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CF Industries to supply JERA with ammonia

The ammonia, required to be produced with at least 60% lower carbon emissions than conventionally produced ammonia, will be co-fired with coal at JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station.

CF Industries Holdings, of Deerfield, Illinois, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s JERA to supply up to 500,000 mtpy of ammonia beginning in 2027, according to a press release.

JERA is executing on a supplier comparison and evaluation process for the procurement of clean ammonia for its ammonia co-firing operations. The company put out an RFP in February of last year.

The ammonia, required to be produced with at least 60% lower carbon emissions than conventionally produced ammonia, will be co-fired with coal at JERA’s Hekinan Thermal Power Station in Hekinan, Japan. JERA successfully concluded an ammonia co-firing pilot test and will begin a demonstration project during its fiscal year 2023 at the plant.

“The MOU establishes a framework for the companies to assess how CF Industries would best supply JERA with clean ammonia under a long-term offtake agreement,” the release states. “The companies expect to evaluate a range of potential supply options, including an equity investment alongside CF Industries to develop a greenfield clean ammonia facility in Louisiana and a supplementary long-term offtake agreement from CF Industries’ Donaldsonville Complex in Louisiana.”

“Our leading ammonia production network and disciplined investments in clean energy initiatives have positioned CF Industries at the forefront of clean ammonia supply,” Tony Will, president and CEO of CF Industries, said in the release. “We look forward to helping JERA and Japan meet its clean ammonia requirements, which represent the first significant volume of what we believe will be substantial global demand for clean ammonia as a clean energy source.”

Since 2020 CF Industries has advanced projects to decarbonize its ammonia production network and position itself to supply a substantial volume within the next few years. This includes leveraging carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies at its Donaldsonville Complex where CF Industries is constructing a CO2 dehydration and compression facility, which is expected to begin in 2025.

The company has also commenced a front end engineering and design study to construct a greenfield clean ammonia facility utilizing CCS in Ascension Parish, Louisiana.

CF Industries is also constructing a commercial scale green ammonia capacity at its Donaldsonville Complex, enabling up to 20,000 tons of green ammonia production beginning in 2024.

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HESTA to invest up to AUS 100m in Countrywide Hydrogen

The RNE Group will be responsible for securing debt and grant funding for the projects and the parties may add additional investors.

Australian superannuation fund HESTA will invest up to AUS 100m in Countrywide Hydrogen, a subsidiary of ReNu Energy, to develop green hydrogen projects, according to a press release.

The RNE Group will be responsible for securing debt and grant funding for the projects. HESTA will be provided a first right of refusal to invest in existing and new projects.

The parties may otherwise agree to add additional investors, the release states.

“Our task now is to advance to definitive agreements as soon as possible and progress commercial discussions with our project partners for green hydrogen offtake,” ReNu Energy CEO Greg Watson said in the release.

Countrywide Hydrogen is developing four renewable hydrogen projects, two in Tasmania and two in Victoria, according to its website. The company has additional projects in its pipeline.

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Direct air capture firm launches with venture backing

ZeoDAC, Inc. launches with an international group of investment partners that include: Wilson Hill Ventures, Caltech, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Freeflow Ventures and Global Brain.

Direct air capture firm ZeoDAC has launched with backing from venture capital and strategic investors, according to a news release.

The company is founded by industry veterans and technical pioneers Professor Christopher W. Jones, an international expert in direct air capture of carbon dioxide technologies from Georgia Tech, and Mark E. Davis, a chemical engineering Professor from Caltech, who has brought multiple academic innovations to commercial success, including zeolite-based processes.

ZeoDAC, Inc. launches with an international group of investment partners that include: Wilson Hill Ventures, Caltech, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Freeflow Ventures and Global Brain.

“ZeoDAC’s CO2 capture process leverages chemically and mechanically robust solid sorbents with established supply chains deployed in an energy efficient temperature-vacuum swing adsorption cycle, leading to a simple yet economically advantaged process,” said Christopher Jones.

By combining these innovations and expertise, ZeoDAC aims to provide a compelling economic advantage for large-scale, commercial carbon capture and use. The company has raised several million dollars from institutional venture capital and strategic investors led by Wilson Hill Ventures.

“ZeoDAC can deliver compelling Net Present Value (NPV) to industrial partners on an international scale, enabling a multibillion-dollar market with positive impacts for the climate,” said Ajay Kshatriya from Wilson Hill Ventures.

ZeoDAC not only captures carbon dioxide but also water, allowing for the production of several valuable end-products that can drive an economic return while delivering an environmental benefit.

“We are excited to embark on this journey with ZeoDAC. We believe that Direct Air Capture offers the potential for us to source sustainable ingredients and materials while reducing our environmental footprint. After extensively reviewing the market, we are confident that ZeoDAC’s novel approach provides the affordability, scalability, and energy efficiency needed to become a major player in the DAC industry,” said Nicola Tongue, Associate Director, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

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Visolis and Ginko Bioworks team up on synthetic rubber and SAF ingredient production

The two companies are leveraging each other to achieve commercial development of a monomer used in the production of synthetic rubber and SAF.

Visolis, a California-based sustainable materials company, has formed a partnership with cell programming and biosecurity firm Ginkgo Bioworks to reach commercial production of a key feedstock ingredient used to make bio-based isoprene and SAF, according to a news release.

Isoprene is a monomer used for commercial scale synthetic rubber production.

“Achieving the production of bio-based isoprene at scale represents a significant step toward decarbonizing tire manufacturing,” the release states. “Isoprene can also be used as an intermediate for high performance, lower carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.”

Achieving bio-based isoprene production at scale is difficult because the molecule is highly volatile and combustible.

“Visolis has developed a novel process by using a more stable intermediate, making isoprene through a two-step manufacturing process and enabling more efficient and reliable production,” the release states. “Through the partnership with Ginkgo, the two companies are working to further optimize the efficiency of this biomanufacturing process.”

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Electrolysis start-up seeking seed money

A two-man hydrogen electrolysis and storage startup based in the southeastern US is seeking an equity investment from a strategic or venture capital investor.

Green Fuel, an early-stage hydrogen technology start-up, is seeking USD 2m in seed money from a strategic or venture capital investor to get its technology off the ground, CFO William Green said in an interview.

The Alabama LLC is comprised of the two founders: Green and inventor Gordon Marsh. Green is based in Missouri.

A patented electrolysis and storage tank system (200 psi) is currently being used for grilling on site of storage, Green said. That prototype application could be scaled up, but the company is interested in pursuing licensing applications in HVAC, fuel cell vehicles, and methanol production.

Green Fuel said in a news release that the atmospheric pressuring system can reduce the cost of hydrogen by 60% by eliminating the need for transportation and compression.

The technology can be scaled to on-site production and tank storage of between 5,000 psi and 10,000 psi, Green said. Proving out that use case is part of the investment need.

“This is a real world solution,” Green said of the invention, which addresses problems in hydrogen transportation and storage. The company is also presenting its technology to the military.

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Renewables developer exploring move into green hydrogen

North Carolina-based Strata Clean Energy is engaged with engineers and consultants in preparations for a potential move into the production of green hydrogen.

Strata Clean Energy, the North Carolina-based utility-scale renewables developer, is researching locations in the U.S. where it could potentially build a green hydrogen production plant, executives said in an interview.

“We’ve been doing some hydrogen work for the past few years,” said Tiago Sabino Dias, former CEO of Crossover Energy, which was acquired by Strata in a deal announced this week. That forward momentum on green hydrogen and other areas of the energy transition was part of the reason the deal with Strata was made, he said.

Sabino Dias is now the senior vice president of origination at Strata following the takeover.

“We’ve done a lot of work thinking about where the high-value locations are,” Strata’s Chief Development Officer Josh Rogol said in a separate interview.

Hydrogen is adjacent to Strata’s core competencies in energy storage, Rogol said. The company is confident it could supply the green kilowatt hours for hydrogen production and is researching offtake scenarios in transportation and industrial uses.

Strata has a 13 GW project pipeline of standalone and combined solar and storage, according to its website, with 4 GW under management.

The company’s IPP has about 1 GW with ambitions to grow, Rogol said. It’s go-forward pipeline comprises more than 100 projects across 26 states.

Strata is now engaged with several consultants and engineers to explore green hydrogen opportunities, Rogol said. The company is open to new advisory relationships across verticals.

“We think we are really well positioned to be both the energy supplier, as well as the molecule producer,” Rogol said. The capabilities and intellectual property acquired through Crossover put the firm six to 18 months ahead of other nascent developers.

Early-stage development in green hydrogen can be funded with Strata’s balance sheet, similar to Strata’s bilateral takeover of Crossover, Rogol said. Later stage development and EPC will require “an ecosystem of partners” potentially both financial and strategic, he added.

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Exclusive: Pattern Energy developing $9bn Texas green ammonia project

One of the largest operators of renewable energy in the Americas, San Francisco-based Pattern is advancing a 1-million-ton-per-year green ammonia project in Texas.

Pattern Energy knows a thing or two about large renewable energy projects.

It built Western Spirit Wind, a 1,050 MW project in New Mexico representing the largest wind power resource ever constructed in a single phase in the Americas. And it has broken ground on SunZia, a 3.5 GW wind project in the same state – the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

Now it is pursuing a 1-million-ton-per-year green ammonia project in Corpus Christi, Texas, at an expected cost of $9bn, according to Erika Taugher, a director at Pattern.

The facility is projected to come online in 2028, and is just one of four green hydrogen projects the company is developing. The Argentia Renewables project in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada is marching toward the start of construction next year, and Pattern is also pursuing two earlier-stage projects in Texas, Taugher said in an interview.

The Corpus Christi project consists of a new renewables project, electrolyzers, storage, and a pipeline, because the electrolyzer site is away from the seaport. It also includes a marine fuels terminal and an ammonia synthesis plant.

Pattern has renewable assets in West and South Texas and is acquiring additional land to build new renewables that would allow for tax incentives that require additionality, Taugher said.

Financing for the project is still coming together, with JV partners and prospective offtakers likely to take project equity stakes along with potential outside equity investors. No bank has been mandated yet for the financing.

Argentia

At the Argentia project, Pattern is building 300 MW of wind power to produce 90 tons per day of green hydrogen, which will be used to make approximately 400 tons per day of green ammonia. The ammonia will be shipped to counterparties in Europe, offtake contracts for which are still under negotiation.

“The Canadian project is particularly exciting because we’re not waiting on policy to determine how it’s being built,” Taugher said. “The wind is directly powering our electrolyzers there, and any additional grid power that we need from the utility is coming from a clean grid, comprised of hydropower.“

“We don’t need to wait for rules on time-matching and additionality,” she added, but noted the renewables will likely benefit from Canada’s investment tax credits, which would mean the resulting ammonia may not qualify under Europe’s rules for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) as recently enacted.

Many of the potential offtakers are similarly considering taking equity stakes in the Argentia project, Taugher added.

Domestic offtake

Pattern is also pursuing two early-stage projects in Texas that would seek to provide green hydrogen to the domestic offtake market.

In the Texas Panhandle, Pattern is looking to repower existing wind assets and add more wind and solar capacity that would power green hydrogen production.

In the Permian Basin, the company has optioned land and is conducting environmental and water feasibility studies to prove out the case for green hydrogen. Pattern is considering local offtake and is also in discussions to tie into a pipeline that would transport the hydrogen to the Gulf Coast.

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