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Decarbonization start-up raises $7.5m seed capital

The start-up is seeking to commercialize a technology that eliminates carbon from natural gas to produce clean hydrogen and solid carbon.

ETCH, INC. (ETCH), a decarbonization company that eliminates carbon from natural gas to produce both clean hydrogen and solid carbon, has secured $7.5m in seed-stage funding from Emerald Development Managers LP, according to a news release.

ETCH will use these funds to take the technology to market and begin commercialization. ETCH anticipates that it will be field testing commercial units later this year.

Formulated in the labs of Johns Hopkins University by Prof. Jonah Erlebacher, Ph.D., The ETCH ProcessTM uses a novel closed-loop chemical reaction cycle that leads to highly efficient thermal and materials management in reactor systems. ETCH’s revolutionary decarbonization technology delivers unrivaled environmental impact, economic value, and versatility that will accelerate the clean energy transition. In 2018, the project team secured a competitive multi-year grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which provided critical research funding.

The ETCH ProcessTM is a clear differentiator among other hydrogen technologies for its:

  • Efficiency: The ETCH ProcessTM can convert nearly 100% of natural gas input into hydrogen, regardless of scale, and it requires minimal maintenance through its modular design.
  • Affordability: ETCH’s low-cost solution is on track to beat the DOE Hydrogen Shot cost target of less than $1/kg.
  • Sustainability: ETCH requires less energy and no water thereby providing the most versatility to operate across geographies.
  • Security: ETCH uses earth-abundant materials that can be sourced domestically and will not be subject to supply chain disruptions and thereby enhance energy security.

“We cannot solve our climate and emissions challenge without cleaning up natural gas,” said Dr. Jonah Erlebacher, ETCH Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. “The ETCH ProcessTM is a holistic solution that will allow decarbonized natural gas to be a part of our global energy system. This significant seed-stage funding demonstrates confidence in our technology and business plan as we work toward a clean energy future.”

“ETCH has developed an amazing new technology. It is practical, has dramatically lower operating and capital costs compared to any existing or proposed decarbonization approach, and is easily deployable at any scale” said Neil Cohen, Founder and Chairman of Emerald Development Managers. “The ETCH ProcessTM can be easily implemented in-line at millions of facilities, delivering clean hydrogen and significant solid carbon that can be used in a multitude of ways.”

“The ETCH ProcessTM is an intelligent steward of our natural resources – at scale – for an energy secure and sustainable future,” said Ed Schlesinger, Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering. “We are proud to support ETCH as it moves forward on its journey.”

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CVR Partners closes 45Q transaction for carbon capture at Kansas fertilizer facility

CVR Partners and CCS firm CapturePoint have closed a tax equity transaction with outside investors, opening up millions in quarterly payments through 2030.

CVR Partners, LP, a manufacturer of ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate solution fertilizer products, and CapturePoint, a Texas company focused on capturing carbon oxides from industrial processes, have closed a tax equity transaction pertaining to carbon capture and sequestration at CVR subsidiary Coffeyville Resources Nitrogen Fertilizers (CRNF).

The parties have entered into a series of agreements with certain unaffiliated third-party investors and certain of their respective affiliates intended to qualify under the Internal Revenue Service safe harbor described in Revenue Procedure 2020-12 for certain joint ventures that are eligible to claim Section 45Q Credits, accordign to a news release.

In connection with the 45Q transaction, CRNF and CapturePoint each received an initial payment, net of expenses, of approximately $18m and are expected to also receive installment payments, payable quarterly, until March 31, 2030, totaling up to approximately $22m each for the seven-year period and potentially certain contingent payments over this same period if certain carbon oxide capture and sequestration milestones are met, totaling up to approximately $38m each, subject to certain customary and other specified terms.

“As a leader in the production of low carbon nitrogen fertilizer, CVR Partners is proud to participate in the generation of carbon capture and sequestration credits as a result of our voluntary nitrous oxide abatement and carbon sequestration projects in Coffeyville, Kansas,” said Mark Pytosh, chief executive officer of CVR Partners’ general partner. “This facility is uniquely qualified to produce hydrogen and ammonia that is certified ‘blue’ to a market that is increasingly demanding reduced carbon footprints. These efforts support our core Values of Environment and Continuous Improvement, and our goal of continuing to produce nitrogen fertilizers that feed the world’s growing population in an environmentally responsible way.”

“CapturePoint is pleased to partner with CRNF and third-party investors to realize the benefits of carbon capture and sequestration credits for services that CapturePoint has long provided as a leader in the carbon capture and sequestration field,” said Tracy Evans, chief executive officer of CapturePoint. “CapturePoint looks forward to even more exciting announcements in the near future as it continues to expand its carbon capture and sequestration services.”

In the event that certain carbon oxide capture or sequestration requirements are not met, CRNF and CapturePoint may be required to pay certain specified damages payments to the Investors, up to the amount of payments received by CRNF and CapturePoint in connection with the 45Q Transaction, less the amount ofSection 45Q Credits received by the Investors.

CapturePoint will serve as manager of the Tax Equity JV, according to a securities filing.

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Group to bring zero-emissions passenger flights to Denmark

DAT, Everfuel, and Universal Hydrogen Co. will collaborate on regional aviation by enabling zero-emissions flight using clean hydrogen by the end of 2025.

DAT, Everfuel, and Universal Hydrogen Co. will collaborate on regional aviation in Denmark by enabling zero-emissions flight using clean hydrogen by the end of 2025.

The three companies will combine their expertise in flight operations, hydrogen fuel production, and hydrogen logistics and aircraft propulsion to bring into service hydrogen-powered ATR 72-600 regional aircraft on DAT routes in Denmark, with the goal of converting all of DAT’s domestic flights to true zero-emission flights by 2030, according to a press release.

DAT plans to use ATR 72s converted using Universal Hydrogen technology. These aircraft will accommodate 56 passengers following conversion to hydrogen. Universal Hydrogen will also provide fuel services to supply green hydrogen using modular capsules, without the need for changes to existing airport infrastructure.

The green hydrogen will be produced at Everfuel’s first Power-to-X (PtX) plant in Fredericia, the release states.

The collaborative effort between the three companies follows the Government of Denmark’s request for tender to develop zero-emission commercial flights in Denmark.

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Spain’s ACCIONA planning large-scale green hydrogen projects in the US

A JV between Spain’s ACCIONA and Germany’s Nordex has big plans for the US.

ACCIONA & Nordex Green Hydrogen (ANGH) is developing gigawatt-scale green hydrogen projects in the United States.

The firm, a JV between Spanish renewables and infrastructure firm ACCIONA and German wind turbine maker Nordex, has several projects in development in rural America as part of a global portfolio of green hydrogen projects with targeted installed wind and solar capacity of 50 GW.

In comments to the IRS regarding 45V tax credits, the firm’s Vice President of Development Scott Baron wrote that the firm was seeking to reach FID by 2027 and complete construction by 2030 on at least one of the projects.

“Each project represents multiple billions of capital investment and gigawatts of incremental renewable energy capacity. Developing projects of this scale takes time and considerable investment, which we have committed,” Baron wrote.

In making the case for maintaining strict standards for green hydrogen production under 45V, Baron noted that Nordex has a separate business unit, Nordex Electrolyzers, that is developing an alkaline electrolyzer designed to operate under variable electricity output from renewable sources.

“Prototyping will be complete in 2025 with commercial scale-up to follow,” he said. “This experience has given us confidence that the technology (in general) will be ready and scalable in time to support the projects we and others intend to build within this decade.”

Baron declined to comment further on the projects.

Business model

Further making the argument for strict green hydrogen rules, Baron writes that there are zero emissions impacts to the grid under the business model that ANGH is pursuing, whereby renewable energy resources are directly connected to the electrolyzers.

“Our support [of strict rules] is predicated on a business model that ANGH and others are pursuing globally, which focuses on building very large-scale projects (typical projects are 1,000- 3,000 MW electrolyzer capacity, with capital cost expectations of $3-10 billion) in the best renewable energy resource areas of the world but are remote and currently lack transmission infrastructure,” the letter reads. “These projects are exclusively or primarily ‘behind-the-meter’ or ‘off-grid’ and rely on system designs that optimize sizing of the various key pieces of equipment given the wind and/or solar profile of the site. “

Baron goes on to write that the challenge of remotely sited projects is transporting the final end-product to its end user. “Within the United States, there is tremendous potential to utilize and/or develop low-cost pipelines, which is a proven successful and low-cost method of transporting molecules,” he said. “The scale of the projects ANGH is developing can support the capital costs associated with new longer distance pipelines.”

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Waste-to-hydrogen developer to close $100m capital raise this month

Raven SR’s C-round of financing is being run by two bulge-bracket banks, and the firm has received widespread interest from private equity and corporate strategics.

Raven SR, a US waste-to-hydrogen developer, is working on a $100m capital raise that’s expected to wrap up this month, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

Raven’s C-round of financing is being run by Barclays and Bank of America. The firm has received widespread interest from private equity and corporate strategics.

Raven CEO Matt Murdock said on the sidelines of the Hydrogen Americas event in Washington D.C. that he was hoping to have the raise done by Thanksgiving.

Headquartered in Wyoming with projects in California and Spain, the company uses a steam/CO2 reforming process that transforms municipal solid waste, organic waste and methane into clean fuels.

In August, 2021, Raven closed on a $20m strategic investment from Chevron U.S.A., ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc. and Ascent Hydrogen Fund. Samsung Ventures made a strategic investment earlier this year, allowing the company to expand into the Asia-Pacific market.

The company has partnered with INNIO to use its Jenbacher engines to provide renewable power and heat to Raven SR’s first waste-to-hydrogen production facility at the Republic Services West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill in Richmond, California.

Raven SR plans to bring the plant online in the first quarter of 2023, initially processing up to 99.9 tons of organic waste per day and producing up to 2,000 metric tons per year of hydrogen.

In Aragón, Spain, Raven SR is aiming to bring a second project online in 2023 that will produce 1,600 metric tons per year of renewable hydrogen from approximately 75 tons of organic solid waste per day.

Raven SR recently announced the election of Mark Gordon of Ascent Fund and Michael Hoban of Chevron New Energies to its Board of Directors.

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Exclusive: CO2-to-SAF tech firm in new capital raise

A technology company with a novel process to convert CO2 into fuels and chemicals is extending a capital raise that previously closed with inputs from several oil and airline majors.

OXCCU, the UK-based clean fuels production company, is extending a Series A raise it closed last year with an eye on growth in the US, CEO Andrew Symes told ReSource. 

The raise, characterized as a Series A2 by Symes, is being conducted in-house, he said. It builds on the GBP 18m (USD 22.7m) Series A it finished last year, led by Clean Energy Ventures.

Aramco, ENI and United Airlines are also among the company’s backers.

OXCCU, a spin out of Oxford University, plans to raise additional money to scale its catalytic process converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other products. A patent grant, filed in 2020, is anticipated this year.

“We don’t want to be the project developer, we want to license to the project developer,” Symes said of the company’s business model.

Fuel made combining carbon dioxide (captured from industry or power plants) with green or clean hydrogen will be cheaper based on OXCCU’s iron-catalyst process, Symes said, which requires one step instead of the traditional two-step process.

OXCCU is looking for partners to engage with on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects in the US, Symes said. This year the company will deliver a pilot plant in the US and plans to complete a 160 kilogram-per-day plant in Sheffield, UK in 2026.

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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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