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First Ammonia and Uniper to cooperate on Texas green ammonia project

First Ammonia will produce ammonia from renewable electricity at their flagship facility in Port of Victoria, Texas.

Uniper and First Ammonia are working together to deliver green ammonia to Uniper as part of a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for ammonia consumers, according to a news release.

Each 100 MW module will initially produce up to 100,000 MTPA of green ammonia. This is the equivalent to 180,000-240,000MT of CO₂ avoided per annum when compared to grey ammonia. This zero-carbon ammonia will help Uniper accelerate the energy transition for its customers, Germany, and the wider European market.

First Ammonia will produce ammonia from renewable electricity at their flagship facility in Port of Victoria, Texas.

This is the first commercial-scale ammonia facility to use solid-oxide electrolyzers, which are 30% more energy efficient than conventional electrolyzers, meaning less electricity is needed to produce the same output, according to the release.

Green ammonia production will begin in 2026, with rapid scale up thereafter enabled by modular design, servicing UNIPER’s industrial and global customers

The plant deploys a power-to-ammonia concept based on the integration of the high temperature solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) with the exothermic ammonia synthesis process.

“We are excited to partner with Uniper to deliver green ammonia to the global market from our 100% carbon-free, innovative flagship project in Texas. This groundbreaking project brings together Texan renewable electricity with the flexibility of cutting-edge electrolyzers from our technology partner Topsoe in Denmark, the local knowledge and support of the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, and now the global perspective of Uniper as a front runner in the transition towards greener gases. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Uniper,” said First Ammonia CEO Joel Moser.

Uniper’s Chief Commercial Officer Carsten Poppinga says: “Our focus on greener gases will allow Uniper’s customers to switch from carbon-intensive ammonia to green and blue ammonia and thus avoiding a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The planned cooperation with First Ammonia and their technology partner Topsoe is a further and novel step into securing a diversified, flexible, and optimal supply of renewable molecules for North America and Europe. With our pioneering project development, our near-term goal is to become a supplier of choice for the industries using ammonia as a feedstock. Next to engaging in a range of global clean ammonia projects Uniper is actively pursuing projects to develop ammonia landing terminals and related infrastructure in European ports including at its German terminal in Wilhelmshaven.“

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Pembina and Marubeni developing Canada-to-Japan blue ammonia project

The project will be structured as an infrastructure-style, fee-based business with investment grade counterparties and is seen as an anchor to a proposed 2,000-acre clean fuels industrial complex in Alberta.

Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Marubeni Corporation have signed an MOU to develop a blue ammonia supply chain from Western Canada to Japan and other Asian markets, according to a news release.

The facility will be on Pembina-owned lands adjacent to its Redwater Complex in the Alberta Industrial Heartland near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

Initial feasibility studies have been completed and the facility has an anticipated design capacity of up to 185 kilotonnes per year of hydrogen production, which will be converted into approximately one million tonnes per year of ammonia.

The facility will include carbon capture with the potential for integrated transportation and sequestration on the proposed Alberta Carbon Grid being developed by Pembina and TC Energy.

The ammonia would be transported via rail to Canada’s WestCoast and shipped to Japan and other Asian markets.

Under the MOA, Pembina and Marubeni will focus on the preliminary Front End Engineering Design (pre-FEED), engagement with various stakeholders, including governments in Canada and Japan, and commercial activities.

The project is expected to be structured as an infrastructure-style, fee-based business with investment grade counter parties. Pre-FEED work is currently expected to be completed by early 2024.

The project could potentially serve as an anchor development to advance Pembina’s ongoing efforts to establish a new growth platform known as the Pembina Low Carbon Complex (PLCC) for energy transition technologies, sustainable fuels, and chemicals like hydrogen, ammonia and methanol.

“With over 2,000 contiguous acres of undeveloped land located in the Alberta Industrial Heartland, Pembina’s vision is to develop an industrial complex for low-carbon energy infrastructure to better enable Pembina and third parties to develop projects, while reducing costs, emissions, and risk,” the release states.

Projects within the PLCC would gain access to land, low-carbon hydrogen, clean power, natural gas and industrial gases, water, CCUS, and the construction and operation of rail assets. Within the PLCC, Pembina would lease land to third parties and provide infrastructure, logistics, and shared services to tenants.

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Exclusive: Natural gas decarbonization firm in capital raise

A Canadian methane pyrolysis firm is working with a pair of financial advisors and is in the market with an equity capital raise.

Ekona Power, the industrial hydrogen solutions firm based in British Columbia, is raising a Series B of between $50m and $80m, two sources familiar with the matter told ReSource.

RBC Capital Markets is conducting the raise, the sources said, while the Vancouver office of Fort Capital is also involved.

The capital raise would fund the second stage of decarbonization efforts at the Gold Creek Natural Gas plant in Alberta.

The company is targeting US investors, particularly large strategics, one of the sources said, and has had discussions with ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.

Ekona is eyeing expansion in the US Pacific Northwest, Western and central Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia and China, the source added.

In early 2022 TransAlta made a CAD 2m equity investment in Ekona. Baker Hughes participated in the company’s Series A.

Ekona and Fort Capital declined to comment. RBC did not respond to requests for comment.

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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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Siemens Energy planning new US electrolyzer capacity

The company is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Siemens Energy North America is laying the groundwork for new electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the United States, President Richard Voorberg said during a panel discussion recently.

Siemens Energy, a global energy technology company, makes an 18 MW PEM electrolyzer, one of the largest in the world, and is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Voorberg said.

The company is building its first gigawatt factory in Berlin, Germany via a joint venture with France’s Air Liquide. The Berlin factory is expected to produce 1 GW of PEM electrolyzers per year starting in mid-2023.

“As soon as we get that first one up and running… I’ve got a plan already to put a 1,000 MW line in the US,” Voorberg said, speaking during an event at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington D.C. last month.

Siemens’ existing manufacturing capacity in the US could expand to accommodate that new line, or the company could look to build an entirely new facility, Voorberg said. He added that the recently passed IRA helps makes the business case to do so.

Following the IRA, customers went from asking for fractions of a megawatt to seeking 2 GW in a single order, Voorberg said. His 18 MW line is now insufficient.

“We’ve got to scale up,” he said. “Scale is everything.”

Voorberg said his company sees hydrogen being used in electricity production around 2035, but mobility can use it now.

The planned move by Siemens underscores the extent to which the IRA legislation has trained the hydrogen industry’s focus on the U.S. Norway-based electrolyzer producer Nel is speeding efforts to expand electrolyzer capacity in the U.S. And Cummins announced last month that it would add electrolyzer production space at its existing facility in Fridley, Minnesota.

Siemens Energy is independent of Siemens AG, having spun off in 2020. The company has about 10,000 employees in the US and roughly 2,000 in Canada.

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Hydrogen firm launches equity raise

A US hydrogen infrastructure and project development outfit has mandated a banker to conduct a raise for equity and project capital.

Lifte H2, the Boston-based hydrogen infrastructure and project developer, has mandated a banker to conduct a Series A capital raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Energy & Industrial Advisory Partners is running the process, which launched recently, the sources said. Lifte H2 is seeking equity in the topco and development capital for its first project.

Talks with strategic and financial investors are being conducted now.

Lifte H2, which also has offices in Berlin, is led by Co-founder and CEO Matthew Blieske, who served as global hydrogen product manager for Shell before starting Lifte H2 in 2021. The founding team also includes Jeremy Manaus, Angela Akroyd, Richard Zhang, Paul Karzel, and Richard Wiens, all of whom previously worked at Shell.

In January, the company launched two hydrogen transport and dispensing products, the MACH₂ Mobile Refueler, which is a combination dispenser and high-capacity trailer; and the MACH2 High-Capacity Hydrogen Trailer, which has a capacity of 1,330 kg at approximately 550 bar and, according to the company, enables the lowest cost per kilogram for over-the-road transport.

The company signed an MOU last year with Swiss compressor manufacturer Burckhardt Compression to develop a joint offering of hydrogen solutions.

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Hydrogen developer raising equity for US and EU projects

A Washington, DC-based hydrogen developer has hired an advisor to raise equity for three projects in California, and is laying the groundwork for a second capital raise in the EU.

SGH2 Energy, a Washington D.C.-based hydrogen developer, is in the early stages of a process to raise project equity for its three California projects.

Morgan Stanley has been retained to run the process, which could result in taking on two investors, CEO Robert Do said in an interview. The company hopes to have the process wrapped up within three months, he added.

Do declined to disclose the amount he is seeking to raise, but said the company prefers a strategic investor that can co-develop projects outside of California.

Meanwhile, SGH2 has filled out 70% of the senior debt commitments it will need for its Lancaster, California plant, Do said. At the Lancaster plant, SGH2 plans to produce up to 12,000 kilograms (1,380 MMBtu) of clean hydrogen per day, and 4.5 million kilograms per year (517,000 MMBtu) from the conversion of 42,000 tons per year of rejected recycled mixed-paper waste.

An additional set of three projects in Germany, Belgium and Holland will need an equity provider as well, Do said. That process could launch at the end of this year and the company could hire additional financial advisors.

A less expensive proposition

In addition to the Lancaster plant, SGH2 is advancing a Bay Area agricultural waste-to-hydrogen project in Stockton and a Sierra Valley forest residue-to-hydrogen plant.

Lancaster has offtake agreements for 10 years, and the company is in talks with the same offtaker for the other projects.

SGH2’s process requires about five acres of land for a project, as opposed to about 300 acres for solar-powered electrolysis, Do said. The process also requires less water.

“It gives us a cost-competitiveness where we can be two-to-three times cheaper,” Do said.

SGH2 is exporting that process to Europe, Do said. The EU is still going through iterations of new legislation, particularly the Renewable Energy Directive III, that could clarify SGH2’s place in that market.

“Until the legislation is clear it’s hard to really launch the project and know what kind of support you’re getting,” Do said. SGH2 has sites, feedstock and development partners in place for Europe.

SGH2 was spun off from a technology development company that raised about $50m from various VC firms and energy companies, Do said. He is the controlling owner of SGH2.

Do plans to expand across the globe and will be raising money to fund projects in Korea, South Africa and elsewhere.

“There will be indeed opportunities for us to work with additional bankers and funders,” he said.

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