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Corpus Christi green ammonia competitive globally: RMI

Providing green ammonia as a bunker fuel as well as for global exports out of Corpus Christi could significantly drive down delivered costs.

Green ammonia used as a bunker fuel from Corpus Christi would be competitive on a global scale largely thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, according to a study from RMI, Global Maritime Forum, and the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission.

The report “Oceans of Opportunity: Supplying Green Methanol and Ammonia at Ports” provides an analysis of the strategic developments necessary for ports to adapt and become leaders in the supply of green methanol and ammonia.

Ports are being categorized into archetypes such as Importing Incumbents, Producing Incumbents, Future Exporters, and Bespoke Players. This classification helps in identifying the strategic actions these ports can take to align themselves with the emerging demand for green fuels.

Significant infrastructure investments are required for ports to facilitate the production, storage, and bunkering of green fuels like methanol and ammonia. This includes adapting existing facilities and building new ones tailored to handle these less conventional fuels.

According to the report, Singapore is classified as an importing incumbent, while the Port of Algeciras is a producing incumbent. The Port of Corpus Christi is identified as a future exporter; the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are bespoke players; and the Port of Rotterdam is a bespoke player.

In the case of Corpus Christi, the region possesses excellent renewable energy resources, particularly wind and solar, which are critical for the cost-effective production of green hydrogen—an essential precursor for green ammonia.

The port area already has a strong industrial base with existing infrastructure suitable for large-scale energy projects, including pipelines and storage facilities. This existing infrastructure can be repurposed or adapted at lower costs compared to building new facilities from scratch.

The report also highlights the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides substantial tax credits and incentives for renewable energy projects. These incentives can significantly reduce the production costs of green hydrogen and, by extension, green ammonia.

Crucially, the report highlights the possibility to reduce the cost of green ammonia an additional 30% by “doubling up” and facilitating both ammonia exports and ammonia as a bunker fuel.

“Any ammonia storage and jetties will be able to ‘double up,’ facilitating both ammonia exports and bunkering,” the report reads. “Not only will this make investments in this infrastructure more feasible, but it also has the potential to significantly reduce the last-mile bunkering premium.”

The report continues, “If the full pipeline of ammonia export projects around the port is realized, this would reduce the delivered cost of ammonia bunkers by ~30% compared to if the infrastructure were developed solely for bunkering.”

The report shows that the delivered cost of green ammonia to the Port of Corpus Christi could drop as low as $850 per ton under the higher throughput scenario involving both exports and bunkering.

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Gevo: Net Zero 1 facility to reach late stages this year

Executives for the Colorado-based company said its first alcohol-to-jet fuel facility in South Dakota will be financed late this year or early next.

Gevo’s Lake Preston alcohol-to-jet fuel facility in Lake Preston, South Dakota will be financeable this year and reach financial close late this year or early next, executives for the Colorado-based company said on an earnings call Thursday.

The company is working on a DOE loan guarantee for the project, dubbed Net Zero 1.

“Our work on the Department of Energy loan guarantee is going well, but as anyone who has worked on one of these knows, there’s a lot of engineering and upfront risk mitigation required much more than a typical balance sheet finance project,” President and COO Chris Ryan said on the call. “Our EPC partners are busy working with us to mitigate execution risk and ensure our contracts fit the DOE’s loan guarantee requirements.”

Finalizing the DOE loan done, raising the equity, and reaching financial close is expected to be achieved by late 4Q24 or early 1Q25, CEO Patrick Gruber said on the call.

“We want to see the CO2 pipeline in South Dakota move forward to keep Lake Preston as our most attractive site for producing sustainable aviation fuel,” Ryan said. “But we’ve developed a slate of potential sites that we’ve prequalified for future Net-Zero projects.”

Offtake partners are working to ensure that the contracted demand fits with the requirements of a DOE loan guarantee to finance the construction phase, Ryan said. Lake Preston is more than twice the size of the plant’s footprint, leaving room for future bolt-on projects.

“It’s in a location where many of the surrounding farms in the region already use climate smart agricultural practices, which reduces carbon footprint of the corn feedstock we plan to use there,” Ryan said.

The location is also near the wholly-owned RNG business in Northwest Iowa.

The company has targeted several sites for Net-Zero 2, Gruber said.

“They could be brought on pretty quickly, and all of it is done with partners,” he said. “All of this financing would be done at a project finance level, not at a Gevo level.”

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Irish agribusiness investing $500m in US biorefinery

The facility is in line for a $400m DOE loan guarantee as part of the investment.

ClonBio, an Irish agribusiness firm with global operations, is planning to invest $500m in a biorefinery plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

The group has already invested the first $100m in the facility, called Aztalan, following the acquisition of the moth-balled plant in 2022.

Given incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, the owners are accelerating their investment program in tandem with an application for a Department of Energy loan guaranteed, the Irish Independent reported.

“It will drive the most efficient use of grain in the history of the United States,” CEO Jeff Oestmann said in a statement. “Every part of the corn kernel is going to be used efficiently to make starch based, fibre based, protein based and fat based foods, feeds, and fuels, thereby promoting the circular economy and maximizing food security,” he added.

Company representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

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ABB launches energy management system for green hydrogen

Software from the Swiss company will help hydrogen production companies reduce electricity-based costs by up to 20%.

ABB has launched its energy management system, called ABB Ability™ OPTIMAX, for the green hydrogen market, to help reduce costs of production by enabling real-time visibility of energy consumption across operations, according to a press release.

ABB’s OPTIMAX supports lowering the cost of the green hydrogen plant lifecycle, from simulation at design and engineering phases to real-time visualization and monitoring when in operation, the release states.

The software measures bi-directional power flows and carbon dioxide emissions providing contextual data which operators can use to determine optimal energy consumption levels required to support plant processes and minimize waste.

The transparency offered by the solution can also be applied to increase the efficiency and safety of each electrolyzer module being operated within the plant, regulating each module’s speed, and ensuring it is only used as and when required.

“Scaling up green hydrogen production requires significant capital investment as well as high operating costs,” said Sleman Saliba, global product manager, Energy Management for ABB Process Automation. “Nearly 70% of the total operating costs to run a hydrogen plant comes from the electricity needed to split the water molecule in the electrolysis process. With OPTIMAX®, for between 1-3% technology investment, operators can run their industrial processes in the most energy efficient way and gain up to 20 percent reduction in electricity-based costs.”

Incorporating intra-day planning, operators can also utilize OPTIMAX® to plan ahead to trade competitively with the grid, developing a circular energy system that is based on forecasts of renewable energy availability against demand, also considering market electricity prices.​

The solution can also be used to optimize green hydrogen integration with existing hydrogen networks and any future infrastructure that may be developed.

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Exclusive: Wisconsin RNG portfolio for sale with large renewables portfolio

A major Canadian utility is auctioning off four Wisconsin RNG assets as part of a larger renewables selldown. The subsidiary at auction has previously indicated that it would take part in Northeastern US hydrogen development.

Algonquin Power & Utilities is selling a package of four renewable natural gas assets, totaling 532 mmbtu, in Wisconsin as part of a larger renewables auction, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

JP Morgan is advising on the process, codenamed Project Power, the sources said.

The process comprises mostly operational onshore wind (2,325 MW) and solar (670 MW), along with an 8 GW development pipeline across 10 power markets, according to a teaser seen by ReSource. The renewable assets are collectively known as Liberty under the Algonquin banner.

The pipeline includes 1,600 mmbtu of RNG. The operational RNG assets reached COD in 2022.

Algonquin did not respond to requests for comment. JP Morgan declined comment.

The Wisconsin assets are apparently the former Sandhill Advanced Biofuels projects, which were acquired by Algonquin in 2022.

When that acquisition was made, it was announced that Liberty had signed on as a “hydrogen ecosystem partner” in the multi-state Northeast Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub. That hub ultimately was not selected by the US department of Energy for hub funding.

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Exclusive: Morgan Stanley mandated for green ammonia facility

Morgan Stanley is the mandated investment banker for a green ammonia developer that’s raising debt and equity for its first facility in Texas.

First Ammonia is working with Morgan Stanley as its investment banker as it seeks to raise debt and equity for a flagship green ammonia project in Texas.

The New York City-based developer is moving toward financial close this year on the first 100 MW train of a 300 MW project at the Port of Victoria, Texas. Morgan Stanley has held the mandate since last year, but it has not been previously reported.

First Ammonia did not respond to requests for comment. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

In an interview last year, First Ammonia CEO said the 100 MW train of the Port of Victoria project is estimated to cost $300m, while the full 300 MW will cost between $900m – $1bn. Each 100 MW module will produce up to 100,000 MTPA of green ammonia.

The project is expected to be the first in First Ammonia’s global pipeline of green ammonia facilities that will eventually add up to 5 million MTPA of production within 10 years.

The firm has contracted with Haldor Topsoe for 5 GW of solid-oxide electrolysis for its project portfolio. It is seeking a partner to provide 45V-compliant renewable energy to power electrolysis at Port of Victoria, as reported exclusively by ReSource.

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Renewable hydrogen developer in exclusivity with strategic investor

A renewable hydrogen developer based in the western US is reaching the final stages of a capital raise with an investor in exclusivity.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, is in exclusivity with clean energy investment platform Modern Energy, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

ReSource reported in February that GreenFront Energy Partners was advising the company on a Series A.

NovoHydrogen CEO Matt McMonagle said previously that the company has about 30 projects in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts. Its most active markets are the West coast, Northeast, Appalachia, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, though the company is not geographically constrained.

The company aims to begin construction on its first projects by the end of this year, the executive had said.

NovoHydrogen declined to comment. GreenFront and Modern Energy did not respond to requests for comment.

Modern Energy, a certified B-Corporation, recently put $90m into net metered solar developer Industrial Sun along with partner EIG. In 2020 EIG committed USD 100m to Modern Energy through a debt facility to fund the development of clean energy assets.

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