Resource logo with tagline

California DAC firm secures $80m funding and strategic partnerships

The company will use the capital to deliver commercial-ready hybrid direct air capture units by the end of 2025.

Avnos, Inc., the Los Angeles-based company developing Hybrid Direct Air Capture (HDAC™) technology for carbon dioxide removal, has signed multi-year strategic and investment partnerships, in excess of $80m in aggregate.

Investors include ConocoPhillips, JetBlue Ventures, the corporate venture capital division of JetBlue, and Shell Ventures LLC, the US corporate venture capital arm of Shell plc.

Avnos will use the capital to deliver commercial-ready HDAC units by the end of 2025, according to a news release.

Avnos’ proprietary HDAC technology is the only carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solution that captures both CO2 and water from the atmosphere in a single system. While many other forms of Direct Air Capture (DAC) consume several tons of water per ton of CO2 captured, Avnos produces five to ten tons of water for every ton of CO2 captured. This innovative HDAC approach employs the captured water to drive a novel moisture-responsive CO2 adsorbent material, which eliminates the need for heat, thus reducing the system’s energy consumption. As a result, the Avnos solution requires less than half the energy required by competitors.

“Avnos is laser focused on delivering the most cost-effective, flexible, and scalable commercial Direct Air Capture technology in the world,” said Will Kain, CEO of Avnos. “Adding blue-chip strategic partners such as ConocoPhillips, JetBlue Ventures, and Shell provides us with an incredible opportunity to access more resources, know-how, and global reach to meaningfully accelerate our deployment schedule. Ultimately, we will be able to remove more atmospheric carbon, faster, and at lower costs than we would have been able to on our own. This is a very exciting announcement at a very exciting time for our company.”

Global carbon dioxide emissions rose to their highest-ever level in 2021, with this trend expected to continue unless significant decarbonization plans are put in place. Nearly all climate and energy models indicate the need for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technology to grow to billions of tons of annual capacity to make a significant impact on reducing emissions.

“ConocoPhillips is pleased to support Avnos as they develop a promising technology that captures carbon and produces water,” said Warwick King, vice president Low Carbon Technologies at ConocoPhillips. “Investing in this promising Hybrid Direct Air Capture technology aligns with our company’s commitment to finding innovative solutions that reduce carbon emissions crucial to enable an orderly energy transition.”

“JetBlue Ventures is thrilled to support Avnos and the development of their technology that not only captures CO2 at impressively low cost but also generates meaningful amounts of water in the process and could play an important role in e-fuels production. The caliber of the technology, team and partners around Avnos is top tier, and we’re glad to be on board,” said Jim Lockheed, investment principal at JetBlue Ventures.”

“We are pleased to invest in Avnos as they work to further solutions for carbon capture technology,” said Brian Panoff, president, Shell Ventures LLC. “Of particular interest is the potential of Avnos’ technology to reduce energy demand in capturing CO2 and its ability to produce water.”

Previously, Avnos has been awarded multi-million-dollar projects from the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate its HDAC solution in the field, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research to pilot CO2 capture and e-fuels production.

Unlock this article

The content you are trying to view is exclusive to our subscribers.
To unlock this article:

You might also like...

700 MW electrolysis capacity for H2 Green Steel plant

thyssenkrupp nucera will provide electrolysis capacity for H2 Green Steel’s plant in Sweden.

The agreement between the Germany-based specialist for high-efficient water electrolysis, thyssenkrupp nucera, and the Swedish industrial start-up H2 Green Steel, secures capacity of more than 700MW for H2 Green Steel’s electrolysis plant in Boden – making it one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants announced to date.

According to a news release, the agreement with thyssenkrupp nucera will cover alkaline water electrolysis technology (AWE) and large-scale electrolysis plant engineering. thyssenkrupp nucera has a proven track record with more than 600 installed projects and over 10 GW capacity in the chlor-alkali technology, which is the DNA for ‘scalum’, its large-scale 20 MW standard AWE module.

“This electrolyzer agreement indicates a change in market dynamics and is also a proof of our new business model for reservation of production capacity. For customers where time-to-market is critical, ensuring access to production capacity of leading electrolyzer technology becomes essential. With this bold investment, H2 Green Steel has shown a strong commitment to their timeline to decarbonize the steel industry and we look forward to working with them,” says Dr. Werner Ponikwar, CEO of thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA.

Through this collaboration, thyssenkrupp nucera will deliver capacity of more than 700MW to the electrolysis plant, likely making the H2 Green Steel plant one of the world’s largest AWE installation by the time its commissioned.

The giga-scale electrolysis plant, the first globally, is based on a concept where H2 Green Steel uniquely will use several complementing technologies for green hydrogen production, enabling balancing of the system for cost- optimization and operational flow as each technology’s core benefits can be harvested. To build it, H2 Green steel is teaming up with different world-leading partners and expertise in design, construction, equipment, operations and financing.

“The electrolysis plant in Boden will be many times bigger than most electrolyzer installations that exist today. Combining our own strong technical expertise with that of an experienced electrolysis supplier like thyssenkrupp nucera gives us a solid edge in the growing green hydrogen economy, which we will leverage to transform hard to abate industries. We start with steel in Boden, Sweden, but it’s only the beginning,” says Maria Persson Gulda, Chief Technology Officer H2 Green Steel.

Hydrogen produced in the electrolysis plant in Boden will be consumed on-site in a direct reduction process, reducing iron ore to sponge iron, enabling production of green steel. The electrolyzer units will be crucial to maximize the operational and economic benefits of the hydrogen in the steel mill, which also forms the foundation for new patented intellectual property assets.

The work leading up to the signing of the contract was enabled through support from Sweden’s Industrial Leap programme, led by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Read More »

JERA and ExxonMobil to develop low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia project

JERA and Exxon will explore JERA’s potential ownership and offtake participation in a low-carbon hydrogen project at the Baytown Complex.

JERA Co., Inc. (“JERA”) has reached a Project Framework Agreement with ExxonMobil to jointly explore the development of a low carbon hydrogen and ammonia production project in the United States, according to a news release.

ExxonMobil is currently developing what is expected to be the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen production plant at its Baytown Complex east of Houston, Texas, United States. The plant is slated to have an annual production capacity of approximately 900,000 tonnes of low-carbon hydrogen and annual production capacity of more than one million tonnes of low-carbon ammonia. The Project aims to commence production in 2028.

Under the terms of the agreement, JERA and ExxonMobil will explore:

・JERA’s ownership participation in the Project

・JERA’s procurement of approximately 500,000 tonnes annually of low-carbon ammonia produced by the Project for demand in Japan

JERA is playing an important role in the energy transition and is taking on the challenge of expanding renewable energy and developing zero-emission thermal power technologies. In 2020, the Company established a JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050 goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions from domestic and overseas businesses by 2050.

JERA will continue to contribute to global decarbonization and solving energy problems by building and expanding low carbon hydrogen and ammonia supply chains in cooperation with leading domestic and overseas companies.

“Cooperation among leading companies is essential to establish supply chains for ammonia, hydrogen, and other products that are key to zero-emission thermal power,” said Steven Winn, JERA’s Senior Managing Executive Officer and Chief Global Strategist. “We believe that working together with ExxonMobil, who is actively promoting investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen, will contribute to the transition to a global decarbonized society.”

“Building world-scale projects for new markets requires supply, demand and supporting regulation to all come together in sync,” said Dan Ammann, President of ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions. “We appreciate JERA’s leadership in helping advance the hydrogen economy and see this agreement as an important catalyst.”

Read More »

PCC Hydrogen to build ethanol-to-hydrogen pilot

The Indiana plant will convert ethanol into high purity, negative carbon index green hydrogen using a patented reforming process coupled with carbon capture.

PCC Hydrogen Inc, a low carbon/negative carbon hydrogen production company based in Louisville, KY, is pleased to announce plans to construct a pilot hydrogen production plant in Cloverdale, IN, according to a news release.

PCC H2’s plant will showcase the efficient conversion of logistically friendly ethanol into high purity, negative carbon index green hydrogen using a patented reforming process coupled with the capture of the processes pure CO2 byproduct. By providing a readily available, negative carbon index hydrogen close to the point of need, the Company is enabling the decarbonization of the economy in a cost effective and commercially viable way.

The Company has engaged Plant Process Group (PPG), a leading Houston based design, engineering, fabrication, construction, and commissioning services company to support the project with plans to have the pilot plant operational by first quarter 2024. PPG has decades of experience designing and building facilities for the refining industry, chemicals manufacturers, and biofuels producers.

PCC H2 is also working closely with the Town of Cloverdale and Putnam County to support the establishment of the first negative carbon index hydrogen production facility of its kind in the world. The production facility expects to hire local personnel at competitive wages and benefits.

Tim Fogarty, PCC H2 CEO, stated “We are excited to work with the Town of Cloverdale and Putnam County to showcase our groundbreaking technology. The Cloverdale location is ideal for the construction and operation of our first production facility given existing local hydrogen demand and the potential for broad adoption of low cost, negative carbon index hydrogen to help decarbonize the local economy in a financially rational way.”

Hydrogen generated from the PCC H2 process can be used in myriad applications ranging from hydrogen combustion engines to fuel cells (fuel cell powered loaders, trucks, other rolling stock, and for fuel cells in non-grid connected BEV charging stations). Furthermore, PCC H2 is exploring the use of its hydrogen to lower the emissions profile of any heating/calcining process. Finally, the Company is leveraging the logistically friendly nature of ethanol to produce hydrogen at smaller, distributed facilities closer to the point of use, diminishing the adverse added expense of transporting liquid hydrogen over long distances.

Cloverdale Town Manager, Jason Hartman, added “Cloverdale is extremely pleased to support the construction of the first of its kind negative carbon index hydrogen production plant that will decarbonize local industry while offering competitively priced jobs to the local community.”

The PCC H2 core reformer at the pilot plant will be mounted on three skids and operate 24/7. The company expects to break ground at the site this Summer.

Read More »

Exclusive: Biofuels developer interviewing bankers for capital raise

The developer of a renewable diesel and SAF plant in East Texas is seeking a banker for assistance raising development and FID capital.

Santa Maria Renewable Resources, a biofuels developer with a project in East Texas, is interviewing bankers for an upcoming capital raise.

The Houston-based firm is seeking a banker to help it raise some $40m in development capital, in a role that would then pivot to arranging project finance for a final investment decision, CEO Pat Sanchez said in an interview.

The company recently announced its selection of Topsoe as technology provider for the 3,000-barrels-per-day facility, which will produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. It also tapped Chemex to conduct the FEED study.

Sanchez is the former COO of Sanchez Midstream Partners, having left in 2020 after preferred shareholder Stonepeak took over the company.

He perceives headwinds for capital raising in the biofuels space, but believes the project profile he is promoting is superior to peers due to its hedged profile and the incorporation of a sustainable agriculture component that extracts additional value from an oilseed.

The superior returns, which he claims are north of 25% on an unlevered basis, “come from the integration of two industries” – biofuels and agricultural commodities – “on one site.”

Using Topsoe technology, the proposed plant can swing between 100% SAF to 100% renewable diesel, depending on the needs of the offtaker.

The project has an agreed-upon term sheet for offtake with an oil major. Under the agreement, the oil major is required to deliver feedstock in the form of camelina, canola, and soybean, he said.

Only one company in the U.S. closed on a development capital raise for a bio-based fuel project in 2023. That company was DG Fuels, and it raised up to $30m in development capital for a woody biomass-based Louisiana SAF plant expected to cost $4.2bn and reach FID in 2024.

“There seems to still be some headwinds in some companies on the biofuels side that are struggling to raise development capital,” Sanchez said, noting that the biofuels and clean energy sectors were some of the worst performers in 2023.

Read More »

Exclusive: New sustainability hedge fund to raise up to $2bn

A new hedge fund founded by a clean fuels industry veteran is gathering partners to raise up to $2bn initially for deployment into ammonia and other climate-transition technologies.

New Waters Capital, an emerging hedge fund based in New York City, is gathering its primary partners for its first fundraise of between $1bn and $2bn, founder Bill Brown said in an interview.

Brown formerly spent 15 years at North Carolina-based 8 Rivers Capital, which recently announced an ammonia project in Texas. Brown, a co-founder, sold his shares to South Korea’s SK, Inc. in that company’s majority takeover of 8 Rivers last year.

Brown recently created New Waters as a multi-strategy fund manager to invest in publicly traded companies in sustainability, AI, and clean fuels.

“The molecule-based economy is really important, and there’s some companies that have been in the molecule-based economy that are not really sure what they’re doing,” Brown said.

This creates an environment ripe for disruption, he said.

The firm is in the process of selecting its prime brokers, which will help determine the size of New Waters’ fundraises, Brown said. The first raise will be conducted in the next six months, and likely not be larger than $2bn to start.

New Waters’ law firm is Seward & Kissel.
The Wild West of molecules

Of all hydrogen produced in the US, about 65% is used for fertilizer production, Brown said. In Japan, where hydrogen is being co-fired with coal, replacing all coal-fired generation with ammonia would require 10 times the current ammonia production of the US.

“The market for molecules is so big, and yet the largest producer in the US of ammonia is CF Industries.” That company has one plant in Louisiana that represents roughly one third of total US ammonia production. “So CF is tiny compared to the opportunities out there.”

Brown said he is looking for the companies that are going to be the Valero and Phillips 66 of ammonia refining. He believes 8 Rivers is on track for something like that.

“We look at companies like that,” he said. “I think that entire market is up for grabs right now; it’s a whole new market.”

 Companies that can seize that market are the companies that are going to be part of the energy system of the future.

“In many respects right now, we’re in the Wild West, if you will, of the molecules of the future,” Brown said.

Read More »

Exclusive: Middle market flagship fund to target e-fuels, renewables

A new $1.5bn US-focused flagship fund focused on middle market companies is in discussions with new and existing LPs now and will consider e-fuels and other sustainable molecules in its deployment.

Energy Impact Partners, the New York-based investment firm, is in discussions with new and existing LPs to raise a $1.5bn flagship fund focused on the middle market, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The raise is being done without a financial advisor, the sources said. Once complete, it will target platforms and assets in the $40m to $50m range.

While the fund will be broadly focused on renewables, e-fuels and other sustainable fuels companies will be considered, one of the sources said.

The investment manager has invested in clean fuels via equity positions in Electric Hydrogen, Terragia and Metafuels, among others.

EIP did not respond to requests for comment.

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

Sign up for a free 15-day trial and get the latest clean fuels news in your inbox.