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Developer chooses O&M firm for bioSAF plant

IHI Power Services has been engaged for a development stage cellulosic renewable bio-jet fuel production facility in the Pacific Northwest.

IHI Power Services Corp. (IPSC), an owner and operator of power plants across the U.S., has been selected by renewable bio-jet fuel refineries developer, Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC (NWABF) to provide pre-mobilization, mobilization, start-up and commissioning services—and eventually asset management and plant operations and maintenance (O&M)—for NWABF’s development of a 2nd generation cellulosic renewable bio-jet fuel production facility in the Pacific Northwest.

Located in the Columbia River Corridor, this advanced facility will produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using woody biomass as the primary feedstock source.

As a company with experience in biomass fuels and a focus on advancing the use of SAF across the energy industry, IPSC was a top candidate to take on the development, asset management services and ongoing operational needs of NWABF’s new facility. It was ultimately selected for its highly experienced team of experts and a broad range of advanced service experience and offerings, the firm said in a news release.

“When we began to seek out a partner to work alongside our team on the first-ever SAF facility in the Pacific Northwest region—NWABF knew it needed a firm with ample experience in the biomass sector that could support early development while also being able to provide feedstock preparation and materials handling systems, asset management and ongoing O&M services after completion,” said Nausher Khan, vice president and director of project development at Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels. “IPSC fit that description perfectly with the NWABF Tier 1, industry leading Project Partners Team — making it the ideal power generation owner and operator to help us execute the project from start to finish.”

IPSC brings vast experience serving organic matter-based biodiesel, sustainable aviation fuel, ethanol and renewable natural gas power generation facilities. Additionally, the company provides an array of pre- and post-development services that will be vital throughout the duration of the NWABF SAF project.

“The advancement of SAF has quickly become crucial to the power generation industry’s pivot to renewable and clean energy resources,” said John R. Keller, President and CEO of IPSC. “IPSC is proud to have been selected to support Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels on the development and ongoing asset management and operational needs of its upcoming bio-jet fuel production facility and I am confident that our team will deliver optimal outcomes throughout every step of this project.”

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Hydrogen tech start-up commissions onsite H2 production unit

Calgary-based Azolla Hydrogen has commissioned technology that produces fuel-cell spec hydrogen onsite.

Azolla Hydrogen has commissioned technology that produces fuel-cell spec hydrogen onsite.

The AZ225 Biodrome unit will be capable of producing 225kg of hydrogen per day utilizing a footprint of 424sq.ft, according to a news release.

The unit combines Azolla Hydrogen’s Biodrome technology with a 400 Bar Neuman & Esser compressor creating a seamless and efficient system, the release says.

“This is in alignment with our 2023 commercialization plan to offer additional production capacity and pressures to meet customer demand,” said Jared Sayers, CEO of Azolla Hydrogen. “The AZ225 Biodrome unit represents a major step forward in producing and delivering low-carbon hydrogen fuel. We look forward to working with our customers to bring this innovative solution to their businesses.”

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Global Clean Energy takes USDA grant for feedstock project

A $30m pilot project is meant to accelerate the market for camelina sativa as a feedstock for sustainable fuels, as demonstrated in a biofuels refinery in southern California.

Global Clean Energy Holdings and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have signed a contract for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Grant for their Climate-Smart Camelina Project, according to a news release.

With the signing, work can officially begin on their $30m pilot project to measure and validate the advantages of Camelina sativa (camelina) as an ultra-low carbon nonfood renewable fuel feedstock.

Climate-Smart Camelina is a large-scale pilot project to implement, measure, and validate the climate advantages of camelina in both rotational (fallow acres) and winter crop (e.g., in a double-crop rotation) production systems.

The project is meant to accelerate farmers’ adoption of camelina grown to produce feedstock for renewable biofuels and chemicals without causing land-use change and while increasing carbon capture in the soil.

Further, the project is meant to support market development to provide additional revenue streams to growers and provide a premium for this low carbon intensity crop.

Global Clean Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, Sustainable Oils, Inc., contracts directly with farmers to grow camelina currently in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington.

Camelina grain is refined in the company’s Bakersfield Renewable Fuels refinery in California.

The USDA Climate-Smart Commodities announcement can be accessed here.

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Electrolyzer startup EVOLOH raises $20m Series A

The raise for California-based EVOLOH was led by Engine Ventures with participation from NextEra Energy Resources and 3M Ventures.

EVOLOH, Inc., a cleantech company that manufactures electrolyzer stacks for hydrogen production, today announced it has raised an oversubscribed $20 million Series A round led by Engine Ventures. Additional participating investors include a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources and 3M Ventures.

The capital will be used to expand the company’s scalable, high-throughput manufacturing technology and introduce additional capabilities for its NautilusTM platform of advanced liquid alkaline electrolyzers, according to a news release.

EVOLOH is making low-carbon hydrogen globally accessible by revolutionizing the manufacturing of electrolyzers. While incumbent electrolyzers are notoriously expensive and difficult to produce, transport and install, and rely on politically and environmentally challenging supply chains, EVOLOH’s manufacturing facility will offer an 80% reduction in capital investment and footprint.

“This round of funding positions EVOLOH to lead the electrolyzer manufacturing market by transforming electrolyzer stacks into affordable, efficient hardware commodities made with 100% local supply chains,” said Dr. Jimmy Rojas, founder and CEO of EVOLOH.

Electrolyzer stacks, the core component of electrolyzers, are offered via EVOLOH’s NautilusTM platform and made from abundant materials like steel, plastic and aluminum and do not require precious metals or rare earth materials. To reduce the CAPEX and OPEX of hydrogen plants using EVOLOH’s Advanced Liquid Alkaline technology, the NautilusTM stacks use low-cost power electronics and do not require corrosive electrolytes. EVOLOH’s NautilusTM stacks are very compact, and can be built into modules of 24 megawatts, making them ideal for large industrial applications.

Katie Rae, CEO and Managing Partner at Engine Ventures and EVOLOH Board member, added, “EVOLOH has a timely and massive opportunity to not only commercialize better and more affordable electrolyzers, but also introduce a faster and more sustainable electrolyzer manufacturing platform. With an impressive founding team and early partnership activity, EVOLOH is a strong addition to Engine Ventures’ portfolio of cleantech and advanced manufacturing companies.”

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Arizona RNG firm seeking equity capital

A renewable natural gas developer with sites proposed in southern California and Arizona is seeking additional equity investors.

True North Renewable Energy Company, a Phoenix-based waste-to-energy developer, is undergoing a Series B equity raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Whitehall & Company is advising, the sources said.

True North develops, builds, and operates organics-to-energy facilities, including large, regional, high solids anaerobic digestion infrastructure, according to its website.

The firm is primarily active in southern California and Arizona. Sites have been announced in Imperial County, Kern County and Mojave (all in California) as well as Yuma County, Arizona. Collectively, these could produce up to 3m mmbtu per annum, using up to 700,000 tons of organic compost from regional farms.

The company is a holding of True North Venture Partners, of Phoenix and Chicago.

TNRE and Whitehall did not respond to requests for comment.

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EnergyTag and the hourly matching ideal

The London-based non-profit EnergyTag has come to the forefront with its framework for global renewable energy hourly matching standards – what it views as a crucial substructure underpinning the future of green product commerce.

When Killian Daly was working for Air Liquide in Paris, sourcing renewable power for the industrial gas producer’s enormous energy needs, he noticed a mismatch in the way power is purchased and the way its green credentials are counted.

“When you buy power, you do hourly batching – you have to respect that electricity can’t just fly across the country,” he said. “And then you look at green power accounting and it’s detached, it’s completely different,” he said, referring to the practice of issuing renewable energy credits for grid power on an annual basis. This allows power consumers to claim they are using clean power produced any time of the year. 

“You can be 100% solar powered all night long, or 100% renewable using Texas wind, even if you’re located in the Northeast,” said Daly, a native of Ireland who is now based out of Brussels as EnergyTag’s executive director. “So for me it was inevitable that someone was going to sort of raise their hand and say, ‘What’s going on here?’”

EnergyTag, a London-based non-profit, was founded in 2020 to address this issue: to make electricity carbon accounting more granular and tied to the reality of the power system. While the organization does not issue or sell renewable energy credits – or even offer its own software – its set of voluntary standards known as Granular Certificates (GCs) have become a leading framework for more systematic carbon accounting across the globe.

The GC scheme has been employed by projects and system-level REC providers internationally, amounting to 5 million MWh of tracking, which, according to Energy Tag, shows that hourly tracking is already a technical reality. In the U.S., it is the basis of the Granular Certificate Trading Alliance, which is led by LevelTen Energy and includes major partners AES, Constellation, Google, and Microsoft. And it underpins systems employed by U.S.-based REC providers like M-RETS and others.

Global hourly matching case studies: EnergyTag

By most accounts, the small-budget outfit has achieved outsize success in its stance on a niche issue that has had a cross-cutting, global impact. Its advisory committee consists of multi-national representation from other non-profits, governmental agencies, and corporates that are aligned on the hourly matching problem. “It’s a global topic and I suppose it gives us a global voice,” said Daly, adding that Energy Tag’s independence allows it to be more to the point than other organizations.

Its chairman, Phil Moody, helped write the rules of energy tracking in Europe, “the only standardized system in the world for certificates,” according to Daly. “That’s a pretty unique set of skills that I suppose we bring to the table that is not really coming from another organization on this specific topic.” When it comes to policy, the organization has homed in on areas like green hydrogen, “where there’s a clear need for proper electricity accounting to avoid massive consequences and massive waste of taxpayer funding,” Daly said.

Time matching for renewable energy tied to green hydrogen production has become an existential issue for many proposed projects and their developers, particularly in the U.S. Under guidance issued by the IRS, project developers would be required to match renewable generation to green hydrogen production on an hourly basis starting in 2028, a requirement that has divided the green hydrogen sector into opposing camps and has been called, by those opposed to it, the death knell of the nascent industry.

More to do

The majority of U.S. renewable energy credit (REC) tracking systems can implement hourly matching akin to the standards put forth by EnergyTag in just a few years, according to a report from the Center for Resource Solutions issued last year. WREGIS, the system covering the western U.S., estimated it would take between three and five years but could cut it closer to three with state and federal support.

“A lot of the foundational aspects of how you set up a tracking system – they’re already there,” Daly said. EnergyTag’s granular certificate standards are focused on building systems as an extension of existing programs. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Daly said. “We’re taking standard definition television and making it HD.”

Although many of the U.S. registries are well on their way to being ready for hourly matching by 2028, Daly said there’s some work to be done in the phase-in period “to have a standardized approach across the REC registries, just so they can talk to each other, so that they can be audited.”

Even so, the implementation of a federal standard through 45V – even if it is an energy policy administered through tax authorities – is the only comprehensive federal policy that “can help move the environmental attribute markets to where they want to go,” M-RETS CEO Ben Gerber said during a panel discussion at Clean Power in Minneapolis on May 7.

Gerber said that some concessions might need to be made to appease industry concerns. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved the [hourly matching implementation] date back to 2030” from 2028, he said.

In an interview, Gerber added that he would like to see the establishment of a more robust market for trade in RECs, such as a platform advanced by Incubex, allowing developers to buy credits when they are short and sell when they are long.

EnergyTag itself also notes that the ideal of reaching 100% hourly matching might not be possible, at least not in the near term. “If you’re a hydrogen producer and you are hourly matching at a high level, but then you do not match hour by hour for 2% of your hours right now, under the current proposed rules it would look like you would then be bumped out of that top tier threshold” for tax credits, Alex Piper, EnergyTag’s head of U.S. policy, said.

This functional issue has been flagged by many in the pro-hourly matching camp, Piper said, “as a risk that is pretty existential and should be reevaluated by Treasury to determine if there are different flexibility mechanisms that can be included that would allow a project to miss a number of hours without being on that brink of in and out of the money, which could absolutely undermine the entire project.”

Devraj Banerjee of Ambient Fuels, a green hydrogen developer that has been vocal about the need to modify the proposed guidance, said that, while he agrees that a more granular matching scheme makes sense once renewable portfolios and banking systems are more advanced, allowing for flexibility now would help the industry get off the ground.

“What would be a significant fix in the [45V] policy would be allowing early mover projects to have either complete annual matching for the life of the tax credit, or barring that, some kind of pro rata share of annual matching in tandem with hourly matching to not only reduce overall economics but mitigate the need to over procure and provide the ability to be a bit more flexible with renewable generation to avoid falling out of 45V compliance if there’s performance issues, etc,” he said on the Clean Power green hydrogen panel earlier this month. “So some kind of annual carve out for early movers for the life of the tax credit would be a big change, and very helpful.”

In spite of the policy progress and advancements in hourly matching certification schemes, Daly said it’s still early days for accounting standards for global green commerce. “I fundamentally do believe what we’re seeing here on hydrogen in Europe and also now in the U.S. is only the beginning of a much broader discussion and framework around creating clean trade, marketplaces that are trading clean products, because that’s rule number one: is it clean, and that’s where we need to get into these details around accounting and three pillars,” he said.

“So I think it’s just a microcosm of actually a much broader set of discussions and actions over the coming years as we look to set up Transatlantic clean trade and in other parts of the world as well.”

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Quantron kicks off Series B equity raise

The German and American mobility provider is seeking to raise EUR 200m in a Series B equity raise, as the company plans to become a one-stop-shop for hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles, according to a teaser.

Quantron, the Germany and US-based hydrogen trucking manufacturer, is seeking to raise EUR 200m in a Series B capital raise, and has further plans to raise money in a Series C in 2024 or 2025, followed by an anticipated IPO beyond 2025.

The company plans to use proceeds from the Series B accelerate the roll-out of existing production and make additional market entries included expanding its operations in the US, according to a sale teaser seen by The Hydrogen Source. Stifel is leading the capital raise, as previously reported.

By advancing a full-scale zero-emission ecosystem, Quantron is seeking to take part in the sourcing and distribution of green energy and hydrogen, as well as building fuel cell and battery electric vehicles and components and offering customer solutions like aftersales, the teaser notes.

Quantron, which has offices in Augsburg, Germany and Detroit, Michigan, has brought in about EUR 28m in revenues since inception and expects EUR 60m in revenue this year, fueled by a EUR 100m order book and pipeline. The company has put 150 vehicles on the road to date and has 130 employees.

Its Series A capital raise of EUR 45m, completed in September, 2022, implied a EUR 250m pre-money valuation. The ongoing EUR 200m capital raise will come in the form of the Series B financing as well as working capital facilities.

The company recently announced commitments with FirstElement Fuel and Goldstone Technologies Limited. Quantron debuted its Class 8 hydrogen fuel-cell truck in the US at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, California in April.

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