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Cummins adds electrolyzer production space in Minnesota

Cummins plans to dedicate 89,000 sq. ft. of its existing Fridley, Minnesota facility to electrolyzer production.

Cummins will begin producing electrolyzers in the United States, starting at 500 MW of manufacturing capacity annually, scalable to 1 gigawatt GW in the future.

Electrolyzer production will take place in Fridley, Minnesota, according to a news release.

“Expanding Cummins’ electrolyzer manufacturing footprint to the United States is a milestone not only for our company but an important step in advancing global decarbonization efforts,” said Alexey Ustinov, vice president of electrolyzers at Cummins. “This is a reflection of increasing government support through the Inflation Reduction Act, Hydrogen Hubs and a blossoming hydrogen economy in the states. Cummins’ ability to leverage our manufacturing, engineering and sourcing knowledge to build capacity will help us meet increased customer demand and continue to accelerate the clean energy transition.”

Cummins plans to dedicate 89,000 sq. ft. of its existing Fridley facility to electrolyzer production. Initially, the facility will manufacture its HyLYZER®-500 and HyLYZER®-5000 proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers here, with the potential to manufacture other electrolyzer products in the future. This range of products can accommodate power needs from 1.25 MW to more than 200 MW for both small- and large-scale hydrogen generation projects.

This new production space in Fridley adds to Cummins’ growing global electrolyzer development and manufacturing footprint. The company recently announced expansion of PEM electrolyzer manufacturing capacity at its Belgium factory to 1 GW and has added space to its Mississauga, Canada, site. Cummins is also building two new electrolyzer factories in Spain and China, each starting at 500 MW of manufacturing capacity and scalable to 1 GW.

“Expanding our electrolyzer capabilities to Minnesota is Cummins’ first step in enhancing our ability to serve North American customers and meet growing demand for large-scale electrolysis projects globally,” said Alex Savelli, managing director of electrolyzers – Americas at Cummins. “The company continues to evaluate new opportunities to grow in North America that will enable us to extend our electrolyzer product range and manufacture next-generation technologies for larger, more demanding applications.”

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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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CO2-to-SAF developer gets $75m project equity investment

The developer also entered into an offtake agreement with American Airlines, with financial support from Citi.

Infinium and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst today announced a $75m project equity investment commitment to support Infinium’s Project Roadrunner, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions, according to a news release.

Project Roadrunner will convert waste carbon dioxide (CO2) and renewable power into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other low-carbon fuels. This first-of-a-kind commercial-scale Power-to-Liquids (PtL) eFuels facility is expected to be the largest PtL eFuels project in North America once operational. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst funds and invests in first-of-a-kind projects that support the deployment of emerging climate technologies to reduce emissions and accelerate the clean energy transition. This commitment represents Catalyst’s first equity investment to date.

Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into a fully integrated eFuels facility that will deliver products into both U.S. and international markets. It will primarily produce Infinium eSAF, a sustainable aviation fuel with the potential to significantly reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with air travel. PtL SAF is expected to reduce lifecycle GHG emissions in aviation by around 90 percent, which is higher than the emissions reductions achieved using SAF on the market today. Project Roadrunner will also produce Infinium eNaphtha for use in plastics manufacturing and Infinium eDiesel for use in hard-to-electrify transportation methods, such as long-haul trucking and maritime applications.

In tandem with Catalyst’s investment in Infinium, American Airlines and Infinium have entered into an innovative, firm offtake agreement for Infinium eSAF, according to the release. This agreement is a critical enabler of further investment in Project Roadrunner. American joined Breakthrough Energy Catalyst as an anchor partner to accelerate the development of next-generation clean energy technologies, including SAF. The Catalyst team worked to develop the agreement alongside the American and Infinium teams. The agreement provides one model for how airlines can use offtake agreements to help promising new SAF technologies attract investment dollars.

In further support of this offtake agreement, Citi and American Airlines have separately agreed to transfer the associated emission reductions to Citi to support the scaling of this innovative technology and help reduce a portion of Citi’s Scope 3 emissions from employee travel. Citi is also a partner of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst.

Infinium has numerous eFuels projects in development across the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Japan and Australia.

“The investment from Catalyst is critical to accelerating the completion of Project Roadrunner and to the delivery of significant volumes of eFuels created from waste carbon dioxide and renewable power. Importantly, this project will serve as a template for other, larger eFuels plants under development,” said Robert Schuetzle, CEO at Infinium. “The groundbreaking commercial agreement with American is an important prototype for the aviation industry as its firm offtake agreement supports project financing, providing revenue certainty for the project.”

“This project is a landmark achievement for the development of sustainable aviation fuels and the offtake agreement provides a model for the entire aviation industry of one way to effect change and support the scale-up of capital-intensive projects,” said Mario Fernandez, Head of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst. “Infinium’s technological and commercial maturity, coupled with the company’s project development expertise, will help accelerate the clean energy transition by quickly bringing to market clean fuels for aviation, trucking, and other long-distance parts of the transportation sector. American’s creativity, commitment and collaboration with Citi, have set a new marker, demonstrating what it takes to usher in a climate-friendly aviation future.”

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Direct ocean capture firm Captura expands capital raise to $45m

Captura has added National Grid Partners and Japan Airlines Innovation Fund as investors.

Direct ocean capture firm Captura has further expanded its Series A funding round leading to a total of $45.3m.

This expanded round underscores Captura’s momentum in scaling up and commercializing its Direct Ocean Capture (DOC) technology, a high-potential climate solution that harnesses the ocean’s natural role in carbon absorption, the company said in a press release.

Captura added National Grid Partners and Japan Airlines Innovation Fund/Translink Capital as new investors in the round, alongside a number of the company’s existing investors.

This latest increase in funding follows two recent, previously announced raises in January 2024 and January 2023 highlighting the rapid progress of Captura’s commercialization strategy. With two fully operational pilot plants in California and an upcoming pilot plant to be installed in Norway in late 2024 in partnership with Equinor, its first commercial deployments are expected to remove tens of thousands of tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) annually.

Captura’s DOC technology offers an approach to carbon removal that extracts CO2 directly from the ocean, thereby enhancing the ocean’s natural ability to absorb atmospheric CO2.

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Exclusive: Biofuels developer interviewing bankers for capital raise

The developer of a renewable diesel and SAF plant in East Texas is seeking a banker for assistance raising development and FID capital.

Santa Maria Renewable Resources, a biofuels developer with a project in East Texas, is interviewing bankers for an upcoming capital raise.

The Houston-based firm is seeking a banker to help it raise some $40m in development capital, in a role that would then pivot to arranging project finance for a final investment decision, CEO Pat Sanchez said in an interview.

The company recently announced its selection of Topsoe as technology provider for the 3,000-barrels-per-day facility, which will produce renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. It also tapped Chemex to conduct the FEED study.

Sanchez is the former COO of Sanchez Midstream Partners, having left in 2020 after preferred shareholder Stonepeak took over the company.

He perceives headwinds for capital raising in the biofuels space, but believes the project profile he is promoting is superior to peers due to its hedged profile and the incorporation of a sustainable agriculture component that extracts additional value from an oilseed.

The superior returns, which he claims are north of 25% on an unlevered basis, “come from the integration of two industries” – biofuels and agricultural commodities – “on one site.”

Using Topsoe technology, the proposed plant can swing between 100% SAF to 100% renewable diesel, depending on the needs of the offtaker.

The project has an agreed-upon term sheet for offtake with an oil major. Under the agreement, the oil major is required to deliver feedstock in the form of camelina, canola, and soybean, he said.

Only one company in the U.S. closed on a development capital raise for a bio-based fuel project in 2023. That company was DG Fuels, and it raised up to $30m in development capital for a woody biomass-based Louisiana SAF plant expected to cost $4.2bn and reach FID in 2024.

“There seems to still be some headwinds in some companies on the biofuels side that are struggling to raise development capital,” Sanchez said, noting that the biofuels and clean energy sectors were some of the worst performers in 2023.

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exclusive

Exclusive: Midwest renewables developer launches capital raise

A Midwest renewables developer has launched a $340m capital raise for a wind-to-hydrogen operation in the US heartland.

Zero6, the Minneapolis-based renewables developer, owner and operator, recently launched a process to raise $340m in project capital for its portion of the Lake Preston Biofuels Project in South Dakota, senior managing director Howard Stern said in an interview. The company, previously known as Juhl Energy, is partnered with Colorado-based Gevo, which plans to produce SAF on 240 acres at Lake Preston in a project dubbed Net-Zero 1. Zero6 will develop 20 MW of green hydrogen production adjacent to Net-Zero 1 powered by a 99 MW wind farm located 10 miles from the SAF site, Stern said. Plans call for FID late this year, he said. Zero6 met with several financial advisors for the raise, but decided to try and conduct it in-house, Stern said. The company has not ruled out help from an advisor for this raise and could need those services in the future. The goal is to have an anchor investor in place by May, Stern said. The company is open to strategic or financial investors. Zero6’s strategy is akin to a traditional private equity play, holding a project for five to ten years of operation, Stern said. That could change depending on new investors’ outlook. According to the ReSource database, Gevo has additional projects in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Stern said Zero6 sees opportunities to replicate the Lake Preston strategy in other parts of the country. The Lake Preston project has been tied to the development of carbon capture pipelines through South Dakota, namely the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline. Gevo officials have made public comments noting that if the Summit pipeline does not get built, it would disadvantage the Lake Preston project on the basis of its carbon intensity score, and the company may seek options elsewhere.
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3Q deals in focus: Macquarie’s investment in Atlas Agro

In one of the largest and most compelling clean fuels deals of 3Q23, Macquarie made a $325m investment into Americas-focused Atlas Agro, a developer of industrial-scale green nitrogen fertilizer plants that utilize green hydrogen as a feedstock. William Demas, head of Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments in the Americas, provides a closer look.

Macquarie Asset Management’s investment into green nitrogen developer Atlas Agro gives the manager a stake in the company along with the ability to invest in the developer’s projects.

The $325m investment, made via the Macquarie GIG Energy Transition Solutions fund, will benefit Atlas Agro’s previously announced fertilizer plant project in Richland, WA, and will also support the company’s global pipeline of green fertilizer facilities, according to William Demas, head of Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments in the Americas.

In addition to the 700,000 tons-per-year Richland project, Atlas Agro is pursuing a project in Minas Gerais, Brazil that will produce 500,000 tons per year. Both projects would make nitrate fertilizer and are estimated to cost $1bn. An additional facility is planned for the US Midwest.

In the production process, the plants utilize air, water, and renewable electricity as the only raw materials.

“There are a number of things that attracted us to Atlas Agro,” Demas said in response to written questions. “They have a strong management team with an established track record managing established companies and delivering projects in the fertilizer space.”

The GIG Energy Transition Solutions fund has a target size of approximately $1.9bn, which to date is just over 50% committed, according to a source familiar with the fund.

Next phase

Equally important for the Atlas investment, Demas added, is that the company is aligned with Macquarie’s next phase energy transition thesis in the US – in this case hydrogen. 

“In this application, green hydrogen will be used as a feedstock rather than as an energy carrier, and the end-product of green fertilizer will attract customers looking to enter into long-term offtake contracts,” he said.

Through the development of plants in Washington state and the US Midwest, Atlas Agro is seeking to take advantage of favorable logistics to displace the need for imported fossil-fuel based fertilizer. Brazil also imports around 95% of its nitrogen fertilizers, according to Atlas.

“An important benefit of Atlas Agro’s model is the availability of locally produced, high-quality fertilizer, eliminating many of the issues associated with international supply chains,” Demas said, noting that offtakers are local to Atlas Agro’s operations.

Further, Macquarie and Atlas plan to pursue a project finance model for funding the projects under development.

“As an infrastructure investor, we focus on opportunities that are bankable, which means, ultimately project financeable,” Demas said. “We backed Atlas Agro because we believe their approach to project development, commercialization, construction and operations aligns with our views on how to underwrite infrastructure investments.”

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