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DOE award for DAC-to-methanol design study

A consortium including TDA Research and Verde Clean Fuels will design a DAC-to-green methanol system.

A consortium led by TDA Research and including Verde Clean Fuels has been awarded funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to complete a conceptual design study for a system having the potential of capturing and utilizing ambient CO2 to produce “green” methanol, according to a news release.

Under the award, TDA will design a direct air capture (DAC) process for sourcing of CO2 from the atmosphere and lead the integration of the DAC with the methanol plant. Verde plans to design and model the methanol production unit using its proprietary STG+ technology, with the goal to utilize CO2 from the DAC, and hydrogen from a carbon-free source, to produce green methanol. Several other consortium partners will also contribute.

The University of Colorado – Denver will carry out a lifecycle analysis using process input from TDA. As reflected in the overall project plan, TDA and Verde Clean Fuels plan to complete conceptual design and review the technoeconomic and technology gap analyses and develop the technology maturation plan.

The award and project period will last to the end of calendar year 2024. Total funding under the award to the consortium is $400,000. An additional $100,000 is expected to come from non-DOE sources, for aggregate funding of up to $500,000 for the project. Based on the results of the study, other project phases may follow.

The project provides another demonstration opportunity for the versatility and application of Verde’s STG+ technology.

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DG Fuels selects Johnson Matthey-bp Fischer Tropsch technology

DG Fuels has selected the technology for its first SAF plant in Louisiana, and is planning 10 more facilities across the United States modeled after the Louisiana project.

DG Fuels has chosen Johnson Matthey and bp’s co-developed Fischer Tropsch (FT) CANS™ technology for its first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plant, according to a news release.

Located in Louisiana, USA, it would be the largest announced FT SAF production facility in the world, with a planned capacity of 13,000 barrels per day – capable, after blending to 50%, of producing enough SAF for more than 30,000 transatlantic flights annually.

The project previously planned to produce 120 million gallons at the facility, but today’s press release notes that the proposed $4 billion plant is planned to produce 600,000 metric tons (MT) of SAF per year when fully operational — or 159 million gallons — and would be the largest announced SAF production plant using a non-HEFA route.

DG Fuels has already secured offtake agreements with Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM, and has a strategic partnership with Airbus to scale up the use of SAF globally.

DG Fuels is planning 10 more SAF production plants across the United States. These would be modelled on the Louisiana plant with JM and bp as the partners of choice for these facilities.

The fuel at the Louisiana plant is expected to be produced from waste biomass. DG Fuels is projected to purchase around $120 million of sugar cane waste annually, a third of which is planned to be purchased from St. James Parish farmers. JM and bp’s FT CANS technology converts the synthesis gas derived from this biomass to synthetic crude, which is then further processed to produce the synthetic kerosene that is then blended with conventional jet fuel to produce SAF.

In July 2023, DG Fuels announced the closing of investment transactions with aviner & co., inc, Chishima Real Estate Co, and an undisclosed investor. DG Fuels expects the $30m capital raise to fund the project until FID, which is expected in early 2024.

In September 2023, DG Fuels announced a partnership with Airbus in support of DG Fuels’ goal of launching the equity process and reaching FID.  Airbus and DG Fuels have agreed for a portion of the production of the first plant to benefit Airbus’ customers.

In November 2023, DG Fuels announced Air France-KLM has made an investment in the facility. Air France-KLM acquired an option to purchase up to 25 million gallons / 75 000 tons of SAF annually over a multi-year period beginning in 2029, in addition to the long-term offtake contract announced by Air France-KLM and DG Fuels in 2022.

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Gas separations provider raises $11m seed round

An industrial separations technology company that purifies gases has raised an oversubscribed VC round in addition to funding from the DOE.

Osmoses, an industrial separations technology company that purifies gases, has raised an oversubscribed $11m seed round led by Energy Capital Ventures, according to a news release.

Additional participating investors include Engine Ventures, Fine Structure Ventures, New Climate Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Little Green Bamboo, BlindSpot Ventures and several prominent angel investors, including Martin Madaus, the former CEO of Millipore Corporation.

In addition to its venture capital funding, Osmoses recently received a $1.5m grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE), as well as additional grant support from ARPA-E and NSF, among other organizations.

Osmoses will use the funding to develop commercial scale membrane modules for field deployment and establish pilot partnerships.

“In the coming months, Osmoses will double its full-time employee headcount, increase its pilot programs with chemical and petrochemical companies, utilities, and alternative energy companies, and develop partnerships with engineering and manufacturing firms,” the release states.

Gas molecules like hydrogen, biomethane, and oxygen are essential ingredients for alternative, low-carbon energy production, the release states. Because these gases don’t naturally occur in a form pure enough for direct use, they must first be separated, but their size and volatility makes doing so energy-intense, and expensive.

Today’s industrial separation processes, including cryogenic processes, distillation, and solvent absorption, account for 15% of the world’s energy consumption, the release states. CO2 emissions from energy combustion and industrial processes accounted for 89% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2022.

“Membrane technology, which operates as molecular filters to separate gas molecules from one another, has the potential to reduce energy consumption, but widespread implementation remains limited due to product loss and high operating costs,” the release states. Osmoses has developed a patented novel membrane technology that purifies gas molecules with unprecedented flux and selectivity, meaning lower capital requirements and operating costs for customers, with a significantly smaller physical footprint than today’s traditional separation processes – all while reducing industrial energy consumption by up to 90%.”

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HESTA to invest up to AUS 100m in Countrywide Hydrogen

The RNE Group will be responsible for securing debt and grant funding for the projects and the parties may add additional investors.

Australian superannuation fund HESTA will invest up to AUS 100m in Countrywide Hydrogen, a subsidiary of ReNu Energy, to develop green hydrogen projects, according to a press release.

The RNE Group will be responsible for securing debt and grant funding for the projects. HESTA will be provided a first right of refusal to invest in existing and new projects.

The parties may otherwise agree to add additional investors, the release states.

“Our task now is to advance to definitive agreements as soon as possible and progress commercial discussions with our project partners for green hydrogen offtake,” ReNu Energy CEO Greg Watson said in the release.

Countrywide Hydrogen is developing four renewable hydrogen projects, two in Tasmania and two in Victoria, according to its website. The company has additional projects in its pipeline.

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Exclusive: Monarch Energy targeting green hydrogen FID in 2024

Monarch is moving forward with several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Green hydrogen developer Monarch Energy aims to take its first final investment decision as soon as next year, CEO Ben Alingh said in an interview.

Monarch is moving forward with several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Alingh said the company is seeking to advance the projects to FID by late 2024 and early 2025. Monarch has not engaged a project finance banker yet, he said.

The company recently announced a $25m preferred equity investment and $400m project equity commitment from LS Power.

The proceeds of the preferred equity raise will fund pre-FID aspects of Monarch’s 4.5 GW green hydrogen development platform: overhead, project development, interconnection, land, permitting, and engineering.

The $400m commitment, meanwhile, is earmarked for project equity investments in Monarch’s pipeline of projects. Under the arrangement, the projects will be dropped into a new entity, Clean Hydrogen Fuels, LLC, where LS Power provides the capital and Monarch provides the project, Alingh said.

“On a project-by-project basis the projects will be transferred to Clean Hydrogen Fuels if they are selected,” he said. The Clean Hydrogen Fuels entity is jointly owned by Monarch and LS Power.

Monarch did not use a financial advisor for the capital raise. Clean Energy Counsel served as Monarch’s law firm.

For both the Beaumont and Geismar facilities, Monarch has signed MoUs with Entergy to supply long-term renewable power. Monarch is engaged with industrial users of hydrogen in each location as potential offtakers. It plans to deliver hydrogen via local Monarch-developed hydrogen pipelines that it is developing with EPC partners, he said.

“We endeavor to be as close to our end user as possible with our electrolyzer project, to limit development and execution risk on delivery,” he said. For the volumes of Monarch’s projects, trucking solutions are not on the table, he said, as it would simply require too many trucks.

The company has additional production facilities under development in Freeport, Texas, as well as four other locations in Texas, according to the ReSource project database.

Monarch is also interested in end markets for hydrogen derivatives like methanol and ammonia, but Alingh notes that every project “starts with one core focus, and that is making the cheapest green hydrogen possible.”

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Exclusive: Northeastern offshore wind sale kicks off

A major European energy firm has retained a banker and launched a process to sell a large portfolio of offshore wind developments in the northeastern US.

Ocean Wind I & II, Orsted’s offshore wind developments in New Jersey amounting to 2.5 GW of capacity, are for sale via an auction, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Jefferies is the exclusive financial advisor on the sale, which is codenamed Project Hummer, the sources said. The process launched this month.

Denmark-based Orsted had previously halted development of Ocean Wind I and II as impairments on the projects climbed above $5bn. And the sale process comes amid the firm’s broader pullback from the offshore wind sector.

In an earnings call this month, Orsted CEO Mads Nipper said the company had plans to sell up to DKK 115bn (USD 16.6bn) in assets by 2030 as it accelerates divestments to boost its balance sheet.

Orsted also said it would withdraw from offshore wind markets in Norway, Spain and Portugal and cut its target for 2030 installed renewable capacity from 50 GW to 35 – 38 GW.

The company has a preference for a new owner acquiring 100% of both Ocean Wind leases and all associated development assets, the sources said.

Targeted COD for the two developments is 2029 and 2031, while estimated capex for each is USD 7.1bn (98 turbines) and USD 7.7bn (82 turbines), respectively.

New Jersey has accelerated offshore wind solicitation schedules and has recently awarded two contracts for 2.4 GW at $112.50/MWh and 1.3 GW at $131.00/MWh compared to the $98.10/MWh for Ocean Wind I and $84.03/MWh for Ocean Wind II awarded back in 2019 and 2021.

Orsted and Jefferies did not respond to requests for comment.

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exclusive

Carbon credit project developer planning equity raise

A Texas-based carbon credit firm is preparing to sell credits from its first project in the US southeast and planning its first equity raise in 2024.

Sky Harvest Carbon, the Dallas-based carbon credit project developer, is preparing to sell credits from its first project, roughly 30,000 acres of forest in the southeastern US, while looking toward its first equity raise in 2024, CEO and founder Will Clayton said in an interview.

In late 2024 the company will seek to raise between $5m and $10m in topco equity, depending on the outcome of grant applications, Clayton said. The company is represented by Scott Douglass & McConnico in Austin, Texas and does not have a relationship with a financial advisor.

Sky Harvest considers itself a project developer, using existing liquidity to pay landowners on the backend for timber rights, then selling credits based on the volume and age of the trees for $20 to $50 per credit (standardized as 1 mtpy of carbon).

The company will sell some 45,000 credits from its pilot project — comprised of acreage across Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi – in 2024, Clayton said. The project involves 20 landowners.

Clayton, formerly chief of staff at North Carolina-based renewables and P2X developer Strata Clean Energy, owns a controlling stake in Sky Harvest Carbon. He said he’s self-funded operations to date, in part with private debt. The company is also applying for a multi-million-dollar grant based on working with small and underrepresented landowners.

“There’s a wall of demand… that’s coming against a supply constraint,” Clayton said of companies wanting to buy credits to meet carbon reduction goals.

Sky Harvest would be interested in working with companies wanting to secure supply or credits before price spikes, or investors wanting to acquire the credits as an asset prior to price spikes, Clayton said.

“Anybody who wants to go long on carbon, either as an investment thesis or for the climate benefits to offset operational footprint, it’s a great way to do it by locking supply at a low cost,” he said.

A novel approach to credit definition

Carbon credits on the open market vary widely in verifications standards and price; they can cost anywhere from $1 to $2,000.

“There’s a long process for all the measurements and verifications,” Clayton said.

There are many forestry carbon developers paying landowners for environmental benefits and selling those credits. Where Sky Harvest is unique is its attempt to redefine the carbon credit, Clayton said.

The typical definition of 1 mtpy of CO2 is problematic, as it does not gauge for duration of storage, he said. Carbon emitted into the atmosphere can stay there indefinitely.

“If you’re storing carbon for 10, 20, 30 years, the scales don’t balance,” Clayton said. “That equation breaks and it’s not truly an offset.”

Sky Harvest is quantifying the value of carbon over time by equating volume with duration, Clayton said.

“If you have one ton of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere forever on one side of the scale, you need multiple tons of carbon dioxide stored on the other side of the scale if it’s for any time period other than forever,” he said, noting that credit providers often cannot guarantee that the protected trees will never be harvested. Sky Harvest inputs more than 1 ton per credit, measured in periods of five years guaranteed storage at a time. “We compensate for the fact that it’s not going to be stored there forever.”

Monitoring protected land is expensive and often difficult to sustain. Carbon markets work much like conservation easements, but those easements often lose effect over time as oversight diminishes (typically because of staffing or funding shortages at the often nonprofit groups charged with monitoring).

“That doesn’t work in any other industry with real physical commodities,” Clayton said. “The way every other industry works is you pay a fund delivery. That’s our measure-as-you-go approach.”

A similar methodology has been put forward by the United Nations and has been adopted in Quebec, Clayton said.

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