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Cutting the electricity out of electrolysis

Milwaukee-based start-up Advanced Ionics is seeking to commercialize an electrolyzer that cuts electricity needs for hydrogen production to as low as 30 kWh per kilogram.

Advanced Ionics is seeking to ramp manufacturing capacity and raise capital as it begins to commercialize an electrolyzer promising to reduce electricity needs, CEO Chad Mason said in an interview.

The Milwaukee-based company is working to demonstrate its low-cost electrolyzer technology through a partnership with the Repsol Foundation.

The technology will be tested locally, but could grow to include additional tests and, eventually, a commercial relationship with the Spain-based energy and petrochemical company.

Advanced Ionics is looking to move into a larger facility in Milwaukee to advance early-stage production of the electrolyzer, which uses steam from process and waste heat to reduce the amount of electricity required in electrolysis.

The company last year raised $4.2m in a seed round led by Clean Energy Ventures, with participation from SWAN Impact Network. It has also received financial support from Repsol and $500,000 from the DOE.

As it scales, Mason said, the company will also need to raise additional capital, but he declined further comment.

Going to market

The Repsol arrangement is part of the company’s early access program allowing potential end users to take a first look at the technology.

“Repsol is just the tip of the iceberg here,” Mason said. “We’re talking to some really amazing partners at some of the largest energy companies in the world. People who use hydrogen today and want to make it green immediately understand what we’re doing.”

Given the concentration of hydrogen use in petrochemicals and ammonia, Advanced Ionics is targeting these sectors for deployment of its electrolyzers to produce clean hydrogen, Mason added.

Mason noted that, as the traditional petrochemical industry dies off over time, it will be replaced by green materials and green fuels like sustainable aviation fuel and biofuels that require hydrogenation to be useable.

“You’ll see a bit of a replacement happening on the petrochemical side, towards a green chemical,” he said, adding that a third potential key market is green steel production using hydrogen.

Thermodynamically favored

The company’s Symbiotic electrolyzers use steam by tapping into excess heat from industrial settings, thereby lowering electricity needs for water splitting to 35 kWh per kg, with 30 kWh per kg possible. That compares to industry averages over 50 kWh per kg.

Advanced Ionics’ water vapor electrolyzer

“We set out to build an electrolyzer specifically that would operate at intermediate temperatures,” he said. “And that allows you to have the synergy with those processes, and the downstream effect is the most cost-effective hydrogen you can get.”

The resulting hydrogen could be available for less than $1 per kg – but, Mason notes, the underlying power price math assumes an abundance of cheap, clean power. The models are usually pricing in two cents per kWh, the availability of which, Mason added, is “extremely geographically dependent.”

“If you’re in Texas, you have a system with wind, solar, and some amount of clean energy grid back-up, it’s pretty attractive,” he said. “Or if you hook up to a hydroelectric facility in the Northwest or in the Quebec area.”

Mason added, “Electrolysis rides on the coattails of cheap, clean electricity. What we have under our control is to make sure we’re using as little electricity as possible.”

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Australia’s Frontier Energy appoints MD with hydrogen background

Sam Lee Mohan will help Frontier as it transitions into the next phase of a project in Western Australia.

Australia-based Frontier Energy Limited has appointed Sam Lee Mohan as managing director.

According to a company press release, Lee Mohan has been appointed at a critical stage in Frontier’s evolution, as it transitions through the next stage of development at its 100% owned Bristol Springs Green Hydrogen Project.

During the next 12 months this includes the next level of study work, offtake, project financing and the commencement of construction.

Lee Mohan has over 20 years’ experience in the energy and utilities industry. His previous senior management positions include Global Head of Hydrogen of Xodus Group, a subsidiary of Subsea 7, where he developed and led the company’s overall hydrogen strategy. In this role, he also conceptualized the company’s largest hydrogen project, Project MercurHy.

Prior to Xodus Group, Lee Mohan spent six years at ATCO, where he was instrumental in developing the company’s hydrogen strategy, including the conceptualization, design and construction of Australia’s first, green hydrogen Microgrid, the Clean Energy Innovation Hub.

The Bristol Springs Green Hydrogen Project is located 120km from Perth in Western Australia. The company recently completed a pre-feasibility study that outlined the Project’s potential to be both an earlier mover and one of the lowest cost  green hydrogen assets in Australia, according to the company.

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Heliogen appoints new CEO

Heliogen CFO Christie Obiaya will take over as CEO after Bill Gross was removed.

Heliogen, Inc., a provider of AI-enabled concentrating solar energy technology, yesterday announced that its board of directors has appointed Christie Obiaya as chief executive officer and added Obiaya to the board of directors, effective immediately.

Obiaya, head of Heliogen’s executive committee and formerly its chief financial officer, replaces Bill Gross, who was removed as CEO and has resigned from the board of directors, according to a news release.

The company, which trades on the NYSE, has been working to advance a hydrogen project in Lancaster, California, and another in Arizona.

“As Heliogen moves forward on commercial projects, Christie brings almost two decades of operational and financial experience, with degrees and a working background in both business and engineering,” said Robert Kavner, Heliogen’s lead independent director. “Having served as chief financial officer of Heliogen and chair of the executive committee, she is intimately familiar with our innovative renewable energy technology, our customers, and the priorities to drive our future success. This knowledge, together with her experience growing and managing energy and infrastructure development and sustainable technologies, make her the right person to take on these additional responsibilities. Christie, together with the rest of Heliogen’s management team, will focus on and advance the company’s strategic plan.”

Obiaya joined Heliogen in March 2021 as CFO and has worked closely with the company’s management team on commercializing its solar energy and thermal storage systems technology. Prior to joining Heliogen, Obiaya served as the head of strategy and chief financial officer for Bechtel Energy’s multi-billion-dollar, global energy business unit from 2017 to 2021. She also held various leadership roles at Bechtel in finance, strategy, project development, investment, and execution from 2010 to 2017. Prior to Bechtel, Obiaya worked on renewable energy projects in Kenya and India from 2008 to 2009.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the company as we bring Heliogen’s renewable energy technology to customers looking to decarbonize their operations,” said Obiaya. “I look forward to bringing together Heliogen’s exceptional talent with our industry partners, and to delivering with excellence for our customers, employees, and stockholders.”

As part of the leadership transition, Kelly Rosser has been appointed interim CFO. Rosser has served as Heliogen’s chief accounting officer since August 2022.

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ITM Power gets 100 MW electrolyzer capacity reservation

The UK based electrolyzer maker signed the capacity reservation with Shell Deutschland.

ITM Power has signed a capacity reservation with Shell Deutschland GmbH, under which Shell has secured future production capacity for the manufacturing of its electrolyser stacks, according to the company.

The reservation covers 100 MW of TRIDENT electrolyser stacks to be manufactured in calendar years 2025 to 2026 in relation to the Refhyne 2 project at the Shell Energy and Chemical Plant in Rhineland, Germany, which remains subject to a final investment decision.

Dennis Schulz, CEO ITM, said: “Today‘s announcement is yet another validation of our technology and credibility to deliver at scale, providing reassuring recognition by a world-leading industrial customer. The capacity reservation also reflects the upcoming challenge for customers to secure credible large-scale delivery capability within the PEM electrolyser sphere, against a quickly growing demand.”

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Exclusive: Green hydrogen developer planning capital raises for distributed portfolio

A developer of US green hydrogen projects will need to access the project equity, debt and tax equity markets in the near term for a pipeline of distributed assets nationwide.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will be in the market for project financing for a portfolio of distributed green hydrogen projects in 2024, CEO Matt McMonagle said.

The company, which recently agreed to a $20m capital raise with Modern Energy, is aiming to attract additional private equity and infrastructure investors for the projects it is developing, the executive said.

“The opportunity is really there for attractive risk-adjusted returns at the project level based on how we’re structuring these projects with long-term contracted revenue,” he said.

The company plans to bring its first projects online in late 2024 or 2025.

“We don’t have the project financing set at the point that we can announce, but that’s something myself and my team have done in our careers,” McMonagle said, adding that he’s focused on bankability since founding the company. “We wanted to be as easy for the lenders to underwrite as possible.”

No financial advisors have been attached to the project financings, McMonagle said. A recently announced Series A, first reported by ReSource in February, gave the company exposure to investors that want to participate in project financings, he said.

“We’ll really be ramping that process up, likely after the new year,” McMonagle added, declining to say how much the company would need to raise in 2024.

NovoHydrogen doesn’t have a timeline on a Series B, he said.

Distributed pipeline

The company looks to do onsite projects adjacent to consumption, McMonagle said. The first projects that will go online will be 10 MW and smaller.

“Typically the permitting is straightforward in that we’re adding equipment to an already impacted industrial site,” McMonagle said. He declined to elaborate on where these projects are located or what customers they will serve.

The company also has off-site, or near-site projects, where production is decoupled from consumption. But the company still calls those distributed because they are being developed with a targeted customer in mind.

“We want to be as close as possible to that customer,” he said. Those off-site projects typically are larger and will begin coming online in 2026 and 2027.  

In Texas NovoHydrogen has two large-scale green hydrogen developments in production, co-located with greenfield renewables projects, McMonagle said. Partners, including EPC, are in place for those efforts. The company also has projects in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and along the west coast.

“Where can we add the most value and have the biggest competitive advantage?” McMonagle said of the company’s geographic strategy. “We have very specific go-to-markets in each of those regions which we feel play to our strengths.”

NovoHydrogen is a member of the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub and is involved with the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2), though not in line to receive DOE funding through that hub.

Post-IRA, green hydrogen projects will look much like renewables deals from the equity, tax equity and debt perspectives, he said.

“We’re structuring and setting up our projects to take advantage of that existing infrastructure and knowledge base of how to finance deals,” he said. New options on transferability will enable additional financing options as well.

No flipping

NovoHydrogen does not plan to flip projects before COD, McMonagle said.

“We are planning to deploy hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in capex for these projects, and we’ll certainly need to partner with folks to deploy that capital,” McMonagle said. “But we will remain in deals with our customers because that relationship is really the fundamental value that we bring in our business.”

Hydrogen projects are different from renewables in that the customers need greater assurances of resiliency, security of supply and performance, than in a space like solar, he said.

Flipping projects before COD would be inconsistent with the trust required to attract offtakers.

“We don’t believe doing a flip reflects that level of importance and support and, frankly, incentive, behavioral incentive, that we have to show to our customers,” he said.

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exclusive

NanoScent seeking new investor to complete blended funding round

NanoScent is seeking a new investor to satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the European Innovation Council.

NanoScent, an Israel-based technology firm, is seeking a new investor to help solidify an equity investment from the European Innovation Council, CEO Oren Gavriely said in an interview.

To satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the EIC, NanoScent must bring on a new investor at EUR 2m, Gavriely said.

The ideal investor will have complementary capabilities that can ramp up the revenue stream, Gavriely added. Producers and suppliers of gasses and chemicals for industrial use would make sense.

The money will be used to further develop the proprietary VOCID Purity in-line sensor controller, which measures hydrogen quality by monitoring the cleanliness of gas lines. The technology is oriented towards producers and end-users like fuel cell stations, who will be responsible for the integrity of the hydrogen. The product will be rolled out at the end of 1Q23.

Gavriely said the company has several customers for the technology in the pipeline, declining to say who they are.

NanoScent, founded five years ago, has raised USD 10m in equity to date, with another USD 10m in non-dilutive funding. The company’s largest outside investor is Sumitomo Chemical, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Control of the company is maintained by the founders, Gavriely said.

NanoScent has 20 employees, Gavriely said. So far the company has relied on the expertise of its board, which includes one former investment banker, for financial advisory services. That could change in the future as the company grows.

NanoScent uses Pearl Cohen for law services and EY for accounting.

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AGDC seeks $150m in development capital for Alaska LNG project

The Alaska corporation is raising capital to reach FID on a $44bn LNG project that includes the construction of a natural gas pipeline and carbon capture infrastructure.

The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is actively working to raise $150m in development capital for the Alaska LNG project, with Goldman Sachs providing advisory services.

This capital will cover third-party Front End Engineering Design (FEED) costs, project management, legal and commercial expenses, and overhead for 8 Star Alaska, the entity overseeing the project. Investors will receive a majority interest in both 8 Star Alaska and Alaska LNG as part of the fundraising efforts, according to a presentation​​.

AGDC, a public corporation of the state of Alaska, is hoping to finalize a deal for development capital in the next 12 months, but has not set a definitive timeline for the fundraise, AGDC’s Tim Fitzpatrick said.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $44bn, according to Fitzpatrick, and consists of three principal infrastructural components:

  1. Arctic Carbon Capture (ACC) Plant: Located in Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope, this plant is designed to remove carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide before natural gas enters the pipeline.
  2. Natural Gas Pipeline: This 807-mile pipeline, with a 42-inch diameter, connects the ACC plant to the LNG facility and is capable of transporting 3.7 billion ft³/d of natural gas. It includes multiple offtake points for in-state residential, commercial, and industrial use.
  3. Alaska LNG Facility: Situated at tidewater in Nikiski, Alaska, this facility features three liquefaction trains, two loading berths, two 240,000 m³ LNG tanks, and a jetty. It is designed to produce 20 million tons per year of LNG​​.

Strategies to raise the necessary funds include collaborating with established LNG developers, strategic and financial investors, and possibly forming a consortium, according to the presentation. All project equity will flow through 8 Star Alaska, keeping the legal and commercial structure of the project consistent​​.

As of last year, the corporation was negotiating sales agreements for a significant portion of the Alaska LNG project’s capacity. Discussions include contracts covering 8 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) at fixed prices and market-linked charges, and equity offtake talks for up to 12 MTPA. Additionally, three traditional Asian utility customers have shown interest in a minimum of 3 MTPA, potentially increasing to 5 MTPA.

These negotiations involve traditional Asian utility buyers, LNG traders, and oil and gas companies, all credit-worthy and large-scale market participants, the company said. Some buyers are contemplating equity offtake, investing at the Final Investment Decision (FID) in exchange for LNG supplied at cost​​.

A key component of the project’s advancement is securing gas supply agreement terms, identified as a prerequisite by multiple investors. AGDC has held meetings with executives from two major producers to emphasize the need for Gas Supply Precedent Agreements to attract further investment. These discussions, highlighting the project’s importance to Alaska, were joined by key figures including the DOR Commissioner Crum, the DNR Commissioner Boyle, and representatives from Goldman Sachs​​.

The Japan Energy Summit, sponsored by AGDC, focused on the need for new LNG capacity in Asia. Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade & Industry (METI) expressed strong support for new LNG investments and offtake, emphasizing the replacement of coal with gas in developing Asian markets​​.

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