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Fidelis forges global H2 technology alliance

The alliance is aimed at ultimately serving industry, digital infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and transportation.

Fidelis New Energy has formed global alliance with Topsoe A/S and Babcock & Wilcox for technology used for producing carbon neutral hydrogen, according to separate press releases.

The alliance pairs Topsoe’s hydrogen process portfolio with Fidelis technology for reduction of lifecycle carbon emissions in hydrogen production. Combined, the solution enables the production of hydrogen from natural gas with a lifecycle carbon intensity of 0 kgCO2e / kgH2.

Fidelis also pairs B&W’s bubbling fluidized bed boiler technology and equipment with FidelisH2 to produce zero-carbon intensity hydrogen.

The alliance is aimed at ultimately serving industry, digital infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and transportation.

Fidelis and Topsoe will jointly and exclusively license FidelisH2™ alongside Topsoe’s blue hydrogen technology portfolio. Topsoe will lead engagement with potential licensees interested in utilizing FidelisH2™ to produce hydrogen.

Topsoe’s process portfolio includes both steam methane reforming and autothermal reforming solutions to produce hydrogen with integrated carbon capture. FidelisH2 is a proprietary solution for incorporation of renewable energy into reforming processes to produce clean hydrogen.

The integration of these technologies offered through the alliance “provides a scalable solution well suited for generating valuable climate and environmental incentives such as the 45V tax credits provided in the United States Inflation Reduction Act of 2022,” the relevant release states.

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Verdagy partners with Doral on electrolyzer supply

Verdagy has entered a strategic agreement to supply electrolyzers to global green hydrogen projects developed by Doral.

Verdagy, an electrolyzer startup, has reached a strategic agreement with Doral, a renewable energy developer, in which Verdagy will supply green hydrogen electrolysis systems to Doral through 2030.

The agreement is global with a focus on green hydrogen projects Doral is developing in EuropeUnited StatesAustralia and the Middle East, according to a news release.

“Doral has a proven track record of developing infrastructure-scale renewable energy projects for over 15 years and Verdagy is excited to work together with Doral to drive the transition to green hydrogen,” said Verdagy CEO Marty Neese.

“Verdagy has developed green hydrogen electrolyzers that seamlessly pair in real-time with renewable energy sources, have the highest efficiencies and are cost-effective. With Verdagy’s electrolyzers already operating for several years, we are excited to now use these in our infrastructure scale, green hydrogen projects,” said Doral Hydrogen Managing Director Yam Efrati-Bekerman.

Doral Energy currently has a 16 GW pipeline of renewable projects under development and 14MWh of battery storage in the US and Europe. Since June 2020, Doral Energy is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol: DORL. Doral Hydrogen is the Hydrogen subsidiary of Doral Group to develop, build, and operate green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in the USAAustraliaEurope, and MENA.

The company already operates an HRS in the Netherlands and is developing more than 1GW projects for green hydrogen and ammonia production. Some of the projects will be executed in 2025 and already secured the offtake, the news release states.

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GE Gas and Svante to develop carbon capture technology for gas power applications

The companies will develop and evaluate carbon capture technology for natural gas power applications.

GE Gas Power, part of GE Vernova and Svante announced a joint development agreement (JDA) to develop and evaluate solid sorbent-based carbon capture technology for natural gas power generation applications, according to a news release.

In addition, GE has made an equity investment in Svante as a part of Svante’s $318-million Series E fundraising round in December 2022.

In 2022, GE announced that GE Vernova would spin off from GE in 2024 as a business purpose-built to lead the energy transition. This builds on GE’s sustainability commitments and position in the energy industry, where GE technology provides approximately 30% of the world’s electricity. GE is developing and commercializing a number of breakthrough technologies to drive the energy transition including carbon capture through industrial and technology research collaborations, including the agreement with and investment in Svante.

“The climate crisis and our world require immediate and sustained action and investment into crucial technologies like carbon capture which can deliver meaningful reductions in emissions and play a key role in the energy transition,” said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Vernova. “We are excited to work with a technology innovator like Svante to drive collective progress on developing carbon capture solutions for the energy industry aiming to deliver more sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity for more people.”

“We are pleased to welcome GE both as a strategic commercial collaborator and an investor in Svante, alongside our other strategic value chain partners and investors,” said Claude Letourneau, Svante’s president and CEO. “GE’s 130+ years of experience in energy applications will be invaluable to us as we rapidly scale our operations and manufacturing capacity to be able to capture millions of tonnes of CO2 from diverse industrial sites around the world.”

Svante’s novel carbon capture filters are made by coating solid adsorbents, including metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), onto thin sheets of laminate that are stacked to become the company’s nano-engineered filters. These filters can be used in multiple applications for capturing CO2 at refineries, cement, steel, aluminum, lime, boilers, pulp & paper, and more. The technology can be used for point-source post-combustion carbon capture in which the filters take CO2 out of industrial flue gas (the source of the emission) and prevent it from reaching the atmosphere. Because of the wide array of industries the company serves, Letourneau says Svante’s technology can be applied to 85% of the total carbon capture and removal segment.

The JDA between GE Gas Power and Svante will focus on further development and commercialization of novel solid sorbent technologies “aimed at decarbonizing natural gas-fired turbines in a cost-effective, environmentally responsible manner,” said Letourneau. “We are excited about the potential we have to open up an entirely new array of opportunities, aiming to provide carbon-free electricity in the future through the deployment of projects across gas-fired power generation facilities.”

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Barclays establishes energy transition group

Barclays is establishing a global energy transition group and has named Mike Cormier as its head.

Barclays is establishing a new energy transition group within its corporate and investment bank.

The new group will be responsible for providing strategic advice to clients as they explore potential energy transition opportunities, according to a news release.

The new team will be comprised of industry sector specialists from within Barclays’ global Natural Resources, Power, and Sustainable and Impact Investment Banking teams, focusing on hydrogen, energy transition finance, carbon capture, renewables, nature-based solutions, and renewable natural gas.

Mike Cormier has been appointed as Global Head of the Energy Transition Group, reporting directly to Cathal Deasy and Taylor Wright, Global Co-Heads of Investment Banking, and working in close partnership with Daniel Hanna, Global Head of Sustainable Finance.

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Recource
exclusive

Turnt up about turndown ratios

Optimizing electrolysis for renewables depends not just on how far you can turn the machine up, but how far you can turn it down. We asked electrolyzer makers: how low can you go?

Optimizing electrolysis for renewables depends not just on how far you can turn the machine up, but how far you can turn it down.

A consensus is growing around the importance of turndown ratios for electrolyzers, with a variety of use cases for green hydrogen requiring the machines to be run at low levels during periods of high power pricing.

Proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers are known for their ability to quickly ramp production up and down, but manufacturers of all stripes have begun to tout their technologies’ turndown ratios, with implications for capital costs and the levelized cost of producing hydrogen from renewable power.

Simply put, some electrolyzer plant operators will likely seek to lower hydrogen production during periods of high power pricing, since the cost of electricity is the largest operating expense. But cycling the electrolyzers completely off and on can lead to added system degradation, giving importance to the ability of the machines to run at low levels.

A study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) analyzes a US grid buildout through 2050, noting favorable locations and seasonality for power pricing as something of a guideline for green hydrogen development. The study notes that the lowest achievable turndown ratio is a main factor in minimizing hydrogen levelized cost along with the number of hours a system can operate at that minimum level – something that applies to all types of electrolyzers.

“When you start to look at hourly costs from the data in different locations, you see that all of this renewable buildout is going to create opportunities in given locations where you going to have a lot of renewable generation and not a lot of load on the system and that’s going to drive the cost for that energy down,” said Alex Badgett, an author of the study at NREL.

To be sure, the fast-moving technological environment for electrolysis leaves open the possibility for efficiency gains and disruptive innovation. And a variety of factors – balance of plant, energy efficiency, system degradation – also influence plant economics. But the lowest possible turndown ratios will drive opportunities for green hydrogen developers, Badgett said.

ReSource reviewed available spec sheets for electrolyzer providers and asked every maker of PEM and SOEC systems to detail the turndown capabilities of their machines. Alkaline electrolyzers were left out of the analysis given their more limited load flexibility, as their separators are less effective at preventing potentially dangerous cross-diffusion of gasses. Some manufacturers are fully transparent regarding turndown ranges while others declined to comment or did not reply to inquiries.

‘Not trivial’

In designing projects, developers are analyzing hourly energy supply schedules and pairing the outlook with what is known about available technology options.

“Some electrolyzers like to operate at half power, and others like to operate at full power, and in any given system, you can have between 10 and 50 electrolyzers wired and plumbed in parallel,” said Mike Grunow, who leads the Power-to-X platform at Strata Clean Energy.

“Our thought process even goes down to: let’s say you have to operate the H2 plant at 25% throughput. Do you operate all of the electrolyzers at 25%, or do you turn 75% of the electrolyzers off and only operate 25% at full power?”

The difference in the schemes, he added, is “not trivial as each technology has different efficiency curves and drivers of degradation.”

Different use cases for the hydrogen derivative, meanwhile, lead to different natural selection of technologies, Grunow said, adding that the innovation cycle is now happening every 12 months, requiring a close eye on advances in technology. 

Electrolyzer start-up Electric Hydrogen, a maker of PEM electrolyzers, is commercializing a 100 MW system that can turn down to 10%, according to Jason Mortimer, SVP of global sales at the company.

HyAxium, another start-up, can turn its system down to 10%, according to its materials. Norway-based Hystar, which recently announced plans to build a plant in the US, also promotes a 10% turndown ratio.

A more established PEM electrolyzer provider, Cummins, advertises turndown ratios of 5% for its machines. Sungrow Power, a China-based manufacturer, similarly advertises 5% for PEM electrolyzers.

Siemens Energy has a minimum turndown ratio per stack of 40%, but for a single system it can be less in exceptional cases, according to Claudia Nehring, a company spokesperson.

“We focus on large systems” – greater than 100 MW – “and currently consider this value to be appropriate, taking into account the optimization between efficiency, degradation and dynamics, but are working on an improvement,” she said via email.

ITM Power declined to provide details but said its turndown capabilities are “to be expected” for a market leader in this technology. Materials from German-based H-Tec Systems note a modulation rate down to 10%.

Additional PEM makers Nel, Ohmium, Elogen, H2B2, Hoeller Electrolyzer, Plug Power, Shanghai Electric, and Teledyne Energy Systems did not respond to requests for information.

PEM alternatives

Other forms of electrolysis can also ramp dynamically. And some project developers point to PEM’s use of iridium, part of the platinum metals family, as a drawback due to potential scarcity issues.

Verdagy, for example, has developed an advanced alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) system called eDynamic that it says takes the best of PEM and alkaline technologies while designing out the downsides.

The company’s technology “addresses the barriers that limited traditional AWE adoption by using single-element cells that can operate efficiently at high current densities,” executives said in response to emailed questions. 

“The ability to operate at very high current densities, coupled with a balance of stack and balance of plant optimized for dynamic operation, allow Verdagy’s electrolyzers to operate across a very broad range spanning 0.1-2.0 A/cm2,” they said.

In other words, the machine can turn down to 5%, part of the design that enables operators “to modulate production to take advantage of time-of-day pricing and/or fluctuations in energy production.”

Meanwhile, German-based Thysenkrupp Nucera, another maker of advanced water electrolyzers, advertises a 10% turndown ratio.

SOEC

A relatively new electrolysis technology, the solid oxide electrolyzer cell has also proven to be capable of low turndown ratios. Solid oxide electrolysis is particularly attractive when paired with high-temperature industrial processes, where heat can be captured and fed back into the high-temperature SOEC process, making it more efficient.

Joel Moser, the CEO of First Ammonia, said he chose SOEC from Denmark-based Haldor Topsoe in part because the machines can be turned completely off with no degradation, as long as you keep them warm.

“Generally speaking we expect to ramp up and ramp down between 100% and 10%,” he said. “We can turn them off as long as we keep them warm, and then we can turn them right back on.”

Still, SOEC systems are not without challenges.

“Low stack power and high operating temperature, which in turn requires more ancillary equipment to operate the electrolyzer, are widely viewed as the main drawbacks of SOEC technology,” according to a report from the Clean Air Task Force, which explores SOEC technology and its commercial prospects. “SOEC systems are also considered to have a shorter operating life due to thermal stress.”

Additional makers of SOEC machines Bloom Energy, Ceres, Elcogen, Genvia, SolydERA, and Toshiba did not respond to inquiries.

At NREL, researchers are watching for more automation and scale in the electrolyzer production process to bring costs down. Increasing efficiency through balance-of-plant improvements is another opportunity to reduce system costs.

In addition, more analysis of how large electrolyzer projects will impact the future electrical grid is required, according to Badgett.

The NREL team modeled the hourly marginal cost at any given time in any location in the US, but the model assumes that the electrolyzer takes energy without impacting the cost of energy.

“When we start to get to gigawatt-scale electrolysis,” he said, “that’s going to significantly impact prices, as well as how the grid is going to build out.”

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Exclusive: Inside Strata’s P2X strategy

Strata Clean Energy is seeking to engage with global chemical, energy, and shipping companies as a potential partner for a pipeline of green hydrogen projects that will have FIDs in 2025 and CODs later this decade.

Strata Clean Energy is developing a pipeline of green hydrogen projects that will produce large amounts of green ammonia and other hydrogen derivatives later this decade.

Mike Grunow, executive vice president and general manager of Strata’s Power-to-X platform, said in an interview that the company is investing in the development of proprietary modeling and optimization software that forms part of its strategy to de-risk Power-to-X projects for compliance with strict 45V tax credit standards.

“We’re anticipating having the ability to produce substantial amounts of low-carbon ammonia in the back half of this decade from a maturing pipeline of projects that we’ve been developing, and we’re looking to collaborate with global chemical, energy, and shipping companies on the next steps for these projects,” he said.

Strata’s approach to potential strategic offtakers could also include the partner taking an equity stake in projects, “with the right partner,” Grunow said. The projects are expected to reach FID in 2025.

Grunow declined to comment on the specific size or regional focus of the projects.

“We aspire for the projects to be as large as possible,” he said. “All of the projects are in deep discussions with the regional transmission providers to determine the schedule at which more and more transmission capacity can be made available.”

Strata will apply its expertise in renewable energy to the green hydrogen industry, he said, which involves the deployment of unique combinations of renewable energy, energy storage, and energy trading to deliver structured products to large industrial clients, municipal utilities and regulated utilities.

The company “commits to providing 100% hourly matched renewable energy over a guaranteed set of hours over the course of an entire year for 10 – 20 years,” Grunow said.

“It’s our expectation that the European regulations and more of the global regulations, and the guidance from the US Treasury will require that the clean energy supply projects are additional, deliverable within the same ISO/RTO, and that, eventually, the load of the electrolyzer will need to follow the production of the generation,” he said.

Strata’s strategy for de-risking compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act’s 45V revenue stream for green hydrogen will give asset-level lenders certainty on the delivery of a project’s IRA incentives.

“Right now, if I’m looking at a project with an hourly matched 45V revenue stream, I have substantial doubt about that project’s ability to actually staple the hourly matched RECs to the amount of hydrogen produced in an hour, to the ton of hydrogen derivative,” he said.

During the design phase, developers evaluate multiple electrolyzer technologies, hourly matching of variable generation, price uncertainty and carbon intensity of the grid, plant availability and maintenance costs along with evolving 45V compliance requirements.

Meanwhile, during the operational phase, complex revenue streams need to be optimized. In certain markets with massive electrical loads, an operator has the opportunity to earn demand response and ancillary service revenues, Grunow said.

Optimal operations

“The key to maximizing the value of these assets is optimal operations,” he said, noting project optionality between buying and selling energy, making and storing hydrogen, and using hydrogen to make a derivative such as ammonia or methanol.

Using its software, Strata can make a complete digital twin of a proposed plant in the design phase, which accounts for the specifications of the commercially available electrolyzer families.

Strata analyzes an hourly energy supply schedule for every project it evaluates, across 8,760 hours a year and 20 years of expected operating life. It can then cue up that digital project twin – with everything known about the technology options, their ability to ramp and turn down, and the drivers of degradation – and analyze optimization for different electrolyzer operating formats. 

“It’s fascinating right now because the technology development cycle is happening in less than 12 months, so every year you need to check back in with all the vendors,” he said. “This software tool allows us to do that in a hyper-efficient way.”

A major hurdle the green hydrogen industry still needs to overcome, according to Grunow, is aligning the commercial aspects of electrolysis with its advances in technological innovation.

“The lender at the project level needs the technology vendor to take technology and operational risk for 10 years,” he said. “So you need a long-term service agreement, an availability guarantee, key performance metric guarantees on conversion efficiency,” he said, “and those guarantees must have liquidated damages for underperformance, and those liquidated damages must be backstopped by a limitation of liability and a domestic entity with substantial credit. Otherwise these projects won’t get financed.”

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Exclusive: Coal bed methane producer seeking capital partners

A western US company producing RNG by injecting biomass into coal seams is preparing a Series B and has a line of site to financing and contracting EPC for a series of projects in western coal fields.

Cowboy Clean Fuels, a Wyoming-based RNG producer, is preparing to launch a Series B to reach commercialization, CEO Ryan Waddington told ReSource.

CCF injects biomass feedstock like molasses into the coal seams of spent coal mines about 1,000 ft. below surface, relying on the endogenous microorganisms living in those seams to produce methane, Waddington said. Capex on projects is low, up to $6m each.

The company raised $10m in a Series A and will seek to raise that same amount for a Series B. The company has been assisted by Syren Capital Advisors.

Projects are set up as separate entities under the parent, Waddington said. Six projects, each ranging from 70 to 300 wells, are in the company’s pipeline now in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.

“We can replicate this 1,000 times,” Waddington said of the immense number of available wells in the region, which can be acquired cheaply. Additional growth could come in the San Juan region of New Mexico, where coal capacity is being retired quickly.

The fuels could be sold as renewable diesel into markets with incentives, like California’s LCFS, Waddington said. The renewable fuel is significantly (10X) more expensive than natural gas produced as a by-product of oil production. But, CCF is not looking to participate in the LCFS program or the EPA-run RFS program.

“The voluntary market for RNG has really taken off,” he said. A contract for renewable diesel offtake is pending with a Wyoming-based oil and gas company looking to lower its CI score.

CCF’s projects are much larger than a typical RNG project, Waddington said; the first project will produce at some 700 cfpy and include 185 tons of CCS. CCF is looking for EPC providers now.

The executive team of CCF has a minority position of the company, Waddington said. The founders and the management team together have a majority position.

The company’s first 139-well project in Wyoming is awaiting final approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management.

CCF is primarily VC-backed to date. The company received approximately $7.8m through the Energy Matching Funds program of the Wyoming Energy Authority early this year.

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