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Clean fuels developer signs renewable power deal with Calpine

Texas Green Fuels is proposing to build an industrial-scale complex in Galveston, Texas, producing ammonia, hydrogen, and methanol.

Texas Green Fuels LLC (TGF), a developer of sustainable fuels, and Calpine Energy Solutions, LLC (Calpine Solutions), a major energy supplier in North America, have signed an electricity supply agreement with advisory services related to physical renewable energy, according to a news release.

This agreement is the first step in enabling TGF’s procurement and certification of newly developed renewable wind and solar electricity to power TGF’s planned Clean Fuels Export Complex (TGF Export Complex) in Galveston Bay, Texas.

The proposed TGF Export Complex will produce industrial-scale, cost-effective, and sustainable fuels such as clean ammonia, hydrogen, and methanol, and is expected to become one of the world’s lowest-cost producers of clean fuels, the release states. This is supported by Texas’ abundance of low-cost renewable energy, competitive workforce, developed infrastructure, and federal incentives.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Calpine Energy Solutions as our electricity supplier and to leverage Calpine’s expertise with respect to future renewable electricity procurement for Texas Green Fuel’s Galveston Bay Export Complex,” said David Glessner, founder & co-CEO of TGF. “We believe this agreement will enable us to achieve our mission of producing clean fuels that mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and accelerate the transition to net-zero emissions.”

Calpine Solutions will assist TGF in developing a roadmap for implementing TGF’s renewable electricity procurement objectives. TGF plans to procure newly developed renewable electricity and implement a robust measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) program to certify TGF’s green energy credentials. Sean Fallmer, President of Calpine Solutions, said, “We are proud to collaborate with Texas Green Fuels on their initiative. We believe our expertise in advising on renewable energy strategy, procurement, and reporting will assist TGF in realizing its vision of producing sustainable fuels using renewable electricity.”

“As a company committed to supporting global net-zero objectives, Texas Green Fuels is leveraging Texas’ renewable energy leadership to produce cost-effective and sustainable fuels. Our Galveston Bay export complex will help reduce carbon emissions across multiple industries and contribute to a more sustainable future,” said Langtry Meyer, founder & co-CEO of TGF.

The TGF Export Complex aims to reduce carbon emissions in industries such as marine shipping, power generation, and fertilizer. The final investment decision is expected in 2025, with commercial operations commencing in 2028.

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Aemetis raising project finance for SAF facility

California renewable fuels company Aemetis is in an advanced process to raise approximately $500m in project financing for its Riverbank sustainable aviation fuel facility.

Cupertino, California-based Aemetis is far along in a process to raise roughly $500m for its Riverbank sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facility – the largest of several capital raises the company is pursuing, CEO Eric McAfee said today.

The financing for the Riverbank facility, which just received final permitting authorizations, is expected to include preferred equity as well as senior secured debt financing, he added.

“We are well into a process of project financing,” McAfee said, a process delayed by the permit hindrances, in what will amount to a package in the “half a billion range.”

Shares for publicly-listed Aemetis traded today at $3.26 and a $129m market cap.

For the Riverbank project, Aemetis has already signed a deal for 20-year senior debt financing under the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program, he said.

“But we have multiple opportunities in senior secured debt and we’ve got a very active customer base among airlines, many of whom have already funded into funds that are dedicated to the growth of SAF production,” he said.

He noted that airlines as well as manufacturers of widebody jets have all joined together to provide  mezzanine or equity financing to support SAF. “And we have active discussions with the largest of those investors,” he said.

The company has signed $3.8bn of final binding supply agreements with 10 airlines and a $3.2bn renewable diesel supply contract with the National Travel Stop Company, executives said on the call. In its five-year plan, Aemetis estimates the Riverbank facility will generate revenue of $672m with adjusted EBITDA of $195m in 2027 from the 90 million gallon plant.

Aemetis also expects to close on $75m of financing for biogas projects, and is also also raising a “little bit” of carbon sequestration financing, McAfee said.

The company generated LCFS credits from its biogas operations for the first time in Q124, 

“In addition to the sale of renewable natural gas as a fuel and the sale of federal D3 RINs, this new LCFS credit revenue stream will only increase as we build new digesters and as the California Resources Board approves the lower carbon intensity values that we have already demonstrated in actual operations ,” Andy Foster, president of North America said.

Though there have been delays in updating the California LCFS regulations for 2024, Foster noted that the California Air Resources Board’s model estimates the regulatory changes will raise the price of LCFS credits to more than $220 per credit in the next two years. The price of the credit has recovered from recent lows and is trading around $67 currently.

“There clearly was a realization that the LCFS credit overhang in the market was causing a serious deterioration in the ability for companies like us to make return on investment and further invest in programs, but also to encourage new investment in the entire renewable sector,” Foster said of the rule changes.

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Florida liquefaction and storage firm raising $125m

A Florida-based hydrogen liquefaction and storage provider is in the middle of a Series A capital raise and has identified a financial advisor for a larger Series B.

GenH2, a manufacturer and installer of hydrogen liquefaction and liquid hydrogen storage systems, is undergoing a $25m Series A raise and has plans to conduct a Series B within 12 months, CEO Greg Gosnell said in an interview.

Young America Capital is advising GenH2 on the Series A, Gosnell said. Two term sheets from lead investors are expected this week for the Series A, he added.

B Riley will likely be conducting the Series B, which will seek to raise about $100m. The company has raised approximately $24m from four seed investors in the last two-and-a-half years.

Gosnell projects the company will generate $10.8m in revenues this year, with a “hockey stick” of revenue growth coming in the next two years. The company’s first one-ton-per-day liquefaction and controlled storage solution will roll out at the end of 2Q24. It will have a 5,600 sq ft. footprint.

The company has a partnership with Chart Industries to collaborate on global sales and marketing opportunities, equipment manufacturing and supply, and the deployment of GenH2’s one-ton-per-day liquefier.

Use of funds from the capital raises will predominantly go toward purchasing components and buildout and expansion of manufacturing facilities, Gosnell said. The company has a 35,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility adjacent to its headquarters in Titusville, Florida, and is considering another location in Texas or Louisiana.

Currently the company, with 46 employees, has closed three contracts on one-ton-per-day liquefaction and storage systems, each between $10m and $12m, Gosnell said. Two additional sales have been made in Australia and Canada for 20-kilogram liquefaction solutions, each $2.2m with credit-worthy customers.

Facilities capacity in Titusville will probably be filled next year. There is space in Titusville to expand more than 100% and the company will option leases for manufacturing.

Going forward the company is interested in strategic partners, Gosnell said. A lot of VC-type investors want to deploy capital in the space but the difficulty is finding an investor confident enough to do the technology due diligence and take the lead.

Easier with liquid

GenH2 installs closed-loop helium-cooled systems of between one and five tons at ports, manufacturing and trucking facilities. The process is done with no liquid nitrogen (LN2), which eliminates the need for truckloads of LN2 or an adjacent LN2 plant.

“Everywhere you see a liquid hydrogen plant today, there’s an LN2 plant next door that’s about five times bigger,” Gosnell said.

GenH2’s liquid hydrogen storage capabilities were demonstrated with NASA, transferring the liquid from multiple tanks with zero loss, he said.

Liquid hydrogen is more energy-dense than compressed gas, bringing down the cost of transportation. In many cases, liquid hydrogen can be dispensed into compressed gas.

“It seems counterintuitive, but if you’re sitting there storing compressed gas at say 100 psi and you need to get to 900 [psi], that’s a lot of work,” Gosnell said. “That’s heavy-duty compression and probably a two-ton chiller.”

Conversely liquid hydrogen wants to become gas, requiring only that you let it vaporize into a smaller tank and it compresses, he said.

“You don’t need any of that work,” he said. “Believe it or not it’s easier to get to a seven or nine-hundred PSI gas with liquid hydrogen than it is from gaseous hydrogen.”

GenH2 is competing against liquid hydrogen delivered in a truck, Gosnell said. He doesn’t know of anyone else doing standalone refrigerated storage with zero transfer loss.

Efficiency is a core focus in design, Gosnell said. Levelized cost with capex and opex all in is between $3 and $3.50 per kilogram for liquifying and storing. With electrolysis or other H2 sourcing on the front end, the company is at $7 or $8 a kilogram, which will improve as renewables are applied.

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Mining giant Anglo American invests $200m in merger with Seattle-based First Mode

The newly combined business, valued at $1.5bn, will pursue zero-emission haulage solutions for mining and other heavy industries. First Mode is working on providing critical mine site infrastructure for hydrogen production, battery recharging, and hydrogen refueling.

First Mode, a global carbon reduction company focused on heavy industry, and global mining company Anglo American have signed a binding agreement to combine First Mode and Anglo American’s nuGen™ zero emission haulage solution to accelerate the transition of mining and other heavy industries to diesel-free futures, according to a news release.

The transaction, which is expected to close in January 2023, values the newly combined business in the order of $1.5bn and includes a $200m equity injection from Anglo American.

Upon closing of the transaction, First Mode will enter into a global supply agreement to supply several nuGen™ systems to Anglo American which includes the retrofit of approximately 400 ultra-class haul trucks with First Mode’s proprietary hybrid fuel cell battery powerplant and related infrastructure. The supply agreement includes the appropriate provision of critical supporting infrastructure such as refueling, recharging, and facilitation of hydrogen production. The roll-out of nuGen™ across Anglo American’s haul truck fleet over the next 15 years is subject to certain conditions and required approvals.

Previously announced in June 2022, the transaction is a unique combination of creative engineering excellence and mining expertise which brings together the existing First Mode business with Anglo American’s nuGen™ related intellectual property, management, and operational teams. First Mode is now uniquely positioned to commercialize the nuGen™ haulage solution which intelligently incorporates new technology into mine site operations and consists of a powerplant with appropriate hybridization of hydrogen powered fuel cells and battery (depending on customer and site requirements), refueling and recharging technology, clean energy production and storage, modification of diesel electric vehicles, digital integration with mine site systems as well as ongoing services.

The investment will facilitate the rapid global growth of First Mode, development of production facilities in Seattle and new proving grounds in Centralia, Washington, support staffing goals worldwide, develop our footprint in Perth, Australia, and speed the commercialization and deployment of First Mode clean energy solutions to market.

On close, Anglo American will become a majority shareholder of First Mode, with the balance continuing to be held by First Mode employees. In addition, current First Mode President and CEO, Chris Voorhees will transition to the role of Chief Product & Technology Officer, overseeing the company’s global product and technology development out of Seattle. Julian Soles, Anglo American’s head of Technology Development, will take over as First Mode CEO and be based in First Mode’s new headquarters in London.

“First Mode was founded in 2018 with the goal of building the barely possible. We have done just that and our mission is now to rapidly decarbonize heavy industry by dramatically reducing our customers’ greenhouse gas emissions. I can’t imagine a team better suited to this urgent challenge,” said Chris Voorhees.

“The First Mode mission is much bigger than a single haul truck,” said Julian Soles. “Mining is how the world obtains the materials needed for the clean energy transition, and it is where the carbon footprint starts. This is where the First Mode solution begins; starting at the source, in mining, to replace diesel and accelerate the clean energy transition.”

The world’s first proof-of-concept including renewable energy generation, hydrogen production and refueling, and an ultra-class haul truck, launched in May 2022, continues to be operated at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine site in South Africa. This month the truck reached a significant milestone when it completed initial commissioning and was introduced into the mine’s commercial fleet operations, including pit and crusher activities.

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Biomass-to-hydrogen developer in talks for development capital, series A

A California developer that uses woody biomass to make green hydrogen is in discussions to raise capital for project development and a series A funding round.

Yosemite Clean Energy, a California-based biomass-to-hydrogen start-up, is in discussions with potential investors to raise development capital for projects and a series A round.

The company is currently seeking around $20m of development capital that would help advance woody biomass-to-hydrogen projects to FID, CEO Tom Hobby said in an interview.

Hobby said he is also in discussions with strategic capital partners about a series A funding round. The company is not using an advisor for the capital raise, Hobby said, but is working with the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

The company has so far raised less than $2m at the corporate level from friends and family and an additional $5m – including grants – for projects, Hobby added. The development capital as well as the series A raise would be conducted at the project level.

Yosemite has signed a letter of intent and term sheet for offtake from its first project in Oroville, California, which will produce approximately 24,000 kg per day (2,760 MMBtu) of green hydrogen from woody biomass, and is set for FID later this year. Hobby declined to name the offtaker but described it as a “global trading house.”

Hobby, whose family has lived in the Sierra Nevada for generations, emphasizes the company’s role as a partner with local communities to help manage forest waste, which has served as fuel for explosive wildfires in recent years.

“It’s de-risking their communities from catastrophic wildfires,” he said.

Design incentives

Under the original design for the Oroville facility, the company had planned to produce 31,000 kg per day of RNG and 12,200 kg per day of green hydrogen. But due to incentives for green hydrogen in the Inflation Reduction Act, the company has pivoted to a hydrogen-only design, Hobby said.

The $3/kg incentive for green hydrogen in the IRA created “additional value for no real capital cost differential,” he said.

Yosemite’s second project is in Toulumne County, California and will follow a design substantially similar to the Oroville facility.

The company employs dual-bed gasification technology licensed from Austrian firm Repotec, while Primoris is doing detailed design and engineering.

The technology takes wood and creates a medium-strength BTU gas that can be used to make different products, Hobby said. “Once it’s in a gaseous form, we can use it for a lot of purposes: we can take it to make power, we can produce hydrogen, we can use the Fischer-Tropsch process to make second-generation biofuels like aviation fuel, and we have a patent that can do hydrogen and RNG.”

Project ownership

Meanwhile, Yosemite has hired a Texas-based firm to help raise capital for projects, which are estimated to cost $250m at the outset, but could decline once efficiencies are achieved, Hobby said.

The company’s project ownership model is unique in that it seeks to bring in local wood businesses – in logging, land clearing, and orchard removal – as providers of biomass and also equity investors in the projects.

“To have their investment and their wood at the same time is huge,” Hobby said.

In raising capital for the projects, in addition to equity and debt investors, Yosemite is evaluating a mix of sources in the tax-exempt bond market as well as lower-interest loans from within California and export finance solutions. The company recently received two $500,000 Forest Biomass to Carbon-Negative Biofuels grants from the California Department of Conservation.

Hobby would like to build 50 woody biomass plants in California, which would utilize approximately 5 million tons of the 35 million tons of waste woody biomass available annually in the state.

“Our goal is not to have to truck and ship wood more than 50 miles,” he said. “If you put circles around every place in California that’s a decent wood basket […] I think we could sign about 50 facilities across the state.”

The company is also planning to expand beyond California to other states with a low-carbon fuel standard, Hobby said.

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Ambient Fuels evaluating hydrogen project acquisitions

The company is well capitalized following a $250m equity investment from Generate Capital and is now opportunistically reviewing an initial slate of project M&A offerings.

Following an equity investment from Generate Capital, Ambient Fuels has begun to evaluate potential acquisitions of hydrogen projects that are under development, CEO Jacob Susman said in an interview.

“We’ve seen our first project M&A opportunities come through in the last 10 days or so,” Susman said.

Three projects for sale involve land positions, he said. Those that appear most attractive have a clear line of site to offtake or a strong approach to renewable power supply. Two out of three are not on the Gulf Coast.

“In no instance are these brokered deals,” Susman said.

Following the $250m equity investment from Generate Capital, Ambient is capitalized for several years and has no immediate plans to seek debt or tax equity, Susman said. The transaction was done without the help of a financial advisor.

Moving forward Ambient is open to JV formation with a partner that can help access offtake and renewable power, Susman said. Those points will drive future capital investment in the company and were resources that Generate brought to the table besides money.

According to ReSource‘s project tracker, Ambient is involved in at least two of the hubs that were encouraged by the DOE to submit a final application: California’s Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), and the Port of Corpus Christi Green Hydrogen Hub.

In 2021 Ambient completed a funding round led by SJF Ventures. Several other VC funds and angel investors also participated.

In January The Hydrogen Source reported that Ambient was in exclusivity with an equity provider.

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Exclusive: Carbon conversion startup planning capital raise

A Halliburton Labs-backed startup is developing a pilot plant in the Pacific Northwestern US, while forming financial relationships for an industrial-scale carbon conversion facility in the same location.

OCOchem, a Washington state-based carbon conversion startup, will seek new capital partners to build its first commercial scale facility in 2026, CEO Todd Brix said in an interview.

Starting in late 2024 or early 2025, the company will likely go to market for new liquidity – including project debt and equity, Brix said. He declined to talk about capex, but said the first commercial plant in Richland, Washington will cost “multiple tens of millions of dollars.”

The company is working with two EPCs now and is represented legally by Miller Nash law firm in the Pacific Northwest, Brix said. The company does not have a formal relationship with an investment bank but will likely form one for a Series A and later rounds.

“We’ve been in touch with a number of private equity and project finance people,” Brix said of early-stage discussions.

OCOchem is considering land options in Richland for its first plant and is organizing to begin permitting, Brix said. There is opportunity to form relationships with industrial partners in need of an offtaker for their CO2 emissions and new incremental revenue streams, as well as customers for chloral hydrates and other formic acid products.

“We expect to build hundreds of these plants all around the planet,” Brix said, referring to the process of electrochemically converting emitted CO2 and water to formic acid, which can then be used to make a suite of products like hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and formate (methanoate) derivatives. “We are close to industrial size on our plants right now.”

CO2 is captured from steam methane reformers, natural gas processing and piping, and ammonia production, among other processes. The gas is then combined with water in a cellular, modular process producing formic acid, derivatives of which can be used in a range of industries like pharmaceuticals.

The company recently raised $5m in seed funding from lead investor TO VC, which joined backers LCY Lee Family Office, MIH Capital Management, and Halliburton Labs. An additional $8m has been raised in grant funding from the US departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD).

The company is also partnered with the Nutrien Corporation on a small scale facility in Kennewick, Washington, just upriver from Richland, Brix said. Financing for that project is largely arranged with the FEED completed.

Brix owns a majority of the company with his father.

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