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Bloom Energy to study SOEC use at Shell assets

Bloom and Shell will collaborate with the goal of developing replicable, large-scale, solid oxide electrolyzer systems that would produce hydrogen for potential use at Shell assets.

Bloom Energy Inc. is teaming up with Shell Plc. to study decarbonization solutions, utilizing Bloom’s proprietary hydrogen electrolyzer technology.

Bloom and Shell will collaborate with the goal of developing replicable, large-scale, solid oxide electrolyzer (SOEC) systems that would produce hydrogen for potential use at Shell assets.

“This technology could represent a potentially transformative moment for opportunities to decarbonize several hard to abate industry sectors,” said KR Sridhar, founder, chairman, and CEO of Bloom Energy. “As the world leader in solid oxide electrolyzer technology, we are poised to provide customers around the world with our proprietary, American-made energy technology to both reduce carbon footprint and sustain economic growth.”

Demand for the Bloom Electrolyzer®, which is manufactured in California and Delaware, has been growing given the increased interest in the low carbon economy, the company said in a news release.

According to an independent analysis, Bloom now has the largest operating electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the world of any electrolysis technology, double that of its closest rival. It staged a highly successful demonstration commencing in May of this year with the world’s largest solid oxide electrolyzer, with a capacity of 4 MW, where it produced 2.4 metric tons of hydrogen per day at the NASA Ames research facility in Mountain View, California. The high-temperature, high-efficiency unit produced significantly more hydrogen per MW than commercially demonstrated lower temperature electrolyzers such as proton electrolyte membrane (PEM) or alkaline.

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Tidewater Midstream and Tidewater Renewables appoint interim CEO

The Canadian company is facing higher estimated costs to build a renewable diesel and hydrogen plant in British Columbia.

The Boards of Directors of Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. and Tidewater Renewables Ltd. have appointed Robert Colcleugh as interim CEO of both companies, effective November 28, 2022, according to a news release.

Colcleugh, who currently serves as a director of Tidewater Midstream, succeeds Joel MacLeod, who is stepping down from his management and board roles to pursue other opportunities.

Tidewater executives including MacLeod said on a recent earnings call that costs would climb an estimated 10% for a renewable diesel and hydrogen plant that’s under construction in British Columbia.

Colcleugh brings significant oil and gas management expertise as well as broad business and capital markets experience to the leadership roles. Thomas Dea will serve as chairman at Tidewater Midstream and Colcleugh will serve as chairman of Tidewater Renewables with Brett Gellner continuing to serve as lead independent director of Tidewater Renewables following Macleod’s departure.

“The business outlook remains strong and both companies are well positioned for continued success,” said Mr. Dea, chairman at Tidewater Midstream. “Under Colcleugh’s leadership, the companies will continue to execute their respective business plans while ensuring they maintain a strong culture of safety, further strengthen their balance sheets, and create value for all constituents. With his significant industry experience and knowledge of the Tidewater business, we have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead the teams and generate shareholder value.”

“We will continue to focus on building a profitable, diversified midstream and infrastructure company at Tidewater Midstream,” said Colcleugh. “At Tidewater Renewables, we will continue to deliver on our commitment to supply North America with low carbon intensity fuel solutions at scale. I look forward to delivering for our valued customers, partners, and shareholders.”

Colcleugh has been a director of Tidewater Midstream since 2017. Over the last 25 years he has held a variety of operational, advisory and board roles at a broad array of domestic Canadian and international energy companies and investment banks.

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Raven SR raises $15m, makes board appointments

Ascent Funds led the latest $15m investment into the renewable fuels firm, with contributions from existing investors Chevron New Energies, ITOCHU Corp. and Stellar J Corp.

Raven SR Inc., a renewable fuels company, has board additions and an executive promotion, coupled with securing $15m in new investments.

The company said the latest fundraising underscores the confidence in Raven SR’s proprietary Steam/CO2 Reforming technology that converts various waste streams into renewable transportation fuels like hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The process outperforms all known alternatives in efficiency, producing more hydrogen and SAF per ton of waste, according to the company.

In August, 2021, Raven closed on a $20m strategic investment from Chevron U.S.A., ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc. and Ascent Hydrogen Fund. Samsung Ventures made a strategic investment earlier this year, allowing the company to expand into the Asia-Pacific market.

In 2022 it launched a Series C funding round led by Barclays and BofA Securities.

In addition to today’s funding milestone, Raven SR said Stuart McFarland, former CFO of Fannie Mae, has been appointed chairman of the Board of Directors, with Mark Gordon, chief investment officer of Ascent Funds, as vice chairman.

Named as new board members: Justin Heyman, managing director of RockCreek Group, and Robert Kinghorn, founder and CEO of Stellar J Corp. Matt Scanlon, the current CFO, has been promoted to president and interim CFO.

Ascent Funds, a venture capital fund dedicated to advancing the energy transition, led the latest $15m investment, with contributions from existing investors Chevron New Energies, ITOCHU Corp. and Stellar J Corp., the engineering, procurement and construction company managing construction of Raven SR’s hydrogen project in Richmond, California.

“Raven SR is pleased to have the continued and enhanced support of our investors as we move toward construction of our organic waste-to-hydrogen facility,” said Matt Murdock, founder and CEO of Raven SR. “This funding is crucial for finalizing our production setup, and the expanded board strengthens our team for the next phase.”

McFarland said he was honored by the board’s trust in his leadership and is looking forward to teaming with Murdock as they move the company ahead. McFarland also acknowledged the support from shareholders and the dedicated project team, emphasizing their importance in Raven SR’s journey.

“With this solid foundation, 2024 is shaping up to be a landmark year for Raven SR as it commercializes its Steam/CO2 Reforming technology to bring clean and sustainable fuel to the world,” said McFarland.

Raven SR’s unique process is non-combustion and catalyst-free as verified by the California EPA. The Richmond project is the first and only California Environmental Quality Act-permitted biomass-to-hydrogen facility in the state.

The Steam/CO2 Reforming technology diverts waste from landfills, produces a carbon-negative fuel and ensures a low carbon footprint compared to traditional hydrogen production methods, placing Raven at the forefront of the waste-to-hydrogen sector.

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DAC firm closes $80m Series A

The firm, CarbonCapture, added multiple strategic investors in the raise including Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Aramco Ventures, and Siemens Financial Services.

CarbonCapture Inc. (CarbonCapture), a leading US-based direct air capture (DAC) company, today announced the successful completion of its $80m Series A financing following the addition of multiple strategic investors that include Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Aramco Ventures, and Siemens Financial Services, according to a news release.

The financing was led by Prime Movers Lab, a leading investor in breakthrough scientific startups, with participation from Idealab X, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures, Neotribe Ventures, Alumni Ventures, and several other venture investors. Funds will be used to further technology development and to field early installations of CarbonCapture’s modular DAC systems.

“To realize our ambitious mission to decarbonize the atmosphere, it’s imperative that we marshal the capabilities of the global industrial community,” said Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture Inc. “That’s why I’m so excited to welcome our new strategic investors—the unparalleled logistics and supply chain prowess of Amazon, the world-class capabilities of Aramco Ventures, and the digital transformation and energy transition expertise of Siemens will be pivotal to helping us scale DAC in the coming years. We also want to thank our existing investors for their continued belief and support. Together, we’re stepping closer to a cleaner, healthier planet for future generations.”

CarbonCapture develops, manufactures, and deploys highly scalable solid sorbent DAC systems based on its patented modular open systems architecture. To date, the company has pre-sold over $26m in carbon removal credits to many of the world’s leading companies, including Microsoft, Boston Consulting Group, Alphabet, Meta, Stripe, Shopify, McKinsey & Company, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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Exclusive: Emissions reduction technology firm in Series A capital raise

A technology start-up that uses plasma to reduce emissions from natural gas and methane flaring is seeking an additional $15m to top off its Series A capital raise. One of its principal products converts natural gas into hydrogen and usable graphene with no CO2 emissions.

Rimere, a climate solutions company with proprietary plasma technology, is seeking to raise an additional $15m as part of its ongoing Series A capital raise.

The start-up recently announced an anchor investment of $10m from Clean Energy Fuels Corp, a publicly listed renewable natural gas firm, and is pursuing further investments from strategics and financial players, with an eye on closing the round in 2Q24, CEO Mitchell Pratt said in an interview.

The company is not currently working with a financial advisor on the Series A capital raise, Pratt said. Its legal counsel is Morrison Foerster.

The anchor investment along with additional funds raised will allow Rimere to advance development and field testing of its two principal products, the Reformer and the Mitigator. 

The Mitigator is a plasma thermal oxidizer that reduces the greenhouse gas potency of small-scale fugitive methane emissions, while the Reformer transforms natural gas into clean hydrogen and usable graphene without creating any CO2 emissions.

The products are meant to work in tandem to decarbonize natural gas infrastructure and deliver cleaner gas to end users in transportation, power generation, and industry.

“We believe that, overall, what the technology does is revalue natural gas reserves and the long-term viability of natural gas for global future energy,” Pratt said.

Commercial strategy

Rimere will develop a commercial strategy throughout the course of this year for the Mitigator, and plans to deploy the product in the beginning of next year.

“We have quite a bit of interest for this as a solution because of the low cost of the product and the terrific results,” Pratt said, noting that the Mitigator removes CO2 for under $5 per metric ton.

In contrast, the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022 introduced the Methane Emissions Reduction Program, a charge on methane emitted by oil and gas companies that report emissions under the Clean Air Act. The charge starts at $900 per metric ton of methane for calendar year 2024, increasing to $1,500 for 2026 and beyond.

To be sure, the Mitigator, as a thermal oxidizer, transforms methane, which is a much more potent greenhouse gas, into hydrogen, water, and CO2 for a net reduction of the global warming impact of 200 metric tons a year of CO2.

The Reformer, a container-style unit, is being scaled up to produce 50 kg per day of hydrogen from natural gas along with 150 kg of graphene, a marketable nano carbon where the CO2 is captured. Graphene is used in batteries, composites, medical devices, and concrete to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other applications.

Rimere plans to increase the scale of the Reformer to between 400 – 600 kg per day and raise additional funds next year, Pratt said. The amount of funds needed for that is not yet known, he said.

Pratt envisions an application for hydrogen blending using the two products.

“We see it as a way to decentralize hydrogen production, taking advantage of a cleaner natural gas infrastructure, because we’ve applied the Mitigator to cleaning up those fugitive methane emissions that are occurring in the normal operations of equipment,” Pratt said.

For example, Rimere can tap into a natural gas pipeline, take a slipstream of gas, extract the valuable graphene, and then re-inject hydrogen and natural gas back into the pipeline.

Additionally, the blending application can be positioned at an end-use customer’s facility, allowing the Reformer to start blending hydrogen into the gas stream, going into boilers and burners and reducing the CO2 emissions more effectively and immediately, Pratt said.

$1 per kg

Taking the average cost of delivered natural gas and power to industrial users, the company can already produce hydrogen at $1 per kilogram, Pratt said.

For every four kilograms of end-use product – one being hydrogen, the other three graphene – the energy cost allows hydrogen to be produced at or below $1 per kg.

“The last 12 months of running is less than a dollar,” he said, emphasizing that the graphene production is not subsidizing the hydrogen.

“Although the value of graphene could make hydrogen a throwaway fuel.”

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Exclusive: Tenaska advancing 10 CCS projects

Independent power development company Tenaska is advancing a portfolio of more than 10 carbon capture and sequestration hubs across the US. We spoke with Bret Estep, who heads up the CCS strategy for the firm.

Tenaska, a Nebraska-based energy company, is advancing a portfolio of more than 10 carbon capture and sequestration projects in the US, Vice President Bret Estep said in an interview.

The portfolio includes three previously announced projects that are highly developed along with seven others that have not been publicly disclosed, Estep added. Tenaska is focused on the transport and storage aspects of the CCS value chain.

“Our base facility is 5 million metric tons per year of storage capacity, and then the necessary pipeline infrastructure to bring those emissions in,” he said.

The base facility design will cost approximately $500m to build, but varies depending on the land position, site geology, and required pipeline miles, Estep said.

“For us, as we plan, I generally use a big rule of thumb to say these are around $500m overnight cost projects,” he said. “Just the storage facility itself, you might be in the $250m to $400m range. And then in really difficult places where there are a lot of pipeline miles, and those are expensive pipeline miles, it might be another $200m or $300m of just pipe.”

Estep says that Tenaska, as a private company, has flexibility on the eventual financing structure for projects, but that project financing is an option. He said the company has held discussions with potential financial advisors but declined to comment further.

Tenaska’s three announced projects are the Longleaf CCS Hub in Mobile, Alabama; the Pineywoods CCS Hub in Houston; and the Tri-State CCS Hub in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

According to Estep, additional projects are going forward in Corpus Christi, New Orleans/Baton Rouge, and Central Florida. Further inland, Tenaska has two projects in Dallas, another in Oklahoma and another in Indiana.

Finding emitters

The projects “are not all easy – there’s a lot of competition out there,” Estep said. “In some places like let’s say Houston, there are a lot of other folks around, but there’s also a lot of emissions around. So I think there’s room for many people to be successful here.”

In other places like Mobile, Alabama or the Tri-State project, which are harder to develop, Tenaska is the only CCS developer, he added. 

As an example, the West Virginia project will likely be more costly to develop, given the suboptimal geology of the region. Still, the project benefits from a $69m DOE grant to support geologic characterization and permitting for the site.

For its CCS business, Tenaska makes money through what Estep calls a “plain vanilla” version of transport and storage: the take-or-pay contract.

“The emitter installs the capture equipment, they’re the taxpayer of record – they have whatever commodity uplift or green premium they can get on their product,” he said. “And they simply need someone to transport and store that CO2 long term really to qualify for that 45Q” tax credit.

For the Longleaf CCS project in Mobile, Estep places potential customers into four quadrants. The first is existing emitters like steelmakers, power plants, gas processing and pharmaceutical companies. “There’s less project-on-project risk in that way.”

The second is blue molecules. “There’s a growing blue molecule effort in that part of the world,” he said. Quadrant three is combined cycle with capture (though Tenaska is not pursuing a combined cycle for Longleaf) and quadrant four is direct air capture.

Tenaska is a participant in the Southeast DAC Hub, led by Southern States Energy Board, which received a grant of over $10m from the DOE.

“We see many emitters across industries from gas processing to cement, steel, power gen, you name it,” Estep said. “They want to do their own capture, or they want to deal straight with a capture technology, an EPC, or a standalone capture-as-a-service provider. And then what they really want is someone to come to their fence line and take the CO2 and store it long term, durably, safely,” he added. “That’s what we do.”

‘Intercept problem’

Tenaska is still about a year away from beginning to order long lead time items like specialized metallurgy or pipe, but will begin putting in orders once it has more visibility on matching up its development timeline with that of its customers.

Early on, Estep and his teams were sprinting to acquire land positions and submit permits, including some Class VI permits from the EPA, which are under review. But “the script almost totally flips” at that point, because under Tenaska’s hub and spoke model, “we want to be optimized for customers,” he said.

The firm looks at permitting timelines and the earliest likelihood of construction and injection versus when the emitter will likely take FID and begin capturing, “which we call the intercept problem,” Estep said.

Tenaska is the 100% owner of the projects at this point, and Estep believes they have put together a unique portfolio, “in that it’s diversified by customer, it’s diversified by EPA region, it’s diversified by geology and state.”

Estep added: “These kind of assets where there’s geology and storage, they can go the power gen route, they can go the hard-to-decarbonize route, cement and steel, they can go the new power gen route that’s advanced, they can go direct air capture, they can go to the molecule.”

“It’s a really interesting set of infrastructure projects that we are very bullish on for that reason.”

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exclusive

DG Fuels charting path to be SAF powerhouse

The company has retained advisors and is mapping out a plan to build as many as 50 production facilities in North America for a “gigantic” sustainable aviation fuel market.

DG Fuels is charting a plan to build a proprietary network of 30 to 50 sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facilities in North America, CEO Michael Darcy said in an interview.

The Washington, D.C.-based company will pursue a combination of debt and equity on a case-by-case basis to fund the projects, Darcy explained, with financings underway now for the firm’s initial project in Louisiana and a second facility in Maine. The Louisiana facility recently inked a USD 4bn offtake agreement with an undisclosed investment grade industrial buyer.

The company is working with Guggenheim and Stephens as financial advisors, Darcy said. About 60 people hold equity in the company; Darcy and the founding team hold a majority stake.

In the coming months DG Fuels will likely make announcements about more SAF plants in the US and British Columbia, Darcy said. Site negotiations are underway and each project is its own subsidiary of the parent company.

“There’s clearly a good return of what we refer to as the ‘project level,’ and then we have the parent company,” Darcy said. “We have strategic investment at the parent and now we’re looking at strategic investment at the project level.”

Huge demand, low supply

DG Fuels produces SAF from cellulosic biomass feedstock, a technology that does not need sequestration of CO2 because natural gas is not used.

“We like to say it’s the corn cob, not the corn,” Darcy said. The company can also use timber waste, waxes, and renewable power as an important source of energy.

The company gets about 4.5 barrels of SAF for every ton of biomass feedstock, which is roughly three to four times the industry average, Darcy said.

“Practical scale” for a facility is 12,000 to 15,000 barrels a day, Darcy said. That’s big enough to be commercialized without stressing the electrical grid with power demand.

Despite the company’s advantages, there is “plenty of room” for other producers to come into the SAF space, Darcy said.

“Right now, the market for SAF is gigantic and the supply is minimal,” Darcy said. “Companies like us are able to pick and choose high-quality offtakers.”

DG Fuels includes Delta Airlines, Air France and General Electric as committed offtakers.

Multi-tasking

DG Fuels is “always engaged in some level of capital raise for construction of facilities and detailed engineering,” Darcy said. “There’s always more engineering to be done.”

Some of the financing has already been completed, but Darcy declined to go into additional detail. After Louisiana, the company will quickly follow up with Maine.

HydrogenPro AS recently announced that it would join Black & Veatch and Energy Vault in financing the remaining capital requirements of DG Fuels’ project in Louisiana, which is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Most of the engineering work in Louisiana is transferable to the company’s project in Maine. Darcy likened the facilities’ build-out to a class of ships: once the first is completed, the second and third can be built almost concurrently.

“There will be a point where we won’t be building one at a time,” Darcy said.

The opportunity for funders to participate is broad in the SAF space, Darcy said. There is a crossover of good economics and ESG, so strategics, industrials, private equity and other pure financial players can all be involved.

The broad base of capital eager to participate in companies that are innovative — but not too innovative as to scare investors — is indicative of the industry’s ability to secure offtakers and feedstock.

Storing power

It’s one thing to acknowledge the need for reduction of carbon, but hard work is required ahead, Darcy said.

“The low-hanging fruit has been done,” he said of the renewables industry. “Now it’s not really about the power, it’s about the storage of power.”

DG Fuels is an offtaker of non-peak renewable power to displace fossil fuel energy. But baseload renewable power is becoming available almost anywhere.

The Maine project will use stranded hydroelectric power, Louisiana will use solar, and projects in the Midwest will use wind, Darcy said. Additionally, geothermal power is “starting to become a very real opportunity,” he added.

Deploying broadly with renewable power gets past the issues of variability of renewable power at a reasonable cost, he said.

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