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CCUS developer closes 45Q direct transfer deal

A Mercuria Energy-backed CCUS developer has closed a 45Q direct transfer deal with assistance from Marathon Capital.

CapturePoint LLC has closed on a private Section 45Q direct transfer tax credit transaction for carbon dioxide (CO2) captured at the company’s Arkalon facility near Liberal, Kansas and utilized for Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) operations in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, according to a news release.

The CapturePoint Arkalon CO2 capture facility has the capacity to capture 250,000 metric tons of CO2 annually from nearby bio-ethanol production. CapturePoint transports the captured CO2 through its 170-mile regional network of dedicated CO2 pipelines to over 75 active CO2 injection wells the company uses for CO2-EOR operations. Once CO2-EOR operations cease, the CO2 is ultimately securely stored permanently underground.

The new Arkalon CO2 capture facility was placed in service in April 2023, generating Section 45Q tax credits for capturing and utilizing industrially sourced CO2 emissions. The Tax Credit Transfer Agreement between CapturePoint and the buyer includes placement of 100% of the 45Q tax credits generated by the Arkalon facility for a total of 12 years. At closing, CapturePoint will transfer all 2023-generated 45Q tax credits to the buyer.

“CapturePoint is at the leading edge of carbon management innovation in the United States,” said CEO Tracy Evans, “and our Arkalon CO2 capture facility and Panhandle CO2-EOR operations are helping the nation achieve important environmental and energy security goals. Our team is also developing expansive deep underground carbon storage sites – like our CPS Central Louisiana Regional Carbon Storage Hub — to permanently and safely sequester much larger volumes of CO2 currently released into the atmosphere by industrial emitters.”

The Section 45Q transaction announced today was placed privately by Marathon Capital. ReSource previously interviewed Evans last year about the company’s plans.

“We were honored to support CapturePoint on one of the industry’s first Section 45Q tax credit transfer transactions for their Arkalon CO2 capture facility,” said Matthew Shanahan, Managing Director at Marathon Capital. “We wish the CapturePoint team continued success as a leader in carbon management services.”

With both the Arkalon CO2 capture facility Section 45Q placement and an earlier transaction announced in January 2023 for CO2 captured at a nitrogen fertilizer facility in Coffeyville, Kansas, CapturePoint now has nearly one million metric tons per year of industrially sourced CO2 being utilized in CO2-EOR operations and generating 45Q tax credits.

CapturePoint LLC and its affiliate CapturePoint Solutions LLC offer a wide array of carbon management services and are pioneering the U.S. development of leading-edge carbon solutions including deep underground geologic carbon storage sites. The companies are privately held, with significant financial backing from prominent investors in clean energy innovation including an affiliate of Mercuria Energy, one of the world’s largest independent energy and commodity groups.

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Carbon transformation firm closes equity round

A start-up that aims to turn greenhouse gas emissions into carbon materials for sustainable and inexpensive everyday essentials has raised $6m.

Carbonova Corp., a start-up that aims to turn greenhouse gas emissions into carbon materials for sustainable and inexpensive everyday essentials, announced today that it has successfully closed its SAFE equity financing in an oversubscribed round with $6m raised, according to a news release.

The company intends to use the net proceeds from the financing to advance its strategy towards building the first commercial demonstration carbon nanofibers unit in Canada.

The financing round was led by Kolon Industries, a multi-billion-dollar Korean conglomerate. Kolon has a keen interest in Carbonova’s technology applications in Asia, including batteries, plastics, and other materials.  Another major participant in this round was the Natural Gas Innovation Fund NGIF Capital, a venture capital firm focused on innovative technologies for improving the environmental performance of existing or renewable natural gas and hydrogen production. This round also saw strong participation from the company’s directors, management, and staff team. This funding adds to the previously announced $2.5 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada “SDTC” and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program “NRC-IRAP” secured in February of 2023.

“Carbonova’s vision is to create everyday essentials from everyday emissions for everyone on earth, and with this financing, we are on track to complete the design of our first-of-a-kind commercial demo unit to put our vision into action,” said Mina Zarabian, Carbonova’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We have investors and customers from the wide spectrum of the carbon value chain validating the strong pull from the market for transitioning to this recycling of carbon to enhance the building blocks of virtually everything in modern society”.

Carbonova currently produces carbon nanomaterials for customers at a pilot facility at the company’s headquarters in northeast Calgary, Alberta. The commercial demonstration expansion will result in unit production cost efficiencies and is forecast to reduce the CO2 footprint of the carbon nanomaterials to below net-zero.

“Carbonova is on track to complete the front-end-engineering design (FEED) of its first commercial demo unit; the new design will represent a significant scale-up from Carbonova’s existing pilot facility,” said Zarabian. “The new plant will generate multiple hundreds of kilograms of carbon nanomaterials per day. This amount is sufficient to generate thousands of tons of sustainable end products and serve dozens of customers to bring their own innovative sustainable products in different sectors to the market.”

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JX Nippon joins investment consortium for Louisiana SAF plant

JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation has joined Sumitomo Corporation in an investment consortium supporting a Louisiana bioenergy with CCS sustainable aviation fuel plant.

JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation have executed consortium agreements to manage investment in the Louisiana Green Fuels BECCS project at Port of Columbia, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, according to a news release.

The project is developing a SAF production plant with renewable Naphtha as a byproduct utilizing woody biomass waste, such as thinning, with the production capacity of 32 million gallons (120,000 kiloliters) per year and the scheduled commercial operation date in 2029.

It will convert woody biomass waste into synthesis gas, and then synthesize and upgrade it into SAF and renewable naphtha. The Project is powered by a biomass-fired power plant using sawmill and other woody biomass waste attached with carbon dioxide capture and storage facility addressing CO2 emitted from the project, both installed onsite and owned by the project. As a result, the SAF and RN produced from this integrated project achieves deeply negative carbon emission (equivalent to removing nearly 300,000 passenger cars from the road every year). Once complete, the project will create approximately 150 direct jobs onsite, while five to six times as many indirect job opportunities are also expected and will contribute to the improvement of the local quality of life.

This project, which contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the enhancement of energy security, will accelerate the development based on the utilization of various U.S. government support measures, including the Inflation Reduction Act and the Department of Energy’s Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program established to promote clean energy technologies.

Sumitomo, through its subsidiary Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA) entered into Joint Development Agreement with Strategic Biofuels on the Project in February 2024. JX, through its subsidiary JX Nippon Oil Exploration (U.S.A.) Limited, and SCOA will jointly establish a consortium Magnolia Sustainable Energy Partners to manage and make investment in the Project.

According to the agreement, SCOA takes an anchor position and leads the formation of a Japanese-based investment consortium aimed at funding the majority of development capital needed to carry the project to FID and commencement of construction in early 2025. As part of the agreement, SCOA will also acquire rights at FID to participate for a portion of the full project equity requirement.

SCOA intends to provide a 20-year offtake for the approximately 640 million gallons of renewable fuels produced as well as all state and federal renewable fuel credits.

Additionally, SCOA and NOEX USA will explore further business opportunities in DACCS, BECCS, and other CCS and CDR fields by leveraging the Sumitomo Corporation Group’s global initiatives in the CCUS sector and the abundant expertise and technological capabilities of the JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation Group.

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GE and Shell partner on hydrogen fueling for gas turbines

The focus of the agreement is on hydrogen solutions for B&E class gas turbines used in LNG and power generation applications.

GE Gas Power and Shell Global Solutions have signed an agreement under which GE will develop use of 100% hydrogen as a fuel for gas turbines, according to a press release.

Focus will be on hydrogen solutions for B&E class gas turbines used in LNG and power generation applications.

“Shell’s Blue Hydrogen Process is a leading technology that can deliver the lowest carbon intensity fuel of its kind,” the release states.

GE’s B&E class heavy-duty gas turbines can already operate on 100% hydrogen, emitting up to 25ppm NOx with the use of water in diffusion combustors. As part of this development agreement GE is targeting gas turbine technology with the capability to operate on 100% hydrogen without the use of water while still maintaining NOx emissions.

The new DLN combustor technology is intended to support retrofittable system solutions for low-carbon operation of gas turbines. DLN combustors are efficient and do not use water as a diluent.

The developments to the DLN combustion technology could be installed on either new or existing 6B or 7E gas turbines. This would help reduce carbon emissions in industrial applications and LNG operations, particularly where water usage is challenging.

In extreme climates the B and E Class heavy-duty gas turbines provide power and perform in many duty cycles. These turbines can use more than 50 types of fuel, including hydrogen —and can switch fuels while running under full load.

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Exclusive: OCI Global exploring ammonia and methanol asset sales

Global ammonia and methanol producer OCI Global is working with an investment bank to explore a sale of ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

OCI Global is evaluating a sale of several ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

The global producer and distributor of methanol and ammonia is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its ammonia production facility in Beaumont, Texas, as well as the co-located blue ammonia project under development, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The evaluation also includes OCI’s methanol business, one of the sources said.

Representatives of OCI and Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.

As part of the earlier strategic review announced last year, OCI in December announced the divestiture of its 50% stake in Fertiglobe to ADNOC, and the sale of its Iowa Fertilizer Company to Koch Industries, bringing in $6.2bn in total net proceeds.

However, OCI has received additional inbound inquiries from potential acquirers for the remaining business, leading it to re-open the review, CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said last month on OCI’s 4Q23 earnings call.

“As such, OCI is exploring further value creative strategic actions across the portfolio, including the previously announced equity participation in its Texas blue clean ammonia project,” he said, adding: “All options are on the table.”

The comments echoed the remarks of Nassef Sawiris, a 40% shareholder of OCI, who recently told the Financial Times that OCI could sell off most of its assets and become a shell for acquisitions.

In the earnings presentation, El-Hoshy took time to lay out the remaining pieces of the business: in particular, OCI’s 350 ktpa ammonia facility in Beaumont; OCI Methanol Group, encompassing 2 million tons of production capacity in the US and a shuttered Dutch methanol plant; and its European ammonia/nitrogen assets.

Texas blue

The Texas blue ammonia project is a 1.1 million-tons-per-year facility that OCI touts as the only greenfield blue ammonia project to reach FID to date. The company has invested $500m in the project as of February 24, out of a total $1bn expected investment, according to a presentation.

“Commercial discussions for long-term product offtake and equity investments in the project are at advanced stages with multiple parties,” El-Hoshy said. “This reflects the very strong commercial interest and increasing appetite from the strategics to pay a price premium to secure long-term low-carbon ammonia.”

El-Hoshy’s comments highlight the fact that, unlike most projects in development, OCI took FID on the Texas blue facility without an offtake agreement in place. The executive did, however, highlight the first-mover cost advantages from breaking ground on the project early and avoiding construction cost inflation.

Additionally, the project was designed to accommodate a second 1.1 mtpa blue ammonia production line, which would be easier to build given existing utilities and infrastructure, El-Hoshy said, allowing for an opportunity to capitalize on additional clean ammonia demand at low development costs.

“Line 2 probably has the biggest advantage, we think, in North America in terms of building a plant where a lot of the existing outside the battery limits items and utilities are already in place,” he said, emphasizing that by moving early on the first phase, they avoided some of the inflationary EPC pressures of recent years. 

At the facility OCI will buy clean hydrogen and nitrogen over the fence from Linde, and Linde, in turn, will capture and sequester CO2 via an agreement with ExxonMobil.

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Exclusive: Seattle biomass-to-chemical firm planning equity round

A firm with plans for a biorefinery in Washington state will raise its first large equity round early next year.

Planted Materials, a Seattle-based biomass-to-chemicals company, is in early design stages for its first biorefinery in eastern Washington state and planning to raise an equity round in early 2025, co-founders Noah Belkhous and Greg Jenson said in an interview.

The company will seek to raise between $10m and $20m ahead of FID on the biorefinery, Belkhous said. The four-year-old company has raised $500k from angel investors to date and is currently raising another $1m from high net worth individuals in the Seattle region.

Planted Materials does not have a relationship with a financial advisor but is open to one, Belkhous said.

The company’s recycling model takes municipal landfill waste and converts it to chemical materials for pharmaceutical, paper, plastic and other manufacturing industries.

The proprietary recycling process is something the company would like to license to municipalities in the US and abroad, in addition to building biorefineries in the Pacific Northwest, Belkhous said. The company’s lab is currently based in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

Early design work on the first biorefinery is underway. The duo expects CapEx to cap at $50m, reaching FID in 2026 and beginning construction that year.

While the majority of the company’s feedstock will likely come from the major metropolitan regions in the western PNW, refining capacity is more attractive in the east for reasons of space and existing waste management infrastructure. Jenson noted the presence of the relevant research campus of Washington State University in Pullman, as well as the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

Recently, the team accompanied Washington Governor Jay Inslee and members of the Washington State Department of Commerce on a trip to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. The company has applied to a pair of $350k grants from the state.
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Exclusive: Inside Strata’s P2X strategy

Strata Clean Energy is seeking to engage with global chemical, energy, and shipping companies as a potential partner for a pipeline of green hydrogen projects that will have FIDs in 2025 and CODs later this decade.

Strata Clean Energy is developing a pipeline of green hydrogen projects that will produce large amounts of green ammonia and other hydrogen derivatives later this decade.

Mike Grunow, executive vice president and general manager of Strata’s Power-to-X platform, said in an interview that the company is investing in the development of proprietary modeling and optimization software that forms part of its strategy to de-risk Power-to-X projects for compliance with strict 45V tax credit standards.

“We’re anticipating having the ability to produce substantial amounts of low-carbon ammonia in the back half of this decade from a maturing pipeline of projects that we’ve been developing, and we’re looking to collaborate with global chemical, energy, and shipping companies on the next steps for these projects,” he said.

Strata’s approach to potential strategic offtakers could also include the partner taking an equity stake in projects, “with the right partner,” Grunow said. The projects are expected to reach FID in 2025.

Grunow declined to comment on the specific size or regional focus of the projects.

“We aspire for the projects to be as large as possible,” he said. “All of the projects are in deep discussions with the regional transmission providers to determine the schedule at which more and more transmission capacity can be made available.”

Strata will apply its expertise in renewable energy to the green hydrogen industry, he said, which involves the deployment of unique combinations of renewable energy, energy storage, and energy trading to deliver structured products to large industrial clients, municipal utilities and regulated utilities.

The company “commits to providing 100% hourly matched renewable energy over a guaranteed set of hours over the course of an entire year for 10 – 20 years,” Grunow said.

“It’s our expectation that the European regulations and more of the global regulations, and the guidance from the US Treasury will require that the clean energy supply projects are additional, deliverable within the same ISO/RTO, and that, eventually, the load of the electrolyzer will need to follow the production of the generation,” he said.

Strata’s strategy for de-risking compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act’s 45V revenue stream for green hydrogen will give asset-level lenders certainty on the delivery of a project’s IRA incentives.

“Right now, if I’m looking at a project with an hourly matched 45V revenue stream, I have substantial doubt about that project’s ability to actually staple the hourly matched RECs to the amount of hydrogen produced in an hour, to the ton of hydrogen derivative,” he said.

During the design phase, developers evaluate multiple electrolyzer technologies, hourly matching of variable generation, price uncertainty and carbon intensity of the grid, plant availability and maintenance costs along with evolving 45V compliance requirements.

Meanwhile, during the operational phase, complex revenue streams need to be optimized. In certain markets with massive electrical loads, an operator has the opportunity to earn demand response and ancillary service revenues, Grunow said.

Optimal operations

“The key to maximizing the value of these assets is optimal operations,” he said, noting project optionality between buying and selling energy, making and storing hydrogen, and using hydrogen to make a derivative such as ammonia or methanol.

Using its software, Strata can make a complete digital twin of a proposed plant in the design phase, which accounts for the specifications of the commercially available electrolyzer families.

Strata analyzes an hourly energy supply schedule for every project it evaluates, across 8,760 hours a year and 20 years of expected operating life. It can then cue up that digital project twin – with everything known about the technology options, their ability to ramp and turn down, and the drivers of degradation – and analyze optimization for different electrolyzer operating formats. 

“It’s fascinating right now because the technology development cycle is happening in less than 12 months, so every year you need to check back in with all the vendors,” he said. “This software tool allows us to do that in a hyper-efficient way.”

A major hurdle the green hydrogen industry still needs to overcome, according to Grunow, is aligning the commercial aspects of electrolysis with its advances in technological innovation.

“The lender at the project level needs the technology vendor to take technology and operational risk for 10 years,” he said. “So you need a long-term service agreement, an availability guarantee, key performance metric guarantees on conversion efficiency,” he said, “and those guarantees must have liquidated damages for underperformance, and those liquidated damages must be backstopped by a limitation of liability and a domestic entity with substantial credit. Otherwise these projects won’t get financed.”

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