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Exclusive: Liquid hydrogen at room temp: Tech firm raising money to scale

A provider of liquid organic hydrogen carrier technology is finishing a second seed round with designs on a Series A next year. The technology allows hydrogen to be transported as a liquid at room temperature.

Ayrton Energy, the Calgary-based provider of liquid organic hydrogen carrier storage technology, is preparing to launching a second seed round and plans a $30m Series A next year, CEO Natasha Kostenuk told ReSource.

Ayrton, with 10 employees, allows hydrogen to be transported as a liquid at room temperature, Kostenuk said. The liquid can also be transported in existing infrastructure while mitigating pipeline corrosion.

The company’s target customers are hydrogen producers, utilities and hub-and-spoke logistical servicers.

To date Ayrton has raised $5m from venture capital and a similar amount will come from the next seed round, Kostenuk said. A 30 kg per day pilot project with a gas utility in Canada is underway and Ayrton will look to 10x that next year, she said, with eyes on 3 metric tonnes per day commercialization.

“It scales like electrolyzers,” she said of the technology. “We can get very large, very easily.”

Ayrton is now engaging investors and potential advisors, Kostenuk said. “It would be good to engage with us now.”

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Nel Hydrogen US industrializing PEM platform with GM

General Motors brings experience with fuel cells to advance Nel’s PEM line.

Nel Hydrogen US, a subsidiary of Norway’s Nel ASA, has entered into a joint development agreement with General Motors to industrialize Nel’s PEM electrolyzer platform, according to a press release.

The two companies are looking to enable more cost competitive sources of renewable hydrogen, the release states.

“Adding Nel as a strategic collaborator is an important step to help us commercialize fuel cell technology,” Charles Freese, GM executive director, Global HYDROTEC, said in the release. “Nel has some of the most promising electrolyser technology to help develop clean hydrogen infrastructure, and we believe our HYDROTEC fuel cell IP can help them get closer to scale.”

Detroit-based Nel Hydrogen US will be compensating GM for the development work and IP transfer on an ongoing basis and pay a license after successful commercialization dependent on how much of the end product is based on GM technology.

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BayoTech hires VP of development

The new hire, Jack Hedge, will be responsible for leading the development of hydrogen projects in North America.

New Mexico-based BayoTech Hydrogen has hired Jack Hedge as its new vice president of hydrogen hub development, according to a press release.

Hedge will be responsible for leading the development of hydrogen projects in North America. He will lead a team that is developing relationships with host property managers, community stakeholders, regulators, and local government officials who are interested in decarbonization.

“BayoTech is on the verge of making hydrogen production local and hub development is how we achieve it,” said BayoTech President & CEO, Mo Vargas. “Jack has years of experience in developing and executing major projects for some of the most recognized ports in the nation. That experience paired with his dedication to clean energy projects is exactly why we thought he was the right person to lead this phase of growth. We are delighted to have Jack’s leadership, passion for making the world better and experience both as a developer and as a project host to support customers decarbonization goals and drive projects to completion.”

“I am excited to begin this next chapter and blend all my previous experience into something truly meaningful and impactful. Working with the team at BayoTech we will lead the way to truly “smart, sustainable and equitable” supply chains,” Hedge said in the release.

Prior to joining BayoTech, Jack served as president of Utah Inland Port Authority, where he was responsible for developing and building one of the nation’s leading sustainable intermodal logistics hubs. Jack has also worked as the director of cargo and industrial real estate for the Port of Los Angeles where he lead the development, leasing, and asset management functions of the largest container port complex in North America.

BayoTech last year agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Carbon Clean under which the two parties will work togeterh on a demonstration facility to evaluate, design, and operate a carbon capture plant at a BayoTech site in North America which is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

Investors in BayoTech include Newlight Partners, Opal Fuels, Nutrien, The Yield Lab, Cottonwood Technology Fund, Sun Mountain Capital and Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc.

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Pending renewable fuels SPAC deal adds green hydrogen to business model

The companies in a pending renewable fuels SPAC takeover will add green hydrogen production to its syngas to gasoline plus other products process. Its first facility will be constructed in Maricopa, Arizona.

The companies in a pending renewable fuels SPAC takeover will add green hydrogen production to its syngas to gasoline plus other products process, according to a press release.

CENAQ Energy Corp., a special purpose acquisition company focused on energy and energy transition, and Bluescape Clean Fuels Intermediate Holdings, a renewable feedstock company, said that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 contains incentives for the production of green hydrogen that should allow the addition of green hydrogen at the post-combination company, Verde Clean Fuels, Inc.

By adding an external source of green hydrogen to Verde’s STG+® process, Verde expects to be able to utilize approximately two-thirds less feedstock while maintaining the same gasoline output with no change in total capital expenditures for its first facility to be constructed in Maricopa, Arizona, the release states.

The green hydrogen incentives are in the form of 10-year production tax credits that equate to as much as $3.00 per kilogram of green hydrogen produced. Verde’s initial facility is anticipated to use green hydrogen volumes that would result in the generation of approximately $20m per year of production tax credits. The generation of these production credits could provide Verde with new and attractive financing alternatives.

Bluescape is currently in discussions with several green hydrogen providers to either acquire electrolyzer assets or form a joint venture to provide green hydrogen to Verde’s initial facility as well as to planned future Verde renewable gasoline facilities.

The parties announced the signing of the merger in August, and have since twice extended the deadline for completing the combination. The deadline is now February 16, 2023.

The business combination values BCF at an implied $280m enterprise value and a pro forma equity value of approximately $500m.

Imperial Capital is serving as financial advisor to CENAQ. Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. is serving as legal counsel to CENAQ.

Kirkland& Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to BCF.

Baker Botts L.L.P. is acting as legal counsel to Imperial Capital.

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US salt cavern developer selling hydrogen storage project

A US-based developer of salt cavern projects for hydrogen storage has retained a financial advisor to sell its first project and is informally seeking an equity investor.

Phoenix Hydrogen, a salt cavern storage developer based in Berkeley, California, has hired a financial advisor to run a sale of its primary project in Arizona, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Scotiabank is leading the process, which will launch next week, the sources said. The sale is for 100% of the company’s first project near Kingman, Arizona. The project is expected to reach FID in the next 18 months.

Phoenix CEO Shawn Drost said in an interview that the company is informally seeking a platform equity investment as well but is only willing to take on a minority partner. An equity sale would need to raise an amount in the “low-tens” of millions, he said. It’s a difficult proposition, as equity providers in the space tend to demand majority positions.

The company wants to bankroll projects from beginning to end as an owner operator, he said, but requires capital to do so.

Phoenix, a six-person team, has a relationship with GHD Group for EPC, he said. The company is seeking relationships with production-side developers to sign site and storage leases.

Scotiabank did not respond to requests for comment.

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NanoScent seeking new investor to complete blended funding round

NanoScent is seeking a new investor to satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the European Innovation Council.

NanoScent, an Israel-based technology firm, is seeking a new investor to help solidify an equity investment from the European Innovation Council, CEO Oren Gavriely said in an interview.

To satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the EIC, NanoScent must bring on a new investor at EUR 2m, Gavriely said.

The ideal investor will have complementary capabilities that can ramp up the revenue stream, Gavriely added. Producers and suppliers of gasses and chemicals for industrial use would make sense.

The money will be used to further develop the proprietary VOCID Purity in-line sensor controller, which measures hydrogen quality by monitoring the cleanliness of gas lines. The technology is oriented towards producers and end-users like fuel cell stations, who will be responsible for the integrity of the hydrogen. The product will be rolled out at the end of 1Q23.

Gavriely said the company has several customers for the technology in the pipeline, declining to say who they are.

NanoScent, founded five years ago, has raised USD 10m in equity to date, with another USD 10m in non-dilutive funding. The company’s largest outside investor is Sumitomo Chemical, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Control of the company is maintained by the founders, Gavriely said.

NanoScent has 20 employees, Gavriely said. So far the company has relied on the expertise of its board, which includes one former investment banker, for financial advisory services. That could change in the future as the company grows.

NanoScent uses Pearl Cohen for law services and EY for accounting.

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Waste-to-hydrogen developer to close $100m capital raise this month

Raven SR’s C-round of financing is being run by two bulge-bracket banks, and the firm has received widespread interest from private equity and corporate strategics.

Raven SR, a US waste-to-hydrogen developer, is working on a $100m capital raise that’s expected to wrap up this month, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

Raven’s C-round of financing is being run by Barclays and Bank of America. The firm has received widespread interest from private equity and corporate strategics.

Raven CEO Matt Murdock said on the sidelines of the Hydrogen Americas event in Washington D.C. that he was hoping to have the raise done by Thanksgiving.

Headquartered in Wyoming with projects in California and Spain, the company uses a steam/CO2 reforming process that transforms municipal solid waste, organic waste and methane into clean fuels.

In August, 2021, Raven closed on a $20m strategic investment from Chevron U.S.A., ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc. and Ascent Hydrogen Fund. Samsung Ventures made a strategic investment earlier this year, allowing the company to expand into the Asia-Pacific market.

The company has partnered with INNIO to use its Jenbacher engines to provide renewable power and heat to Raven SR’s first waste-to-hydrogen production facility at the Republic Services West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill in Richmond, California.

Raven SR plans to bring the plant online in the first quarter of 2023, initially processing up to 99.9 tons of organic waste per day and producing up to 2,000 metric tons per year of hydrogen.

In Aragón, Spain, Raven SR is aiming to bring a second project online in 2023 that will produce 1,600 metric tons per year of renewable hydrogen from approximately 75 tons of organic solid waste per day.

Raven SR recently announced the election of Mark Gordon of Ascent Fund and Michael Hoban of Chevron New Energies to its Board of Directors.

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