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Clean methanol startup raises early stage funding

The Virginia company develops off-grid hybrid solutions for electrolytic hydrogen-to-methanol production for use in aviation and shipping.

Methylennium Energy has received an investment of cash and in-kind engineering design services from The Process Group, according to a news release.

MLE offers a platform for production of e-methanol from waste CO2 and renewable hydrogen to use as a feedstock for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and trans-ocean shipping.

A flexible methanol synthesis reactor and process enables the use of intermittent power sources, while behind-the-meter power integration increases yield per installed MW of renewables. Cost targets for grid-independent e-methanol are in the range of $500 to $1000 per ton.

Methylennium is based in Falls Church, Virginia and develops off-grid hybrid solutions to maximize electrolytic hydrogen production from intermittent renewable power sources.

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First Citizens finances acquisition of ammonia carrier

The financing supports Purus Clean Energy’s acquisition of the MV Green Power, a 40,000 cbm ammonia carrier.

The Maritime Finance group of First Citizens Bank has provided financing to Purus Clean Energy to support the acquisition of the MV Green Power, a 40,000 cbm ammonia carrier, according to a news release.

Purus Marine, the parent of Purus Clean Energy, provide slow-carbon maritime energy transportation and infrastructure systems. The company has a fleet of more than 50 low-carbon vessels in the offshore wind, LNG, ammonia, logistics and ferry sectors.

Maritime Finance, part of First Citizens’ CIT division, offers customized solutions for secured loans to a global client base of vessel owners and operators.

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Strata Clean Energy acquires green H2 potential

The acquisition of Crossover Energy Partners offers Strata proficiencies in the development of technologies like green hydrogen.

Strata Clean Energy, the North Carolina-based clean energy generation and storage developer, has acquired Phoenix-based Crossover Energy Partners, according to a press release.

Crossover offers Strata customer origination and power offtake competencies and proficiencies in the development of new technologies like green hydrogen. The company develops end-to-end energy transition products for utilities and large energy users.

The combining of these platforms grows Strata’s development pipeline to more than 15 GW.

Strata is purchasing 100% of Crossover’s assets and interest in its development platform. CEO Sabino Dias and President Michael Grunow will take on senior roles within Strata, and all Crossover employees will merge with the Strata platform.

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Linde seeking double-digit return on Texas blue hydrogen plant

Linde CEO Sanjiv Lamba expects the $1.8bn project to achieve a double-digit return, and expressed confidence that the facility will be completed on time in 2025.

Linde plc will spend roughly $5bn on capex and acquisitions in 2023, CEO Sanjiv Lamba said on the company’s 4Q22 earnings call.

That includes a long-term agreement to supply clean hydrogen and other industrial gases to OCI’s new blue ammonia plant in Beaumont, Texas. Linde will build, own and operate an on-site complex by 2025 which will include autothermal reforming with carbon capture, plus a large air separation plant

The company estimates a return profile in the double digits for the project, Lamba said.

“This is a traditional industrial gas project no different to any other that we do and that’s how we would then factor the return coming back into the returns you would see hitting the EPS,” Lamba said.

Lamda also expressed confidence in the company’s ability to complete the project on time in 2025 in spite of its complexities. He noted Linde has already been working on the project for a while, and is in discussions with major carbon capture players, some of which already hold or are in the process of obtaining a federal Class VI permit for carbon dioxide sequestration.

The OCI project will connect to Linde’s existing pipeline in the region, Lamba said.  “We have demand for that blue hydrogen and yes, there is a premium,” Lamba said of the company’s existing grey hydrogen customers.

The partnership with OCI helped add to the company’s project backlog, defined as contractual growth projects with secured returns, which now stands at $9.2bn, Lamba said. Last year was also a record year for small on-site wins, with 52 new secured contracts providing revenue for the next decade.

Lamba said the industrial gasses giant has “no interest to own or speculate” in the global chemicals market and will instead seek offtakers like OCI for its products. OCI is an expert in ammonia production, logistics and marketing, things Linde does not want to engage in.

Meanwhile, Linde has started the process of selling $2bn in gas projects, including Linde’s $1.4bn project with Exxon Mobile in Singapore, Lamba 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: 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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Canadian renewables major eyeing hydrogen production at pumped hydro facility

Canadian power generation giant TransAlta could co-locate hydrogen production with select wind and hydroelectric facilities.

TransAlta, the Canadian power generator and wholesale marketing company, is contemplating a buildout of hydrogen production capabilities at its 320 MW Tent Mountain pumped hydro storage project in Alberta, Executive Vice President of Alberta Business Blain van Melle said in an interview.

“Our view on hydrogen is that it’s a technology that’s an option, somewhat further out in the future, particularly when it comes to power generation,” van Melle said. “If we can offer our customers maybe a power and hydrogen solution, and they’re using the hydrogen in another process, that would be something we would look at.”

In early 2022 TransAlta made a CAD 2m equity investment in Ekona Power, a methane pyrolysis company based in Vancouver. The company also committed USD $25m over four years to EIP’s Deep Decarbonization Frontier Fund 1.

That latter investment is a way to continue to learn about hydrogen and have exposure to emerging technologies, van Melle said.

The recent 50% stake acquisition in the Tent Mountain project includes the intellectual property associated with a 100 MW offsite green hydrogen electrolyzer and a 100 MW offsite wind development project.

Having hydrogen production co-located with wind and pumped hydro storage could make sense for the company in a few years, van Melle said. FID on Tent Mountain could be reached sometime in 2025 and will require the company to secure a PPA offtake and determine capital cost. Development work will take three to four years and earliest construction could begin in 2026.

The company has not had discussions with potential offtakers, van Melle said, adding that development on the pumped hydro facility needs to mature before a hydrogen component advances.

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