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California carbon transformation firm lands new CFO

The Bay Area company is looking toward a Series C before an IPO in a couple of years.

Jimmy Chuang, the former CFO for Strata Clean Energy, has left that company to take the same role at carbon transformation startup Twelve, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Twelve recently completed a $130m Series B led by DCVC and has raised USD 200m in equity to date, the sources said.

The Bay Area company is looking toward a Series C that would be much larger, before an IPO in a couple of years, one of the sources said. The company is in talks with bulge bracket bankers now but has not hired anyone.

Twelve did not respond to requests for comment. Strata declined to comment.

Twelve creates materials, like chemicals and fuels, from captured carbon. The company recently signed an MoU with Microsoft and Alaska Airlines to collaborate on the production of sustainable aviation fuel.

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Aviation manufacturers issue statement in support of SAF industry

The statement outlines a series of measures the manufacturers are promoting to advance decarbonization of the aviation industry.

Statement by the Chief Technology Officers of seven of the world’s major aviation manufacturers reads as follows:

Over a decade ago the aviation industry was the first global sector to set ambitious emission reduction goals. Today, we come together again to support the industry’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions for civil aviation by 2050 and to highlight the importance of the production, distribution, and availability of qualified Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) needed to achieve this goal. The development of fuel-efficient aircraft technologies has been a priority for the aviation industry for over 50 years and remains a priority. Greater uptake of SAF would mitigate the projected growth in aviation COemissions as the customer demand for global air travel increases.

Our companies are steadfast in delivering the technical solutions required to reduce the carbon emissions of the air transportation sector through our work in three key areas:

  • Developing advanced aircraft and propulsion technologies that enable net-zero carbon emissions while maintaining the safety and quality standards of our industry
  • Implementing improvements in aircraft operations and infrastructure
  • Supporting policies and measures that accelerate the availability and adoption of qualified SAF.

Increasing the production and utilization of SAF is a critical step for achieving the air transportation sector’s net zero CO2 emissions goal by 2050. However, the production of SAF is currently estimated at less than 0.1% of the global demand for jet fuel today. Moreover, SAF prices are typically two to five times higher than the price of conventional jet fuel. The supply is further constrained by competition for renewable fuels from other sectors that have alternative decarbonization options, such as with surface transportation and heating.

We support government policies and initiatives that stimulate investment in production capacity, reduce costs, and encourage greater industry uptake. This includes the US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), which provides a blender’s tax credit. The IRA also authorizes funding to support advanced technologies and infrastructure that enable expanded SAF production and distribution capacity in the US, as well as projects to develop fuel efficient aircraft or otherwise reduce emissions from flying. Public-Private Partnerships, such as the FAA FAST Tech Program, would enhance OEM adoption, testing, and technical clearance of new emerging SAF pathways to ensure seamless insertion into the commercial fleet.

Similarly, the CTOs welcome the political agreement found on ReFuelEU Aviation which will provide a strong signal for the deployment of SAF in air transport, and look forward to the legislation being adopted as soon as possible. The EU needs to implement the right industrial support policies, within the Net Zero Industry Act, to accelerate the availability of SAF and synthetic kerosene at commercial scale, building on the work of the Industrial Alliance for Renewable and Low Carbon Fuels (RLCF). In addition, qualification efforts that support the development of co-processing technologies that can harness the existing capital infrastructure will accelerate the availability of  SAF at commercial scale.

Public-Private Partnerships can play a key role in increasing the development and use of SAF through policy definition and alignment, along with financial incentives.  Policymakers have the chance to accelerate these processes by providing sustained and predictable support to the multi-year development of novel technologies, and by stimulating the ramp-up of capacity. Recognizing the technical challenges associated with decarbonizing aviation, greater public policy and financial support to accelerate SAF production and distribution over fuels used for surface transportation is essential.  Additionally, close collaboration with the aviation industry and fuel suppliers is required in the development of infrastructure and investment in SAF production capacity to accelerate availability in support of demand. Lastly, establishing standards for qualification of 100% SAF pathways that ensure full compatibility with engines and aircraft for civil and appropriate defence applications as they become available is essential.

We, as CTOs, are committed to supporting policies that increase the supply of SAF while ensuring a consistent and predictable demand through harmonised global measures. The aviation industry plays a pivotal role in modern life connecting people, economies, and nations. We are unified in the proposition that our industry has a prosperous and more sustainable future, and that we can make it happen through the near-term implementation of lasting industry-wide and globalized harmonized policies.

[SIGNATORIES LISTED ALPHABETICALLY BY COMPANY]

Sabine Klauke
Chief Technology Officer
Airbus

 

Todd Citron
Chief Technology Officer
Boeing

 

Bruno Stoufflet
Chief Technology Officer
Dassault Aviation

 

Christopher Lorence
Chief Engineer
GE Aerospace

 

Geoff Hunt
Senior Vice President, Engineering
Pratt & Whitney

 

Grazia Vittadini
Chief Technology Officer
Rolls-Royce

 

Eric Dalbiès
Strategy & Chief Technology Officer
Safran

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GE Gas and Svante to develop carbon capture technology for gas power applications

The companies will develop and evaluate carbon capture technology for natural gas power applications.

GE Gas Power, part of GE Vernova and Svante announced a joint development agreement (JDA) to develop and evaluate solid sorbent-based carbon capture technology for natural gas power generation applications, according to a news release.

In addition, GE has made an equity investment in Svante as a part of Svante’s $318-million Series E fundraising round in December 2022.

In 2022, GE announced that GE Vernova would spin off from GE in 2024 as a business purpose-built to lead the energy transition. This builds on GE’s sustainability commitments and position in the energy industry, where GE technology provides approximately 30% of the world’s electricity. GE is developing and commercializing a number of breakthrough technologies to drive the energy transition including carbon capture through industrial and technology research collaborations, including the agreement with and investment in Svante.

“The climate crisis and our world require immediate and sustained action and investment into crucial technologies like carbon capture which can deliver meaningful reductions in emissions and play a key role in the energy transition,” said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Vernova. “We are excited to work with a technology innovator like Svante to drive collective progress on developing carbon capture solutions for the energy industry aiming to deliver more sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity for more people.”

“We are pleased to welcome GE both as a strategic commercial collaborator and an investor in Svante, alongside our other strategic value chain partners and investors,” said Claude Letourneau, Svante’s president and CEO. “GE’s 130+ years of experience in energy applications will be invaluable to us as we rapidly scale our operations and manufacturing capacity to be able to capture millions of tonnes of CO2 from diverse industrial sites around the world.”

Svante’s novel carbon capture filters are made by coating solid adsorbents, including metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), onto thin sheets of laminate that are stacked to become the company’s nano-engineered filters. These filters can be used in multiple applications for capturing CO2 at refineries, cement, steel, aluminum, lime, boilers, pulp & paper, and more. The technology can be used for point-source post-combustion carbon capture in which the filters take CO2 out of industrial flue gas (the source of the emission) and prevent it from reaching the atmosphere. Because of the wide array of industries the company serves, Letourneau says Svante’s technology can be applied to 85% of the total carbon capture and removal segment.

The JDA between GE Gas Power and Svante will focus on further development and commercialization of novel solid sorbent technologies “aimed at decarbonizing natural gas-fired turbines in a cost-effective, environmentally responsible manner,” said Letourneau. “We are excited about the potential we have to open up an entirely new array of opportunities, aiming to provide carbon-free electricity in the future through the deployment of projects across gas-fired power generation facilities.”

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European Commission establishes €3bn hydrogen bank

The new European Hydrogen Bank will guarantee the purchase of hydrogen, with a commitment of €3bn aimed at bridging the investment gap.

President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von Der Leyen today announced the creation of a new European Hydrogen Bank aimed at bridging the hydrogen investment gap and connecting future supply and demand.

The new European Hydrogen Bank will guarantee the purchase of hydrogen using resources from the Innovation Fund, with an investment of €3 billion to help build the future market for hydrogen, von der Leyen said during the State of the Union address.

“And hydrogen can be a game changer for Europe. We need to move our hydrogen economy from niche to scale. With REPowerEU, we have doubled our 2030 target to produce ten million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU, each year.

“To achieve this, we must create a market maker for hydrogen, in order to bridge the investment gap and connect future supply and demand. That is why I can today announce that we will create a new European Hydrogen Bank.

“It will help guarantee the purchase of hydrogen, notably by using resources from the Innovation Fund. It will be able to invest €3bn to help building the future market for hydrogen. This is how we power the economy of the future. This is the European Green Deal,” according to a transcript of her remarks.

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Mitsubishi laying groundwork for additional equity raise

Mitsubishi Power Americas and its JV partners are preparing to raise additional equity for the ACES Delta project in Utah, as well as for other hydrogen developments in the Americas.

Mitsubishi Power Americas is conferring with its financial partners to raise equity from existing investors in the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) Delta green hydrogen project in Utah, Senior Vice President, Investment and Business Development Ricky Sakai said in an interview.

Haddington Ventures formed Haddington ESP I and raised $650m in June 2022 from institutional investors to fund projects developed by ACES Delta, which is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Power Americas and Haddington portfolio company Magnum Development.

The investors — AIMCo, GIC, Manulife Financial Corporation, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board — have additional rights to increase their collective investment to $1.5bn, according to a press release announcing the deal.

The first phase of the project in Utah will be to produce 100 tons of hydrogen per day. Once that is complete, existing investors can scale up their investment, Sakai said.

ACES Delta rendering

Mitsubishi is involved in several regional hydrogen hubs applying for funding from the US Department of Energy.

Hydrogen capable

Depending on how that $7bn is ultimately allocated, Mitsubishi is interested in replicating the Utah project in other regions, a source familiar with the company said.

MPA and Magnum recently closed on a $504.4m loan guarantee from the DOE for ACES Delta, electrolyzers for which will be supplied by Norway-based HydrogenPro.

ACES Delta will support the Intermountain Power Agency’s IPP Renewed Project — upgrading to an 840 MW hydrogen-capable gas turbine combined cycle power plant using Mitsubishi’s M501JAC gas turbines. The plant will initially run on a blend of 30% green hydrogen and 70% natural gas starting in 2025 and incrementally expand to 100% green hydrogen by 2045.

Mitsubishi is also supplying the hydrogen-capable gas turbines to Entergy’s Orange County Advanced Power Station; to an Alberta coal plant owned by Capital Power; and to J-Power’s Jackson Generation Project in Illinois, which reached commercial operations last year.

Mitsubishi Power

Investing in startups

Mitsubishi is doubling down on a strategy of investing in startup producers and technology in renewable fuels, Sakai said.

Recent investments in the space include: C-Zero, a drop-in decarbonization tech startup in California; Cemvita Factory, a Houston-based synthetic biology firm focused on the decarbonization of heavy industries; Infinium, an electrofuels company innovator in California forming decarbonization solutions for industries in Japan; and Starfire Energy, a modular green ammonia solution provider in Denver.

Series A and Series B valuations for US companies are much higher now than they were a few years ago, Sakai said. Still, the US is the leading climate tech startup ecosystem in the world and provides rich opportunity for capital deployment, Sakai said. Biofuels, SAF and waste-to-energy are leading sectors for MHI investment moving forward.

“We have several hundred of these in the pipeline that we are looking at right now,” he said. “In the next few years, we will increase the number of these portfolio companies.”

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Exclusive: California IPP considering hydrogen options for gas generation portfolio

A California-based IPP is considering burning hydrogen in the thermal plants it acquires, as well as in a portfolio of gas peaking assets it is developing in Texas and the western US.

Nightpeak Energy, the Oakland-based IPP backed by Energy Spectrum Capital, is planning to have wide optionality to burn hydrogen in the gas plants it acquires, as well as in quick-start peaking natural gas assets it is developing in Texas and the western US, CEO Paris Hays said in an interview.

“There’s just not a lot of places in this country where you can procure enough hydrogen at a reasonable price to actually serve wholesale electricity customers,” Hays said of the existing hydrogen landscape.

Still, OEMs are figuring out in real time which of their deployed fleet can burn hydrogen, he said. Studies on blending seem to be yielding positive results.

“That’s great news for a business like ours, because we can have optionality,” Hays said. When interacting with equipment providers, conversion to hydrogen is an important, if expensive, discussion point.

“We want to be in a position to be able to do that for our customers,” Hays said. “We can offer a premium product, which is kind of rare in our business.”

Nightpeak recently purchased Saguaro Power Co., which owns a 90 MW combined cycle power plant in Nevada. That facility is a candidate for hydrogen repowering, Hays said, though that’s just one option for an asset that is currently cash-flowing well.

The Nevada facility is close to California, which notably is a market with a demonstrated appetite for paying green premiums, Hays said.

“We wouldn’t manufacture hydrogen ourselves, we would be a buyer,” he said. “This is one path that any plants we own or develop could take in the future.”

Nightpeak has yet to announce any greenfield projects. But Hays said the company is developing a portfolio of “quick-start” natural gas generation projects in ERCOT and WECC. Those assets, 100 MW or more, are to be developed with the concept of hydrogen conversion or blending in mind.

Proposition 7, which recently passed in Texas, could present an opportunity for Nightpeak as the legislation’s significant provisions for natural gas development has pundits and some lawmakers calling for the assets to be hydrogen-ready.

Investor interest in being able to convert gas assets to burn hydrogen reflect an important decision-making process for Nightpeak, Hays said.

“Does it makes sense to just buy a turbine that only burns natural gas and may be a stranded asset at some point, or would we rather pay and select a turbine that already has the optionality?” Hays said. “Putting price aside, you’re always going to go for optionality.”

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Hydrogen developer raising equity for US and EU projects

A Washington, DC-based hydrogen developer has hired an advisor to raise equity for three projects in California, and is laying the groundwork for a second capital raise in the EU.

SGH2 Energy, a Washington D.C.-based hydrogen developer, is in the early stages of a process to raise project equity for its three California projects.

Morgan Stanley has been retained to run the process, which could result in taking on two investors, CEO Robert Do said in an interview. The company hopes to have the process wrapped up within three months, he added.

Do declined to disclose the amount he is seeking to raise, but said the company prefers a strategic investor that can co-develop projects outside of California.

Meanwhile, SGH2 has filled out 70% of the senior debt commitments it will need for its Lancaster, California plant, Do said. At the Lancaster plant, SGH2 plans to produce up to 12,000 kilograms (1,380 MMBtu) of clean hydrogen per day, and 4.5 million kilograms per year (517,000 MMBtu) from the conversion of 42,000 tons per year of rejected recycled mixed-paper waste.

An additional set of three projects in Germany, Belgium and Holland will need an equity provider as well, Do said. That process could launch at the end of this year and the company could hire additional financial advisors.

A less expensive proposition

In addition to the Lancaster plant, SGH2 is advancing a Bay Area agricultural waste-to-hydrogen project in Stockton and a Sierra Valley forest residue-to-hydrogen plant.

Lancaster has offtake agreements for 10 years, and the company is in talks with the same offtaker for the other projects.

SGH2’s process requires about five acres of land for a project, as opposed to about 300 acres for solar-powered electrolysis, Do said. The process also requires less water.

“It gives us a cost-competitiveness where we can be two-to-three times cheaper,” Do said.

SGH2 is exporting that process to Europe, Do said. The EU is still going through iterations of new legislation, particularly the Renewable Energy Directive III, that could clarify SGH2’s place in that market.

“Until the legislation is clear it’s hard to really launch the project and know what kind of support you’re getting,” Do said. SGH2 has sites, feedstock and development partners in place for Europe.

SGH2 was spun off from a technology development company that raised about $50m from various VC firms and energy companies, Do said. He is the controlling owner of SGH2.

Do plans to expand across the globe and will be raising money to fund projects in Korea, South Africa and elsewhere.

“There will be indeed opportunities for us to work with additional bankers and funders,” he said.

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