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Connecticut fuel cell and electrolyzer maker attracts $150m from Korean investors

HyAxiom has raised $150m in a convertible preferred stock offering from three Korean investment firms.

HyAxiom, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of fuel cell and electrolyzer solutions, has completed a private placement of convertible preferred stock in an aggregate amount of approximately $150m, led by three Korean investment firms – Korea Investment Private Equity, KDB Investment–Hana Securities and KB Asset Management.

The East Hartford-based company said Monday it intends to use the net proceeds of the private placement for capital expenditure, research and development, as well as for working capital and general corporate purposes, as HyAxiom focuses on expanding its U.S. and global business as well as developing and launching new products, including the expansion of production and continued research and development of its PEM electrolyzer (PEMEC) system, which was launched this year.

“This investment comes at a critical juncture, as we finalize the development of new clean energy solutions and move towards commercializing these offerings, including our first electrolyzer system. The funds will help expedite our growth and take full advantage of the impetus provided by the Inflation Reduction Act and the recently announced ‘U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap’,” said CEO Jeff Hyungrak Chung.

HyAxiom develops, manufactures, installs and services reliable and innovative energy solutions, including stationary fuel cells and electrolyzers, for utility, industrial and commercial customers who seek cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy. The world’s first and largest stationary fuel cell power plant (50 MW) running on direct hydrogen, which entered commercial service in 2020 in Korea, is powered by a hydrogen-fueled variant of HyAxiom’s flagship product, the PureCell M400.

Formerly known as Doosan Fuel Cell America, Inc. (DFCA), the Company was established in 2014 by uniting two industry powerhouses, UTC Power, a division of United Technologies Corporation, and Doosan Group. Known for technological innovation, UTC Power developed and supplied the fuel cells used aboard the Apollo spacecrafts in the late 1960s. With a history dating back to 1896, Doosan Group is the oldest and one of the most prominent conglomerates in Korea, with a focus on power generation, desalination, infrastructure development and compact construction equipment manufacturing (including Bobcat, the U.S.-based leader in the compact construction equipment space). In 2022, the Company rebranded as HyAxiom, a portmanteau signifying the axiomatic role that hydrogen-based energy systems are expected to play in meeting the ever-growing demand for cleaner energy.

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LIFTE H2 acquired by US and Canadian strategics

The US-based operations of LIFTE H2 will become the US subsidiary of a Canadian utility, while its custom Asset Performance Management platform has been acquired by a separate US hydrogen strategic.

The US-based operations and infrastructure solutions of LIFTE H2 will become the US subsidiary of Canada’s Powertech Labs, according to the companies.  

Headquartered in British Columbia, Powertech Labs is a subsidiary of the government-owned BC Hydro.

Separately, the company’s digital Asset Performance Management platform has been acquired by Massachusetts-based Electric Hydrogen.

Resource reported in April that Energy & Industrial Advisory Partners had been hired to help LIFTE H2 conduct a Series A.

Powertech USA, the new subsidiary, will serve the US and Canadian markets.

“Powertech USA will provide a family of infrastructure solutions including hydrogen export systems, high-capacity transport trailers, mobile refuelers, and fueling stations,” a post on LinkedIn states. “Together, these solutions form the market’s first end-to-end hydrogen fueling solution – integrating the movement of hydrogen from the production outlet to the vehicle inlet.”

Powertech USA will be led by Angie Ackroyd, LIFTE’s co-founder and chief technology officer, according to Lifte’s website. Jeremy Maunus, LIFTE’s COO, along with Matthew Blieske, LIFTE’s CEO, will continue to support the Powertech USA team in advisory roles.
The post describes the management platform as a synchronized workspace designed to manage hydrogen data, assets, and people. 

LIFTE H2 will continue operations in Europe. The company has offices in Berlin.

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Capital Power appoints new CEO

The Canadian-based power producer has appointed Avik Dey as its next CEO.

Capital Power Corporation’s board of directors has unanimously selected Avik Dey to be its next President and CEO and become a member of the board of directors, effective May 8, 2023.

The appointment follows the planned retirement of Brian Vaasjo who will support Dey to ensure a seamless transition, according to a news release.

The selection follows a rigorous North American search process conducted by a special committee of the Board, with the support of a leading executive recruiting firm. The board met with a wide range of high-quality internal and external candidates.

“Avik is a highly capable leader with deep experience in the energy and power sectors and has built a number of successful companies and teams,” said Board Chair, Jill Gardiner. “I am confident that through his knowledge, passion, and creativity he will inspire the Capital Power team to accelerate the company’s current strategic drive towards net zero. The Board looks forward to working with Avik as we continue to engage with our stakeholders and grow shareholder value. Avik will champion the team, driving the vision with our people who will own the outcomes well into the future.”

Dey spent more than two decades in executive, operational, investing and strategic advisory roles. He has invested over $12bn in growing long term value for energy and energy transition companies. Most recently Mr. Dey held key executive leadership roles with The Carlyle Group, NOVA Chemicals, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Prior to these roles, he was President & CEO of Remvest Energy Partners in Houston, Texas and a Founder serving as Chief Financial Officer of Remora Energy.

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National Petroleum Council calls for carbon price to advance hydrogen development

In a blockbuster report on the U.S. hydrogen industry, the NPC, an advisor to the Department of Energy, called for greater government action in order to meet ambitious net zero emissions targets by 2050.

The National Petroleum Council (NPC) is calling for a robust carbon pricing mechanism among a series of new measures for advancing the U.S. hydrogen economy.

As currently stated, policies for hydrogen are severely inadequate for the U.S. to meet net zero targets by 2050, a report by the NPC finds, and industry and lawmakers must implement a series of new policies and incentives in order to spur the massive capital investment required to develop a clean hydrogen economy.

The NPC, an oil and gas advisory group to the DOE, has been calling for a carbon price since 2011, and renewed those calls in recommending an explicit long-term carbon price as a cornerstone of a future policy framework.

“A long-term, effective, durable, and transparent price on carbon could phase in as shorter-term low-carbon energy funding and tax incentives are phased out to enable a smoother and more efficient market transition,” the report states. “Explicit carbon pricing in the form of a carbon tax or a GHG cap-and-trade program provide the most economically efficient climate policy.”

The NPC has some 200 members from the oil and gas industry, as well as electric companies, research groups and academic institutions. Industry participants that led individual chapters of the report include Chevron, McKinsey & Company, Air Liquide, Southern California Gas, ExxonMobil, and bp.

Phase in, phase out

The report recommends that the administration work with Congress to phase in an economy-wide price on carbon “well before the current incentives, such as 45V, expire.”

Additionally, the council recommends that, once the carbon price is established, “current implicit pricing incentives (e.g., 45V PTC, 45Q PTC) be phased out in such a way as to allow a long-term explicit pricing policy to be phased in to facilitate a smoother market transition and provide a more stable investment environment for low-carbon energy and hydrogen industry growth.”

Alongside carbon pricing, the report makes an additional 102 recommendations. Among them, the council advocates for increased federal and state policy support. This includes expanding incentives such as tax credits and grants, with particular emphasis on leveraging the 45V hydrogen production tax credit and the 45Q carbon capture tax credit to spur technological adoption and infrastructure development.

The NPC calls for the simplification of regulatory processes to speed up the deployment of hydrogen technologies. This recommendation focuses on harmonizing safety standards and expediting permitting processes to facilitate a smoother rollout of hydrogen infrastructure.

The report also highlights the need for enhanced RD&D efforts across the hydrogen value chain to drive technological advancements and reduce costs. It advocates for stronger collaboration between government and the private sector to foster innovation in hydrogen technologies.

Without these actions, significant differences in the projected capital investment required under two pivotal scenarios for hydrogen development would emerge, according to the study. Under the Stated Policies scenario, assuming existing policy frameworks, only $290m of investment is deployed into both blue and green hydrogen by 2050 in the U.S. In contrast, under a net zero scenario, capital investment is projected at approximately $1.9 trillion by 2050, $124bn for blue hydrogen and $1.78 trillion for green hydrogen.

source: National Petroleum Council
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Exclusive: TransGas CEO talks mega ammonia project

The owners of a proposed colossal ammonia production facility in Appalachian coal country are in the beginning stages of seeking liquidity, EPC contracting, and advisory services for a project they say will ultimately be financed akin to an LNG export terminal.

It’s an appeal often made in modern US politics – doing right by those left behind.

Perhaps no place is more emblematic of that appeal than West Virginia, and perhaps no region in that state more so than the southern coal fields. It’s there a fossil developer is proposing the architecture of the ruling coal industry be used to build a $10bn decarbonized ammonia facility and is gathering the resources to do so.

“It’s world class, and it makes southern West Virginia, Mingo County, the catalyst for the 21st century’s energy revival,” said Adam Victor, the CEO of TransGas Development Systems, the developer of the project. “The people [here] are the heirs and descendants of the people that mined the coal that built the steel that built the Panama Canal.”

The Adams Fork Energy project in Mingo County, jointly developed by TransGas and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, is slated to reach commercial operations in 2027. Six identical 6,000 mtpd ammonia manufacturing plants are being planned on the site of a previously permitted (but not constructed) coal-to-gasoline facility.

ReSource exclusively reported this week that the state has issued a permit to construct the facility. TransGas owns 100% of the project now, though if the Tribe comes through with federal funding then it will become the majority owner.

TransGas itself could take on a liquidity partner to raise up to $20m in development capital for the project, Victor said. The company is not using a financial advisor now but will hire one in the future.

White & Case is TransGas’ legal advisor. The company is in discussions with Ansaldo Energia, of Italy, about construction.

“The project is not averse to talking to private equity or investment bankers, because nothing has been decided right now,” Victor said, noting that the company is just beginning talks with infra funds and is eager to do so. “The project will be looking for an EPC.”

The first of the six plants will cost about $2bn, but each one will get successively less expensive, Victor said. Total capex is about $10bn, though there is discussion of acquiring adjacent land to double the size of the project – or 12 plants in all producing 6,000 mtpd each.

TransGas has the support of West Virginia politicians like Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Jim Justice, Victor said. Financing the project will be a function of the offtake.

Electricity for data centers, or ammonia for export?

The company is conducting a market analysis to determine avenues for offtake, Victor said. They could do partial electricity generation onsite to power a data center, with the remainder of the hydrogen being used to make ammonia for shipment overseas.

Depending on the needs of offtakers, the facility could also do one or the other entirely, he said.

The project, if configured at current size, could support about 6,000 MW of non-interruptible power generation, 2,000 MW of that for cooling.

“This could basically become a 6,000 MW campus to become the center of data centers in the United States,” Victor said, noting that the region is much less prone to natural disasters than some others and is high enough in elevation to escape any flooding. “I think we could rival Loudoun County [Virginia] as where data centers should be located.”

Adams Fork sits on the largest mine pool reservoir in the eastern US, Victor noted. Data centers need constant cooling, particularly new chip technology that requires liquid cooling.

TransGas will know in a matter of weeks if it’s going to go the electrical route, Victor said. There are only five companies in the world with data centers large enough to efficiently offtake from it: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Meta and Apple.

If not, the facility will continue down the path of selling the decarbonized ammonia, likely to an oil company or international ammonia buyer like JERA in Japan.

Partnering with a tech company will make it easier to finance the project because of high credit ratings, Victor said. International pressure on oil companies could affect those credit ratings.

“We think the investor world could be split,” he said, noting tech and fuels investors could both be interested in the project. “You’re doubling the universe of investors and offtakers.”

He added: “Once we have the offtake, we think we could have a groundbreaking this year.”

Two ways of shipping

For ammonia production the facility could use the same shipping channels the coal industry uses – either to the Big Sandy River to be sent by barge on the Ohio to New Orleans, or rail to ports in Baltimore; Norfolk, Virginia; and Savanna, Georgia.

By rail, two 40-car trains per day would take ammonia to port. Norfolk Southern and CSX both operate in the region.

Another option is to have a fleet of 50 EV or hydrogen-powered trucks to transport ammonia to the Big Sandy where electric-powered barges can take it to the Gulf, Victor said. That latter option could mean a lower CI score because it will eliminate rail’s diesel power.

Mercedes-Benz and Volvo both make the kind of trucks used for this work in Europe and Asia, he said. Coal mines in the region use diesel trucks in fleets as numerous as 500, and the original TransGas coal plant was permitted for 250 trucks per day.

“This is something that our offtake partner is going to determine,” he said. Japan would likely want the ammonia in the Gulf of Mexico, whereas European shipping companies would want it on an Atlantic port.

The LNG financial model

The offtakers themselves could fund the facility, Victor said.

“The financial model for this is the financial model for funding LNG terminals,” he said. “The same teams that put those large facilities together, financial teams, would be the same teams that we’re talking to now.”

The offtakers may also dictate who they want to be the financial advisor, he said.

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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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It’s an electrolyzer – but for CO2

A New Jersey-based start-up is seeking to commercialize an electrocatalytic technology that transforms CO2 into a monomer for the plastics industry.

RenewCO2 is developing and seeking to commercialize a modular technology that converts waste CO2 into a usable product.

The New Jersey-based company is advancing a pilot project at an Ace Ethanol plant in Wisconsin that will take CO2 and convert it to monoethylene glycol, which can be used by the plastics industry.

The project was recently selected by the US DOE to receive a $500,000 grant. It seeks to demonstrate the technology’s ability to reduce the ethanol plant’s carbon footprint and produce a carbon-negative chemical.

In an interview, RenewCO2 co-founders Anders Laursen and Karin Calvinho said their technology, which was developed at Rutgers University, is geared toward carbon emitters who can not easily pipe away their CO2 and who may have use for the resulting product.


“It’s a matter of economics,” said Calvinho, who serves as the company’s CTO. Using the RenewCO2 technology, the ethanol plant or other user is able to keep 45Q tax incentives for capturing CO2 while also creating a product that generates an additional revenue stream.

Additionally, the modular design of the technology prevents emitters from having to build expensive pipeline infrastructure for CO2, she added. “We want to help to facilitate the use of the CO2 on site,” she said.

One of the goals of the project is to measure the carbon intensity of these technologies in combination, which ultimately depends on the electricity source for the electrochemical process, similar to an electrolyzer, Laursen, who is the CEO, said.

“The main constraint from a location point of view is the availability of reliable and affordable green power,” Laursen added.

Creating a market

The principal target market for RenewCO2’s technology is existing producers of monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is used to make recycled plastics, as well as ethanol producers and other emitters with purified CO2 streams.

Producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – one of the most recycled plastics globally – are also potential customers since they use MEG in their production process and have CO2 sources on site.

“Right now, MEG produced in the US is, for the most part, not polymerized into PET – it’s shipped overseas for making PET plastics used in textiles, and then made into fibers or shipped further,” Laursen said. “So if you can shorten that transport chain, you can reduce the CO2 emissions associated with the final product.”

RenewCO2 is looking for partners to help build the modular units, and is evaluating the purchase of existing PEM electrolyzer units that can be reconfigured, or having the units custom manufactured.

“We’re talking to potential manufacturing partners and evaluating whether we should do the manufacturing ourselves,” Calvinho said. And if they choose the latter route, she added, “we will have to build our own facilities, but it’s early to say.”

The company has raised a total of $10m in venture investment and grant funding, including a pre-seed round of over $2m from Energy Transition Ventures, a Houston-based venture capital fund.

While not currently fundraising, Laursen said they are always taking calls to get to know the investors that are interested in the space. He added that the company may need to raise additional capital in 12 to 18 months.

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