover 800 barrels per day of low carbon intensity diesel fuel from 800 tons of waste.

Existing equity backers Azimuth Capital and BDC will participate in the capital raise, but the company is seeking additional project equity investors to take part in a 60% debt to 40% equity capital structure, Kozak said.

While the cost of the West Texas project is estimated at $55m, the company needs to raise approximately $70m to account for debt servicing and underwriting fees, he added.

Recover has mapped out a strategy to build 20 projects in oil and gas basins across the US, and estimates it will need to raise $500m in external capital over 10 years to fully develop those projects.

Project model

The company already operates a similar facility in Alberta that became operational in 2018, at a cost of CAD 20m and producing about half of what the West Texas project will produce.

“This has been commercially proven in Canada, and we’re going to a better market with a lot more drilling waste production” in the US, Kozak said.

The waste stream from oil and gas drilling contains large amounts of diesel fuel: a typical well will create 400 – 500 tons of waste, 30%-40% of which is recoverable low carbon intensity diesel, Kozak said.

In Texas, the drilling fluid waste often ends up in pits near drilling rigs or in industrial landfills, where it biodegrades over time and emits CO2 and methane into the atmosphere.

“We significantly reduce GHG emissions and create a fuel source that can be reused, and every barrel that we recover is a barrel of fuel that would otherwise have to come from a fossil fuel source,” he said.

Recent changes to Texas policy regarding oil and gas drilling waste could increase the availability of feedstock for the company. The Texas RailRoad Commission, which oversees the state’s oil and gas industry, is seeking to modernize disposal practices that would redirect waste from drilling pits to more centralized industrial landfills.

“The good thing for us is that, in the Permian Basin, about 70% – 80% of the wells use these pits, and our strategy is to build our facility directly on industrial landfills,” Kozak said.

Recover is working with a large landfill management company with operations across the US to develop its facilities, he added. The company does not pay for feedstock, given the synergistic relationship between Recover and the landfill management company.

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