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Chevron to study ammonia carriers with Greek shipper

The initial study will evaluate the ammonia transportation market, existing infrastructure, safety aspects, potential next generation vessel requirements and a preliminary system to transport ammonia between the U.S. Gulf Coast and Europe.

Chevron Corporation, through its subsidiary Chevron Shipping Company LLC, and the Angelicoussis Group, through its Energy Transition division, Green Ships, announced a Joint Study Agreement (JSA) to explore how tankers can be used to transport ammonia, a potential lower carbon marine fuel, according to a news release.

The initial study will evaluate the ammonia transportation market, existing infrastructure, the safety aspects of ammonia, potential next generation vessel requirements and a preliminary system to transport ammonia between the U.S. Gulf Coast and Europe. Future opportunities will focus on additional global markets.

Ammonia is a carrier of hydrogen and is believed to have potential to lower the carbon intensity of the marine industry. Through the JSA, the Angelicoussis Group and Chevron aim to advance ammonia’s technical and commercial feasibility at scale, particularly as an export for petrochemicals, power, and mobility markets.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the Angelicoussis Group on this study, help advance lower carbon energy at scale and progress marine transportation of ammonia,” said Mark Ross, president of Chevron Shipping Company. “I’m proud of the collaboration between Chevron Shipping, Chevron New Energies and the Angelicoussis Group and look forward to driving progress toward our energy transition goals.”

“Global value chain solutions are critical for growing the hydrogen market, and we believe shipping will play a crucial role. Chevron is leveraging its international functional marine expertise and collaborating with the Angelicoussis Group to pursue the delivery of lower carbon proof points to the market,” said Austin Knight, Vice President, Hydrogen, Chevron New Energies.

“Through collaborating with Chevron Shipping Company on this study, we aim to make a meaningful contribution to prepare our industries for the transition towards lower carbon operations,” said Maria Angelicoussis, CEO of the Angelicoussis Group. “Combining our many years of experience in seaborne transport of liquid and gaseous energy sources with Chevron’s vast experience in the energy business provides a solid basis for this endeavor.”

“Ammonia has potential as a hydrogen vector and is considered one of the alternative fuel options to decarbonize shipping. We believe this study will contribute towards identifying the technical, operational and commercial challenges of carrying ammonia at scale and using it as a fuel in a safe and sustainable way,” said Stelios Troulis, green Ships and energy transition director for the Angelicoussis Group.

Chevron and the Angelicoussis Group have a long-standing relationship dating back to 2000. Since then, the partnership has grown from conventional vessels to include multiple LNG carriers, as well as joint work on energy transition initiatives. The teaming of Chevron Shipping, Chevron New Energies and the Angelicoussis Group on this study supports and accelerates both organizations’ ambitions to become leading, global clean energy providers by focusing on all aspects of the hydrogen supply chain.

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Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan acquires RNG firm Sevana Bioenergy

Ontario Teachers has acquired a majority stake in the RNG developer and made a capital commitment of $250m.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board has entered into a strategic partnership with Sevana Bioenergy that will see it acquire a majority stake in the business and make a capital commitment of $250m to develop renewable natural gas (RNG) projects across North America, according to a press release.

Sevana is a pioneer in the RNG industry, developing and upgrading large-scale biogas projects to increase the production and use of RNG through the reduction of organic waste.  Sevana has successfully executed dairy and organics projects which include more than 20 state-of-the-art digester tanks across agricultural regions such as Oregon, Idaho and South Dakota since its founding by CEO John McKinney in 2017.

Sevana led these innovative projects to deploy more than $350m under construction and worked closely with farmers to form long-term beneficial partnerships as part of its strategy to own and operate reliable digester facilities. Sevana’s team of in-house experts has over 150 years of combined experience designing, operating, and maximizing performance of anaerobic digesters with projects worldwide.

“We are pleased to partner with John and the Sevana team to help accelerate their efforts to develop advanced digester facilities that produce RNG and electricity for transportation fuel, EV charging and other forms of energy,” said Zvi Orvitz, senior managing director, Sustainability & Energy Transition, Private Capital at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. “Sevana has a demonstrated track record of success in the implementation of cutting edge RNG facilities, and we are excited by the opportunity to further scale the company as it enters its next chapter of growth.”

RNG is an important tool in the decarbonization of transportation, heating and industrial energy consumption and Sevana is a market leader entering new markets with RNG related products. Sevana’s projects capture fugitive methane emissions from farm animal and other organic waste streams that contribute to climate change and use this waste to produce low-carbon renewable power and RNG to replace fossil fuel-based energy sources. The company boasts a deep pipeline of future development opportunities and is also actively considering acquisition opportunities across the U.S.

“We welcome Ontario Teachers’ and look forward to our partnership as we work toward our objective of providing decarbonization solutions from RNG and continuing to enter new markets with related products” said Steve Compton, president at Sevana Bioenergy. “This commitment accelerates development of our industry leading projects that contribute direct economic and sustainable benefits to local communities and reduce greenhouse gases.”

Sevana is the latest investment by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in the Sustainability and Energy Transition sector and will serve to advance the organization’s commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to Ontario Teachers’ on the transaction. Fredrickson and Byron served as legal counsel to Sevana.

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SLB acquires majority ownership in carbon capture firm

SLB will pay $380m to purchase 80% of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS (ACCH), which holds the business of ACC, and will contribute the SLB carbon capture business to the combined entity.

NYSE-listed SLB has agreed to combine its carbon capture business with Aker Carbon Capture (ACC) to support accelerated industrial decarbonization at scale.

The combination will leverage ACC’s commercial carbon capture product offering and SLB’s new technology developments and industrialization capability, according to a news release. It will create a vehicle for accelerating the introduction of disruptive early-stage technology into the global market on a commercial, proven platform. Following the transaction, SLB will own 80% of the combined business and ACC will own 20%.

SLB will pay NOK 4.12 billion ($380m) to purchase 80% of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS (ACCH), which holds the business of ACC, and will contribute the SLB carbon capture business to the combined entity. SLB may also make additional payments of up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years based on the performance of the business.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, 2024.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” said Olivier Le Peuch, chief executive officer, SLB. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project. We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors.”

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Japan’s Mitsui invests in major US hydrogen-ammonia project

A Mitsui subsidiary is now a JV shareholder in the $7.5bn Ascension Clean Energy hydrogen-ammonia project.

MOL Clean Energy, US (MCE), a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), and Clean Hydrogen Works, LLC (CHW) have announced MCE as a JV shareholder in Ascension Clean Energy (ACE), a proposed world-scale, clean hydrogen-ammonia production and export facility in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, according to a news release.

Other shareholders are CHW, Denbury Inc., and Hafnia.

Expected to produce 7.2 million metric tons of clean hydrogen-ammonia annually, ACE will help meet the rapidly emerging demand for affordable, secure, and low-carbon fuels and feedstock around the world. This clean energy will help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors including power generation, bunker fuel, heavy transportation, steel processing and industrial applications.

“Clean hydrogen-ammonia is critical to decarbonizing the global energy market,” said Tomoaki Ichida, CEO, MCE, “With this innovative project, MOL is investing not only for our future growth, but also helping promote the development and adoption of clean hydrogen-ammonia within our fleet and customer base,” Ichida added.

As one of the world’s largest shipping companies, MOL is well-positioned to help develop safe, sustainable, and efficient solutions to ship ACE’s clean hydrogen-ammonia to emerging clean energy markets across the globe.

With a projected investment of $7.5bn, ACE is expected to generate approximately 1,500 construction jobs over five years and 350 permanent, full-time jobs with an annual average wage of more than $116,000, once fully operational. ACE is expected to create an additional 626 jobs in Ascension Parish, along with nearly $2.2bn in new sales in firms across Louisiana. The project provides an opportunity for local residents to be at the forefront of the clean energy transition and project shareholders are committed to working with the community and education leaders to provide pathways to additional training in support of these new job opportunities for the local workforce.

“With the rapidly evolving macro-environment, the world’s net zero goals must be increasingly coupled with affordability and security of energy supply,” said Mitch Silver, CHW senior vice president and chief operating officer, “MOL’s practical yet visionary approach to decarbonization will add critical capabilities and insights to support ACE in delivering on its mission to provide customers with affordable and large-scale clean energy solutions.”

ACE is committed to achieving among the world’s lowest lifecycle carbon intensity by capturing up to 98% of CO2 emissions from its processes, as well as actively managing upstream CO2 and methane emissions. Helping reduce the world’s carbon footprint is a critical component in protecting our environment for future generations.

Project shareholders are committed to transparency and open, two-way communication with ACE stakeholders throughout this process and will work collaboratively to develop a project of which both the company and community can be proud.

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Exclusive: Biomethane firm planning funding round

A biomethane solutions provider with projects in Europe and the US is planning a fifth round of funding to launch early next year, with a need to raise additional project debt.

Electrochaea, the US- and Europe-based biomethane developer, will go to market in 1Q24 for a new round of equity funding, with a near term need for project debt as well, two executives told ReSource.

The company, which was spun out from an incubator at The University of Chicago with offices in Denmark, has projects in Denmark, Colorado, New York and Switzerland. It is backed by Baker Hughes and, from early fundraising efforts, Munich Venture Partners, senior director Aafko Scheringa said. The former investor participated in its most recent (fourth) $40m funding round.

Electrochaea uses a patented biocatalyst that converts green hydrogen and carbon dioxide into BioCat Methane, a pipeline-grade renewable gas.

The average size of a project is roughly $25m, Scheringa said.

Funds from the next round will provide three years of working capital, CEO Mitch Hein added.

Electrochaea has not worked with a financial advisor to date, Hein said, adding that he may have need for one for new processes but has not engaged with anyone.

Scheringa said he is working to achieve commercialization on a pipeline of projects, with a 10 MWe bio-methanation plant in Denmark being farthest along with a mandatory start date before 2026.

Electrochaea has a bio-methanation reactor system in partnership with SoCalGas at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Energy System Integration Facility in Golden, Colorado, though Hein said a project in New York is as advanced in its development.

Bio-methane can be burned in place of natural gas with no systems degradation issues, so gas offtakers are a natural fit for Electrochaea, Scheringa said. Cheap clean electricity paired with available CO2 is critical, so the company will look to places like Texas, Spain, Scandinavia, Quebec and the “corn states” of the US Midwest, for new projects.

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Mitsubishi laying groundwork for additional equity raise

Mitsubishi Power Americas and its JV partners are preparing to raise additional equity for the ACES Delta project in Utah, as well as for other hydrogen developments in the Americas.

Mitsubishi Power Americas is conferring with its financial partners to raise equity from existing investors in the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) Delta green hydrogen project in Utah, Senior Vice President, Investment and Business Development Ricky Sakai said in an interview.

Haddington Ventures formed Haddington ESP I and raised $650m in June 2022 from institutional investors to fund projects developed by ACES Delta, which is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Power Americas and Haddington portfolio company Magnum Development.

The investors — AIMCo, GIC, Manulife Financial Corporation, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board — have additional rights to increase their collective investment to $1.5bn, according to a press release announcing the deal.

The first phase of the project in Utah will be to produce 100 tons of hydrogen per day. Once that is complete, existing investors can scale up their investment, Sakai said.

ACES Delta rendering

Mitsubishi is involved in several regional hydrogen hubs applying for funding from the US Department of Energy.

Hydrogen capable

Depending on how that $7bn is ultimately allocated, Mitsubishi is interested in replicating the Utah project in other regions, a source familiar with the company said.

MPA and Magnum recently closed on a $504.4m loan guarantee from the DOE for ACES Delta, electrolyzers for which will be supplied by Norway-based HydrogenPro.

ACES Delta will support the Intermountain Power Agency’s IPP Renewed Project — upgrading to an 840 MW hydrogen-capable gas turbine combined cycle power plant using Mitsubishi’s M501JAC gas turbines. The plant will initially run on a blend of 30% green hydrogen and 70% natural gas starting in 2025 and incrementally expand to 100% green hydrogen by 2045.

Mitsubishi is also supplying the hydrogen-capable gas turbines to Entergy’s Orange County Advanced Power Station; to an Alberta coal plant owned by Capital Power; and to J-Power’s Jackson Generation Project in Illinois, which reached commercial operations last year.

Mitsubishi Power

Investing in startups

Mitsubishi is doubling down on a strategy of investing in startup producers and technology in renewable fuels, Sakai said.

Recent investments in the space include: C-Zero, a drop-in decarbonization tech startup in California; Cemvita Factory, a Houston-based synthetic biology firm focused on the decarbonization of heavy industries; Infinium, an electrofuels company innovator in California forming decarbonization solutions for industries in Japan; and Starfire Energy, a modular green ammonia solution provider in Denver.

Series A and Series B valuations for US companies are much higher now than they were a few years ago, Sakai said. Still, the US is the leading climate tech startup ecosystem in the world and provides rich opportunity for capital deployment, Sakai said. Biofuels, SAF and waste-to-energy are leading sectors for MHI investment moving forward.

“We have several hundred of these in the pipeline that we are looking at right now,” he said. “In the next few years, we will increase the number of these portfolio companies.”

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Exclusive: Glenfarne exploring hydrogen projects on existing asset base

Glenfarne Energy Transition is advancing its flagship liquefied natural gas project, Texas LNG, and evaluating hydrogen projects on or near its existing asset base on the Gulf Coast.

The Biden administration’s pause on permits for new US liquefied natural gas facilities hasn’t hurt all unbuilt projects.

Glenfarne Energy Transition, a subsidiary of Glenfarne Group, is moving ahead with its fully permitted lower-carbon flagship LNG export facility, Texas LNG, as the project is now set up to be the only such US project to reach FID this year.

Texas LNG, a 4 million MTPA facility proposed for Brownsville, Texas, will be the lowest carbon emitting LNG facility approved in the US, largely due to its use of electric motors in refrigerated compression. 

As designed, the plant would emit .15 metric tons of CO2e per ton of LNG produced, placing it slightly lower than the much larger Freeport LNG facility, which also has electric motors and emits around .17 metric tons of CO2 per ton of LNG.

The carbon intensity measurement counts emissions at the Texas LNG plant only, and not related emissions from the electric grid, which is why Glenfarne is seeking to source power for the project from wind and solar generation in south Texas, Adam Prestidge, senior vice president at Glenfarne, said in an interview.

In fact, the lower carbon aspects of Texas LNG helps with every element of the project, Prestidge said, including conversations with European offtakers and potential debt investors.

“Having a focus on sustainability is table stakes for every conversation,” he added. “It’s the finance side, it’s the offtake side, it’s our conversations with regulatory agencies.”

LNG pause

Glenfarne is seeking to raise up to $5bn of equity and debt for the project, according to news reports, a process that could benefit from the Biden administration’s pause on issuing permits for LNG projects that export to countries without free-trade agreements with the US.

“Our confidence and our timetable for that has probably been accelerated and cemented by the fact we are fully permitted, despite the Biden LNG pause impacting the broader market,” Prestidge said.

“The market has pretty quickly recognized that if you want to invest in LNG or buy LNG from a project that’s going to FID in 2024, you really don’t have very many fully permitted options right now.”

Glenfarne’s other US LNG project, called Magnolia LNG, has not yet received the required federal approvals and is therefore on pause along with a handful of other projects.

For Magnolia, Glenfarne is proposing to use a technology for which it owns the patent: optimized single mixed refrigerant, or OSMR, which uses ammonia instead of propane for cooling, resulting in less feed gas needed to run the facility and thus about 30% lower emissions than the average gas-powered LNG facility, Prestidge said.

Hydrogen projects

Glenfarne Energy Transition last year announced the formation of its hydrogen initiative, saying that projects in Chile, Texas, and Louisiana would eventually produce 1,500 kilotons of ammonia. 

“We’ve got existing infrastructure in the US Gulf Coast, and in Chile. A lot of the infrastructure required to produce LNG is similar or can be easily adapted to the infrastructure needed to produce ammonia,” Prestidge said. “And so, we’ve looked at locating hydrogen and ammonia production at sites in or near the ports of Brownsville and Lake Charles,” where Texas LNG and Magnolia LNG are located, respectively.

“The familiarity with the sites and the infrastructure and the local elements, make those pretty good fits for us,” he added.

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