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Cabot Corp. awarded $5m DOE grant

The project will focus on developing specialized carbon black that can be used as carbon catalyst supports for fuel cells.

Cabot Corporation has received a $5m research grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The grant will be used by Cabot and its partners to support the deployment of fuel cells, which emit only water when creating electricity, according to a news release.

The project will focus on developing an innovative and scalable manufacturing process for producing specialized carbon black that can be used as carbon catalyst supports for fuel cells. This technology will support and accelerate the establishment of a domestic catalyst supply chain, by providing a reliable source of high-performance carbon catalyst support.

Cabot is the lead recipient on the project titled, “Scalable, Innovative Manufacturing Process for Novel Carbon Supports for Metal Catalysts for Medium and Heavy-Duty Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells.”

Building on Cabot’s strengths in carbon black particle production and engineering, especially in developing and commercializing carbon catalyst supports for fuel cells, this project will be deployed through collaborative research with Johnson Matthey, a leading manufacturer of catalysts and associated assemblies as well as Bosch, a leading fuel cell stack manufacturer and the University of California, Irvine, a leading research university in fuel cell technology.

The project is poised to revolutionize the production of carbon catalyst supports essential for medium and heavy-duty fuel cells, aiming for a more sustainable and cost-effective manufacturing process. By developing a scalable and innovative manufacturing process, the project seeks to achieve high catalyst performance while optimizing the production process to increase process versatility, reduce production cost and minimize environmental impact.

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Enedym and Toyota converting diesel tuggers

Enedym and Toyota Tsusho Canada have formed a strategic partnership to convert diesel tuggers to battery or hydrogen power.

Enedym and Toyota Tsusho Canada have formed a strategic partnership to convert diesel tuggers to battery or hydrogen power, according to a press release.

Enedym will design and develop SRMs and inverters with rated nominal power of approximately 45kW for use in North America and Japan. The magnet-free electric motors will convert small commercial vehicles, or tuggers, commonly used at airports and manufacturing plants, from diesel fuel to battery or hydrogen power.

The collaboration’s first output, an electric-powered commercial tugger, will be piloted at one of Toyota Tsusho’s affiliates located at one of Toyota Motor’s North American manufacturing plants in 2023.

Enedym’s innovative SRM motor technologies remove the need for rare earth metals, thereby reducing costs by approximately 40%.

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JAPEX to develop carbon capture and blue ammonia projects

JAPEX has partnered with Invest Alberta to explore CCS, BECCS, and blue ammonia projects in the province.

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (JAPEX) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Invest Alberta Corporation (IAC), an investment attraction agency established by the government of Alberta, Canada, to partner together to support JAPEX’s development of projects in the province, according to a news release.

The MOU signifies the intent of both parties to work jointly on potential projects of JAPEX in Alberta, leveraging JAPEX’s extensive experience in petroleum exploration, production and CCS (Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) / CCUS (Carbon dioxide Capture, Utilization, and Storage), while Invest Alberta will support JAPEX with its in-depth knowledge of the local market and investment landscape.

JAPEX is a global hydrocarbon E&P and transportation company.

On this partnership, JAPEX is seeking to develop the projects in several areas:

  • CCS/CCUS
  • BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage) (*)
  • Blue Hydrogen/Ammonia Business

“We are very excited to start working together with Invest Alberta,” said Tomomi Yamada, executive management officer, president of overseas business division II, JAPEX. “JAPEX had a very long-standing history of business in Alberta in the areas of oil sands (as an operator) and natural gas. We are now aiming to come back to Alberta and contribute to its decarbonization, using our expertise and experiences gained through the participation in CCS demonstration project in Japan by investing in the project company and extensive E&P businesses in Japan as well as overseas.”

Established by the Province of Alberta, Invest Alberta provides high-end tailored support to companies, investors, and major new projects. As one of North America’s leading investment attraction organizations with teams strategically placed around the world, including in Tokyo, Invest Alberta breaks down barriers so businesses can start up, scale up, and succeed without limits.

“Invest Alberta is honoured to partner with JAPEX to help the company seize the opportunities that Alberta offers to investors,” said Rick Christiaanse, Invest Alberta CEO. “As Canada’s energy capital, Alberta has a skilled workforce and renowned researchers capable of advancing major projects forward in a welcoming business environment. JAPEX is a strong and valuable partner for Alberta, bringing extensive experience in the energy sector and a shared dedication to achieving net-zero through environmentally sustainable projects.”

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Wärtsilä partners with cleantech start-up for onboard production of hydrogen from LNG

The concept design will be ready by mid 2023 and the prototype testing unit will be ready during the second half of 2024.

The technology group Wärtsilä has entered into a joint development agreement with Hycamite TCD Technologies, a privately-owned Finnish company specializing in the development of a technology for producing clean hydrogen and solid carbon from methane.

The two companies will work together to enable cost-effective production of hydrogen from LNG onboard marine vessels. The concept design will be ready by mid 2023 and the prototype testing unit will be ready during the second half of 2024.

The concept will allow the existing LNG infrastructure to be utilized and enable production of hydrogen onboard in combination with Wärtsilä’s LNGPac Fuel Gas Supply System. By producing hydrogen onboard and blending it with LNG, the current range of fuel flexible Wärtsilä dual-fuel (DF) engines can reduce the vessel’s overall carbon dioxide and methane slip emissions. Alternatively, the hydrogen can also be used in fuel cells onboard.

The by-product from the process is solid carbon that, unlike conventional technologies which produce carbon-dioxide (CO) as a by-product, can more easily be stored and managed onboard. The carbon produced consists of high-grade allotropes, like industrial graphite and carbon nanotubes, thereby offering a possible additional revenue stream.

“We are investing in the development of viable future marine fuel technologies and solutions that can accelerate the efforts to decarbonise shipping operations. This collaboration with Hycamite is an important step forward towards meeting our corporate targets. Our gas engines can already operate with mixtures of hydrogen and LNG. The ability to produce the H2 onboard opens up exciting new opportunities. This solution overcomes the lack of an existing hydrogen supply infrastructure. It also supports reducing the safety risks around storing and handling of liquid hydrogen and enables a gradual decrease of the vessels’ environmental impact,” says Mathias Jansson, director, Fuel Gas Supply Systems, Wärtsilä.

“We are delighted to be partnering with an established technology leader such as Wärtsilä. They bring a vast depth of knowledge and experience in marine fuel gas supply systems, and by working together, we can make the availability and onboard storage of hydrogen a realistic option for the marine industry,” says Laura Rahikka, founder and CEO of Hycamite.

The technology can in principle be applied for all vessels operating with LNG fuel. When using bioLNG, this solution enables even power generation on board ships with a negative carbon footprint.

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Exclusive: Mississippi green hydrogen developer assembling banks for debt raise

The developer of a potentially massive network of green hydrogen production, transport and salt cavern storage — estimated to cost billions — is seeking banks to support a project debt raise.

Hy Stor, the developer of hydrogen generation and salt cavern storage, is currently raising “billions” in project finance for the first phase of its home state hub in Mississippi, Chief Commercial Officer Claire Behar said in an interview.

The first phase is expected to enter commercial service in 2026, guided by customers, Behar said.

Connor Clark & Lunn are equity partners in the Mississippi hub and is helping Hy Stor with its debt raise. Hy Stor is working with King & Spalding as legal advisor.

“We are already seeking banks and lining up our needed debt,” Behar said. She declined to say a precise amount the company will raise but said it will be in the billions.

Hy Stor plans to soon announce their renewable development partner to build dedicated off grid renewables, Behar said. The same is true for offtake in non-intermittent 24-hour industries like steel, plastic and fertilizer manufacturing.

“The customers are willing to pay that twenty-to-thirty percent premium that the market would need,” Behar said. “The business case is there.”

When asked if traditionally carbon intensive industrial manufacturing interests were actively seeking to co-locate with Hy Stor in Mississippi, Behar said the company has been advancing those agreements and hopes to have announcements soon. 
There is evidence of this type of activity in the state. Recently American steel manufacturer Steel Dynamics announced Columbus, Mississippi as the location of its upcoming aluminum flat rolled millwith a focus on decarbonization. Job postings for engineering roles at a separate facility detail plans to convert biomass into a direct carbon replacement suitable for steelmaking. 

Hy Stor hopes to have announcements in the coming weeks about a co-location opportunity, she added. Both domestic and international strategics are interested in the geology offering co-located salt cavern storage and geography offering river and deepwater port logistics networks, as well as highway and rail corridors.

Off-grid renewable generation means the company is not at the mercy of transmission interconnection queues. It also offers reliability because the lack of grid adage helps guarantee performance, and affordability because the company doesn’t have to pay utility rates, Behar said. Additionally, the electricity is decoupled from the grid and therefore absolutely decoupled from fossil fuels, which is important to Hy Stor’s prospective offtakers.

“This is what customers are demanding,” Behar said, adding that first movers are highly dedicated to decarbonization, needing quantitative accounting for all scope emissions, driven often by pressure from their customers.

The company has received a permit to take 11,000 gallons per minute of unpotable water from the Leaf River in Mississippi, Behar said, and is also looking at in-house wastewater treatment and water recycling.

Don’t go after gray users

Behar said the concept that users of gray hydrogen are the first targets for green hydrogen developers is misguided.

“The refineries, the petrochemicals, for them hydrogen is an end product already used within their system,” Behar said. “Those are not going to be the first users that are going to pay us a premium for that zero carbon.”

Hy Stor is instead focusing on new greenfield facilities that can co-locate.

“We’ve purposefully outsized our acreage,” she said of the 70,000 acres the company has purchased outside of Jackson, Mississippi, the Mississippi River Corridor, and the state’s southern deepwater ports in Gulfport and Port Bienville. New industrial projects can co-locate and have direct access to the salt cavern storge.

Looking forward the company’s acreage and seven salt domes mean they are not constrained by storage, Behar said. At each location, the company can develop tens and hundreds of caverns.

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exclusive

Green hydrogen developer in active discussions for California FID this year

A green hydrogen developer is in active discussions with counterparties as it pursues a final investment decision for its first project.

Houston-based green hydrogen developer Element Resources is in active discussions to reach FID this year on its first green hydrogen project slated for Lancaster, California.

The company had engaged Houlihan Lokey in recent months to lead a capital raise for the project, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The Houlihan mandate had involved raising non-dilutive debt, a process that is believed to have been shelved, said one of the sources.

“We are steadily working our way to an FID this year and are pulling together all parts of the project,” Element CFO Avery Barnebey said via email in response to inquiries. He declined to comment further.

A Houlihan representative did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The Lancaster facility, which is targeted to begin commercial operations in early 2025, will be built on 1,165 acres and consist of 135 MW of solar-powered electrolysis capacity, according to the company’s website. At full capacity, the 18,750 mt per annum of hydrogen produced by the facility will serve the growing demand for clean mobility fuels as well as clean energy for manufacturing.

Element is led by founder and CEO Steve Meheen, an oil & gas industry veteran. Barnebey is a former director of corporate development at California Resources Corporation.

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exclusive

Hydra Energy raising equity and debt capital for hydrogen refueling infrastructure

The hydrogen-as-a-service provider for commercial trucking fleets is pursuing an equity raise that will unlock a debt facility for scaling up hydrogen refueling infrastructure in Western Canada.

Hydra Energy, a hydrogen-as-a-service provider for commercial trucking fleets, is in the midst of a CAD 14m equity capital raise.

The Vancouver-based company is pursuing the equity raise in support of its Prince George hydrogen fueling station, which is set to be operational in 2024 and would be the largest in the world, Hydra CEO Jessica Verhagan.

The equity portion of the financing is needed to unlock an additional CAD 150m debt facility to complete initial scale-up of the company’s planned hydrogen corridor along Highway 16 in Western Canada, Verhagan added.

Verhagan said the company is not working with a financial advisor on the capital raise but could issue RFPs for advisory services in the future. She declined to name the provider of the proposed debt facility, apart from clarifying that it was not government-sponsored.

“To date, Hydra has been signing up commercial fleets and building out its initial hydrogen refuelling infrastructure throughout Western Canada, but the company is about to announce expansion throughout the rest of the country via licensing to a national fossil fuel distributor looking to extend its low-carbon alternative fuel offerings,” the executive said via email.

Hydra’s target market to date has been the roughly 5 million Class 8 trucks within North America, Verhagan said, with the company aiming to “conservatively” capture 1% of that market by 2030 through commercial discussions already underway. Hydra is also exploring expansion into the UK as well as Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.

“Hydra’s initial focus has been on proving out its Hydrogen-as-a-ServiceTM (HaaSTM) template which includes the company providing its proprietary hydrogen-diesel, co-combustion conversion kits to commercial fleets at zero cost (in exchange for long-term hydrogen fuel contracts at diesel equivalent prices) as well as an initial hydrogen refuelling station to service 65 Hydra- converted trucks in Prince George, B.C.,” she said.

Verhagan said the company will announce its first electrolysis partner for the Prince George hydrogen refueling station early next year. The station will be able to refuel – as quickly as diesel – up to 24 Hydra-converted trucks each hour across four bays. The station will provide hydrogen from two onsite, 5 MW electrolyzers powered with electricity from BC Hydro.

“The adoption of Hydra’s technology really comes down to availability of low carbon hydrogen – showing fleets it’s possible to go green cost-effectively – and government support to utilize hydrogen to reduce trucking emissions right now,” Verhagan said.

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