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Braya Renewables hires industry veteran Todd O’Malley as CEO

O'Malley, who comes from the downstream energy industry, is joining the company as CEO. Frank Almaraz, Braya's current CEO, will stay on with Braya, focusing on its work to develop wind and green hydrogen opportunities with ABO Wind.

Braya Renewable Fuels (Braya) announced today that Todd O’Malley is joining the company as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Frank Almaraz, Braya’s current CEO, will stay on with Braya, focusing on Braya’s work to develop wind and green hydrogen opportunities with ABO Wind.

O’Malley has previously held C-suite positions at Delek US Holdings (COO), Citizens Companies (President and CEO), Gulf Oil (EVP and Chief Commercial Officer), PBF Logistics (President), and PBF Energy (SVP and Chief Commercial Officer).

“Under the direction of Jim Stump, Braya’s President of Refining, the project has hit several key milestones and is positioned to be the largest independently owned renewable diesel refinery in North America. I’m eager to do my part in helping the refinery in Come By Chance contribute to the ongoing effort to decarbonize heavy transport and aviation, both of which are crucial to the world’s economic activity and have limited near-term energy transition solutions.”

Chris Rozzell, Braya’s Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner of Cresta Fund Management LLC, a private equity fund based in Dallas, Texas that owns a controlling interest in Braya, added, “Todd is a great addition to Braya’s leadership team. He has an unmatched reputation in the refining industry, and we think Todd is a perfect fit for Braya as it grows into its renewable fuel production ambitions. Adding Todd to the team will also give Frank more time to focus on Braya’s green hydrogen project, which is a key growth area for its business.”

Energy Capital Partners recently made a $300m preferred equity investment in the project.

On September 6, 2023, Braya announced the successful outcome of the Crown Land Call for Bids for Wind Energy Projects, which awarded to Braya partner ABO Wind exclusive rights to pursue development of the Toqlukuti’k Wind and Hydrogen Ltd. Project. Almaraz will continue to lead the project development for Braya.

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IEA report outlines case for cost reductions in e-fuels

The International Energy Agency assesses needed cost reductions, resources and infrastructure investments for achieving a 10% share of e-fuels in aviation and shipping by 2030.

The International Energy Agency’s report on the role of e-fuels in decarbonizing transport finds that e-fuels’ cost gap with fossil fuels could substantially reduce by 2030, an important finding for the advancement of a family of emerging e-fuel technologies. 

In the report, which was published last month, the IEA aims to assess the implications of growth in e-fuels in terms of needed cost reductions, resources and infrastructure investments of an assumed goal of achieving a 10% share of e-fuels in aviation and shipping by 2030. 

For instance, the cost of low-emission e-kerosene might drop to $50/GJ ($2,150 per ton), making it competitive with biomass-based sustainable aviation fuels – but still 2 – 3x more expensive than fossil-based fuels. 

The costs for low-emission e-methanol and e-ammonia could also decrease, opening the door for their use as low-emission fuels in shipping. Interestingly, the production of e-fuels for aviation will also result in a significant amount of e-gasoline as a by-product, the report notes.

In terms of impact on transport prices, a 10% share of low-emission e-fuels would only modestly increase the cost of transport, according to the report. For example, e-kerosene would raise the ticket price of a flight using 10% of e-fuels by only 5%. 

However, the adoption of e-methanol and e-ammonia in shipping will necessitate significant investments in infrastructure and ships. The overall cost for a fully e-ammonia or e-methanol-fueled container ship would be 75% higher than a conventional fossil-fuel-powered ship, yet this represents just 1-2% of the typical value of goods transported in these containers.

The production of e-fuels generally suffers from low efficiency due to multiple conversion steps and losses, leading to high resource and infrastructure demand, according to the report. Producing significant amounts of low-emission e-fuels could increase the demand for renewable electricity by about 2,000 TWh/yr by 2030. This represents about one-fifth of the growth of low-emission electricity expected in this decade under certain policy scenarios. 

The production of e-fuels can exploit the potential of remote locations with high-quality renewable resources and vast land available for large-scale projects. However, achieving a 10% share of e-fuels in aviation and shipping would require a significant increase in electrolyser capacity, equivalent to the entire size of the global electrolyser project pipeline to 2030.

The accelerated deployment of low-emission e-fuels for shipping would require substantial investments in refueling infrastructure and vessels, especially for e-ammonia or e-methanol. Achieving a 10% share in shipping would demand approximately 70 Mt/yr of these fuels. The financial investment in shipping capacity and bunkering infrastructure would be substantial, yet represent less than 5% of the cumulative shipbuilding market size over the period 2023-2030.

Producing carbon-containing low-emission e-kerosene and e-methanol would necessitate a massive increase in CO₂ utilization, with significant potential synergy with biofuels production. Around 200 Mt CO₂ would be required for a 10% share of e-kerosene in aviation and 150 Mt CO₂ for the same share in shipping if using e-methanol. 

Access to CO₂ is a major constraint for carbon-containing low-emission e-fuels, and the best wind and solar resources are not always co-located with significant bioenergy resources. Direct air capture (DAC) of CO₂ could provide an unlimited source of CO₂ feedstock without geographic constraints, but it is expected to remain a high-cost option in 2030, the report projects.

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Canadian electrolyzer manufacturer appoints new CFO

Ontario-based Next Hydrogen has appointed Rohan Advani as its new CFO.

Next Hydrogen Solutions Inc., a designer and manufacturer of electrolyzers has appointed Rohan Advani as chief financial officer, effective December 12, 2022, according to a news release.

Rohan will be replacing Kasia Malz who is leaving the company to pursue other interests. To ensure continuity, Malz will remain with the Company until January 2, 2023, and will continue in an advisory role thereafter to ensure a seamless transition.

Advani comes to Next Hydrogen with financial and leadership experience in the manufacturing industry, previously serving at Magna International and Ecolab along with Canadian Tire and KPMG.

Rohan was most recently the finance department leader at Magna International, where he led the financial operations for a CAD $500m division.

“I am extremely thrilled to have Advani join the team and focus on our next phase of growth. Rohan’s breadth of financial experience in the manufacturing industry will be an invaluable addition to the team as we look to establish ourselves as a leading water electrolyzer equipment manufacturer,” said Raveel Afzaal, CEO and president of Next Hydrogen.

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Australia rail-freight co. gets $5m grant for H2 trucks

Aurizon will put four hydrogen-fueled trucks on the road in Queensland.

Australian rail-freight company Aurizon has received a grant of $5m (AUD) from the government of Queensland.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Aurizon were a successful applicant through round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund.

The announcement comes after the release of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for a bold clean energy future for Queensland including the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the world.

“Aurizon’s project will put four hydrogen-fueled prime movers on the road in Townsville and create more opportunities for other businesses to convert their transport fleets to new technology fuel,” Miles said in a news release.

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Exclusive: E-fuels developer raising $500m

A developer of green hydrogen for e-fuel products is looking for a more diverse set of backers for a recently launched Series C capital raise.

Ineratec, the German power-to-liquid fuels developer and technology provider, has launched a $500m Series C and could take on a US-based financial advisor to help, CEO Tim Boeltken said in an interview.

German boutique Pava Partners helped Ineratec on its $129m Series B, which was led by Piva Capital. The Series B raise, which was announced in January, also included participation from HG Ventures, TDK Ventures, Copec WIND Ventures, RockCreek, Emerald, Samsung Ventures as well as the increased support from current investors, including global corporates like ENGIE New Ventures, Safran Corporate Ventures and Honda.

The Series C can include equity, debt and project finance, Boeltken said.

The company, which takes a modular approach to fuels production, serves customers in Switzerland, Spain and Finland. Its e-fuels process involves two main steps: first, turning CO2 and hydrogen into synthesis gas, then using a second reactor to turn the synthesis gas into liquid and solid hydrocarbons, according to its website.

Growth in the US would include eventual rollout of its 100 MW commercial unit, none of which have been built to date. Now the company is focused on its 10 MW commercial units, following completion of a 1 MW industrial plant operating now.

In the next month Ineratec will be scouting locations in the US, Boeltken said, adding the the company is “hoping for many, many US installations” with eyes on additional applications in South America and Japan. The company also intends to establish a US headquarters.

Sites in New York and California are of first interest but there are also growth intentions in Texas, Washington state and Appalachia.

Ineratec is currently raising project finance for a “triple-digit” million capex project in the Europe, he said.

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NanoScent seeking new investor to complete blended funding round

NanoScent is seeking a new investor to satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the European Innovation Council.

NanoScent, an Israel-based technology firm, is seeking a new investor to help solidify an equity investment from the European Innovation Council, CEO Oren Gavriely said in an interview.

To satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the EIC, NanoScent must bring on a new investor at EUR 2m, Gavriely said.

The ideal investor will have complementary capabilities that can ramp up the revenue stream, Gavriely added. Producers and suppliers of gasses and chemicals for industrial use would make sense.

The money will be used to further develop the proprietary VOCID Purity in-line sensor controller, which measures hydrogen quality by monitoring the cleanliness of gas lines. The technology is oriented towards producers and end-users like fuel cell stations, who will be responsible for the integrity of the hydrogen. The product will be rolled out at the end of 1Q23.

Gavriely said the company has several customers for the technology in the pipeline, declining to say who they are.

NanoScent, founded five years ago, has raised USD 10m in equity to date, with another USD 10m in non-dilutive funding. The company’s largest outside investor is Sumitomo Chemical, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Control of the company is maintained by the founders, Gavriely said.

NanoScent has 20 employees, Gavriely said. So far the company has relied on the expertise of its board, which includes one former investment banker, for financial advisory services. That could change in the future as the company grows.

NanoScent uses Pearl Cohen for law services and EY for accounting.

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RNG developer selling landfill gas portfolio

A Texas-based renewable natural gas developer has tapped an advisor and is selling a portfolio of waste-to-energy projects.

Morrow Energy, an RNG developer based in Midland, Texas, is working with a financial advisor to sell off a portfolio of waste-to-energy projects.

Sparkstone Capital Advisors, a boutique advisory firm based in Virginia, is the sellside advisor on the sale, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Morrow and Sparkstone did not respond to requests for comment.

The Morrow portfolio in the US consists of 12 projects in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Washington, according to its website.

Of note, Morrow has developed the Blue Ridge Landfill High BTU project, which is designed for up to 13,000 SCFM of raw landfill gas and can be expanded to up to 30,000 SCFM. Gas from the facility is sold and delivered to vehicle fuel markets in the US.

The company is led by Paul Morrow, its founder and president, who has worked in the RNG industry for over 20 years. Morrow Energy built its first renewable gas facility in the year 2000.

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