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Bloom Energy starts new commercial electrolyzer line

The new line increases the company’s generating capacity of electrolyzers to 2 GW.

Bloom Energy Corporation has inaugurated its high volume commercial electrolyzer line at the company’s plant in Newark, Delaware, according to a press release.

The new line increases the company’s generating capacity of electrolyzers to 2 GW.

In the last decade, the facility has produced over 1 gigawatt (GW) of fuel cell-based Energy Servers. The Bloom Electrolyzer relies on the same solid oxide technology platform used to produce electricity, so the company can streamline existing manufacturing.

The technology is being demonstrated in partnerships withand Idaho National Labs to harness nuclear and steam power, and will be demonstrated with LSB Industries, Inc. to decarbonize industrial and agricultural sectors. Internationally, the technology is in use in South Korea.

In July of this year Bloom Energy opened a 164,000 square foot, multi-gigawatt facility in Fremont, California, representing USD 200m in investment and bringing Bloom’s California headcount to nearly 2,000 in addition to its 715 Delaware employees.

Bloom recently announced plans to install a 240-kW electrolyzer at the Xcel Energy Prairie Island nuclear plant in Welch, Minnesota.

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Nebraska hydrogen outfit raises $300m

Monolith, a developer of clean hydrogen, carbon black and ammonia, has raised $300m in an investment round led by TPG Rise Climate.

Monolith, a developer of clean hydrogen, carbon black and ammonia, has raised $300m, according to a press release.

The investment was led by TPG Rise Climate, the dedicated climate investing strategy of TPG’s global impact investing platform TPG Rise, and joined by Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek, as co-lead. Additional investment was also received from NextEra Energy Resources, SK, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Azimuth Capital Management.

J.P. Morgan Securities and Goldman Sachs acted as placement agents.

The existing investor group, including Azimuth Capital Management, Cornell Capital and Warburg Pincus will retain their majority ownership stake in the company.

Monolith, based in Nebraska, produces essential materials including hydrogen and carbon black through methane pyrolysis. The company says it was the first U.S. manufacturer to produce clean hydrogen using methane pyrolysis at scale.

South Korea’s SK Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding last October with Monolith to produce hydrogen and carbon black in that country. It also generated a collaboration agreement and letter of intent with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company late in 2021.

This latest round of funding will be applied toward further technological development that will offer next generation product capabilities and other corporate-level expansion. It will also enable Monolith’s continued development of a deep backlog of clean hydrogen, ammonia and carbon projects with industry leading partners.

The company also received conditional approval for a more than USD 1bn loan from the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office to expand its production facilities in Nebraska.

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Verbio acquires Indiana ethanol plant from Mercuria

The North American subsidiary of German-based Verbio AG intends to expand and develop the plant into a modern biorefinery producing RNG at an estimated total investment of $230m.

Verbio North America announced today the signing and closing of a purchase agreement with Mercuria Investments US, Inc. to acquire South Bend Ethanol, LLC, an operating ethanol plant located in South Bend, Indiana, according to a news release.

This will be Verbio’s second US production facility following the successful commissioning of its Nevada, IA plant. Verbio intends to subsequently expand and develop the plant into a modern biorefinery at an estimated total investment of $230m.

“We are excited about the opportunity to integrate the production of ethanol with renewable natural gas (RNG) in the state of Indiana,” said Stefan Schreiber, executive board member for North America of Verbio AG, the German-based parent company. “We believe this transaction provides an excellent path for Verbio to further strengthen its North America business and growth strategy. The site offers a competitive location as well as existing infrastructure and meets our requirements for access to the natural gas grid, electricity, feedstock sources and water supply.”

Integration of the ethanol production with the RNG production process, unique to the Verbio brand and developed successfully at the company`s facilities in Europe over the past decade, will result in higher efficiencies and improved sustainability. The site will be developed over the next three years incorporating Verbio’s advanced engineering and operating technology practices. Following commissioning, the production capacity of the plant will be at 85 million gallons of corn ethanol and 2.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of RNG per year.

Verbio will retain the assets of the existing ethanol plant and seek to improve yields and reduce energy consumption over the next several months. The investment will incorporate additional equipment and processes necessary to produce value-added by-products, such as liquid fertilizers. Further, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, aiming to boost investments in climate protection and clean energy in the United States, offers provisions that will benefit the Verbio project.

All current 61 employees at the facility will initially be retained. The company`s goal is to increase to 69 full-time employees by the end of 2025. To support the construction project, a significant number of additional indirect jobs will be created in the surrounding community and across the state. Verbio is working on plans to start construction in the next several months, with commercial production of RNG for use in process industries and other end-use markets expected to begin in 2026.

The plant’s primary feedstock, approximately 28 million bushels of corn annually used for ethanol production, will continue to be procured locally and the company looks forward to working with the growers in the region.

The Verbio biorefinery concept does not only support continued opportunities for local growers, but as importantly, it drives the shift away from fossil energy by offering advanced renewable fuel products.

With the construction of anaerobic digestion (AD) tanks designed to produce RNG, Verbio will utilize the stillage resulting from ethanol production as feedstock rather than producing dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS), as it is typical for other ethanol plants. Biogas produced in the AD tanks will be upgraded to pipeline quality RNG for injection into the gas distribution system serving the site. Following processing, liquid fertilizers and humus will be returned to the fields as excellent soil amendments, completing the sustainability cycle.

“We see a continued strong demand for renewable energy solutions, especially in North American industrial process industries,” said Claus Sauter, founder and CEO of the parent company VERBIO AG. “This opens up promising economic perspectives for us and supports VERBIO`s growth and internationalization strategy. Our renewable energy operations worldwide are built on our company`s twenty years plus commitment to sustainability and technological innovation. We look forward to further expanding our business within North America as well as internationally in the coming years,” Sauter said.

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Verdagy hires chief commercial officer from Plug Power

Electrolyzer start-up Verdagy has hired a chief commercial officer from Plug Power.

Verdagy, a green hydrogen electrolysis company with over a decade of technology and product development, announced today the appointment of David Bow as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Bow will lead Verdagy’s revenue, sales and business development.

“I am excited to join Verdagy at a pivotal time as the company scales up commercial deployments and decarbonizes hard-to-abate industries,” Bow said in a news release. “I will apply my decades of experience in the hydrogen and electrolyzer domains to successfully drive Verdagy’s revenue growth targets.”

Bow recently served as Executive Vice President of Plug Power’s Electrolyzer Solutions, where in three years, he advanced Plug from a new player in the electrolyzer system market to a global leader. He previously held the position of Senior Vice President of Global Business Development at Nel Hydrogen. Prior to Nel, Bow was the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Proton OnSite. Early in his career, Bow developed electrolyzers for the purification of biochemicals used in biotherapeutics.

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Mobility solutions provider to raise up to EUR 200m

Quantron, the German and US-based mobility solutions provider, is set to launch a capital raise that could entail the sale of up to 20% equity.

Quantron, the German and US-based mobility solutions provider, is set to launch a capital raise that could entail the sale of up to 20% equity, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

The company is seeking between EUR 150m and EUR 200m in the process, the sources said, implying a valuation of up to EUR 1bn.

Quantron, which recently expanded into North America with the opening of an office in Detroit, will also consider debt as a part of the raise, one of the sources said.

At a ceremony at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce (DGIC) in Washington D.C. on 12 October, Quantron signed a deal to supply TMP Logistics with 500 Class 8 trucks. The trucks will be operated by Quantron’s as-a-service (QaaS) vertical; they are scheduled for delivery in 2024.

Quantron AG CEO Michael Perschke told ReSource at that event that the company is in discussions with US investors about the capital raise, which has not formally launched but is tentatively scheduled to wrap up in 2Q23. Quantron is also in pre-closure discussions with several US law firms.

A fourth source said Quantron has worked with Danish consulting firm Ramboll Group on past deals.

Perschke said his company has relationships with PwC and EY, the latter especially on IPO readiness.

Quantron in September closed on a EUR 50m Series A with NASDAQ-listed Ballard Power Systems and German machinery manufacturer Neuman & Esser as investors.

Looking forward the company would like to work with a US strategic or private equity interest committed to hydrogen.

Utilities or corporates investing in hydrogen production but still building out the offtake structure would be of interest to Quantron, Perschke said. He noted that private equity interest like Ardian’s HY24 and Beam Capital are also active in the space.

Quantron is in the final stages of a deal with an oil company that Perschke declined to name, but said the company has 2,000 fueling stations across Europe that they are considering for conversion to hydrogen.

Perschke said his company plans to build out its presence in California and then could look for expansion in the northeast, Gulf Coast or Canada. The company aims to be an early mover in US hydrogen-fueled long-haul trucking along with peer Nikola Motor.

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It’s an electrolyzer – but for CO2

A New Jersey-based start-up is seeking to commercialize an electrocatalytic technology that transforms CO2 into a monomer for the plastics industry.

RenewCO2 is developing and seeking to commercialize a modular technology that converts waste CO2 into a usable product.

The New Jersey-based company is advancing a pilot project at an Ace Ethanol plant in Wisconsin that will take CO2 and convert it to monoethylene glycol, which can be used by the plastics industry.

The project was recently selected by the US DOE to receive a $500,000 grant. It seeks to demonstrate the technology’s ability to reduce the ethanol plant’s carbon footprint and produce a carbon-negative chemical.

In an interview, RenewCO2 co-founders Anders Laursen and Karin Calvinho said their technology, which was developed at Rutgers University, is geared toward carbon emitters who can not easily pipe away their CO2 and who may have use for the resulting product.


“It’s a matter of economics,” said Calvinho, who serves as the company’s CTO. Using the RenewCO2 technology, the ethanol plant or other user is able to keep 45Q tax incentives for capturing CO2 while also creating a product that generates an additional revenue stream.

Additionally, the modular design of the technology prevents emitters from having to build expensive pipeline infrastructure for CO2, she added. “We want to help to facilitate the use of the CO2 on site,” she said.

One of the goals of the project is to measure the carbon intensity of these technologies in combination, which ultimately depends on the electricity source for the electrochemical process, similar to an electrolyzer, Laursen, who is the CEO, said.

“The main constraint from a location point of view is the availability of reliable and affordable green power,” Laursen added.

Creating a market

The principal target market for RenewCO2’s technology is existing producers of monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is used to make recycled plastics, as well as ethanol producers and other emitters with purified CO2 streams.

Producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – one of the most recycled plastics globally – are also potential customers since they use MEG in their production process and have CO2 sources on site.

“Right now, MEG produced in the US is, for the most part, not polymerized into PET – it’s shipped overseas for making PET plastics used in textiles, and then made into fibers or shipped further,” Laursen said. “So if you can shorten that transport chain, you can reduce the CO2 emissions associated with the final product.”

RenewCO2 is looking for partners to help build the modular units, and is evaluating the purchase of existing PEM electrolyzer units that can be reconfigured, or having the units custom manufactured.

“We’re talking to potential manufacturing partners and evaluating whether we should do the manufacturing ourselves,” Calvinho said. And if they choose the latter route, she added, “we will have to build our own facilities, but it’s early to say.”

The company has raised a total of $10m in venture investment and grant funding, including a pre-seed round of over $2m from Energy Transition Ventures, a Houston-based venture capital fund.

While not currently fundraising, Laursen said they are always taking calls to get to know the investors that are interested in the space. He added that the company may need to raise additional capital in 12 to 18 months.

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Feature: Why blue hydrogen developers are on the hunt for livestock-based RNG

The negative carbon intensity ascribed to livestock-derived renewable natural gas could allow blue hydrogen production to meet the threshold to qualify for the full $3 per kg of hydrogen tax credit under section 45V. The viability of this pathway, however, will depend on how hydrogen from biogas is treated under the IRS’s final rules.

Lake Charles Methanol, a proposed $3.24bn blue methanol plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, will use natural gas-based autothermal reforming technology to produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which will then be used to produce 3.6 million tons per year of methanol while capturing and sequestering 1 million tons per year of carbon dioxide.

And if certain conditions are met in final rules for 45V tax credits, the developer could apply for the full benefit of $3 per kg of hydrogen produced. How? It plans to blend carbon-negative renewable natural gas into its feedstock.

“Lake Charles Methanol will be a large consumer of RNG to mitigate the carbon intensity of its hydrogen production,” the firm’s CEO, Donald Maley, said in written comments in response to the IRS’s rulemaking process for 45V.

The issue of blending fractional amounts of RNG into the blue hydrogen production process has emerged as another touchstone issue before the IRS as it contemplates how to regulate and incentivize clean hydrogen production.

The IRS’s proposed regulations do not provide guidance on the use of RNG from dairy farms in hydrogen production pathways such as SMR and ATR, gasification, or chemical looping, but instead only define clean hydrogen by the amount of carbon emissions.

In theory, a blue hydrogen producer using CCUS could blend in a small amount – around 5% – of carbon-negative RNG and achieve a carbon intensity under the required .45 kg CO2e / kg of hydrogen to qualify for the full $3 per kg incentive under 45V. 

This pathway, however, will depend on final rules for biogas within 45V, such as which biogas sources are allowed, potential rules on RNG additionality, incentive stacking, and the appropriate carbon intensity counterfactuals. 

Furthermore, a potentially separate rulemaking and comment period for the treatment of biogas may be required, since no rules were actually proposed for RNG in 45V on which the industry can comment.

Like the treatment of electricity within 45V, there appears to be some disagreement within Treasury about the role of RNG in the hydrogen production process, with some in the Democratic administration perhaps responding to the view of some progressives that RNG is a greenwash-enabling “sop” to the oil and gas industry, said Ben Nelson, chief operating officer at Cresta Fund Management, a Dallas-based private equity firm.

Cresta has investments in two renewable natural gas portfolio companies, LF Bioenergy and San Joaquin Renewables, and expects RNG used in hydrogen to be a major demand pull if the 45V rules are crafted correctly.

A major issue for the current administration, according to Nelson, is the potentially highly negative carbon intensity score of RNG produced from otherwise vented methane at dairy farms. The methane venting counterfactual, as opposed to a landfill gas counterfactual, where methane emissions are combusted as flared natural gas (therefore producing fewer GHG emissions than vented methane), leads to a negative CI score in existing LCFS programs, which, if translated to 45V, could provide a huge incentive for hydrogen production from RNG. 

“Treasury may be struggling with the ramifications of making vented methane the counterfactual,” Nelson said.

Divided views

The potential for this blending pathway has divided commenters in the 45V rulemaking process, with the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas and similar companies calling for additional pathways for RNG to hydrogen, the promulgation of the existing mass balance and verification systems – as used in LCFS programs – for clean fuels, and the allowance of RNG credit stacking across federal, state, and local incentive programs.

Meanwhile, opponents of RNG blending noted that it would give an unfair economic advantage to blue hydrogen projects and potentially increase methane emissions by creating perverse incentives for dairy farmers to change practices to take advantage of the tax credits.

For example, in its comments, Fidelis New Energy speaks out forcefully against the practice, calling it “splash blending” and claiming it could cost Americans $65bn annually in federal incentives “with negligible real methane emission reductions while potentially driving an increase in emissions overall without proper safeguards.”

Fidelis goes on to state that allowing RNG to qualify under 45V results in a “staggering” $510 / MMBtu for RNG, a “market distorting value and windfall for a select few sizable industry participants.”

Renewables developer Intersect Power similarly notes the potential windfall for this type of project, since the $3 credit would be higher than input costs for blue hydrogen. “Said another way, hydrogen producers using natural gas and blending RNG with negative CI will be extremely profitable, such that it would encourage the creation of more sources of RNG to capture more credits,” according to the comments, which is signed by Michael Wheeler, vice president, government affairs at Intersect.

Stacking incentives

In its initial suggestions from December, Treasury introduced the possibility of limiting RNG that qualifies under 45V from receiving environmental benefits from other federal, state, or local programs, such as the EPA’s renewable fuel standard (RFS) and various state low carbon fuel standards (LCFS).

In response, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas said that it does not “believe it is the intent of the Section 45V program to limit or preclude RNG from participation in” these programs. 

“In particular, a hydrogen facility utilizing RNG to produce clean hydrogen as defined in Section 45V program should be eligible to claim the resulting Section 45V tax credit, and not be barred or limited from participating in the federal RFS or a state LCFS program, if the RNG-derived hydrogen is being used as a transportation fuel or to make a transportation fuel (e.g. SAF, marine fuel, or other fuel) used in the contiguous U.S. and/or the applicable state (e.g., California), respectively,” the organization wrote.

Various commenters along with the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas stated that the incentives should work together, and that the EPA has “long recognized that other federal and state programs support the RFS program by promoting production and use,” as Clean Energy Fuels wrote.

Cresta, in its comments, noted that the 45V credit would result in a tax credit of $19.87 per MMBtu of RNG, while almost all potential dairy RNG build-out has a breakeven cost above $20 per MMBtu — in other words, not enough to incentivize the required buildout on its own.

Including this incentive plus environmental credits such as LCFS and RINs could get RNG producers to higher ranges “where you’re going to get a lot of buildout” of new RNG facilities, Nelson said.

In contrast, Fidelis argues that the ongoing RNG buildout utilizing just the existing state LCFS and RFS credits is proof enough that the incentives are working, and that 45V would add an exorbitant and perverse incentive for RNG production.

“To demonstrate the billions in annual cost to the American taxpayer that unconstrained blended RNG/natural gas hydrogen pathways could generate in 45V credits, it is important to consider the current incentive structure and RNG value today with CA LCFS and the EPA’s RFS program, as well as with the upcoming 45Z credit,” Fidelis writes. “Today, manure-RNG sold as CNG with a CI of -271.6 g CO2e / MJ would generate approximately $70 / MMBtu considering the value of the natural gas, CA LCFS, and RFS. The environmental incentives (LCFS and RFS) are 23x times as valuable as the underlying natural gas product.”

In its model, Fidelis claims that the 45V credit would balloon to $510 / MMBtu of value generation for animal waste-derived RNG, but does precisely explain how it arrives at this number. Representatives of Fidelis did not respond to requests for comment.

RNG pathways

As it stands, the 45VH2-GREET 2023 model only includes the landfill gas pathway for RNG, thus the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas and other RNG firms propose to add biogas from anaerobic digestion of animal waste, wastewater sludge, and municipal solid waste, as well as RNG-to-hydrogen via electrolysis.

According to the USDA, “only 7% of dairy farms with more than one thousand cows are currently capturing RNG, representing enormous potential for additional methane capture,” the coalition said in its comments.

Even the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group, supports allowing biomethane from livestock farms to be an eligible pathway under 45V, “subject to strong climate protections” such as monitoring of net methane leakage to be factored into CI scores and the reduction of ammonia losses, among other practices.

However, the EDF argues against allowing carbon-negative offsets of biomethane, saying that “doing so could inappropriately permit hydrogen producers to earn generous tax credits through 45V for producing hydrogen with heavily polluting fossil natural gas.”

First productive use

In issuing the 45V draft guidance in December, the Treasury Department and the IRS said they anticipated that in order for RNG to qualify for the incentive, “the RNG used during the hydrogen production process must originate from the first productive use of the relevant methane,” which the RNG industry has equated with additionality for renewables under 45V.

The agencies said that they would propose to define “first productive use” of the relevant methane “as the time when a producer of that gas first begins using or selling it for productive use in the same taxable year as (or after) the relevant hydrogen production facility was placed in service,” with the implication being that  “biogas from any source that had been productively used in a taxable year prior to taxable year in which the relevant hydrogen production facility was placed in service would not receive an emission value consistent with biogas-based RNG but would instead receive a value consistent with natural gas.”

This proposal is opposed by the RNG industry and others planning to use it as a feedstock.

“Instituting a requirement that the use of RNG for hydrogen production be the ‘first productive use’ of the relevant methane would severely limit the pool of eligible projects for the Section 45V PTC,” NextEra Energy Resources said in its comments.

Nelson, of Cresta, called the “first productive use” concept for RNG “a solution in search of a problem,” noting that it’s more onerous than the three-year lookback period for additionality in renewables.

“Induced emissions are a real risk in electricity – they are a purely hypothetical risk in RNG,” Nelson said, “and will remain a hypothetical risk indefinitely in virtually any scenario you can envision for RNG buildout, because there’s just not that many waste sites and sources out there.”

The issue, Nelson added, is that if RNG facilities are required to align their startup date with hydrogen production, the farms where RNG is produced would just continue to vent methane until they can coincide their first productive use with hydrogen.

The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas argues that the provision “would cause a significant value discrepancy for new RNG projects creating a market distortion, greater risk of stranded RNG for existing projects, added complexity, and higher prices for end-consumers.”

The Coalition proposes, instead, that Treasury could accept projects built prior to 2030 as meeting incrementality requirements “with a check in 2029 on the market impacts of increased hydrogen production to determine, using real world data, if any such ‘resource shifting’ patterns can be discerned.”

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