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California Resources appoints CFO from Sempra Energy

CRC has appointed Nelly Molina as its new CFO. She most recently held senior finance positions at Sempra Energy.

California Resources Corporation, an independent energy and carbon management company committed to energy transition, today announced that Manuela (Nelly) Molina has been appointed as executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective May 8, according to a news release.

As previously announced, CRC’s prior CFO Francisco Leon was named President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors as of April 28, 2023.

Molina is an energy executive with more than 25 years of corporate finance, capital markets and project financing experience and brings an extensive background in the development of energy infrastructure projects in the natural gas and power sectors. She joins CRC from Sempra Energy, where she held various senior finance leadership roles, including most recently as vice president of audit services and vice president of investor relations.

Earlier in her tenure at Sempra Energy, she served as CFO of Infraestructura Energética Nova, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (IEnova), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which was listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange until October 2021. During her time at IEnova, she completed over $10bn of financing initiatives, including the company’s initial public offering. Previously, Molina served in leadership roles with Kinder Morgan and the former El Paso Corporation in Mexico.

“I am thrilled to welcome Nelly to the CRC team,” said Francisco Leon, president and CEO of CRC. “She has a strong track record of driving growth and expertise in navigating today’s evolving energy industry. With her financial acumen and prior experience in disciplined planning, execution and compliance, I look forward to working together as we continue to advance on our strategic realignment of our business operations and structure and focus on driving cash flow generation, enhancing our financial flexibility and delivering value for our shareholders.”

Molina said, “I am honored to join CRC as its next CFO and build upon the Company’s strong financial foundation. This is a great organization with significant opportunities for sustainable future growth and value creation. As the Company carries on with its energy transition initiatives, I’m excited to work with Francisco and the rest of the team to expand on the carbon management business, safely produce and deliver low carbon intensity energy to the local communities where CRC operates and help California achieve its climate goals.”

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New Fortress Energy planning five industrial-scale hydrogen plants

The company is building a pure-play clean hydrogen business, known as Zero, which it plans to capitalize separately in the near future.

New Fortress Energy is planning to build five industrial-scale hydrogen production hubs as part of its pursuit of a pure-play clean hydrogen infrastructure business.

The liquefied natural gas company has started construction on its first plant in Beaumont, Texas, where it is expected to produce 50 tons per day of green hydrogen, the company said on its 3Q22 earnings call today.

New Fortress Energy is taking learnings from the construction of the Beaumont plant to scale up its hydrogen business via additional projects that will produce a combined 90,000 tons per year, according to a presentation.

The company is building a pure-play clean hydrogen business, known as Zero, which it plans to capitalize separately in the near future.

Plug Power will provide electrolyzers while Entergy will provide renewable power to the Beaumont plant, which is set to begin operations in 2024.

The location of the project in southeast Texas is near refineries with an anticipated demand of 1,000 tons per day – over 20 times what the Beaumont plant will produce initially, said Patrick Hughes, managing director and chief commercial officer of NFE Zero.

“So plenty of demand and plenty of growth potential in the immediate region,” the executive said, who noted the company was focused on optimizing offtake for the first phase of the project.

In addition to nearby refineries, the Beaumont project could also supply for an Entergy power plant known as Orange County Advanced Power station. Existing pipeline networks could also ship green hydrogen around the region.

“The good thing about electrolyzers is that it’s fairly straightforward to scale,” Hughes said.

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FirstElement receives grant to expand manufacturing capacity

A $7.7m grant from the California Energy Commission is meant to help increase the output of the Santa Ana components manufacturing facility tenfold.

FirstElement Fuel has received a $7.7m grant from the California Energy Commission to increase the Company’s Santa Ana, CA manufacturing facility output by more than 10 times, according to a news release.

The California-based company is currently operating the world’s largest network of hydrogen refueling stations comprised of 85 dispensers across 40 station locations and serving hydrogen-powered vehicles across California.

The facility in Santa Ana produces components and systems for hydrogen refueling stations, including liquid hydrogen cryopump systems. FistElement will also contribute at least $14m to the project.

The manufacturing expansion project will extend through March 2026. FistElement will also increase its pump testing capability at its hydrogen logistics hub and field-testing facility  in Livermore, California as part of the project.

Quantron US and FirstElement recently announced that Quantron will be one of the first to take advantage of FirstElement’s network of hydrogen stations designed for hydrogen fuel-cell electric trucks.

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C2X invests in SunGas Renewables

The partnership with C2X will enable SunGas to develop projects based on its technology in the U.S., including the Beaver Lake Renewable Energy green methanol project in Central Louisiana.

SunGas Renewables Inc. and C2X LLC have formed a strategic partnership and announced an investment by C2X in convertible preferred stock issued by SunGas.

SunGas and C2X aim to develop, own, and operate multiple green methanol production facilities in North America to increase the supply of sustainable fuels and advance global decarbonization of hard to abate industries, according to a news release.

SunGas, a spin-out of GTI Energy, provides process technology and equipment for enabling the production of renewable fuels.  C2X is aiming to establish large-scale green methanol production for multiple industries around the globe. The partnership with C2X will enable SunGas to develop projects based on its technology in U.S. communities, and to sell its gasification equipment systems to customers who are building and operating renewable fuels production facilities around the world.

This investment will also support the continued development of SunGas’ Beaver Lake Renewable Energy (“BLRE”) green methanol project in Central Louisiana.  BLRE, expected to be fully operational as early as 2028, aims to produce green methanol at a capacity of more than 400,000 tons per year. It is planned to be the first of several renewable fuels facilities to be developed, owned, and operated by C2X and SunGas across North America.

C2X is majority owned by A.P. Moller Holding with A.P. Moller – Maersk as minority owner.

“C2X’s significant leadership, project implementation, and financial capabilities, complemented by SunGas’ extensive experience in design, development, and operation of renewable energy projects, will enable large-scale production of reliable, affordable, and sustainable fuels and advance global decarbonization,” said Robert Rigdon, CEO of SunGas Renewables. “We are grateful for GTI Energy’s expertise in decarbonization technologies and their role in our initial growth and spin-out, which enabled a partnership that will help us better serve customers relying on SunGas’ renewable technologies, products, and services.”

“SunGas’ leading biomass gasification technology platform and their highly capable team offers the fastest and lowest cost way to scale up the supply of green methanol that is so urgently needed to enable the marine, aviation, and chemicals sectors to reduce their fossil carbon emissions. Furthermore, we hope that our investment will also enable SunGas to advance the sale of their technology to other customers looking to produce renewable molecules for hard-to-abate industries,” says Brian Davis, Chief Executive Officer at C2X.

“GTI Energy believes disruptive innovation in technology and collaborative partnerships are key for creating sustainable, accessible, and secure options to meet the energy needs of economies around the globe,” said Paula Gant, President and CEO of GTI Energy.  “SunGas Renewables demonstrates the power of gathering deep expertise and a focused business model to leverage GTI Energy’s foundational U-GAS® technology to scale production of competitive low-carbon fuels that will positively impact communities, economies, and the environment.”

The pairing of C2X and SunGas’ skills and competencies will enable both companies to offer solutions for customers needing to source meaningful quantities of green fuels as well as technology and services for project development partners and owners.

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Exclusive: Advanced Ionics raising $12.5m, seeking pilot project partners

Advanced Ionics, an electrolyzer developer based in the Midwest, is approaching a close on the second tranche of its Series A and is seeking sponsors for pilot projects in Texas and elsewhere.

The company’s Symbiotic electrolyzers use steam by tapping into excess heat from industrial settings, thereby lowering electricity needs for water splitting to 35 kWh per kg, with 30 kWh per kg possible. That compares to industry averages over 50 kWh per kg.

Advanced Ionics, the Milwaukee-based electrolyzer developer, is about six weeks out from closing a second tranche of its Series A and is seeking new partnerships for pilot projects in the US, Chief Commercial Officer Ignacio Bincaz told ReSource.

Bincaz, based in Houston, is working to close the second $12.5m tranche, which is roughly the same size as the first tranche. The company has technical teams in Wisconsin but could build out those as well as commercial capabilities in Houston.
The company’s Symbiotic electrolyzers use steam by tapping into excess heat from industrial settings, thereby lowering electricity needs for water splitting to 35 kWh per kg, with 30 kWh per kg possible. That compares to industry averages over 50 kWh per kg.

“We just put together our first stack, Generation One, which are 100 square centimeters,” Bincaz said. Generation Two stacks will come later this year, but to get to Generation Three — commercial size, producing between 7 and 16 tons per day — the company will have to conduct a Series B about one year from now.

“For that, we need to hit certain benchmarks on durability of a stack,” he said. “The money will go toward scaling up and getting the data expected by investors to get us to Series B.”

Aside from equity provisions, Advanced Ionics is looking for sponsors for pilots and related studies, Bincaz said. “There’s different ways that we’re looking for collaboration.”

Between 2027 and 2028 the company expects to have commercial-size Generation Three stacks in the market.

Pilot projects

Advanced Ionics has two pilot projects in development with Repsol Foundation and Arpa-E (US Department of Energy), respectively.

The Repsol project is a Generation One development producing 1 kilogram per day, Bincaz said. The government project will be the first Generation Two project.

Another pilot is in development with a large energy company that Bincaz declined to name. The company is also exploring pilot projects with bp, which is an investor in the company.

After four or so pilot projects of ascending scale, the company will look to do its first industrial-scale project using real process heat or steam, integrated into a hydrogen-use process like ammonia manufacturing or chemical refining.

“We’re talking to companies in Asia, companies in Europe, companies in the US,” he said, specifically naming Japan and Singapore. “I’m in early conversations.”

Advanced Ionics’ first tranche Series A was led by bp ventures, with participation from Clean Energy Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and GVP Climate.

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Exclusive: Midwest renewables developer launches capital raise

A Midwest renewables developer has launched a $340m capital raise for a wind-to-hydrogen operation in the US heartland.

Zero6, the Minneapolis-based renewables developer, owner and operator, recently launched a process to raise $340m in project capital for its portion of the Lake Preston Biofuels Project in South Dakota, senior managing director Howard Stern said in an interview. The company, previously known as Juhl Energy, is partnered with Colorado-based Gevo, which plans to produce SAF on 240 acres at Lake Preston in a project dubbed Net-Zero 1. Zero6 will develop 20 MW of green hydrogen production adjacent to Net-Zero 1 powered by a 99 MW wind farm located 10 miles from the SAF site, Stern said. Plans call for FID late this year, he said. Zero6 met with several financial advisors for the raise, but decided to try and conduct it in-house, Stern said. The company has not ruled out help from an advisor for this raise and could need those services in the future. The goal is to have an anchor investor in place by May, Stern said. The company is open to strategic or financial investors. Zero6’s strategy is akin to a traditional private equity play, holding a project for five to ten years of operation, Stern said. That could change depending on new investors’ outlook. According to the ReSource database, Gevo has additional projects in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Stern said Zero6 sees opportunities to replicate the Lake Preston strategy in other parts of the country. The Lake Preston project has been tied to the development of carbon capture pipelines through South Dakota, namely the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline. Gevo officials have made public comments noting that if the Summit pipeline does not get built, it would disadvantage the Lake Preston project on the basis of its carbon intensity score, and the company may seek options elsewhere.
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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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