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Fusion Fuel US leaders to step down

Portugal-based Fusion Fuel's US co-presidents are stepping down to pursue other opportunities in the hydrogen and clean fuels sector.

Zachary Steele and Jason Baran have decided to leave Fusion Fuel and will be stepping down from their roles of Co-Head and Chief Commercial Officer, respectively, as well as Co-Presidents of the Americas, to pursue other opportunities in the hydrogen and clean fuels sector.

The moves were announced as part of the company’s 1Q23 earnings release.

Steele said in an interview late last year that the company was working with RBC Capital Markets to develop projects in the US.

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Carbon America and Svante to collaborate on US carbon capture deployment

The companies will work together to identify and deploy projects in the US.

Carbon America and Svante Technologies Inc. (Svante) have announced a collaboration to focus on commercial deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects in the United States.

The companies will work together to identify and deploy projects which can rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The collaboration leverages Svante’s novel solid sorbent carbon capture technology and Carbon America’s expertise in CCUS project development.

“Carbon capture is a critical component to the energy transition and Carbon America believes that collaboration is needed amongst players in this space to create meaningful change quickly,” said Brent Lewis, CEO of Carbon America. “By combining Carbon America’s project development expertise with Svante’s ready-to-deploy technology, we can more rapidly drive down greenhouse gas emissions across the industrial sector. We’re excited to collaborate with the incredible Svante team.”

Carbon America’s vertically integrated approach to CCUS development – from development to financing, engineering and execution – enables projects to move from concept to operation faster and more cost-effectively. Carbon America’s expertise across the capture-transport-storage value chain helps reduce critical risks along the development path to ensure the long-term success of projects.

“We’re enabling industries around the world to decarbonize their operations with second generation carbon capture and removal technology that is both environmentally responsible and efficient,” said Brett Henkel, Svante’s co-founder & VP strategic accounts and government affairs. “Collaboration is the key to success in this market, and working with companies like Carbon America will enable us to accelerate the deployment of our technology with enhanced ability to finance, build and operate carbon capture projects at scale in an efficient, cost-effective way.”

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Gentari appoints head of US hydrogen development

Gentari, the energy transition arm of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, has appointed a US head of hydrogen development.

Gentari, the energy transition arm of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, has appointed a US head of hydrogen development.

Justin Rencurel, a Houston-based energy industry veteran was appointed to the role, according to a LinkedIn post.

“Gentari is in the midst of building a competitive presence throughout the value chain for clean hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives products,” according to Rencurel’s profile.

Prior to joining Gentari, Rencurel was with Blue Pony Energy, providing project and commercial advisory services to start-ups. He also spent 10 years with Spectra Energy, a midstream natural gas firm.

Rencurel did not respond to requests for comment.

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Nikola names new CFO

Nikola has named Anastisiya Pasterick as its new CFO. She replaces outgoing CFO Kim J. Brady, who is retiring.

Nikola Corporation, a global supplier of zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions, today announced that CFO Kim J. Brady will retire as effective April 7, 2023, according to a news release.

Anastasiya “Stasy” Pasterick, who is currently serving as Nikola’s vice president, corporate controller, will succeed Brady as the company’s new CFO. Brady will remain employed with Nikola through April 28, 2023, as a non-executive officer in an advisory capacity to support the transition.

As CFO, Pasterick will be responsible for leading Nikola’s finance and accounting team, including investor relations, strategic finance, and treasury.

Pasterick started her career at KPMG LLP where she worked in audit for seven years, serving a diverse portfolio of clients in the automotive and technology sectors from pre-revenue start-ups to global multi-billion-dollar corporations, according to the release. Prior to joining Nikola in 2019, Pasterick held several financial leadership positions at OEM manufacturing firms including Director of Accounting Operations at Erickson, Inc., and Corporate Controller at nLIGHT, Inc., where she led all financial aspects of the company’s IPO.

At Nikola, Pasterick was key in executing the organization’s SPAC merger in 2020 and has been responsible for the overall financial operations of the company including accounting, reporting, transactional finance, and manufacturing finance. She has established Nikola’s accounting and reporting infrastructure as a new public company and has been instrumental in scaling the organization’s financial operations through entering commercial production.

“Stasy’s proven financial acumen and attention to detail are the capabilities the company needs now as we build on the momentum surrounding the unveiling of our new energy brand, HYLA, the commercialization of our Class 8 battery-electric truck, and the pending production of our Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle,” said Michael Lohscheller, Nikola Corporation president and CEO. “We are grateful to Kim for his leadership and dedication to the company for the past five years. He led the organization’s early rounds of funding and was instrumental in taking the company public and shaping its strategy. We sincerely wish him all the very best as he embarks on a new and exciting chapter in his life.”

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Aemetis capitalized for hydrogen and biofuel development plans

Aemetis CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview that the company has lined up financing to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel projects it has in development.

Aemetis is well capitalized to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects it has in development, CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview.

Founded by McAfee in 2006 and listed on the NASDAQ in 2014, Aemetis plans to produce more than 60 million gallons per year of SAF and capture and sequester 125,000 mtpy of carbon in 2025. This is a diversification from existing ethanol, RNG and biodiesel operations in the US and India.

The company recently released an updated five-year plan including plans to generate $2bn of revenues, $496m of net income, and $682m of adjusted EBITDA by 2027.

McAfee, noting that Aemetis is well capitalized and has locked in financing for much of its plans, said, “The only thing we really need to do is just execute.”

For example, the company closed $25m of USDA loan guarantees in October at a 6.2% interest rate, McAfee said. The company has also signed a $125m USDA commitment letter for its Riverbank Biofuels Project in California, also called CarbonZero 1, which will produce SAF.

“We’ll be expanding that relationship with [the USDA],” McAfee said. “Everything else is financed.”

The Riverbank Biofuels Project has signed offtake agreements with major airlines, and the SAF segment is expected to be the biggest contributor to Aemetis’ revenues once the project is online in 2025, according to a presentation. Renewable diesel and SAF will add $348m of revenues in 2025 and $693.3m of revenues in 2026.

For its carbon sequestration projects, referring to upgrades at the existing Keyes ethanol plant in California and other operational assets, the company has an existing $100m line of credit provided by Third Eye Capital, $50m of which remains unused, McAfee said.

Projected revenues will allow the company to self-fund without new credit facilities, McAfee said. Revenues from Aemetis’ debt-free operations in India will also be available to fund new developments.

The Riverbank SAF plant will be fully engineered and permitted this year, McAfee said. Baker Hughes and ATSI are the company’s EPC partners on the new developments.

Aemetis has no plans to divest existing operational assets but could acquire California biogas assets, McAfee said. The company regularly talks to investment bankers.

McAfee is the largest single shareholder in Aemetis. JackBlock, the former US Secretary of Agriculture, sits on the company’s board. The largest institutional shareholder is BlackRock.

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Exclusive: Northeastern offshore wind sale kicks off

A major European energy firm has retained a banker and launched a process to sell a large portfolio of offshore wind developments in the northeastern US.

Ocean Wind I & II, Orsted’s offshore wind developments in New Jersey amounting to 2.5 GW of capacity, are for sale via an auction, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Jefferies is the exclusive financial advisor on the sale, which is codenamed Project Hummer, the sources said. The process launched this month.

Denmark-based Orsted had previously halted development of Ocean Wind I and II as impairments on the projects climbed above $5bn. And the sale process comes amid the firm’s broader pullback from the offshore wind sector.

In an earnings call this month, Orsted CEO Mads Nipper said the company had plans to sell up to DKK 115bn (USD 16.6bn) in assets by 2030 as it accelerates divestments to boost its balance sheet.

Orsted also said it would withdraw from offshore wind markets in Norway, Spain and Portugal and cut its target for 2030 installed renewable capacity from 50 GW to 35 – 38 GW.

The company has a preference for a new owner acquiring 100% of both Ocean Wind leases and all associated development assets, the sources said.

Targeted COD for the two developments is 2029 and 2031, while estimated capex for each is USD 7.1bn (98 turbines) and USD 7.7bn (82 turbines), respectively.

New Jersey has accelerated offshore wind solicitation schedules and has recently awarded two contracts for 2.4 GW at $112.50/MWh and 1.3 GW at $131.00/MWh compared to the $98.10/MWh for Ocean Wind I and $84.03/MWh for Ocean Wind II awarded back in 2019 and 2021.

Orsted and Jefferies did not respond to requests for comment.

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New clean fuels firm takes first external financing

A clean fuels startup aiming to provide turnkey decarbonization solutions will be in the market for additional capital shortly.

Elemental Clean Fuels has closed on its first round of external financing from investors Piney Point Capital and Fusion Fuel Green plc, according to a company spokesperson.

The money will be used to build out the company’s pipeline and add new projects, which it plans to develop, own and operate. Clean fuels would be produced from renewables via electrolysis, followed by storage and transportation solutions, according to the company’s website.

Capital investment provided by Piney Point will be utilized by ECF to further develop its existing decarbonization portfolio in North America, as well as to expand its internal capabilities and add additional project assets (including the projects contributed by Fusion Fuel), according to a news release.

ECF is a business venture of CEO Zach Steele and CFO Jason Baran, former executives of Fusion Fuel who have executed and managed over $3bn in development projects in North America. They are joined by CDO Jeff Crone, a former vice president of engineering and construction services at Buckeye Partners.

In parallel, Fusion Fuel has also entered into a strategic technology partnership with Elemental, granting Fusion Fuel the right to bid on all PEM-based green hydrogen projects in Elemental’s North American pipeline for a period of three years, according to a release from Fusion Fuel.

Elemental has approximately 40 MW in pre-feasibility projects within its pipeline and is currently collaborating with Fusion Fuel on a feasibility study for a 2 MW green hydrogen project for a state utility to be delivered in 2024. This partnership will provide Fusion Fuel with exposure to the emerging North American green hydrogen market, whilst enabling the company to focus its near-term commercial efforts on the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Europe.

“We are extremely excited to have Piney Point as a partner as we progress our mission to drive growth in the emerging clean fuels market,” said Steele. “With investments in a broad range of companies across the energy transition, they are uniquely positioned to provide strategic partnerships and additional access across the value chain to drive scale.  Piney Point’s investment and expertise will accelerate the growth of our Company in the mobility and heavy industry sectors throughout North America.  We are also excited and optimistic about continued collaboration with Fusion Fuel going forward.”

“As investors, Piney Point Capital recognizes the immense potential of ECF in revolutionizing the clean fuel landscape. We believe in the vision and capabilities of the ECF team, and we are committed to supporting their mission to accelerate decarbonization through innovative projects and strategic partnerships across North America,” said Mike Keough, managing partner Piney Point Capital, a subsidiary of Racon Capital.

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