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Chemours and TC Energy to pursue two West Virginia hydrogen facilities

The companies executed an MoU for the potential development of two electrolysis-based hydrogen production facilities at or near Chemours’ Washington Works and Belle manufacturing sites in West Virginia.

The Chemours Company, a global chemistry company, and TC Energy, a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure, have executed a memorandum of understanding for the potential development of two electrolysis-based hydrogen production facilities at or near Chemours’ Washington Works and Belle manufacturing sites in West Virginia.

The MOU supports the companies’ participation in and goals of the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) in West Virginia, according to a news release.

The agreement covers the companies’ interest in developing, constructing, and operating clean hydrogen production facilities and associated infrastructure. The proposed development includes using established proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers manufactured in America and utilizing Chemours’ NafionTM ion exchange membranes.

Under the terms of the MOU, a non-binding off-take agreement for hydrogen produced by the project would be executed, supporting the facility demands of Chemours. Additionally, hydrogen produced in excess of the off-take agreement would be stored and available for loading and shipment to nearby merchant users.

“As West Virginia’s largest chemical manufacturer, we’re excited by the potential these clean hydrogen production facilities can offer to the State through ARCH2, as well as furthering the decarbonization of our operations,” said Jonathan Lock, senior vice president, chief development officer at Chemours. “Working with TC Energy, we’ve conducted hydrogen blend testing at our Washington Works and Belle sites, demonstrating the feasibility of feeding a hydrogen-natural gas blend fuel to existing fired boiler equipment. We look forward to moving these potential projects forward as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s call for regional clean hydrogen hub submissions alongside the State and seeing how they can assist us in reaching our bold greenhouse gas reduction goal.”

“At TC Energy, we take a customer-driven approach to developing and executing energy solutions,” said Corey Hessen, executive vice president and president, power & energy solutions at TC Energy. “This relationship with Chemours is an excellent example of putting that commitment into effect – serving their green hydrogen demand. With our long history of operating critical infrastructure in West Virginia, we are excited to develop new clean energy production opportunities and to forge a strong relationship with Chemours.”

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Japanese shippers form hydrogen supply consortium

Japan’s big three shippers have formed a consortium along with JSE Ocean to establish a global liquefied hydrogen supply chain.

Japan’s big three shippers have formed a partnership to establish a global liquefied hydrogen supply chain.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha have joined JSE Ocean, a subsidiary of Japan Suiso Energy, to establish the marine transport of LH2 at a commercial scale.

JSE remains the majority shareholder of JSE Ocean with 50.2% of stock, while the shipping companies hold 16.6% each, according to a news release.

JSE Ocean was established in January 2023 to research the marine transportation of LH2 by using a large-scale LH2 carrier. JSE and the three Japanese shipping companies with extensive knowledge and experience in the energy transport business will establish the marine transport of LH2 at a commercial scale through JSE Ocean.

The parties will collaborate to explore the safe and efficient operation of the world’s first large-scale LH2 carrier by 2024, as well as develop a viable marine transportation business scheme. Furthermore, the LH2 carrier will be powered by hydrogen, significantly reducing CO2 emissions during operation.

In August 2021, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) allocated a grant from the Japanese government’s Green Innovation Fund to JSE, Iwatani Corporation and ENEOS Corporation for the “Liquefied Hydrogen Supply Chain Commercialization Demonstration Project”.

In this project, JSE will establish the world’s first large-scale hydrogen liquefaction and transportation technology, involving an initial 30,000 tons of hydrogen per year before upscaling. JSE will also demonstrate a comprehensive and reliable global liquefied hydrogen (LH2) supply chain, covering hydrogen production, liquefaction, export from Australia, marine transportation, and import.

As part of its Basic Hydrogen Strategy, Japan has committed to source 3 million tons/year of hydrogen by 2030, 12 million tons/year by 2040, and 20 million tons/year by 2050.

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Exclusive: Green ammonia firm in capital raise for flagship Texas project

A green ammonia firm is working with a bulge-bracket bank and undergoing a capital raise for its flagship project in Texas.

Green ammonia firm First Ammonia is undergoing a capital raise for its first project at the Port of Victoria, in Texas.

The New York-based company is aiming to take a final investment decision on the construction of the facility by mid-2024, Co-founder and CEO Joel Moser said in an interview.

The project is expected to be just the first in a global pipeline of green ammonia facilities that will eventually add up to 5 million MTPA of green ammonia production within a ten-year time horizon, Moser added.

The Port of Victoria project entails an up to 300 MW facility under an offtake arrangement with Germany’s Uniper, with First Ammonia evaluating building a first phase of 100 MW or building all under one financing, Moser said. Each 100 MW module will initially produce up to 100,000 MTPA of green ammonia. 

The 100 MW train of the project is estimated to cost approximately $300m, while the full 300 MW will cost between $900 – $1bn, he said.

“We like to think of ourselves not as a developer but as an industrial company, and the investors that we are likely going to be engaging with are interested in not just project one but our entire business model,” he added.

The arrangement with Uniper is “more than a heads of agreement,” Moser said, declining to specify further other than to say that the announcement “reflects an advanced stage” of their work together.

The company is in talks with debt and equity investors that would project finance the facility following a 70/30 debt-to-equity split, he said.

“We are evaluating financing and construction alternatives as to doing all 300 MW under one financing and a single build-out or two separate processes and will make that call in early 2024,” he said.

The firm is working with a bulge-bracket bank as an advisor for the capital raise, Moser said. He declined to name the advisor.

A regulated investment fund has committed seed capital to First Ammonia, which includes funding development capital to the FID stage, Moser said.

Beyond Texas

First Ammonia has contracted with Haldor Topsoe for 5 GW of solid oxide electrolysis for its project portfolio, which amounts to 5 million MTPA.

In the US, the company has a second project under development in New Mexico, for which Moser believes there will be ample offtake markets.

The inland New Mexico project is close to rail transport which can be used to take product to California or to a Gulf Coast port.

“The largest demand for green ammonia right now is to replace grey ammonia for its current uses, and that is in the chemical, refrigeration, and fertilizer industries,” he said, noting RED III regulations in the EU are driving demand for green ammonia. 

He added that the shipping industry will be another major demand center, in addition to replacing coal in Japanese power plants.

“You can move ammonia into Europe by barge” to many power plants that are serviced by bodies of water, he said, noting that these plants are likely to be converted to ammonia-burning facilities. Meanwhile, plants that are not accessible by water will more likely be serviced by hydrogen pipelines, he said.

Moser believes the Port of Victoria facility and other future projects will comply with the EU’s RFNBO standards as well as strict guidelines for 45V in the US.

For its technology, First Ammonia chose solid oxide electrolysis for several reasons.

“SOEC electrolysers are the future,” he said. “They use less renewable power.”

He added that, since SOECs run at high temperatures, the wasted heat from ammonia production can be captured and fed into the electrolysis process.

“If you’re making water into ammonia as opposed to stopping at the hydrogen point, you’re much better off with an SOEC than any other product.”

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Verde Clean Fuels to develop lower carbon gas refinery in West Texas

The project would consume natural gas in the pipeline-constrained Permian Basin as feedstock, potentially mitigating the flaring of up to 34 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Verde Clean Fuels, Inc. and Cottonmouth Ventures LLC, a subsidiary of Diamondback Energy, have executed a Joint Development Agreement for the proposed development, construction, and operation of a facility to produce commodity-grade gasoline utilizing associated natural gas feedstock supplied from Diamondback’s operations in the Permian Basin.

The JDA provides a pathway forward for the parties to reach final definitive documents and Final Investment Decision for the proposed project, according to a news release. The JDA frames the contracts contemplated to be entered into between the parties, including an operating agreement, ground lease agreement, construction agreement, license agreement and financing agreements as well as conditions precedent to close, such as FID.

The expectation for the project is to produce approximately 3,000 barrels per day of fully-refined gasoline utilizing Verde’s patented STG+® process. By consuming natural gas in the pipeline-constrained Permian Basin as feedstock, the proposed project could demonstrate the ability to mitigate the flaring of up to 34 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, while also producing a high-value, salable product.

“The Verde Clean Fuels team is incredibly excited to finalize this JDA with Diamondback Energy with the goal to produce gasoline from natural gas in the Permian Basin,” said Ernie Miller, CEO of Verde. “This arrangement brings compounding economic and environmental benefits to West Texas. We believe that the ability to de-bottleneck midstream constraints along with the potential to reduce flaring of natural gas, while creating less carbon intensive gasoline, is of paramount interest to natural gas producers.”

“This agreement, with the first planned project in Martin County, fits perfectly with Diamondback’s strategy to decarbonize the oil field while ensuring a return for our investors,” said Kaes Van’t Hof, President of Diamondback. “Additionally, the scalability of the project is incredibly exciting, with similar natural gas-to-gasoline facilities possible across Diamondback’s locations in West Texas. We are proud to partner with Verde to bring this technology to the market.”

The proposed facility, which is to be located in Martin County, Texas in the heart of the Permian Basin, could serve as a template for additional natural gas-to-gasoline projects throughout the Permian Basin and other pipeline-constrained basins in the U.S., as well as address flared or stranded natural gas opportunities internationally.

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Denver green ammonia firm prepping series C capital raise

A green ammonia developer and technology provider is laying the groundwork for a series C capital raise later this year, and still deliberating on a site for its first project.

Starfire Energy, a Denver-based green ammonia producer, is wrapping up a series B capital raise and laying the groundwork for a series C later this year, CEO Joe Beach said in an interview.

The company completed a $6.5m series A in 2021 and finished a $24m series B last year. Investors include Samsung Ventures, AP Ventures, Çalık Enerji, Chevron Technology Ventures, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Osaka Gas USA, Pavilion Capital and the Rockies Venture Club.

Beach declined to state a target figure for the upcoming raise. The firm has not used a financial advisor to date.

Starfire is currently deliberating on locations for its first production facility to come online in 2026, Beach said. Colorado is a primary contender due to ammonia demand, while the Great Plains offer abundant wind energy.

The firm’s strategy is to use renewable energy and surplus nuclear power from utilities to create ammonia from hydrogen with no storage component, eliminating the problems associated with hydrogen storage and transportation.

Targeted offtake industries include agriculture, maritime shipping and peaking power fuel consumption.

“The demand is global,” Beach said, stating that he expects about 150 leads to convert to MOUs. “We get inbound interest every week.”

For future capital raising, Beach said the company could take on purely financial investors, as it already has a long list of strategic investors.

“The expectation is we will wind up with manufacturing plants around the world,” Beach said.

The “new petroleum”

Many hydrogen production projects have been announced worldwide in the last year.

Beach said he expects many of those to transition into ammonia production projects, as ammonia is much easier to export.

Now, Starfire is working on developing its ammonia cracking technology, which converts ammonia into an ammonia/hydrogen blend at the point of use for chemical processes. The final product form in that process is 70% ammonia, 22.5% hydrogen and 7.5% nitrogen – all free of emissions.

The company is using proceeds of its series B capital raise to develop its Rapid Ramp and Prometheus Fire systems. Rapid Ramp uses a modular system design for the production of green ammonia using air, water, and renewable energy as the sole inputs. Prometheus Fire is an advanced cracking system that converts ammonia into hydrogen, operating at lower temperatures than other crackers and creating cost-effective ammonia-hydrogen blends that can replace natural gas.

The advantage to using this technology is that it makes the export of a hydrogen product financially feasible, Beach said.

“You should see ammonia becoming the new petroleum,” he said of the global industry. Ammonia can be deployed internationally like oil and provide the dependability of coal.

Eventually Starfire will undergo a financial exit, Beach said. Likely that will mean an acquisition, but an IPO is also on the table.

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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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Exclusive: Additional details revealed on e-fuels equity raise

A US e-fuels developer is in the midst of a Series C raise with BofA Securities advising.

E-fuels developer Infinium is raising $300m in a Series C capital raise that launched last year, according to a source familiar with the matter.

BofA Securities has been engaged to advise on the process, as previously reported by ReSource. The amount of the capital raise was not previously reported.

Infinium and BofA did not respond to requests for comment. 

Infinium recently announced the existence of Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, which will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into an e-fuels facility delivering products to both US and international markets. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst has contributed $75m in project equity.

Infinium, which launched in 2020, closed a $69m Series B in 2021, with Amazon, NextEra and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participating. Its Project Pathfinder in Corpus Christi is fully capitalized.

About a dozen projects, split roughly 50/50 between North America and the rest of the world, are in development now. The company is always scouting new projects and is looking for partners to provide CO2, develop power generation and offtake end products, an executive said previously.

A CO2 feedstock agreement for a US Midwest project with BlackRock-backed Navigator CO2 Ventures was recently scrapped after the latter developer cancelled its CO2 pipeline project.

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