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Exclusive: Midwest renewables developer launches capital raise

A Midwest renewables developer has launched a $340m capital raise for a wind-to-hydrogen operation in the US heartland.
Zero6, the Minneapolis-based renewables developer, owner and operator, recently launched a process to raise $340m in project capital for its portion of the Lake Preston Biofuels Project in South Dakota, senior managing director Howard Stern said in an interview. The company, previously known as Juhl Energy, is partnered with Colorado-based Gevo, which plans to produce SAF on 240 acres at Lake Preston in a project dubbed Net-Zero 1. Zero6 will develop 20 MW of green hydrogen production adjacent to Net-Zero 1 powered by a 99 MW wind farm located 10 miles from the SAF site, Stern said. Plans call for FID late this year, he said. Zero6 met with several financial advisors for the raise, but decided to try and conduct it in-house, Stern said. The company has not ruled out help from an advisor for this raise and could need those services in the future. The goal is to have an anchor investor in place by May, Stern said. The company is open to strategic or financial investors. Zero6’s strategy is akin to a traditional private equity play, holding a project for five to ten years of operation, Stern said. That could change depending on new investors’ outlook. According to the ReSource database, Gevo has additional projects in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Stern said Zero6 sees opportunities to replicate the Lake Preston strategy in other parts of the country. The Lake Preston project has been tied to the development of carbon capture pipelines through South Dakota, namely the Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline. Gevo officials have made public comments noting that if the Summit pipeline does not get built, it would disadvantage the Lake Preston project on the basis of its carbon intensity score, and the company may seek options elsewhere.

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Air Products expands California SAF project by $500m

The Pennsylvania-based company has modified the design of the project to include more sustainable aviation fuel thanks to incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Air Products will commit an additional $500m to a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) project in California thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, bringing the company’s investment in the facility to $2.5bn.

Pennsylvania-based Air Products teamed with World Energy earlier this year to build an expansion project at World Energy’s SAF production and distribution hub in Paramount, California.

The change in the design of the SAF facility results from the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US, Air Products executives said on its fiscal 4Q22 earnings call today. The IRA includes a new $1.25 per gallon SAF credit where the fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% compared to petroleum-based jet fuel.

While the total capacity at the plant remains the same at 340 million gallons per year, the portion of the output dedicated to SAF will increase, adding additional costs, company CEO Seifi Ghasemi said.

The long-term, take-or-pay agreement with World Energy includes Air Products’ construction and ownership of a new hydrogen plant to be operated by Air Products and renewable fuels manufacturing facilities to be operated by World Energy, the company said in an April news release. The project is scheduled to be onstream in 2025.

Air Products is also building a $4.5bn blue hydrogen complex in Louisiana, where plans to capture 5 million tons per year of CO2 will result in an annual benefit of roughly $425m after tax from incentives in the IRA, Ghasemi said on the call. The legislation provides a tax credit of $85 per metric ton of captured CO2.

“The numbers are very clear with regard to CO2sequestration,” Ghasemi said.

The company is conducting further evaluations of the expected impact of the IRA’s tax benefits for the Louisiana facility that could result in an expansion of the project’s scope, he added.

Also during the quarter, Air Products announced a long-term supply agreement for Imperial Oil’s proposed Strathcona renewable diesel complex, with Air Products supplying about half the low-carbon hydrogen output from its net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

In addition, the company said it would invest approximately $500m to build, own and operate a 35 metric-ton-per-day facility to produce green liquid hydrogen at a greenfield site in Massena, New York, as well as liquid hydrogen distribution and dispensing operations for industrial decarbonization and mobility.

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Plug Power and Olin launch hydrogen production and marketing JV

Plug Power and Olin Corporation have launched Hidrogenii, a joint venture to provide green hydrogen throughout North America.

Plug Power and Olin Corporation have launched Hidrogenii, a joint venture to provide green hydrogen throughout North America, according to a press release.

Hidrogenii’’s first project will be a a 15 ton per day hydrogen plant in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.

Plug will be the exclusive marketer of the joint venture’s hydrogen and provide logistical support for delivery, while Olin, North America’s largest producer of electrolytic hydrogen headquartered in Missouri, will provide reliable hydrogen supply and operational expertise.

The Louisiana plant will benefit from state and local tax subsidies. It joins Plug’s growing national network of hydrogen plants in various planning and construction phases in New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas and California.

By 2025, Plug expects to produce 500 tons per day of liquid green hydrogen.

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Black Hills Energy studying hydrogen production from coal

BHE will partner with Babcock & Wilcox to study the cost and economics of deploying chemical looping technology at commercial scale to produce hydrogen from Powder River Basin coal and a nearly pure stream of CO2.

Black Hills Energy (BHE) has selected its BrightLoop hydrogen generation technology from Babcock & Wilcox for the feasibility study of a proposed project to produce clean hydrogen from coal and capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at BHE’s Neil Simpson Power Plant in Gillette, Wyo.

BrightLoop is a novel chemical looping technology that can use a variety of fuels to produce clean energy with complete CO2 capture, according to a news release from the companies.

BHE will partner with B&W to study the cost and economics of deploying the BrightLoop chemical looping technology at commercial scale to produce low carbon intensity hydrogen gas from Powder River Basin (PRB) coal and a nearly pure stream of CO2 suitable for beneficial use or storage without the need for expensive carbon separation equipment.

“As the United States and much of the world transitions to near-zero emissions fuels, our BrightLoop technology – which captures COand other pollutants while producing hydrogen – can provide a vital pathway to utilize our abundant natural resource of coal in a net-zero world,” said B&W Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Morgan.

“We are excited to utilize our highly experienced U.S. engineering team to work with BHE to develop a solution that will help them achieve their goals of creating and preserving jobs, diversifying Wyoming’s energy production and establishing new markets for the state’s natural resources,” Morgan said. “We thank BHE for this opportunity and for the confidence they have shown in B&W’s BrightLoop technology.”

Mark Stege, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of Wyoming operations agreed, adding, “Over 30 years of research has led us to this opportunity to unite clean energy technology with Wyoming’s important and abundant energy resources. We appreciate the partnership with B&W and the prospect of leveraging innovative hydrogen technology to deliver efficient energy to customers.”

B&W’s BrightLoop chemical looping technology is part of its ClimateBright suite of decarbonization and hydrogen technologies. The BrightLoop process uses a proprietary, regenerable particle and has been demonstrated to effectively separate CO2 while producing hydrogen, steam and/or syngas.

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IPP retains banker for California plant sale

An independent power producer has retained a banker for a sale of a decades-old gas plant in California. Aging gas plants have been in the sights of clean fuels developers looking to retrofit or use facilities for clean fuel production and combustion.

GenOn, an independent power producer, has hired Solomon Partners to sell a 54 MW gas plant in California, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The plant, Ellwood, is located in Goleta, in Santa Barbara County, and was shuttered and retired by GenOn as of 2019. It reached COD in 1973 and ran two Pratt & Whitney FT4C-1 gas turbine engines.

Ellwood previously interconnected via Southern California Edison, a utility that is pursuing multiple natural gas decarbonization projects, including a hydrogen-blending initiative with Bloom Energy.

A teaser for the sale of Ellwood, which was issued last week, notes there is an opportunity to install a battery energy storage system at the site, one of the sources added.

Elsewhere in California, investment firm Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and developer Meridian Clean Energy are seeking to demonstrate decarbonization in peaker plants at the much newer gas-fired Sentinel Energy Center. Their plans include hydrogen blending.

GenOn declined to comment. Solomon Partners did not respond to requests for comment.

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Methanol-to-hydrogen firm planning capital raise

An early-stage provider of distributed methanol-to-hydrogen solutions is planning a capital raise as it scales up.

Kaizen Clean Energy, a Houston-based methanol-to-hydrogen fuel company, is planning to raise additional capital in support of upcoming projects.

The company, which uses methanol and water to produce hydrogen with modular units, recently completed a funding round led by Balcor Companies, in which Balcor took a minority interest in Kaizen.

Additional funding in the capital raise was provided by friends and family, Kaizen co-founder and chief commercial officer Eric Smith said in an interview.

But with its sights on larger project opportunities this year, the company is already targeting an additional capital raise to support continued growth, Smith said. He declined to comment further on the capital raise and potential advisors, but noted that the company’s CFO, Craig Klaasmeyer, is a former Credit Suisse banker.

Kaizen’s methanol model utilizes a generator license from Element 1 and adds in systems to produce power or hydrogen, targeting the diesel generator market, EV charging and microgrids as well as hydrogen fueling and industrial uses.

Compared to trucking in hydrogen, the model using methanol, an abundant chemical, cuts costs by around 50%, Smith said, noting that Kaizen’s containers are at cost parity with diesel.

In addition, the Kaizen container is cleaner than alternatives, producing no nitric or sulfur oxide, according to Smith. Its carbon intensity score is 45, compared to 90 for the California electric grid and 100 for diesel generators.

Smith also touts a streamlined permitting process for Kaizen’s containerized product. The company recently received a letter of exemption for the container from a California air district due to low or no emissions. The product similarly does not require a California state permit and similarly, when off grid, no city permits are required, he added.

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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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