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Denver green ammonia firm prepping series C capital raise

A green ammonia developer and technology provider is laying the groundwork for a series C capital raise later this year, and still deliberating on a site for its first project.

Starfire Energy, a Denver-based green ammonia producer, is wrapping up a series B capital raise and laying the groundwork for a series C later this year, CEO Joe Beach said in an interview.

The company completed a $6.5m series A in 2021 and finished a $24m series B last year. Investors include Samsung Ventures, AP Ventures, Çalık Enerji, Chevron Technology Ventures, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Osaka Gas USA, Pavilion Capital and the Rockies Venture Club.

Beach declined to state a target figure for the upcoming raise. The firm has not used a financial advisor to date.

Starfire is currently deliberating on locations for its first production facility to come online in 2026, Beach said. Colorado is a primary contender due to ammonia demand, while the Great Plains offer abundant wind energy.

The firm’s strategy is to use renewable energy and surplus nuclear power from utilities to create ammonia from hydrogen with no storage component, eliminating the problems associated with hydrogen storage and transportation.

Targeted offtake industries include agriculture, maritime shipping and peaking power fuel consumption.

“The demand is global,” Beach said, stating that he expects about 150 leads to convert to MOUs. “We get inbound interest every week.”

For future capital raising, Beach said the company could take on purely financial investors, as it already has a long list of strategic investors.

“The expectation is we will wind up with manufacturing plants around the world,” Beach said.

The “new petroleum”

Many hydrogen production projects have been announced worldwide in the last year.

Beach said he expects many of those to transition into ammonia production projects, as ammonia is much easier to export.

Now, Starfire is working on developing its ammonia cracking technology, which converts ammonia into an ammonia/hydrogen blend at the point of use for chemical processes. The final product form in that process is 70% ammonia, 22.5% hydrogen and 7.5% nitrogen – all free of emissions.

The company is using proceeds of its series B capital raise to develop its Rapid Ramp and Prometheus Fire systems. Rapid Ramp uses a modular system design for the production of green ammonia using air, water, and renewable energy as the sole inputs. Prometheus Fire is an advanced cracking system that converts ammonia into hydrogen, operating at lower temperatures than other crackers and creating cost-effective ammonia-hydrogen blends that can replace natural gas.

The advantage to using this technology is that it makes the export of a hydrogen product financially feasible, Beach said.

“You should see ammonia becoming the new petroleum,” he said of the global industry. Ammonia can be deployed internationally like oil and provide the dependability of coal.

Eventually Starfire will undergo a financial exit, Beach said. Likely that will mean an acquisition, but an IPO is also on the table.

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Direct air capture firm launches with venture backing

ZeoDAC, Inc. launches with an international group of investment partners that include: Wilson Hill Ventures, Caltech, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Freeflow Ventures and Global Brain.

Direct air capture firm ZeoDAC has launched with backing from venture capital and strategic investors, according to a news release.

The company is founded by industry veterans and technical pioneers Professor Christopher W. Jones, an international expert in direct air capture of carbon dioxide technologies from Georgia Tech, and Mark E. Davis, a chemical engineering Professor from Caltech, who has brought multiple academic innovations to commercial success, including zeolite-based processes.

ZeoDAC, Inc. launches with an international group of investment partners that include: Wilson Hill Ventures, Caltech, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Freeflow Ventures and Global Brain.

“ZeoDAC’s CO2 capture process leverages chemically and mechanically robust solid sorbents with established supply chains deployed in an energy efficient temperature-vacuum swing adsorption cycle, leading to a simple yet economically advantaged process,” said Christopher Jones.

By combining these innovations and expertise, ZeoDAC aims to provide a compelling economic advantage for large-scale, commercial carbon capture and use. The company has raised several million dollars from institutional venture capital and strategic investors led by Wilson Hill Ventures.

“ZeoDAC can deliver compelling Net Present Value (NPV) to industrial partners on an international scale, enabling a multibillion-dollar market with positive impacts for the climate,” said Ajay Kshatriya from Wilson Hill Ventures.

ZeoDAC not only captures carbon dioxide but also water, allowing for the production of several valuable end-products that can drive an economic return while delivering an environmental benefit.

“We are excited to embark on this journey with ZeoDAC. We believe that Direct Air Capture offers the potential for us to source sustainable ingredients and materials while reducing our environmental footprint. After extensively reviewing the market, we are confident that ZeoDAC’s novel approach provides the affordability, scalability, and energy efficiency needed to become a major player in the DAC industry,” said Nicola Tongue, Associate Director, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

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Clean Seas investing $50m in Arizona plastic-to-hydrogen project

The subsidiary of the Clean Vision Corporation is working to secure “stages of necessary capital” for the project in Phoenix.

Clean-Seas, Inc. has signed an MOU with the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service to establish a plastic waste to hydrogen facility in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a press release.

Clean-Seas Arizona, a subsidiary of the Clean Vision Corporation, intends to invest at least $50m in the project. The company will “work towards securing the various stages of necessary capital to finance the innovative facility in phases,’ the release states.

Clean-Seas Arizona will source waste plastic feedstock from the Phoenix metro area for a global network of clean hydrogen hubs and recycle it into AquaH, Clean-Seas’ brand of hydrogen.

RMWSSS, an institute at Arizona State University, will provide scholarly, technical, and sustainability advisory services.

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Fitch lays out credit considerations for green hydrogen financing

Key operating metrics include the efficiency and rate of hydrogen production, plant availability, the ability to respond to intermittent power, and hydrogen purity levels.

Fitch Ratings has set out specific credit-risk considerations relevant to green hydrogen projects in a new report.

Fitch considers the credit risks of such projects to have the closest parallels to those of thermal power assets, and to generally be at least equal to – but potentially greater than – thermal power risks. Future technology and process developments will be evaluated and incorporated in ratings as the industry matures.

Whilst there are two key proven electrolyser technologies for producing hydrogen from renewable energy and water, the green hydrogen market is still nascent, meaning that precedents for project-financed transactions are very limited.

Green hydrogen projects have a greater range of balance of plant than solar, wind or thermal power projects. Complexity, and consequently integration risk, will therefore have a key influence on the completion risk assessment in any rating.

The availability of alternative replacement contractors to complete a project will be key for whether it can be rated above the incumbent contractor.The immaturity of the market will heighten the weight given to independent experts’ (IE) views in relation to such replaceability. We also generally expect high dependence on project parties, such as original equipment manufacturers, who will be key in O&M activities due to their expertise and equipment warranties.

The limited number of peer green hydrogen projects also means Fitch will be more reliant on the IE’s views of the reasonableness of a project’s budgeted or contracted operating costs. Any perceived lack of credibility, competence and experience of the project parties could be factored into the financial profile assessed in our ratings.

Key operating metrics include the efficiency, and rate, of hydrogen production, the plant availability, the ability to respond to intermittent power, and, where this is critical, the hydrogen purity levels.

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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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California renewables developer taps advisor for capital raise

Utility-scale solar and storage developer RAI Energy has tapped an advisor for a capital raise. The company is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at projects in Arizona and California.

RAI Energy, the utility-scale solar and storage developer, has hired an advisor as it pursues a capital raise.

The company is working with Keybanc Capital Markets in a process to raise up to $25m, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

In an interview, RAI Energy CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said the company “is excited about having [Keybanc] act as our financial advisors on this fundraising round.” He noted that RAI is first a solar-plus-storage developer and is approaching investors as such.

However, RAI is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at two of its project sites in Arizona and California, he said.

“Hydrogen is a natural next step,” Alrai said of his company, adding that the end-product would be green ammonia for use in fertilizer production and industrial sectors. Pure hydrogen could also be kept for use in transportation.

A variety of partnerships would be required to develop hydrogen at RAI’s solar sites, Alrai said. The company could need advisory services to structure those partnerships.

RAI is working with engineers on the hydrogen question now and is open to additional technology and finance advisory relationships, he said. The company is also evaluating several electrolyzer manufacturers.

“It’s an open book for us right now,” Alrai said of hydrogen production. “We’re always open to talking to people who can help us.”

For hydrogen project development, RAI would seek project level debt and equity similar to its solar developments, Alrai said. Early-stage project sites in Colorado and New Mexico could also be candidates for hydrogen co-development.

Keybanc delined to comment for this story.

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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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