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CarbonQuest and Daroga Power partner on C&I fuel cell and carbon capture

The partnership is providing clients with financing for the upfront capital necessary to purchase their fuel cell and carbon capture systems.

CarbonQuest, a carbon capture technology provider supporting the onsite decarbonization of buildings, campus settings and other facilities, and Daroga Power, a ​​sustainable infrastructure and distributed generation developer, have entered a partnership to bring a low-carbon fuel cell solution to the commercial and industrial sectors in the U.S. and Canada.

Under the terms of the partnership, Daroga Power will develop, install and operate fuel cells that can power industrial facilities, buildings, and campus settings without interruptions and without the need for batteries, according to a news release.

CarbonQuest’s Distributed Carbon Capture™ system will be used in conjunction with the fuel cells to capture the systems’ generated carbon before it is emitted to the atmosphere. CarbonQuest will also sell the captured carbon to industrial users.

To hasten adoption, the partnership is providing clients with financing for the upfront capital necessary to purchase the systems. Daroga and CarbonQuest will also provide long-term maintenance support for the fuel cells and carbon capture components.

Given the power capacity limitations of the New York regional grid, along with delayed renewable interconnection, a fuel cell + carbon capture solution offers both short- and long-term benefits to many types of energy users with on-site, base-load power that is also low carbon.

CarbonQuest and Daroga aim to sign on approximately 20 projects in the next 12 months, which will generate an anticipated 100,000 metric tons per year of recycled, liquified Sustainable CO2.

After being captured by CarbonQuest’s system, the liquid CO2 will be sold to various off-takers across the Northeastern U.S. Given the severe constraint of CO2 supply in the region, CarbonQuest’s Sustainable CO2™ offers a unique solution for CO2 users while also supporting the growth of new carbon-based industries.

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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.

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Mitsubishi Power Americas hires VP of hydrogen infrastructure development

Mitsubishi has hired Kai Guo as vice president of hydrogen infrastructure development in the West region.

Kai Guo has started a new role as vice president of hydrogen infrastructure development in the West region at Mitsubishi Power Americas, according to a post on LinkedIn.

Guo, who did not respond to a request for comment, previously worked for a decade holding multiple positions at Kiewit, ending as senior vice president of engineering and consulting services. Before that he was an associate at State Street.

He is based in Overland Park, Kansas.

Mitsubishi is involved in the development of the Advanced Clean Energy Storage hub in Delta, Utah, which has received a $504.4m loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The project is designed to convert over 220 MW of renewable energy to 100 metric tonnes per day of green hydrogen. ACES Delta has further plans to deploy hydrogen hubs across the US, according to its website.

Last year the US unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries invested in clean hydrogen production startup Electric Hydrogen.

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Verdagy partners with Doral on electrolyzer supply

Verdagy has entered a strategic agreement to supply electrolyzers to global green hydrogen projects developed by Doral.

Verdagy, an electrolyzer startup, has reached a strategic agreement with Doral, a renewable energy developer, in which Verdagy will supply green hydrogen electrolysis systems to Doral through 2030.

The agreement is global with a focus on green hydrogen projects Doral is developing in EuropeUnited StatesAustralia and the Middle East, according to a news release.

“Doral has a proven track record of developing infrastructure-scale renewable energy projects for over 15 years and Verdagy is excited to work together with Doral to drive the transition to green hydrogen,” said Verdagy CEO Marty Neese.

“Verdagy has developed green hydrogen electrolyzers that seamlessly pair in real-time with renewable energy sources, have the highest efficiencies and are cost-effective. With Verdagy’s electrolyzers already operating for several years, we are excited to now use these in our infrastructure scale, green hydrogen projects,” said Doral Hydrogen Managing Director Yam Efrati-Bekerman.

Doral Energy currently has a 16 GW pipeline of renewable projects under development and 14MWh of battery storage in the US and Europe. Since June 2020, Doral Energy is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol: DORL. Doral Hydrogen is the Hydrogen subsidiary of Doral Group to develop, build, and operate green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in the USAAustraliaEurope, and MENA.

The company already operates an HRS in the Netherlands and is developing more than 1GW projects for green hydrogen and ammonia production. Some of the projects will be executed in 2025 and already secured the offtake, the news release states.

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Hydrogen liquefaction provider looking for growth equity

An emerging liquid hydrogen and liquefaction management company is seeking equity to support manufacturing expansion in Europe and the US.

Absolut Hydrogen, a French liquid hydrogen and liquefaction company based in Grenoble, is looking for equity to scale up production following operations of their demonstration project in France, CEO Jerome Lacapere said in an interview.

Absolut has a partnership with SAF firm ZeroAvia to develop refueling infrastructure for aircraft, and is primarily focused on serving the mobility sector.

A subsidiary of Groupe Absolut, the company offers a full LH2 product range with an entry small-scale hydrogen liquefaction system (< 50 kg/day), a 100 kg/day Turbo-Brayton based H2 liquefier and a 1T/day liquefier based on the same technology.The company's liquefaction demonstration plant in France should produce 100 kg per day, Lacapere said. After that Absolut will need new investment to scale production.Longer term the company has its sites on the US transport market, Lacapere said.“We need to grow in the United States,” Lacapere said. The company will need US-based advisory services and offices in the country to do that, he said.

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Feature: Is the U.S. Midwest still navigable terrain for CO2 pipelines?

Strained efforts to build thousands of miles of carbon dioxide pipelines in the U.S. Midwest could carry major implications for future projects – and for the region’s nascent clean fuels industry. According to one industry CEO, “Ethanol plants are sitting on a gold mine.”

“We’re just not interested.” 

That’s the sentiment that echoes through the testimonies of many landowners at an Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on November 7. The hearing is about Summit Carbon Solutions’ project to build a CO2 pipeline across five states, and the view is summarized in the words of Sue Carter, who owns a farm in the pipeline’s proposed path.

“We feel that it’s not a good idea to sequester the CO2, we feel that it would be detrimental to our farmland, to Iowa, and that we’re just not interested.” 

Summit Carbon Solutions, a private company backed by investors such as TPG Rise Climate, Tiger Infrastructure Partners, and John Deere, is planning to build around 2,000 miles of pipeline to transport CO2 captured at 34 ethanol and sustainable aviation fuel plants to geologic sequestration sites in North Dakota. The proposed network spans across Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. 

The project, which would build one of the largest CO2 pipelines in the world, promises to capture and store up to 18 million tons of CO2 per year, offering the Midwest’s ethanol industry a path to net zero. 

But building is far from easy. 

In September, public service commissions in both North and South Dakota denied key permits to build the pipeline across those states. In Iowa, Summit is encountering staunch opposition from some landowners, who are worried about issues like safety and land preservation, and it is requesting the right of eminent domain over approximately 900 parcels of land. 

Commercial operations, which were initially expected for 2024, have been pushed back to 2026, and the project cost has risen from $4.5bn to around $5.5bn. 

In a country that, according to some estimates, needs to expand its carbon pipeline network more than ten times in 30 years to reach the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2050, Summit’s struggle to advance its Midwest project is emblematic of what might soon happen elsewhere. Navigator CO2 Ventures, for instance, has recently canceled a pipeline project in the area after encountering similar problems. 

And the uncertainty around pipeline development might hinder the region’s nascent clean fuels industry, which relies heavily on ethanol production and carbon capture technologies. 

*

Courtesy of Summit Carbon Solutions.

A potential cost increase was something that Summit took into consideration from the start, “whether that was because of factors related to inflation, supply chain shortages, or a longer-than-expected regulatory process,” according to Sabrina Ahmed Zenor, director of stakeholder engagement and corporate communications at Summit. He pointed out that Summit also increased the project’s expected capacity from 12 million to 18 million tons of CO2 since it was first announced. 

Regardless, the way Summit goes about securing success for its project and the extra costs and delays it faces are bound to set an example for developers across the country. 

“We need to see one or many of these projects be successful to develop a model as to how to deploy them,” said Matt Fry, senior policy manager at the Great Plains Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting carbon management technologies to achieve climate objectives. “We already have some infrastructure to transport CO2, but we just haven’t seen 1,000 to 2,000 miles transporting 10 plus million tons of CO2 a year yet.”

Already, Navigator has canceled its 1,300-mile Heartland Greenway pipeline, which was supposed to carry CO2 across Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The company announced the decision on October 20, citing “the unpredictable nature of the regulatory and government processes involved, particularly in South Dakota and Iowa.”

Permitting regulations regarding carbon pipelines change from state to state. 

“Some states have deadlines or timelines associated with when an application is submitted to when a decision must be granted, which provides certainty. Some places not so much,” said Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs at Navigator. “Ultimately, the board did not see a pathway forward that was commercially viable.” 

According to Burns-Thompson, Summit’s challenges contributed to the decision as well. Navigator will now focus on a sequestration site in Illinois.  

Asked about Navigator’s cancellation, Summit said it “welcomes and is well positioned to add additional plants and communities to our project footprint.”

On a smaller scale, Wolf Carbon Solutions is also planning a 280-mile CO2 pipeline in Iowa and Illinois, where it filed permit applications in February and June respectively. And in May 2022 Tallgrass Energy announced its intention to convert 392 miles of natural gas pipeline into a CO2 pipeline connecting Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming.

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Pipelines have been carrying CO2 in the U.S. for over 50 years, with the first large-scale carrier built in the 1970s. At the moment, there are around 5,000 miles of active CO2 pipelines in the U.S., mostly carrying the gas to oilfields, where it’s used for enhanced oil recovery. For comparison, the country has around two million miles of natural gas distribution mains and pipelines. 

“There’s a very high likelihood, almost a certainty, that if the US is to reach net zero by 2050, it’s going to need many hundreds of millions of tons of CCS, maybe a billion,” said Chris Greig a senior research scientist at Princeton University, and one of the lead authors of Net Zero America, a study that presents various pathways for the U.S. to achieve the net-zero emissions goal. 

If we capture carbon, we also need to transport it. According to the Net Zero America report, the U.S. would need to develop over 60,000 miles of new CO2 pipelines over the next 30 years, which would come at a capital cost ranging from $170 billion to $230 billion, depending on the overall reliance on carbon capture. 

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The United States is the largest producer of ethanol in the world, and it mostly produces it in the Midwest, with Iowa leading the charge. 

Ethanol can be used to make sustainable aviation fuel, and its fermentation process emits a CO2 that is almost pure, making it a very good candidate for carbon capture. The CO2 captured at ethanol plants, in turn, can be used to produce clean fuels such as e-fuels, sustainable aviation fuel, or green methanol. 

That means the Midwest is well situated to become a major clean fuel hub, but some say that depends on the successful development of pipelines that can move CO2 at scale.  

Pipelines are not the only way to move CO2, which can be trucked or shipped. But Summit’s project is expected to transport around 18 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, and that would require an army of railcars and trucks, and cost much more. 

Navigator, whose canceled project was supposed to have the capacity to transport 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year, expandable to 15 million tonnes in the future, estimated that it would have had to employ nearly half a million trucks to move the same amount. 

Biofuel maker Gevo has recently vented the possibility of relocating its $1bn Lake Preston Net-Zero-1 sustainable aviation fuel plant if the Summit pipeline doesn’t go through. The Lake Preston project is anticipated to start operations in South Dakota in 2025 

“Failure for the Summit pipeline to be built in South Dakota puts our Lake Preston project at severe risk of being relocated to a more advantageous location that has the availability of CCS,” said Kent Hartwig, Gevo’s director of state and local affairs, at a Brown County, South Dakota, commission meeting on October 3. 

Because of the cancellation of Navigator’s pipeline, a memorandum of understanding between Infinium and Navigator to produce e-fuels was scrapped. Navigator was supposed to provide Infinium with 600,000 tons of CO2 per year for use as feedstock for e-fuels, an amount of CO2 that would require multiple ethanol emission sources tied together to be delivered. Infinium did not respond to a request for comment. 

An alternative could be to produce the fuels in the same place where the CO2 is captured. That’s the business model of CapCO2 Solutions, a company that develops green methanol-producing technology that fits in a shipping crate. 

“Ethanol plants are sitting on a gold mine,” said Jeffrey Bonar, CapCO2’s CEO. And that’s regardless of whether large CO2 pipelines get built. 

CapCO2 is currently raising money to place its first shipping crate at an ethanol plant in Illinois. Eight to ten shipping crates would be able to process all the carbon captured at an average ethanol plant, making green methanol as a result.

According to experts, though, the scale of carbon capture that pipelines can provide is still needed. 

“While it is possible to produce synthetic fuels with CO2, the current scale of these production activities and the markets are not yet able to utilize millions of tons of CO2 per year, so associated CO2 storage would be necessary,” said Fry at the Great Plains Institute. “If we are, as a nation, serious about meeting climate objectives, we’re going to have to figure out how to make this work.”

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Summit says it has secured voluntary easements for 75%, or around 1,300 miles of the pipeline’s route, and it’s still working to secure rights over all the land it needs. More landowners “are signing every day,” according to Ahmed Zenor, of Summit.

In 2020, a pipeline carrying both CO2 and hydrogen sulfide ruptured in Satartia, Mississippi, sending 45 people to the hospital. The episode was the first major accident involving a CO2 pipeline in at least 20 years — according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s data, there have been 105 incidents since 2003, and no fatalities — and it spurred an ongoing update of PHMSA safety regulations. 

Among the landowners who don’t want to give Summit access to their land, the incident exemplifies their safety concerns. 

“Pipelines such as the one Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed are highly regulated to ensure public safety,” said Ahmed Zenor in an emailed statement. “In addition to being regulated by the PHMSA, the project is also subject to federal environmental regulations and state oversight.” 

Transporting materials via pipeline, she added, is safer than transporting them via truck or rail. 

The safety concerns mix with a list of worries, including construction spoiling the land, potential leaks contaminating water sources, misuse of public money, and what some landowners describe as generally aggressive behavior from Summit’s agents trying to convince them to sign voluntary easements.  

“They went to nursing homes with donuts to try to convince vulnerable senior landowners,” said Jess Mazour, program coordinator of the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization that’s been active in fighting the pipeline.

Overall, Summit is facing the opposition any linear infrastructure always faces — a Maine transmission line linking hydroelectric dams in Canada to the Northeast, for example, has been slowed down by permitting delays — complicated by a lack of uniform regulations. 

“Siting and construction are dealt with on a state-by-state basis for CO2 pipelines,” said Danny Broberg, associate director for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s energy program. “This is not the case for gas pipelines, for which interstate siting and construction authorities exist through FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. One challenge at play for CO2 pipelines is that there is no federal jurisdiction for interstate siting and construction.” 

Stakeholders and legislators have started discussing how to overcome the challenge — if, for example, siting and construction for CO2 pipelines should be through FERC or not — and in May, the Biden Administration urged Congress to consider providing federal siting authority for CO2 pipelines as a priority for facilitating clean energy development. No official proposal is on the table yet. 

Despite the permitting setbacks, Summit says it believes “the regulatory process around pipeline projects works well.” 

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Eminent domain is, to use the Great Plains Institute’s Fry words, “one of the most contentious things on the planet,” and as activists and opposing landowners have pointed out during the Iowa Utilities Board public hearing, it’s not clear it would apply to CO2 pipelines, at least in Iowa. 

“In Iowa, you can only use eminent domain if it’s a public use and convenience,” said Mazour of the Sierra Club. “And that’s one of our biggest arguments. This is not a public benefit.”

Carbon capture, according to Mazour, is extending the life of a harmful industry. “We don’t believe that ethanol is the best solution to take care of our soils and our water and our rural communities and our farmers,” she said. “And then if we have healthy soils and if we treat the land differently and farm differently, we can actually sequester a lot of carbon in our ground.” 

A better solution, according to Mazour and the Sierra Club, would be to expand deployment of wind and solar. 

Whether Summit is entitled to use eminent domain in Iowa or not is something that will be settled once the Iowa Utilities Board issues its final decision — the public hearing wrapped up on November 8, and there is no deadline they have to meet. 

Additionally, Summit has to refile a permit application in South Dakota, and still gain all the necessary permits in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota. 

The debate over eminent domain ties to a more general discussion over the benefits and effectiveness of carbon capture technology. Recently, a Bloomberg investigation found that last year Occidental sold its Century carbon capture facility for way less than it spent building it, after the plant never reached its full capacity in over ten years. The Petra Nova carbon capture facility in Texas has also struggled to meet capacity and financial objectives, and it just recently came back online after suspending operations for over two years. 

“Innovation includes risks and some tolerance for failure,” said Broberg at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “It’s going to take the entire toolkit of resources to meet net zero, both from the government and the private sector.” 

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As the Midwest becomes an incubator for plans and strategies to build CO2 pipelines, and conversations are starting over how to make regulations more uniform, developers are probably going to take a few lessons from Summit and Navigator. 

The most important of these, according to experts, is how to better engage with communities and spearhead education about carbon capture technologies. 

“Everyone’s in a rush to take advantage of subsidies through the IRA,” said  Greig at Princeton University. “But you can’t rush communities, right? I’m not convinced that all the developers have the level of sensitive, forward-looking stakeholder engagement and community engagement and discussion that is going to be necessary.” 

If government entities are serious about developing carbon capture technologies, however, it can’t just be private companies explaining why we need them, according to Navigator’s Burns-Thompson. “It needs to come from the trusted voice of the regulators themselves. And that’s not just state entities. That’s our federal entities as well.”

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Pennsylvania blue hydrogen DevCo planning project equity raise

A natural gas company has tapped an advisor and is planning to launch a process to raise project equity in the fall for a blue hydrogen production facility with contracted offtake in Pennsylvania.

KeyState Energy, a Pennsylvania-based development company, has engaged a financial advisor to launch a $60m equity process in September, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Young America Capital is advising on the forthcoming process, the sources said.

The capital raise is for the company’s marquee Natural Gas Synthesis blue hydrogen project in Clinton County, one of the sources said. CapEx for the project is estimated at $1.5bn. OCGI is a pre-FEED investor in the project and the coming equity raise is meant to attract a FEED investor.

The 200 mtpd project has contracted offtake with Nikola Corporation, one of the sources said. In October it was reported that Nikola and KeyState were working towards a definitive agreement to expand the hydrogen supply for Nikola’s zero-emissions heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles.

The 7,000-acre natural gas and geologic storage site was formerly known for coal, iron and rail, according to the company’s website.

KeyState Energy did not respond to a request for comment. YAC declined to comment.

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