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Carbon America and Svante to collaborate on US carbon capture deployment

The companies will work together to identify and deploy projects in the US.

Carbon America and Svante Technologies Inc. (Svante) have announced a collaboration to focus on commercial deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects in the United States.

The companies will work together to identify and deploy projects which can rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The collaboration leverages Svante’s novel solid sorbent carbon capture technology and Carbon America’s expertise in CCUS project development.

“Carbon capture is a critical component to the energy transition and Carbon America believes that collaboration is needed amongst players in this space to create meaningful change quickly,” said Brent Lewis, CEO of Carbon America. “By combining Carbon America’s project development expertise with Svante’s ready-to-deploy technology, we can more rapidly drive down greenhouse gas emissions across the industrial sector. We’re excited to collaborate with the incredible Svante team.”

Carbon America’s vertically integrated approach to CCUS development – from development to financing, engineering and execution – enables projects to move from concept to operation faster and more cost-effectively. Carbon America’s expertise across the capture-transport-storage value chain helps reduce critical risks along the development path to ensure the long-term success of projects.

“We’re enabling industries around the world to decarbonize their operations with second generation carbon capture and removal technology that is both environmentally responsible and efficient,” said Brett Henkel, Svante’s co-founder & VP strategic accounts and government affairs. “Collaboration is the key to success in this market, and working with companies like Carbon America will enable us to accelerate the deployment of our technology with enhanced ability to finance, build and operate carbon capture projects at scale in an efficient, cost-effective way.”

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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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HTEC gets CAD 10m in federal funds for hydrogen facility at pulp mill

HTEC’s project will operate a renewable hydrogen production facility at a pulp mill in British Columbia.

HTEC and West Fraser Mills will receive CAD 10m from the Canadian government through a program seeking to facilitate adoption of innovative technologies.

Located in Nanaimo, B.C., HTEC’s project will operate a renewable hydrogen production facility at the Harmac Pacific Pulp Mill, producing clean hydrogen by electrolysis, according to a news release.

HTEC last year secured a CAD 217m investment from Chart Industries and I Squared Capital.

With a CAD 10m contribution through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, the hydrogen will be used as clean fuel for transportation and heating, and will help the mill decarbonize its operations. HTEC’s project with Harmac Pacific is an example of how surplus energy from mills can be utilized to lower emissions and advance federal and provincial clean hydrogen goals, according to the release.

“HTEC’s growing network of hydrogen fuelling stations due to the industry demand for low-carbon transportation fuel in Canada has necessitated the development of local hydrogen production,” HTEC CEO Colin Armstrong said in a statement. “We are building multiple clean-hydrogen production facilities across the country, and this Nanaimo-based facility is a critical piece of the clean hydrogen value chain. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for its ongoing support in decarbonizing Canada’s transportation sector, allowing us to expand our retail fuelling network and opening up new market opportunities for heavy-duty transportation applications.”

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Moelis launches clean technology group

Moelis has hired from Citi to co-lead the group, which will focus on energy transition and decarbonization.

Moelis & Company, a leading global independent investment bank, today announced the formation of its Clean Technology Group and the appointment of Arash Nazhad as a Managing Director in Houston to co-lead the new group, according to a press release.

The Firm’s dedicated focus on energy transition and sustainability will expand Moelis’s existing efforts across this dynamic global sector, including having advised on more than $50 billion of transactions globally.

Arash will co-lead the group alongside current Moelis Managing Director Rick Polhemus, who has a longstanding focus on a range of growth-driven technology, electrification/mobility, sustainability, and services sectors. Together they will partner with and draw on the Firm’s industry expertise in Energy, Power & Infrastructure, Chemicals, Metals & Mining, Technology, and Services as well as advisory capabilities in M&A, Capital Markets, Capital Structure, and Private Funds to bring bespoke and innovative advisory and capital formation solutions to clients navigating this evolving ecosystem.

Arash brings nearly 20 years of investment banking experience and deep expertise in clean energy technology. He joins from Citi where he provided strategic advice and capital markets solutions to companies across clean tech, energy, metals, technology, industrials, power, and the sustainability landscape. Prior to Citi, Arash spent nearly a decade at the Norwegian international energy company Equinor, in various operational and leadership roles and began his career working on Clean Development Mechanism projects across East Asia.

Jeff Raich, Co-Founder and Co-President at Moelis commented, “The formation of Moelis’s Clean Technology Group underscores our continued dedication to supporting our clients as they navigate decarbonization across a range of industries and end markets, as well as the breadth of new companies, technologies and services that are established to support this transition. This will be a long-term secular trend driving the investment decisions and strategic direction of our clients. We are pleased to welcome Arash, whose expertise and complementary capabilities make him and Rick uniquely positioned to lead our efforts and expand opportunities for clients in this rapidly changing environment.”

Navid Mahmoodzadegan, Co-Founder and Co-President at Moelis added, “The energy transition that is underway demands integrated advisory services, access to capital, and strategic long-term planning. Achieving net-zero emissions will require a significant increase in spending, and our dedicated clean energy efforts better position us to be a seamless partner to our strategic, financial sponsor, and venture capital clients as we leverage our dynamic advisory practice and global connectivity.”

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IPP retains banker for California plant sale

An independent power producer has retained a banker for a sale of a decades-old gas plant in California. Aging gas plants have been in the sights of clean fuels developers looking to retrofit or use facilities for clean fuel production and combustion.

GenOn, an independent power producer, has hired Solomon Partners to sell a 54 MW gas plant in California, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The plant, Ellwood, is located in Goleta, in Santa Barbara County, and was shuttered and retired by GenOn as of 2019. It reached COD in 1973 and ran two Pratt & Whitney FT4C-1 gas turbine engines.

Ellwood previously interconnected via Southern California Edison, a utility that is pursuing multiple natural gas decarbonization projects, including a hydrogen-blending initiative with Bloom Energy.

A teaser for the sale of Ellwood, which was issued last week, notes there is an opportunity to install a battery energy storage system at the site, one of the sources added.

Elsewhere in California, investment firm Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and developer Meridian Clean Energy are seeking to demonstrate decarbonization in peaker plants at the much newer gas-fired Sentinel Energy Center. Their plans include hydrogen blending.

GenOn declined to comment. Solomon Partners did not respond to requests for comment.

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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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Cutting the electricity out of electrolysis

Milwaukee-based start-up Advanced Ionics is seeking to commercialize an electrolyzer that cuts electricity needs for hydrogen production to as low as 30 kWh per kilogram.

Advanced Ionics is seeking to ramp manufacturing capacity and raise capital as it begins to commercialize an electrolyzer promising to reduce electricity needs, CEO Chad Mason said in an interview.

The Milwaukee-based company is working to demonstrate its low-cost electrolyzer technology through a partnership with the Repsol Foundation.

The technology will be tested locally, but could grow to include additional tests and, eventually, a commercial relationship with the Spain-based energy and petrochemical company.

Advanced Ionics is looking to move into a larger facility in Milwaukee to advance early-stage production of the electrolyzer, which uses steam from process and waste heat to reduce the amount of electricity required in electrolysis.

The company last year raised $4.2m in a seed round led by Clean Energy Ventures, with participation from SWAN Impact Network. It has also received financial support from Repsol and $500,000 from the DOE.

As it scales, Mason said, the company will also need to raise additional capital, but he declined further comment.

Going to market

The Repsol arrangement is part of the company’s early access program allowing potential end users to take a first look at the technology.

“Repsol is just the tip of the iceberg here,” Mason said. “We’re talking to some really amazing partners at some of the largest energy companies in the world. People who use hydrogen today and want to make it green immediately understand what we’re doing.”

Given the concentration of hydrogen use in petrochemicals and ammonia, Advanced Ionics is targeting these sectors for deployment of its electrolyzers to produce clean hydrogen, Mason added.

Mason noted that, as the traditional petrochemical industry dies off over time, it will be replaced by green materials and green fuels like sustainable aviation fuel and biofuels that require hydrogenation to be useable.

“You’ll see a bit of a replacement happening on the petrochemical side, towards a green chemical,” he said, adding that a third potential key market is green steel production using hydrogen.

Thermodynamically favored

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’ water vapor electrolyzer

“We set out to build an electrolyzer specifically that would operate at intermediate temperatures,” he said. “And that allows you to have the synergy with those processes, and the downstream effect is the most cost-effective hydrogen you can get.”

The resulting hydrogen could be available for less than $1 per kg – but, Mason notes, the underlying power price math assumes an abundance of cheap, clean power. The models are usually pricing in two cents per kWh, the availability of which, Mason added, is “extremely geographically dependent.”

“If you’re in Texas, you have a system with wind, solar, and some amount of clean energy grid back-up, it’s pretty attractive,” he said. “Or if you hook up to a hydroelectric facility in the Northwest or in the Quebec area.”

Mason added, “Electrolysis rides on the coattails of cheap, clean electricity. What we have under our control is to make sure we’re using as little electricity as possible.”

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