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Blue Biofuels signs MOU for sugar-to-biofuels offtake

A definitive agreement to purchase the ethanol and SAF produced by Blue Biofuels from plant materials is expected to be reached before the company completes its semi-commercial facility.

Blue Biofuels, a Florida-based company converting organic waste into sugar and subsequently into fuels, has signed an MOU with World Energy Sustainable Products for the purchase of the products like ethanol and SAF, according to a news release.

Blue Biofuels will register the various products with the relevant regulatory agencies do that they will qualify for use and any available credits. A final definitive agreement is expected to be reached before Blue Biofuels completes the buildout of its semi-commercial facility.

“[World Energy has] the sales volume to absorb our products and bring them to the market, and they are very interested to further develop the markets for sustainable fuels,” Blue Biofuels CEO Ben Slager said in the release. “As we go along and our volumes and timelines get more final we will start filling in specific products and volumes to be brought to the market.”

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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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United Airlines invests in NEXT Renewable Fuels

Houston-based NEXT is permitting a biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, which could produce 50,000 barrels per day of renewable fuels.

United Airlines Ventures has made a strategic investment in NEXT Renewable Fuels, according to a press release.

Houston-based NEXT is permitting a flagship biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, with expected production beginning in 2026. At full production, the facility could produce 50,000 barrels per day of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, renewable diesel, and other renewable fuels.

UAV could invest as much as $37.5m into NEXT contingent on milestone targets.

NEXT has secured an agreement with BP for sourcing 100 percent of its feedstock. Once all the necessary approvals and permits are obtained and the biorefinery is operational, it has the potential to be used as a platform to scale SAF and deploy additional future technologies, the release states.

The announcement marks UAV’s fifth SAF-related technology investment and its first investment directly in a biorefinery.

United is the latest major airline to deploy equity in the hydroge space. Last month, American Airline announced an equity investment in Universal Hydrogen Co.

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C-Zero closes financing round for gas decarbonization pilot

The company has closed a $34m dollar financing round led by SK Gas.

C-Zero Inc., a clean energy company that has developed a technology for natural gas decarbonization, has closed a $34m dollar financing round led by SK Gas, a subsidiary of South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate, the SK Group.

SK Gas was joined by two other new investors – Engie New Ventures and Trafigura, one of the world’s largest physical commodities trading companies – in addition to participation from all existing investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Eni Next, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and AP Ventures, according to a news release.

The funding will be used to build C-Zero’s first pilot plant, which is expected to be online in Q1 2023. The plant will be capable of producing up to 400kg of hydrogen per day from natural gas with no CO2 emissions.

“We are excited to be scaling up our innovative technology with experienced investors and partners who recognize the need to decarbonize natural gas and the opportunity that turquoise hydrogen production represents,” said Eric McFarland, CTO of C-Zero. “Natural gas provides a quarter of the world’s energy, so the scale of the opportunity ahead of us is enormous. But we cannot do it alone.”

“We are eager to bring C-Zero’s technology to Korea, where we see great synergies with our plans to build a hydrogen value chain complex in Ulsan,” said Brian (Byung Suk) Yoon, CEO of SK Gas. “SK Gas strongly believes in the potential of methane pyrolysis and its ability to help countries like Korea in their decarbonization efforts by producing low-cost, clean hydrogen.”

“We see significant applications for low-carbon hydrogen production through methane pyrolysis which complement ENGIE’s existing activities and skill sets. Investing early on in C-Zero’s journey brings us familiarity with the technology, and could help ENGIE achieve its goal of Net Zero by 2045” said Johann Boukhors, Managing Director of ENGIE New Ventures.

“Trafigura is backing C-Zero as part of a series of investments in clean energy technologies, including low-carbon fuels needed for the energy transition. C-Zero is reaching a critical stage with the construction of its first pilot plant to successfully demonstrate the production of low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas,” said Julien Rolland, Head of Power and Renewables for Trafigura.

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Aemetis capitalized for hydrogen and biofuel development plans

Aemetis CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview that the company has lined up financing to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel projects it has in development.

Aemetis is well capitalized to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects it has in development, CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview.

Founded by McAfee in 2006 and listed on the NASDAQ in 2014, Aemetis plans to produce more than 60 million gallons per year of SAF and capture and sequester 125,000 mtpy of carbon in 2025. This is a diversification from existing ethanol, RNG and biodiesel operations in the US and India.

The company recently released an updated five-year plan including plans to generate $2bn of revenues, $496m of net income, and $682m of adjusted EBITDA by 2027.

McAfee, noting that Aemetis is well capitalized and has locked in financing for much of its plans, said, “The only thing we really need to do is just execute.”

For example, the company closed $25m of USDA loan guarantees in October at a 6.2% interest rate, McAfee said. The company has also signed a $125m USDA commitment letter for its Riverbank Biofuels Project in California, also called CarbonZero 1, which will produce SAF.

“We’ll be expanding that relationship with [the USDA],” McAfee said. “Everything else is financed.”

The Riverbank Biofuels Project has signed offtake agreements with major airlines, and the SAF segment is expected to be the biggest contributor to Aemetis’ revenues once the project is online in 2025, according to a presentation. Renewable diesel and SAF will add $348m of revenues in 2025 and $693.3m of revenues in 2026.

For its carbon sequestration projects, referring to upgrades at the existing Keyes ethanol plant in California and other operational assets, the company has an existing $100m line of credit provided by Third Eye Capital, $50m of which remains unused, McAfee said.

Projected revenues will allow the company to self-fund without new credit facilities, McAfee said. Revenues from Aemetis’ debt-free operations in India will also be available to fund new developments.

The Riverbank SAF plant will be fully engineered and permitted this year, McAfee said. Baker Hughes and ATSI are the company’s EPC partners on the new developments.

Aemetis has no plans to divest existing operational assets but could acquire California biogas assets, McAfee said. The company regularly talks to investment bankers.

McAfee is the largest single shareholder in Aemetis. JackBlock, the former US Secretary of Agriculture, sits on the company’s board. The largest institutional shareholder is BlackRock.

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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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EXCLUSIVE: 8 Rivers co-founder departs firm

A co-founder and executive has departed the North Carolina-based firm, which recently announced an ammonia project in Texas.

Bill Brown, a co-founder of the technology commercialization firm and clean fuels developer 8 Rivers Capital, has retired from the company, a spokesperson confirmed via email.
According to Brown’s LinkedIn profile, he is serving now as CEO of New Waters Capital. He co-founded 8 Rivers and also served as CEO and CTO in this nearly 16 years there.
Brown did not respond to a request for comment.
According to 8 Rivers’ website, Dharmesh Patel is serving as interim CEO. The company recently announced development of the Cormorant Clean Energy ammonia production facility in Port Arthur, Texas
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