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Details revealed of Copenhagen Infrastructure blue ammonia project in Louisiana

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Sustainable Fuels Group are exploring the feasibility of building a $4.6bn ammonia production and export facility in St. Charles Parish.

St. Charles Clean Fuels, a development company jointly owned by strategic energy investment company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Sustainable Fuels Group, is exploring the feasibility of building a $4.6bn ammonia production and export facility in St. Charles Parish.

If the project moves forward as outlined, the company expects to create 216 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $90,000. Louisiana Economic Development estimates 949 new indirect jobs would result, for a total of 1,165 potential new jobs in the Southeast Region. The company also estimates the project will result in 2,000 peak construction jobs.

“Louisiana continues to attract the interest of new and established companies exploring major investments in the energy transition,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “St. Charles Clean Fuels’ commitment to lowering global levels of greenhouse gas emissions aligns with the state’s goal for net zero emissions by 2050. We look forward to seeing this project progress as part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy that is growing and diversifying our economy.”

The company envisions a facility designed to produce one of the world’s cleanest sources of ammonia, incorporating self-generated hydrogen fuel and capturing and sequestering over 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions produced during the ammonia manufacturing process, according to a news release. Reduced-carbon or “blue” ammonia is anticipated to be in high demand as a clean energy feedstock in global markets.

“St. Charles Clean Fuels is proposing to build one of the cleanest industrial projects for the new energy transition,” SCCF Project Director Ramesh Raman said. “By capturing greenhouse gases and engineering the project to consider cleaner, more efficient technologies, the company seeks to make a tangible contribution to lowering the environmental footprint for the global economy while positively benefitting the communities in which we reside.”

International-Matex Tank Terminals would lease land to SCCF at its St. Rose location on the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. Charles Parish. The New Orleans-based company would also build the storage tanks needed to hold the liquified ammonia before transportation via its existing terminal.

“International-Matex Tank Terminals is excited to provide storage and logistics services to support SCCF’s blue ammonia project,” IMTT Chairman and CEO Carlin G. Conner said. “We are proud to leverage our liquids and chemicals handling expertise to help introduce alternative clean energy sources which are vital to the global energy transition.”

The proposed site is currently undergoing a front-end engineering design (FEED) study while the company prepares permit applications. SCCF hopes to make a final investment decision in early 2024 and begin construction later that year, which would enable operations to begin in 2027.

“St. Charles Parish feeds and fuels America, and I am proud to see businesses in our parish continue to grow and develop new ways to do that,” St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell said. “When we can create new jobs using sustainable processes, everyone wins.”

To attract the project, the state has prepared a competitive incentive package that would include a $6m performance-based grant for infrastructure needs as well as the full services of LED FastStart, Louisiana’s nationally acclaimed recruitment, customized training and workforce development program. The company is also expected to apply for participation in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.

“This potential investment from St. Charles Clean Fuels Holdings and the Copenhagen Investment Fund is extremely important,” said Michael Hecht, president & CEO of GNO, Inc.  “Not only does it represent hundreds of jobs and billions in investment, it marks a major step towards Louisiana becoming the leading clean energy state of the future for America.”

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PCC Hydrogen to build ethanol-to-hydrogen pilot

The Indiana plant will convert ethanol into high purity, negative carbon index green hydrogen using a patented reforming process coupled with carbon capture.

PCC Hydrogen Inc, a low carbon/negative carbon hydrogen production company based in Louisville, KY, is pleased to announce plans to construct a pilot hydrogen production plant in Cloverdale, IN, according to a news release.

PCC H2’s plant will showcase the efficient conversion of logistically friendly ethanol into high purity, negative carbon index green hydrogen using a patented reforming process coupled with the capture of the processes pure CO2 byproduct. By providing a readily available, negative carbon index hydrogen close to the point of need, the Company is enabling the decarbonization of the economy in a cost effective and commercially viable way.

The Company has engaged Plant Process Group (PPG), a leading Houston based design, engineering, fabrication, construction, and commissioning services company to support the project with plans to have the pilot plant operational by first quarter 2024. PPG has decades of experience designing and building facilities for the refining industry, chemicals manufacturers, and biofuels producers.

PCC H2 is also working closely with the Town of Cloverdale and Putnam County to support the establishment of the first negative carbon index hydrogen production facility of its kind in the world. The production facility expects to hire local personnel at competitive wages and benefits.

Tim Fogarty, PCC H2 CEO, stated “We are excited to work with the Town of Cloverdale and Putnam County to showcase our groundbreaking technology. The Cloverdale location is ideal for the construction and operation of our first production facility given existing local hydrogen demand and the potential for broad adoption of low cost, negative carbon index hydrogen to help decarbonize the local economy in a financially rational way.”

Hydrogen generated from the PCC H2 process can be used in myriad applications ranging from hydrogen combustion engines to fuel cells (fuel cell powered loaders, trucks, other rolling stock, and for fuel cells in non-grid connected BEV charging stations). Furthermore, PCC H2 is exploring the use of its hydrogen to lower the emissions profile of any heating/calcining process. Finally, the Company is leveraging the logistically friendly nature of ethanol to produce hydrogen at smaller, distributed facilities closer to the point of use, diminishing the adverse added expense of transporting liquid hydrogen over long distances.

Cloverdale Town Manager, Jason Hartman, added “Cloverdale is extremely pleased to support the construction of the first of its kind negative carbon index hydrogen production plant that will decarbonize local industry while offering competitively priced jobs to the local community.”

The PCC H2 core reformer at the pilot plant will be mounted on three skids and operate 24/7. The company expects to break ground at the site this Summer.

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Bloom providing fuel cells to Italian EPC firm

Bloom Energy has partnered with Italian EPC provider Cefla for multiple megawatts of Bloom’s solid oxide fuel cells.

Bloom Energy has partnered with Italian EPC provider Cefla for multiple megawatts of Bloom’s solid oxide fuel cells to be deployed through 2025, according to a press release.

The partnership will expand Bloom’s footprint in Italy and help Italian companies transition from combustion-based energy to a proprietary fuel-cell based Energy Server.

This represents Bloom Energy’s second deal with a leading Italian company. Earlier this year Bloom announced the installation of its Energy Servers as part of Ferrari’s decarbonization project.

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Australia rail-freight co. gets $5m grant for H2 trucks

Aurizon will put four hydrogen-fueled trucks on the road in Queensland.

Australian rail-freight company Aurizon has received a grant of $5m (AUD) from the government of Queensland.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Aurizon were a successful applicant through round two of the $35 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund.

The announcement comes after the release of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, the Palaszczuk Government’s plan for a bold clean energy future for Queensland including the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the world.

“Aurizon’s project will put four hydrogen-fueled prime movers on the road in Townsville and create more opportunities for other businesses to convert their transport fleets to new technology fuel,” Miles said in a news release.

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Exclusive: Coal bed methane producer seeking capital partners

A western US company producing RNG by injecting biomass into coal seams is preparing a Series B and has a line of site to financing and contracting EPC for a series of projects in western coal fields.

Cowboy Clean Fuels, a Wyoming-based RNG producer, is preparing to launch a Series B to reach commercialization, CEO Ryan Waddington told ReSource.

CCF injects biomass feedstock like molasses into the coal seams of spent coal mines about 1,000 ft. below surface, relying on the endogenous microorganisms living in those seams to produce methane, Waddington said. Capex on projects is low, up to $6m each.

The company raised $10m in a Series A and will seek to raise that same amount for a Series B. The company has been assisted by Syren Capital Advisors.

Projects are set up as separate entities under the parent, Waddington said. Six projects, each ranging from 70 to 300 wells, are in the company’s pipeline now in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.

“We can replicate this 1,000 times,” Waddington said of the immense number of available wells in the region, which can be acquired cheaply. Additional growth could come in the San Juan region of New Mexico, where coal capacity is being retired quickly.

The fuels could be sold as renewable diesel into markets with incentives, like California’s LCFS, Waddington said. The renewable fuel is significantly (10X) more expensive than natural gas produced as a by-product of oil production. But, CCF is not looking to participate in the LCFS program or the EPA-run RFS program.

“The voluntary market for RNG has really taken off,” he said. A contract for renewable diesel offtake is pending with a Wyoming-based oil and gas company looking to lower its CI score.

CCF’s projects are much larger than a typical RNG project, Waddington said; the first project will produce at some 700 cfpy and include 185 tons of CCS. CCF is looking for EPC providers now.

The executive team of CCF has a minority position of the company, Waddington said. The founders and the management team together have a majority position.

The company’s first 139-well project in Wyoming is awaiting final approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management.

CCF is primarily VC-backed to date. The company received approximately $7.8m through the Energy Matching Funds program of the Wyoming Energy Authority early this year.

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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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US clean fuels producer prepping equity and debt raises

A Texas-based clean fuels producer is close to mandating an advisor for a platform equity raise. It has already tapped Goldman Sachs to help arrange a cap stack in the billions for a project in Oregon.

NXTClean Fuels, a Houston-based developer of clean fuels projects, is preparing a $50m to $100m platform equity raise in the near term and has large debt and equity needs for a pair of projects in Oregon, CEO Chris Efird said in an interview.

The company is close to engaging a new financial advisor for the raise, which will launch late this year or early next, Efird said.

Port Westward

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs’ post-carbon group is retained for the capital stack on NXTClean’s flagship project at Port Westward, at the Port of Columbia County, Efird said. The $3bn CapEx (including EPC) project is fully permitted by the State of Oregon and is awaiting one federal Clean Water Act permit. An Environmental Impact Statement is expected this fall.

The project is dedicated to producing a split of renewable diesel and SAF, amounting to roughly 50,000 barrels per day total permitted capacity when fully operational.

FID is expected for roughly August 2024, he said. About 30 months from FID the plant will reach COD.

“What we’re most focused on right now is the true senior debt,” Efird said. On the equity side the company is engaged with strategic partners that have indicated interest in post-FID equity.

NXTClean has conversations ongoing with the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, along with commercial project finance lenders.

Red Rock

In April NXTClean acquired what was the Red Rock Biofuel facility in Lakeview, Oregon. That woody biomass-to-SAF facility foreclosed after $425m in investment, following technical and financial issues brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic. NXTClean purchased the facility for $75m in preferred stock at auction on the courthouse steps.

GLC advisors was retained by lead bondholder Foundation Credit to advise on that process, Efird said.

Red Rock is being repurposed to produce carbon-negative RNG for the adjacent Tallgrass Ruby Pipeline, Efird said. The fully-permitted project has a significant amount of equipment already installed or on skids.

A first phase will require a spend of $100m to $150m. Some $50m of equity will augment a balance of debt, raised in part through USDA programming, Efird said. Cash flow from the first phase will help with the second phase, which will bring the capital needs of the facility up to as much as $400m.

Looking forward

Geographically, NXTClean will expand in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Efird said.

Each of NXTClean’s two projects are held by a separate subsidiary. The company has a third subsidiary called GoLo Biomass that focuses on feedstock aggregation, Efird said. It engages with fish processors in Vietnam and used cooking oil suppliers in South Korea to augment supply from large companies.

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