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Emergent Waste enters MOU on green methanol production

An MOU with Advent Technologies could lead to deployment of methanol-based fuel cells and development of large-scale green methanol generation plants.

Emergent Waste Solutions has entered a MOU with Advent Technologies for deployment of methanol-based fuel cells and development of large-scale green methanol generation plants, according to a news release.

“EWS has a proprietary and patent pending Advanced Thermolysis Technology that generates valuable products from carbon-based waste material, including that generated by the agriculture and forest industries,” the release states. “As a by-product of the creation of our carbon products we also generate biogas.”

Combined with a recently signed MOU with Hago Energetics, the company believes it can economically convert biogas into green methanol.

“Importantly, Advent has led the way in creating the next generation of highly efficient hydrogen fuel cells that can operate with pure hydrogen in addition to other fuels such as NG, LPG, and e-fuels or other hydrogen carriers,” the release states.

EWS will sell green methanol directly to Advent. The MOU has a four-year term.

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Sumitomo invests in Colorado direct air capture company

Sumitomo’s investment in Global Thermostat includes a commercial partnership to develop projects in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia markets.

Sumitomo Corporation, through the Group’s U.S.-based Presidio Ventures, Inc., has announced its investment in Global Thermostat, PBC, a U.S.-based company that develops and deploys a leading technology for directly capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a news release.

In conjunction with the investment, the companies have signed a letter of intent to develop a new line of global business for carbon capture and sequestration centered around Global Thermostat’s pioneering Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology.

DAC technology directly captures CO2 from the atmosphere and has attracted attention as one of the leading potential solutions for achieving negative emissions on a large scale. When used in combination with underground storage or mineralization solutions, it is likely to have a key role in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Global Thermostat has been developing DAC technology for more than a decade and has been recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as one of the leading international companies developing large-scale DAC technology. In continually advancing its capture system, the firm has developed a proprietary solution consisting of fans which blow air through contactors with customized surface geometry and sorbents to optimize CO2 capture rates and overall cost.

At the end of 2022, Global Thermostat succeeded in putting a commercial-scale DAC facility into operation at its U.S. headquarters in Commerce City, Colorado, with the capacity to capture more than 1,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, one of the largest operating DAC plants ever. It is now expanding its operations globally.By combining Sumitomo Corporation’s global network and Global Thermostat’s leading DAC technology, the two companies will jointly identify and develop business opportunities in Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS), including both underground storage and mineralization, in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia markets.

The capturing and sequestration of atmospheric carbon is widely recognized as essential to keeping the global temperature rise below the 1.5 degree target. Together, Sumitomo and Global Thermostat aspire to establish a complete economic system that will provide a foundation for the widespread, global implementation of Direct Air Capture.

In developing the carbon capture value chain, Sumitomo Corporation and Global Thermostat will also explore opportunities in the production of e-fuels, produced by synthesizing CO2 and hydrogen.

“We are excited to be Sumitomo’s technology partner as we pursue our goal of a carbon-neutral economy. Our proven and fundamentally advantaged technology will enable the cost-effective and efficient capturing of atmospheric CO2 for sequestration or commercial uses,” said Paul Nahi, CEO of Global Thermostat.

Shinichi “Sandro” Hasegawa, Head of Energy Innovation Initiative America for Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, commented, “We are pleased to sign a letter of intent for a commercial partnership with Global Thermostat. We believe that DAC is one of the most important technologies for addressing climate change and the realization of a carbon-neutral society.

“Through our collaboration with Global Thermostat, we will promote and realize carbon dioxide removal from ambient air through Direct Air Capture with Carbon Storage, as well as focus on synthetic fuel production based on the captured CO2,” said Hasegawa.

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New JV to provide H2-blending solutions to gas utilities

Progressus Clean Technologies and Alkaline Fuel Cell Power have entered into a JV for a H2-blending pilot project for natural gas utilities.

Progressus Clean Technologies and Alkaline Fuel Cell Power have entered into a JV for a H2-blending pilot project for natural gas utilities, according to a news release.

The JV is intended to combine Progressus technologies with AFCP fuel cells to serve residential and small building customers across North America. PowerTap Hydrogen owns 49% of Progress.

Gas distribution companies and municipalities are setting-up projects to inject hydrogen into the local gas distribution grid.; generally up to 20% hydrogen.

The project is designed to use the Progressus hydrogen separation technology to efficiently extract hydrogen at high purities from the existing natural gas grid, and then convert the purified hydrogen using either AFCP’s 4 kW Micro-CHP or 4 kW generator to produce electricity, and potentially heat. This project could be put to immediate use in a residential home or commercial building, providing truly zero-emission power. AFCP has already identified interest from natural gas and electric utilities and municipalities to pilot the concept.

The exact location of the JV pilot project remains under consideration but, initially, North America will be the focus with secondary priority given to potential future pilots in Europe.

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PowerCell serving H2 fuel stacks to ZeroAvia

The agreementcomprises 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell stacks with deliveries planned to start in 2024.

PowerCell has signed the world’s first contract covering the serial delivery of hydrogen fuel stacks to the aviation industry, according to a press release.

The agreement, potentially valued up to SEK 1.51bn, is conditioned on client ZeroAvia obtaining necessary certifications. It comprises 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell stacks with deliveries planned to start in 2024.

Approximately SEK 25m of the order value is expected to impact revenues in 2022.

ZeroAvia focuses on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions and aims to launch a 19-seat aircraft with 300-mile range by 2025. The American and British company acquired California-based fuel cell stack innovator HyPoint this month.

The total order value of SEK 1.51 billion is conditional on ZeroAvia obtaining necessary certifications of the powertrain.

PowerCell will, upon completed aviation certifications, deliver a total of 0.5 GW fuel cells comprising of 300 kW superstack modules based on the industrialized 100 kW fuel cell stack. The fuel stacks will be used by ZeroAvia to manufacture a 600 kW, low-temperature, hydrogen-electric powertrain for the certified 19-seat, fuel cell-powered commercial aircraft.

As part of the agreement, PowerCell will establish a unit in the UK for final assembly and the adaptation of the stacks to ZeroAvia’s fuel cell system and application.

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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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Midstream hydrogen firm to seek capital for projects within one year

The first slate of the company’s salt cavern hydrogen storage and pipeline projects will likely reach FID within six to 12 months, setting the stage for a series of project finance and tax equity transactions.

NeuVentus, the newly formed midstream infrastructure and hydrogen storage company backed by Lotus Infrastructure Partners, will likely seek project financing and tax equity for its first cache of projects in the Gulf Coast region of Texas and Louisiana in six to 12 months, CEO Sam Porter said in an interview.

“It sure looks like 45V and 45Q, and basically everything the IRA just did, is like a brick on the accelerator,” Porter said, explaining that he expects additional federal clarifications for hydrogen to come this year. “We’re looking at FIDing a first batch of projects, which I think are really going to marry up some things that the project finance community loves.”

That includes salt cavern storage and pipelines with a novel ESG twist, Porter said. The company plans to own and operate its developments as a platform. If in time demand for projects becomes overwhelming, the equity holders could sell those projects.

NeuVentus recently launched with Lotus’ backing. The private equity firm’s position is that they are able and ready to fund all project- and platform-level equity, Porter said.

“There’s certainly project level finance requirements, debt, tax equity and sponsor equity,” Porter said. The company will first get its projects de-risked as much as possible.

Pickering Energy Partners was mandated for NeuVentus’ seed raise. Porter said there could be additional opportunities for financial advisors to participate in fundraising, though Lotus has significant in-house capabilities and relationships.

Vinson & Elkins served as the law firm advising Lotus Infrastructure, formerly Starwood Energy, on the launch of NeuVentus.

The company is also open to acquiring abandoned or underutilized infrastructure assets, convertible to hydrogen, Porter said. Assets that connect production and consumption that can be more resistant to embrittlement than newer midstream infrastructure and would be of interest.

Exiting assets in regions that are good for hydrogen production, namely those that are sunny and windy, and are relatively close to consumption, will get the closest look.

Oil & gas in the energy transition

Renewable-sourced hydrogen offers an opportunity for traditional oil and gas operators to continue their work in salt domes.

NeuVentus’ plan is to focus on storage first, and then have the pipeline emanate from that, Porter said. The founding team of the company has a lot of experience in oil & gas and structuring land deals (mineral rights and surface/storage rights) in the Gulf region, where salt caverns are abundant.

The company is also open to an anchor tenant that needs a pipeline segment between production and consumption. But from a developers’ perspective the most prudent play will be around storage sites located with multiple interconnection options, he said.

There are roughly 1,500 miles of pipeline and 9 to 10 million kilograms of daily hydrogen production and consumption in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf region, Porter said.

“I think we’re going to see a significant need for more midstream build-out,” he said. “The traditional fee-for-service model is going to be appealing to a lot of the new entrants.”

A molecule-agnostic approach

Hydrogen is “a Swiss army knife” of a feedstock for numerous use cases, Porter said. That all of those use cases will prevail is uncertain, but NeuVentus ultimately only needs one or two of them to grow.

“Additional hydrogen infrastructure is going to be required,” whether it’s for ammonia as fertilizer or methanol as fuel or something else, Porter said. “We don’t necessarily care: all of them are going to require clean hydrogen.”

Equity owners in NueVentus will be opportunistic when it comes to an eventual financial exit, Porter said.

“The beauty of this is that I can see a number of potential buyers,” he said.

An offtaker that wants to vertically integrate, like foreign consumers of hydrogen products, could want to acquire a midstream platform for purposes of national energy security. Industrial gas companies could want to acquire the infrastructure as well. Large energy transfer companies that move molecules are obvious acquirers as well, and finally the company could remain independent or list publicly under its own business plan.

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Exclusive: Plug Power enlists bank to evaluate financing options

The cash-burning company is working with a bulge-bracket American bank to evaluate debt financing options to help stave off a liquidity crisis.

Plug Power is working with Goldman Sachs to evaluate a capital raise in the form of debt financing to shore up its balance sheet, sources said.

The New York-based company recently said it was at risk of a liquidity crisis in the next 12 months if it is not able to raise additional capital, noting it was exploring various options for bringing in financing.

Its total cash and cash equivalents as of September 30 stood at $567m, representing a decline of $580m for the quarter, according to SEC filings. The company also has nearly $1bn of restricted cash balances stemming from sale-leaseback transactions, of which $50m becomes available per quarter.

In a shareholder letter and on its 3Q23 earnings call, executives outlined the financing options that are on the table for the company, including a debt raise, funding from the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, and bringing in project equity partners for its facilities.

The company is “evaluating varied debt financing solutions to support [its] growth,” according to the shareholder letter. CFO Paul Middleton added on the call that they’ve had “some expressions of offers for ABL-like facilities” as well as restricted cash advance facilities. 

CEO Andy Marsh said the company would need to raise between $500m – $600m, according to a news report from Barron’s.

Representatives of Plug Power and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Plug is also working towards a conditional commitment from the DOE Loan Program Office to finance plants in its green hydrogen network. 

“The framework that we’re working on with them is a $1.5bn platform that would fund our green plants and would fund from construction phase onwards,” CFO Middleton said, adding that the funding could amount to as much as 80% of the projects. 

Middleton said he expected the DOE loan, if granted, would start funding in early 2Q24, and could even be used to back lever some of its existing plants in Texas and New York.

The company’s stock traded today with a $2.34bn market cap, while its outstanding debt consists of a $200m convertible note issued in 2020.

The notes traded around 130 cents of par before Plug’s going concern announcement, and subsequently dropped to trade in the high-70s, with quotes this week in the 80s.

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