Resource logo with tagline

California outfit to build hydrogen-powered data center

Data center-as-a-service provider ECL is seeking to build its first 1 MW hydrogen-powered data center in 2Q23.

Data Center-as-a-Service pioneer ECL is seeking to build a modular, sustainable, off-grid data center that uses green hydrogen as its primary power source.

ECL will deliver data centers in 1 MW blocks with 99.9999% uptime, according to a news release. The company also announced $7m in seed financing co-led by Molex Ventures and Hyperwise Ventures.

The funds will be used by ECL to expand its market presence and in the construction of its first data center at the company’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, with completion scheduled for Q2 2023.

While other data center providers have deployed hydrogen fuel cells as backup power supplies, and with some conducting trials of systems forecast for production delivery in three-to-five years, ECL is the first provider to deliver a fully-green hydrogen-powered data center, the release says. This innovation is enabled by bringing together several technologies including green hydrogen-based power generation, battery energy storage and highly reliable power architecture without dependence on the utility grid. This maximizes efficiency and time to delivery and all but eliminates waste.

Lily Yeung, vice president at Molex Ventures and Nathan Shuchami, managing partner at Hyperwise Ventures join ECL Founder and CEO Yuval Bachar as members of the ECL board of directors.

Optimized for use by mid-sized data center operators – typically large companies with a mix of cloud and on-premises IT environments – ECL’s Datacenter-as-a-Service is two-thirds the total cost of ownership (TCO) of traditional colocation data center providers when measured over five years. The community-integrated data center design consumes no local resources, including power or water, and operates with zero emissions at extremely low noise levels. ECL’s modularity and lack of dependence on local utilities also means that its data centers can be designed and delivered much faster than others’, reducing planning and construction cycles from between 18 to 24 months to between six and nine months.

Bachar previously held top engineering, infrastructure and architecture roles at Microsoft Azure, LinkedIn, Facebook, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). He was a founder of the Open19 project, a data center industry initiative establishing a new open standard for servers based on a common form factor, and is past president of the Open19 Foundation. He holds eight U.S. patents in data center, networking and system design and is the recipient of three Cisco Pioneer Awards.

“We are proud to be a part of this much-needed revolution in the data center industry, and look forward to working closely with Yuval and his team as they bring this peerless innovation to market,” said Shuchami. “ECL has a long lead on the competition in the delivery of a data center powered primarily by green hydrogen and we can’t wait to stand with them as they raise the curtain in Q2 2023.”

“It’s exciting to see ECL investing to bring tremendously relevant and novel experience into this high growth space around customizable modular data centers that can support the growing demand for advanced and flexible computational needs and sustainable power use,” said Lily Yeung, VP of Molex Ventures.

Unlock this article

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

You might also like...

Power plant manager seeking capital for Boston acquisitions

A manager of natural gas power plants is seeking capital to acquire two facilities in the Boston area and convert them into low-carbon generation assets.

US Grid Company, an owner and operator of electric generation assets in US cities, is seeking to raise capital to make a pair of acquisitions in Boston.

The New York-based plant manager is targeting facilities owned by Calpine and Constellation, CEO Jacob Worenklein said.

Calpine owns the Fore River Energy Center, a 731 MW, combined-cycle plant located 12 miles southeast of Boston, while Constellation owns Mystic Generating Station, a 1,413 MW natural gas-fired plant in Everett, Massachusetts.

Worenklein would acquire the assets and seek to implement lower-carbon generation solutions such as batteries, renewables, or clean fuels, he said.

He has held conversations with both Calpine and Constellation about acquiring the assets, and would need approximately $100m of equity capital to make an acquisition, he said, with the balance coming in the form of debt capital.

US Grid Company previously had investment backing from EnCap Energy Transition and Yorktown Partners, but the funds for the deal were pulled.

Worenklein has had a storied career in the US power sector, serving as a global head in roles at SocGen and Lehman Brothers. He was also founder and head of the power and projects law practice at Milbank.

From 2017 to 2020 he served as chairman of Ravenswood Power Holdings, the owner and operator of a 2,000 MW gas-fired plant in Queens, New York.

Read More »

PowerCell serving H2 fuel stacks to ZeroAvia

The agreementcomprises 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell stacks with deliveries planned to start in 2024.

PowerCell has signed the world’s first contract covering the serial delivery of hydrogen fuel stacks to the aviation industry, according to a press release.

The agreement, potentially valued up to SEK 1.51bn, is conditioned on client ZeroAvia obtaining necessary certifications. It comprises 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell stacks with deliveries planned to start in 2024.

Approximately SEK 25m of the order value is expected to impact revenues in 2022.

ZeroAvia focuses on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions and aims to launch a 19-seat aircraft with 300-mile range by 2025. The American and British company acquired California-based fuel cell stack innovator HyPoint this month.

The total order value of SEK 1.51 billion is conditional on ZeroAvia obtaining necessary certifications of the powertrain.

PowerCell will, upon completed aviation certifications, deliver a total of 0.5 GW fuel cells comprising of 300 kW superstack modules based on the industrialized 100 kW fuel cell stack. The fuel stacks will be used by ZeroAvia to manufacture a 600 kW, low-temperature, hydrogen-electric powertrain for the certified 19-seat, fuel cell-powered commercial aircraft.

As part of the agreement, PowerCell will establish a unit in the UK for final assembly and the adaptation of the stacks to ZeroAvia’s fuel cell system and application.

Read More »

Blackstone-backed Kindle Energy selects GE for combined-cycle plant with hydrogen capability

GE has secured an order from Kindle Energy to provide H-Class power generation equipment for its expected 725 MW natural gas-fired Magnolia Power Plant to be built in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

GE has secured an order from Kindle Energy to provide H-Class power generation equipment for its expected 725 MW natural gas-fired Magnolia Power Plant to be built in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Once in operation in 2025, the plant will be the most efficient plant in the MISO South system and it will help support the ongoing energy transition in Louisiana, according to a press release. It will be fueled initially by natural gas, with the ability to utilize up to 50% hydrogen by volume as hydrogen becomes more available in the area.

GE’s advanced HA gas turbine is able to operate on a variety of fuels, including blends of hydrogen and natural gas to offer multiple pathways to achieve near-zero carbon operations.

“A mix of flexible and efficient energy sources will be necessary to achieve the carbon emissions goals of Louisiana,” says Lee Davis, CEO of Kindle Energy. “By utilizing GE’s flexible and highly efficient 7HA.03 gas turbine, we will support the growth of renewable energy sources which will ultimately play a critical role in facilitating the transition to a lower carbon future in the state.”

“In a region with an increasing power demand due to planned coal-fired plants retirements, Magnolia will be first new GE combined cycle plant to be installed in the MISO South RTO in about 20 years, and is expected to be the most efficient once it begins operation,” said Eric Gray, CEO of GE Gas Power. “We are tremendously proud to continue our ongoing relationship with Kindle Energy – sealed through more than 11 GW of electricity projects including a 7HA.02 and 15 F-Class gas turbines – as we work together toward supporting a lower-carbon future in Louisiana.”

The Kindle Energy-Magnolia Power Project will be powered by a GE 7HA.03 gas turbine, the second of its kind in North America, an STF-A650 steam turbine, a triple pressure with reheat Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) and Mark* VIe Distributed Control System (DCS) software solution.

Kindle Magnolia’s STF-A650 is a two casing Steam Turbine (ST) featuring a separate High Pressure (HP) and combined Intermediate Pressure and Low Pressure (IPLP) section. This unit uses GE’s ST modularized approach utilizing shared HP, IPLP, and LP modules across the entire combined cycle ST portfolio to ensure high level of availability and reliability.

Additionally, GE will provide a full spectrum of power plant services for nearly two decades, the release states. The project is expected to create between 250 and 350 construction jobs locally at the site and provide between 20 and 25 longer-term full-time jobs.

Read More »

Exclusive: Appalachian biogas firm seeking project debt

An RNG developer based in Appalachia with projects across the US is seeking project debt financing.

Northern Biogas, the West Virginia-based developer and operator of anaerobic digester and RNG facilities, is independently seeking debt for its project pipeline, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Backed by HIG Capital, Northern Biogas serves diary, landfill, food waste and municipal projects. The company has raised some $200m in debt with assistance from alternative energy finance provider Pathward National Association, one source said. Project debt has typically been raised in tranches of $20m to $30m for individual projects.

Northern Biogas’ portfolio includes five dairy farm projects under construction in Wisconsin and one in Michigan, according to the company’s website. The company has a presence in Texas and Colorado as well.

Representatives of the company did not respond to requests for comment.
Read More »

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.

Read More »
exclusive

Illinois ethanol company seeking offtaker for SAF project

Seeking to diversify into new markets, Marquis, a family-owned ethanol producer based in Illinois, is looking for an offtaker for its first sustainable aviation fuel plant.

Marquis, a family-owned ethanol producer based in Illinois, is seeking an offtaker for its first sustainable aviation fuel plant.

The company, which is developing the plant in partnership with LanzaJet, an SAF firm, recently completed a feasibility study for the project, and is looking for airlines or users of renewable diesel as offtakers, Dr. Jennifer Aurandt Pilgrim, the company’s director of innovation, said in an interview.

Marquis owns and operates a 400 million gallon per year ethanol plant – the largest dry-grind ethanol plant in the world – which produces sustainable ethanol for fuel and chemicals as well as a feed for the aquaculture and poultry industries.

The company will divert roughly 200 million of those gallons to make 120 million gallons per year of SAF and renewable diesel, Aurandt said, noting that Marquis is looking to branch into new markets where ethanol is a feedstock.

“As more electric vehicles come on, there will be about a 3 billion gallon demand destruction for ethanol, and SAF is one of the great markets that we can diversify into,” she said.

Aurandt said financing for the SAF facility will ultimately depend on who the offtaker is.

Use cases

United Airlines, Tallgrass, and Green Plains Inc. recently formed a joint venture – Blue Blade Energy – to develop and then commercialize SAF technology that uses ethanol as its feedstock.

SAF using corn as a feedstock does not currently qualify for incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, which uses standards laid out by the International Civil Aviation Organization that effectively exclude corn-based SAF from qualifying.

Marquis and other ethanol producers are pushing for the adoption of a lifecycle greenhouse gas model, known as GREET, developed by the Argonne National Laboratory, that would allow corn-based feedstock to qualify, said Dustin Marquis, the company’s director of government relations.

The company is also looking to attract partners to set up operations in the Marquis Industrial Complex, which is touted as a 3,300-acre industrial site with natural gas lines, access to multiple forms of transportation, and carbon sequestration on-site.

“We’re looking for other businesses where there would be either vertical integration or business synergies between the two organizations,” Marquis said.

Marquis said in a news release it would develop two 600 ton per day blue hydrogen and blue ammonia facilities along with manufacturing for carbon neutral bio-based chemicals and plastics.

CO2 utilization

In its production process, Marquis makes 1.2 million tons of biogenic CO2 per year, and has applied for an EPA Class IV permit for sequestration.

“We like to say it’s direct air capture with the corn plant,” Aurandt said, adding that the CO2 is purified via fermentation to 99.9% pure, and will be injected into a formation that sits beneath the Marquis Industrial Complex.

The company is additionally developing a CO2 utilization project with LanzaTech, which would augment ethanol production using CO2 as a feedstock. The project was recently awarded an $8.54m grant from the US Department of Energy, the largest award in the category of corn ethanol emission reduction.

“We can increase the amount of ethanol that we produce here by 50%,” Aurandt said. “So we could make 200 million gallons of ethanol per year” from CO2, she added, noting that the pilot demonstration will be the largest CO2 utilization project in North America. It is expected to be operational in late 2024.

The SAF plant and the CO2 utilization project will use hydrogen for refining and as an energy source, respectively, Aurandt said.

Gas Liquid Engineering is the EPC for the CO2 unit, and Marquis will use compressors from Swedish multinational Atlas Copco.

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

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