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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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NEXT Renewables acquires Oregon biofuels assets

Lakeview RNG plans to redevelop a failed biofuels project into a facility producing RNG and clean hydrogen from waste wood.

Lakeview RNG, a wholly owned subsidiary of NEXT Renewable Fuels, has acquired assets associated with the Red Rock Biofuels development in Lake County, OR, according to a news release.

The company is commencing a redevelopment plan focused on completing construction of certain aspects of the site while replacing or enhancing others. When complete, the Lakeview RNG facility is expected to be capable of converting forest waste into renewable natural gas and clean hydrogen.

NEXT Renewable Fuels reached a deal to go public via a SPAC transaction with listed Industrial Tech Acquisitions II. A merger agreement for the deal, which was set to close on April 14, has been extended to December 14, according to SEC filings.

“Acquiring the Lake County clean fuels infrastructure is another advancement in our mission to decarbonize the transportation industry and produce low carbon fuels at scale,” said Christopher Efird, CEO and Chairperson of NEXT. “This acquisition represents a major step toward our clean fuel production capabilities and pathways to meet growing demand for clean fuels along the west coast of the United States while helping to address the critical concern of forest health.”

Using wood waste, or “slash,” as the feedstock, Lakeview RNG will process that wood waste and turn it into a low-carbon gaseous fuel, benefitting environmental and community health in southern Oregon and beyond.

Lakeview RNG has evaluated the potential feedstock supply in Oregon and determined that all of its wood waste needs could come from within 150 miles of the facility. Wood waste used at the facility will be certified and compliant with applicable regulations for RNG production. Converting forest waste to renewable fuel products helps reduce forest fire fuel loads and provide an additional revenue source to timber communities. The local distribution network in Lake County is anchored by the Ruby pipeline and can deliver renewable fuels to transportation markets in Oregon and along the west coast.

The purchase price of the facility has not been disclosed.

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European Commission clarifies some RFNBO rules

In a new Q&A document, the European Commission has clarified several provisions related to the qualification of renewable fuels, including the use of intermediaries in PPAs, the definition of a bidding zone, and the emissions intensity of synthetic fuels.

An updated Q&A document from the European Commission clarifies several provisions related to the qualification of renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) and recycled carbon fuels, in answer to questions raised by fuel producers and certifiers following the adoption of the EU’s delegated acts.

The implementation document released yesterday adds language regarding the use of intermediaries in PPAs, allowing for such parties to represent electricity producers in the delivery of electricity for fuel production. A previous version of the document had left open the possibility that fuels producers would have to contract directly with the electricity producers in order to comply with the RFNBO standards, a particularly burdensome concept where utilities have mandated grid ownership.

“Intermediaries referred to in the RFNBO delegated act may be involved by various means and for various purposes, including as a contracting party,” the document reads. “For example, intermediaries can represent the electricity producers, but it is important that a direct relationship between the electricity producer and the hydrogen producer is maintained.”

The document adds that guarantees of origins (GOs) must be compliant with rules set out elsewhere in the Q&A document as well as in the RFNBO delegated act and Article 19 of RED. 

“The GOs for the PPA need to […] carry the same attributes as the physical installation producing the electricity. This includes e.g. the location of the installation, the age of the installation, and the time of the production.”

The new Q&A document also clarifies the definition of a ‘bidding zone’ for purposes of regional compliance, a concept that could result in a narrower definition than the balancing authority regions defined under US rules, due to nodal and zonal power pricing structures in the US system.

“Certifiers should assess whether at the location of the electrolyser, market regulations applied are similar to the rules set out for bidding zones in Regulation (EU) 2019/943,” the Q&A document reads. “In this context ‘similar’ means that there are rules requiring establishing hourly prices for electricity in a geographical area. If such rules are in place, the geographical area for which the prices are established should be considered as a bidding zone for the purpose of the implementation of the methodology.”

If geographical pricing rules are not in place, the document continues, “certifiers should assess whether the electricity network in the country of production is integrated or whether there are several separated networks. If there are several networks, each network should be considered as a bidding zone for the purpose of the implementation of the methodology.”

Meanwhile, “if the electricity network of the country is integrated and there are no geographically differentiated electricity prices, the whole country may be considered as one bidding zone for the purpose of the implementation of the RFNBO delegated act.”

Furthermore, the document includes an annex on the carbon intensity measurement for use of co-processing to produce synthetic fuels:The GHG methodology sets out a specific rule for calculating the emission intensity of RFNBOs stemming from a process where co-processing is applied. It allows to distinguish in the calculation of the greenhouse gas emissions intensity on a proportional basis of the energetic value of inputs between: (1) the part of the process that is based on the conventional input and (2) the part of the process that is based on renewable fuels of non-biological origin and recycled carbon fuels assuming that the process parts are otherwise identical. 

If for instance a process uses H2, CO, CO2 as well as other energy inputs to produce synthetic fuels and the producer intends to replace 20% of the H2 with H2 qualifying as RFNBO, it would be possible to determine the emission intensity of the produced synthetic fuels assuming a virtual process which uses only 20% of all inputs mentioned above (20% of each input). In this example, all hydrogen qualifying as RFNBO (which is 20% of the total H2 input) would be used in the virtual process, and the other 80% of the hydrogen (all non-RFNBO) would be used in the other process which uses 80% of all inputs. Such process would also yield only 20% of the output, but only the energy share of RFNBO hydrogen in the input would be considered an RFNBO. It would be possible to replace in this virtual process more than one input. Not only RFNBOs but also RCF, biomass, renewable electricity, renewable heat and CO2 (including biogenic) could be used for this purpose. While the use of RCF and biomass would not add to the share of RFNBOs in the output, they could reduce the emission intensity of the output as the entire output of the virtual process would have the same emission intensity. “

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Exclusive: Ontario power producer takes FID on green hydrogen project

An Ontario power producer has taken a final investment decision on the province’s largest green hydrogen project to date.

Ontario Power Generation subsidiary Atura Power has taken a final investment decision on its hydro-powered Niagara Hydrogen Center, a 20 MW green hydrogen project in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Construction on the 2,000-tonnes-per-year project is slated to commence early this year, with operations expected for 2025, company spokesperson Darius Sokal confirmed in an email.

The Ontario provincial government provided CAD 4.1m to support blending of the project’s hydrogen with natural gas to produce electricity at the Halton Hills Generating Station. The total cost of the blending demonstration effort is CAD 12.6m, according to documentation.

The province also supported the project by providing an exemption from the Gross Revenue Charge from 2024 to 2033 for electricity generated at the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station used specifically for hydrogen production under prescribed conditions. 

Additional financial terms were not immediately available.

In addition to natural gas blending, hydrogen from the project will go into Ontario’s wider fuels ecosystem. “We are looking forward to being able to provide alternative energy for vehicles such as Class-A trucks, regional transit authorities, forklifts, medium duty vehicles, etc.,” Kelly Grieves, director of hydrogen business, told The Niagara Independent.

Cummins is supplying four 5 MW electrolyzers to the project, built at the OEM’s Mississauga, Ontario facility.

CEM Engineering and Sacré-Davey Engineering were selected as Owner’s Engineering Representative for the design, permitting, and equipment selection of the project.

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exclusive

Green hydrogen developer in exclusivity with new investor

New York-based green hydrogen developer Ambient Fuels is in exclusivity with a new investor, with proceeds from the capital raise slated to fund project development and acquisitions.

Ambient Fuels, the New York-based green hydrogen developer, is in exclusivity with a new investor for a bilateral capital raise, CEO Jacob Susman said in an interview.

Susman declined to name the private equity provider but said the backing will allow Ambient to develop several projects, as well as acquire projects from other developers. The deal is proceeding without the help of a financial advisor.

Once the company reaches its run rate, Ambient plans to complete three to four projects per year costing $50m and up, Susman said, with the first expected to reach operation in 2025.

The company’s initial geographic focus is on the Gulf Coast, centered on the Port of Corpus Christi, Susman said. New York, California, the Pacific Northwest and traditional wind energy states in the Midwest and West are areas of additional work.

Hydrogen hubs

Ambient is closely following the DOE hydrogen hub applications process, Susman said. Which regions are awarded funding could make a difference for where the company locates new projects.

According to ReSource‘s project tracker, Ambient is involved in at least two of the hubs that were encouraged by the DOE to submit a final application: California’s Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), and the Port of Corpus Christi Green Hydrogen Hub.

In 2021 Ambient completed a funding round led by SJF Ventures. Several other VC funds and angel investors also participated.

Open for offtake business  

Ambient is looking for offtakers in industries that use the molecules for feedstock and energy but need to meet decarbonization targets.

The company is working to provide hydrogen as an industrial feedstock and energy source to sectors including transportation, oil and gas, mining, glass and steel production and automobile manufacturing. Supplying hydrogen for ammonia fertilizer is another target market.

Advisors with clients in those industries should reach out to Ambient, Susman said.

M&A strategy

Ambient strives to be a fully integrated devco with the resources, capital and expertise to take a project to fruition, Susman said. Projects developed by smaller companies can look to Ambient as a buyer for their projects.

“We want to be a home for those great projects that are being developed independently,” Susman said. “Absolutely we will be acquiring projects.”

Smaller developers with good projects could also be targets for takeover with the backing from the new investor, Susman said. The firm could also make a technology buy in software for project development, operations, or possibly the equipment side, though Susman said there’s a low probability of that.

Financial advisors that have leads on good projects Ambient can acquire are welcome to pitch, Susman said.

Susman said he is not in a hurry to exit Ambient and can see the company being independently financed for years to come.

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Exclusive: Advanced Ionics raising $12.5m, seeking pilot project partners

Advanced Ionics, an electrolyzer developer based in the Midwest, is approaching a close on the second tranche of its Series A and is seeking sponsors for pilot projects in Texas and elsewhere.

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, the Milwaukee-based electrolyzer developer, is about six weeks out from closing a second tranche of its Series A and is seeking new partnerships for pilot projects in the US, Chief Commercial Officer Ignacio Bincaz told ReSource.

Bincaz, based in Houston, is working to close the second $12.5m tranche, which is roughly the same size as the first tranche. The company has technical teams in Wisconsin but could build out those as well as commercial capabilities in Houston.
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.

“We just put together our first stack, Generation One, which are 100 square centimeters,” Bincaz said. Generation Two stacks will come later this year, but to get to Generation Three — commercial size, producing between 7 and 16 tons per day — the company will have to conduct a Series B about one year from now.

“For that, we need to hit certain benchmarks on durability of a stack,” he said. “The money will go toward scaling up and getting the data expected by investors to get us to Series B.”

Aside from equity provisions, Advanced Ionics is looking for sponsors for pilots and related studies, Bincaz said. “There’s different ways that we’re looking for collaboration.”

Between 2027 and 2028 the company expects to have commercial-size Generation Three stacks in the market.

Pilot projects

Advanced Ionics has two pilot projects in development with Repsol Foundation and Arpa-E (US Department of Energy), respectively.

The Repsol project is a Generation One development producing 1 kilogram per day, Bincaz said. The government project will be the first Generation Two project.

Another pilot is in development with a large energy company that Bincaz declined to name. The company is also exploring pilot projects with bp, which is an investor in the company.

After four or so pilot projects of ascending scale, the company will look to do its first industrial-scale project using real process heat or steam, integrated into a hydrogen-use process like ammonia manufacturing or chemical refining.

“We’re talking to companies in Asia, companies in Europe, companies in the US,” he said, specifically naming Japan and Singapore. “I’m in early conversations.”

Advanced Ionics’ first tranche Series A was led by bp ventures, with participation from Clean Energy Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and GVP Climate.

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exclusive

Hydrogen developer raising equity for US and EU projects

A Washington, DC-based hydrogen developer has hired an advisor to raise equity for three projects in California, and is laying the groundwork for a second capital raise in the EU.

SGH2 Energy, a Washington D.C.-based hydrogen developer, is in the early stages of a process to raise project equity for its three California projects.

Morgan Stanley has been retained to run the process, which could result in taking on two investors, CEO Robert Do said in an interview. The company hopes to have the process wrapped up within three months, he added.

Do declined to disclose the amount he is seeking to raise, but said the company prefers a strategic investor that can co-develop projects outside of California.

Meanwhile, SGH2 has filled out 70% of the senior debt commitments it will need for its Lancaster, California plant, Do said. At the Lancaster plant, SGH2 plans to produce up to 12,000 kilograms (1,380 MMBtu) of clean hydrogen per day, and 4.5 million kilograms per year (517,000 MMBtu) from the conversion of 42,000 tons per year of rejected recycled mixed-paper waste.

An additional set of three projects in Germany, Belgium and Holland will need an equity provider as well, Do said. That process could launch at the end of this year and the company could hire additional financial advisors.

A less expensive proposition

In addition to the Lancaster plant, SGH2 is advancing a Bay Area agricultural waste-to-hydrogen project in Stockton and a Sierra Valley forest residue-to-hydrogen plant.

Lancaster has offtake agreements for 10 years, and the company is in talks with the same offtaker for the other projects.

SGH2’s process requires about five acres of land for a project, as opposed to about 300 acres for solar-powered electrolysis, Do said. The process also requires less water.

“It gives us a cost-competitiveness where we can be two-to-three times cheaper,” Do said.

SGH2 is exporting that process to Europe, Do said. The EU is still going through iterations of new legislation, particularly the Renewable Energy Directive III, that could clarify SGH2’s place in that market.

“Until the legislation is clear it’s hard to really launch the project and know what kind of support you’re getting,” Do said. SGH2 has sites, feedstock and development partners in place for Europe.

SGH2 was spun off from a technology development company that raised about $50m from various VC firms and energy companies, Do said. He is the controlling owner of SGH2.

Do plans to expand across the globe and will be raising money to fund projects in Korea, South Africa and elsewhere.

“There will be indeed opportunities for us to work with additional bankers and funders,” he said.

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