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Clean Energy Fuels opens two RNG fueling stations in DFW area

The two stations expand publicly listed Clean Energy’s fueling network of over 600 stations.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has opened two new fueling stations that offer heavy-duty truck and other fleet vehicles renewable natural gas (RNG), one of the only fuels that receives a carbon-negative rating, according to a news release.

A station in North Fort Worth, near Alliance and DFW airports, and another in South Dallas close to I-45, I-35 and I-20, are strategically located near dozens of distribution centers and allow trucks to take advantage of a fuel that provides similar convenience as diesel, yet is rated as one of the cleanest in the world.

The two stations expand Clean Energy’s fueling network of over 600 stations, and open at a time when RNG is becoming a fuel that many fleets are embracing to meet their carbon emissions reduction goals. A new 15-liter natural gas engine for heavy-duty trucks, the Cummins’ X15N, is anticipated to be commercially available later in 2024 and is currently being tested by some of the largest and most demanding fleets in the country, including Walmart, Werner, Knight Swift, FedEx Freight and UPS. The early reaction to the X15N has been positive at a time when the heavy-duty truck market continues to struggle to find affordable and reliable alternatives to decarbonize their fleets.

In addition to heavy-duty truck fleets, there are seven hundred Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) buses, hundreds of sanitation trucks, airport shuttles and other vehicles that support DFW and Austin-Bergstrom airports, all of which operate on ultra-clean RNG.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth area is already one of the biggest transportation hubs in the country and it is only getting bigger. These two new stations will provide heavy-duty truck fleets with the ease of fueling with RNG, which is becoming more recognized as the cleanest, most affordable, and readily available alternative fuel for the transportation market,” said Chad Lindholm, senior vice president of sales at Clean Energy.

The North Fort Worth station is located at 895 Railhead Drive, Haslet, TX 76177, adjacent to Alliance airport. It sits on almost 8 acres and is equipped with multiple fast-fill fuel dispensers allowing heavy-duty vehicles to easily get in-and-out within 10-15 minutes with a full tank of RNG. It also offers 82 private overnight fueling posts for heavy-duty trucks, allowing for cost-effective fueling, as well as 54 parking bays for box trucks and 140 for drivers’ personal vehicles.

The address of the South Dallas station is 4480 Logistics Drive, Dallas, TX 75241 and occupies 5.7 acres near Lancaster, bordered by I-35 to the east, I-20 to the north and I-45 to the west. It is equipped with multiple fast-fill dispensers, 80 private overnight fuel posts for heavy-duty trucks, 120 parking places for drivers’ vehicles and 41 for box trucks.

Clean Energy is also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the production of RNG at dairy farms in the U.S., including a facility at Del Rio Dairy in Friona, TX, which began producing RNG in 2023, and another is expected to begin construction at South Fork Dairy in Dimmitt, TX, soon.

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Brookfield Renewable-backed LanzaTech gets UK grant for waste gas-to-SAF facility

Illinois-based LanzaTech has received a £25m UK grant for a plant that will convert waste gases into synthetic kerosene for use in sustainable aviation fuel.

LanzaTech has announced that its DRAGON facility project has received a £25m grant from the UK Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund Competition, according to a news release.

LanzaTech’s Project DRAGON, which stands for Decarbonizing and Reimagining Aviation for the Goal Of Netzero, will convert waste gases into synthetic kerosene for use in sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

With the funding, Project DRAGON will complete engineering and the project development in collaboration with Fluor Corporation and Technip Energies, required to reach a final investment decision (FID) for the entire waste gas to SAF project. The proposed plant, which will be sited in Port Talbot, South Wales, is expected to produce 102 million liters per year of ATJ Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK) to be blended with kerosene to make SAF, representing ~1% of annual UK jet fuel demand and making a significant contribution towards the UK Mandate for supplying 10% of total annual jet fuel demand in the U.K. with SAF by 2030.

LanzaTech recently reached a funding partnership with Brookfield Renewable, under which Brookfield committed to invest an initial $500m in constructing and operating new carbon capture and transformation projects that have achieved certain pre-agreed milestones. Brookfield will be LanzaTech’s preferred capital partner for LanzaTech CCT opportunities in Europe and North America and following initial investments totaling $500m, Brookfield could commit to making an additional $500m available for investments in the strategic partnership if sufficient projects are available at the agreed milestones. Brookfield will also invest $50 million in LanzaTech to support further corporate development.

The company went public earlier this year in a SPAC acquisition that valued LanzaTech at an implied $1.8bn pro forma enterprise value.

“We must accelerate deployment of SAF plants in the UK,” said Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, in this week’s news release. “We’re excited that Project DRAGON has been recognized for its potential to deliver results and create new jobs while producing the volumes of SAF greatly needed by a sector that has limited options today. I thank the UK Department for Transport for its continued support and for showing leadership in validating new technologies that can have a real impact in the UK and beyond.”

Jonathon Counsell, International Airline Group’s head of sustainability, said: “Investing in Sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) is one of the best opportunities our industry has to decarbonise. We’re delighted that Project Dragon has received crucial financial support in the UK from the Department for Transport Advanced Fuels Fund.”

“IAG has committed $865m in SAF purchases and investments to date, including supporting the first of its kind LanzaJet ethanol-to-jet plant being built in the US. With the right policy support to incentivise further investment, the UK could see many SAF plants built over the next decade, creating 6,500 jobs and saving over three million tonnes of CO2 per year as well as improving the UK’s energy security.”

The feedstock for the planned facility would be waste gases, including potentially from Tata Steel’s adjacent steelworks in Port Talbot. These would be transformed via LanzaTech’s gas fermentation platform to make ethanol as a feedstock for the ATJ facility. LanzaTech have selected Fluor Corporation, a leading global engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firm, to provide Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) services for this part of the project. “With more than 110 years in the industry, Fluor brings world class front-end engineering and EPC firm experience to assist LanzaTech in deploying its technology,” said Jason Kraynek, president, Production & Fuels, Fluor Corporation.

In a second step the ethanol would be turned into SAF using the LanzaJet™ Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) process, which incorporates Technip Energies ‘ethanol to ethylene’ Hummingbird™ technology. This would be the world’s first commercial scale integration of Gas Fermentation (GF) and ATJ to produce SAF with GHG reductions expected to be greater than 70% relative to conventional jet fuel.

A spokesperson for Tata Steel in the UK said: “Achieving our ambition of making CO2 neutral steel involves looking at all ways to reduce our emissions, or in this case, potentially transforming some of our waste gases into useful products such as jet fuel.”

Bhaskar Patel, Technip Energies – SVP Sustainable Fuels, Chemicals and Circularity stated “We are excited to be partnering with LanzaTech™ through our teams in the UK on this journey to help decarbonize the UK aviation industry. The implementation of T.EN’s Hummingbird™ technology integrated within the LanzaJet™ ATJ process provides a ‘best in class’ technology pathway for conversion of ethanol to SAF”.

Jimmy Samartzis, CEO, LanzaJet said: “Project DRAGON will contribute roughly 10% of the entire UK Mandate for SAF by 2030. That’s significant, and government leadership like this is paving the way for emerging industries like SAF to achieve these ambitious and necessary goals. LanzaJet’s alcohol-to-jet technology paired with LanzaTech’s gas fermentation process is changing how we think about the circular economy across the world and driving decarbonization for aviation. We’re thrilled to be partnering with LanzaTech on this work and we’re grateful for this support from the UK Department for Transport.”

The Department for Transport’s Advanced Fuels Fund (AFF) Competition was established to support the UK advanced fuels sector in development and commercial deployment of innovative fuel production technologies that are capable of significantly reducing near-term UK aviation emissions, strengthening the UK project pipeline, and broadening technology options.

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Spain-based Exolum acquires stake in Houston ammonia terminal

ReSource first reported earlier this year that valuation multiples for the terminal stake held by Moda Midstream were being discussed above 20x EBITDA.

Exolum, a provider of liquid product storage and logistics, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a 50% interest in Vopak Moda Houston LLC, an ammonia storage, import and export terminal located on the Houston Ship Channel, from Moda Midstream LLC, according to a news release.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Greenhill & Co., LLC acted as exclusive financial adviser to Exolum, and Haynes and Boone, LLP acted as legal counsel. Intrepid Partners, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Moda, and Vinson & Elkins acted as legal counsel. Shearman & Sterling acted as legal counsel to EnCap Flatrock.

ReSource first reported on the sale earlier this year, with valuations coming in at 20x – 25x contracted EBITDA of $13m.

Vopak Moda Houston (VMH) is a joint venture that is 50% owned by Moda Midstream, an EnCap Flatrock Midstream portfolio company, while the remaining 50% interest is owned by Vopak Terminals North America.

Royal Vopak remains as 50% shareholder in the new joint venture.

The acquisition will enable Exolum to establish a key presence in the U.S. Gulf Coast with existing ammonia logistics infrastructure. The terminal and its partners are currently developing one of the most advanced low-carbon ammonia production and export projects worldwide, with targeted annual throughput capacity of 1.1 million tonnes and 70,000 tonnes of additional storage capacity permitted.

The acquisition of Moda’s interest in VMH will be another step forward in Exolum’s diversification strategy and will position Exolum as a leading manager of infrastructure and decarbonizing fuel in the decades to come. The investment in VMH will serve as a platform for Exolum’s development in the U.S. and the acquisition of key competences in the development of the logistics infrastructures required by the energy transition in order to boost low-carbon fuels.

Exolum’s CEO, Jorge Lanza, highlighted that “Exolum strives to become a key player in the development of supply chains for new sustainable energy products, such as ammonia and green methanol. This operation, our first in the U.S., will enable us to continue strengthening our position in strategic ports and to promote the energy transition and the decarbonization of mobility at an international level”.

Moda Midstream President & CEO Jonathan Ackerman said, “I am proud of the collaboration and hard work among the Moda, Vopak and Vopak Moda Houston teams as we transformed a greenfield site into a brand-new liquids terminal in the Port of Houston. I am excited to see how Vopak Moda Houston will build upon its solid foundation to expand and pursue growth opportunities with global storage leader Exolum as its new partner”.

Maria Ciliberti, Vopak president US and Canada: “I am very pleased with Exolum entering as co- shareholder. By pooling our knowledge, network and experience we can further develop this strategically located terminal and marine infrastructure. The worldwide movement to decarbonize industry and transportation will drive strong global demand for low-carbon ammonia. Our joint venture entity situated on the Houston Ship Channel is very well positioned and can serve a critical role in the energy transition, not only for the USA but also for export markets”.

VMH is the only existing waterborne ammonia terminal on the Houston Ship Channel with a Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC)-capable deepwater berth and is strategically connected via pipeline to the Port of Houston’s petrochemical complex, the largest petrochemical hub in the U.S. and the world’s second largest. The facility currently provides ammonia and natural gas liquid (NGL) storage services.

The facility’s location, large-scale export capabilities, extensive experience in management and ample undeveloped acreage offer new growth opportunities for further development. In October 2023, VMH announced its plans to build a new large-scale, low-carbon ammonia export facility in collaboration with INPEX Corporation, based in Tokyo, Air Liquide Group, based in Paris, and LSB Industries, Inc., based in Oklahoma City.

Ammonia is widely expected to become a driver for decarbonization due to its ability to reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors, including power generation, heavy industry, marine fuel, and other mobility methods. With the ability to safely and reliably store and transport ammonia and other pressurised gasses, VMH will be a great contributor to the energy transition supply chain.

With its state-of-the-art ammonia terminal infrastructure and workforce that is ideally located on the Houston Ship Channel, VMH is positioned to become the leading hydrogen and low-carbon ammonia hub on the U.S. Gulf Coast and to facilitate the acceleration of energy decarbonization globally, according to the release.

The transaction, which is subject to customary regulatory reviews and approvals is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

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French e-fuels developer takes investment from private equity pair

A French developer of low-carbon molecules has taken a convertible bond investment for its most advanced e-methanol and SAF projects in France and Spain.

Hy24 and Mirova are co-investing in Elyse Energy’s most advanced e-methanol projects in France and Spain, with industrial commissioning scheduled for 2027 and 2028.

Nomura Greentech acted as exclusive financial advisor to Elyse Energy. Legal advisors included CLP – Cliperton Avocats for Elyse Energy and Gide for Hy24 and Mirova, the companies said in a news release.

Hy24 is the hydrogen-focused wing of French private equity firm Ardian and Mirova is an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers. The firms have undertaken the equity investment through their respective funds – the Hy24 Clean Infrastructure Fund and the Mirova Energy Transition 5 fund.

The transaction was carried out through convertible bonds, and Mirova and Hy24 are not shareholders of Elyse Energy, a spokesperson said in response to follow-up questions.

Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The money will allow Elyse Energy to recruit new employees and to continue development through feasibility studies, the industrialisation phase, and beyond. 

Elyse’s eM-Rhône project, awarded by the European Innovation Fund, is targeting production of 150,000 mtpy of green e-methanol annually for the maritime sector and industry. The BioTJet project in Pyrénées Atlantiques, France is in advanced stages with annual production set at 75,000 mtpy of e-biokerosene and 3,000 mtpy of naphtha..  

The company will deploy some 2.5 GW of installed capacity (1m mtpy) of e-methanol and 200,000 mtpy of SAF. The fuels will go to offtakers in aviation, maritime transport, and industrial processes in sectors such as chemicals.

Hy24 recently closed on a €1.5bn equity private placement in North America’s H2 Green Steel, together with existing investors Altor, GIC and Just Climate.
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DG Fuels charting path to be SAF powerhouse

The company has retained advisors and is mapping out a plan to build as many as 50 production facilities in North America for a “gigantic” sustainable aviation fuel market.

DG Fuels is charting a plan to build a proprietary network of 30 to 50 sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facilities in North America, CEO Michael Darcy said in an interview.

The Washington, D.C.-based company will pursue a combination of debt and equity on a case-by-case basis to fund the projects, Darcy explained, with financings underway now for the firm’s initial project in Louisiana and a second facility in Maine. The Louisiana facility recently inked a USD 4bn offtake agreement with an undisclosed investment grade industrial buyer.

The company is working with Guggenheim and Stephens as financial advisors, Darcy said. About 60 people hold equity in the company; Darcy and the founding team hold a majority stake.

In the coming months DG Fuels will likely make announcements about more SAF plants in the US and British Columbia, Darcy said. Site negotiations are underway and each project is its own subsidiary of the parent company.

“There’s clearly a good return of what we refer to as the ‘project level,’ and then we have the parent company,” Darcy said. “We have strategic investment at the parent and now we’re looking at strategic investment at the project level.”

Huge demand, low supply

DG Fuels produces SAF from cellulosic biomass feedstock, a technology that does not need sequestration of CO2 because natural gas is not used.

“We like to say it’s the corn cob, not the corn,” Darcy said. The company can also use timber waste, waxes, and renewable power as an important source of energy.

The company gets about 4.5 barrels of SAF for every ton of biomass feedstock, which is roughly three to four times the industry average, Darcy said.

“Practical scale” for a facility is 12,000 to 15,000 barrels a day, Darcy said. That’s big enough to be commercialized without stressing the electrical grid with power demand.

Despite the company’s advantages, there is “plenty of room” for other producers to come into the SAF space, Darcy said.

“Right now, the market for SAF is gigantic and the supply is minimal,” Darcy said. “Companies like us are able to pick and choose high-quality offtakers.”

DG Fuels includes Delta Airlines, Air France and General Electric as committed offtakers.

Multi-tasking

DG Fuels is “always engaged in some level of capital raise for construction of facilities and detailed engineering,” Darcy said. “There’s always more engineering to be done.”

Some of the financing has already been completed, but Darcy declined to go into additional detail. After Louisiana, the company will quickly follow up with Maine.

HydrogenPro AS recently announced that it would join Black & Veatch and Energy Vault in financing the remaining capital requirements of DG Fuels’ project in Louisiana, which is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Most of the engineering work in Louisiana is transferable to the company’s project in Maine. Darcy likened the facilities’ build-out to a class of ships: once the first is completed, the second and third can be built almost concurrently.

“There will be a point where we won’t be building one at a time,” Darcy said.

The opportunity for funders to participate is broad in the SAF space, Darcy said. There is a crossover of good economics and ESG, so strategics, industrials, private equity and other pure financial players can all be involved.

The broad base of capital eager to participate in companies that are innovative — but not too innovative as to scare investors — is indicative of the industry’s ability to secure offtakers and feedstock.

Storing power

It’s one thing to acknowledge the need for reduction of carbon, but hard work is required ahead, Darcy said.

“The low-hanging fruit has been done,” he said of the renewables industry. “Now it’s not really about the power, it’s about the storage of power.”

DG Fuels is an offtaker of non-peak renewable power to displace fossil fuel energy. But baseload renewable power is becoming available almost anywhere.

The Maine project will use stranded hydroelectric power, Louisiana will use solar, and projects in the Midwest will use wind, Darcy said. Additionally, geothermal power is “starting to become a very real opportunity,” he added.

Deploying broadly with renewable power gets past the issues of variability of renewable power at a reasonable cost, he said.

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Exclusive: Hydrogen blank-check deal and capital raise on track

A de-SPAC deal and associated capital raise for a hydrogen technology and project development firm are still on track to close this year, despite this year’s busted SPAC deals and sagging hydrogen public market performance.

H2B2 Technologies is still on track to close a de-SPAC deal and related capital raise before the end of this year, CEO Pedro Pajares said in an interview.

Spain-based H2B2 announced the deal to be acquired by RMG Acquisition Corp. III and go public in a $750m SPAC deal in May. In tandem, Natixis Partners and BCW Securities are acting as co-private placement agents to H2B2 for a capital raise that the company must close as part of the acquisition.

The company said recently in filings that the deal as well as the capital raise would close before the end of 2023, a fact that Pajares reiterated in the interview. He declined to comment further.

Many publicly traded hydrogen companies have dropped significantly in value in recent months, and dropped further on Friday following news from Plug Power that it would need to raise additional capital in the next 12 months to avoid a liquidity crisis.

Meanwhile, there have been 55 busted SPAC deals this year, according to Bloomberg, with Ares Management’s deal for nuclear tech firm X-Energy the latest to not close.

Expansion

H2BE recently inaugurated SoHyCal, its first facility in Fresno, California, and wants to get the message out to offtakers in California’s Central Valley that it has hydrogen available to sell.

“What we want to show is that H2B2 is the solution for those who are seeking green hydrogen in the Central Valley,” Pajares said.

Phase 1 (one ton per day) of the plant was funded by a grant from the California Clean Energy Commission. Phase 2 (three tons per day) will involve transitioning to solar PV power, and the company could consider a project finance model to finance the expansion, though Pajares believes the market is not yet ready to finance hydrogen projects.

In addition to project development, the company is also an electrolyzer manufacturer. It is focusing its efforts in the California market on future projects that are larger than SoHyCal, as well as those related to individual offtakers, Pajares said. End users will be in mobility and fertilizer, with offtake occurring via long-term contracts as well as through spot market transactions.

The company is pursuing developments in other regions of the US as well, he added, declining to name specific areas.

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Exclusive: Pan-Atlantic developer planning e-methanol project in West Texas

A clean fuels developer with projects on both sides of the Atlantic is pursuing an e-methanol project in West Texas with an estimated cost of between $800m – $900m.

Green fuels developer ETFuels is planning an e-methanol project in West Texas.

Following the blueprint of projects in development in Finland and Spain, ETFuels has leased land and the Lone Star State is in the early stages of determining the feasibility of the project, which would require between 300 MW – 500 MW of renewables, Director Patrick Woodson said.

Depending on the ultimate size of the project, it would cost between $800m – $900m and produce 80,000 to 120,000 tons per year of e-methanol on site, he said, which would then be trucked to end markets.

“We like the modularity of projects of that size,” he said, noting “more optionality to bring projects to market.”

Woodson, the former CEO and Chairman of E.ON Climate & Renewables, a renewables developer, said ETFuels would develop the renewables portion of the project internally.

The company is still exploring likely target markets for the e-fuels, but Woodson noted that they perceive robust demand for green methanol from the shipping industry.

“We understand the decarbonization challenges faced by the shipping industry are significant, with question marks over pricing and supply availability at scale, and we are addressing these head-on,” ETFuels CEO Lara Naqushbandi said in a news release last year.

ETFuels attracted financial backing last year from France-based SWEN Capital Partners, with Green Giraffe providing financial advisory services.

For its Spain project, the company is developing a 100,000 ton green methanol plant, including 420 MW of solar PV and 120 MW of onshore wind capacity powering 220 MW of electrolyzers.

It expects to take a final investment decision on the Spain project by 2025, with production anticipated for 2028, according to the company website.

ETFuels as a third project in development in Finland, powered by “relentless” Arctic winds.

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