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Green ammonia developer seeking financing or buyer for Midwest projects

A developer of large-scale green ammonia projects in the Midwest is seeking co-financing or a buyer for its approximately 5.5 GW pipeline of projects.

GoSolar, a large-scale green ammonia and renewable energy developer, has an approximately 5.5 GW pipeline of projects in the Midwest, and is seeking co-financing to develop the projects or buyers that would assume control.

The two large-scale projects that are the most advanced are in Iowa and Missouri, and both consist of one part that is off-grid DC power for hydrogen and ammonia production, and another part that is grid-connected for local energy needs but which can also produce hydrogen, Gordon Baier, the firm’s co-owner and CEO, said in an interview.

The company conducted a year-long analysis of potential locations before settling on sites that were near expected coal-plant retirements, ammonia pipelines, water access, and offtake markets, he said. The Iowa and Missouri projects are located near the NuStar Energy ammonia pipeline, which opens up wider market access.

Baier, a native of Germany who has developed over 100 renewable energy projects, said that offtakers as well as potential financing partners or acquirers for the projects could be nearby fertilizer plants and their owners: Koch Industries, the owners of Iowa Fertilizer Company; CF Industries; and BASF. 

GoSolar has not engaged a financial advisor. It is using Hodgson Russ as legal counsel.

An ideal partner would be a long-term owner and operator that would contract with GoSolar under a development services agreement. “Or it could be an EPC who wants to flip it later to whomever puts the highest price on the table. At this point we are open and flexible,” Baier said.

The Iowa project in Lee County consists of a planned off-grid 1,850 MW DC PV solar plant to DC buffer storage and 370 MW DC hydrogen electrolyzer capacity, producing 340,500 metric tons of certified green ammonia per year. The project also has a separate grid-connected section with 207 MW DC PV solar and 207 MW BESS planned.

To the south, in Marion County, Missouri, GoSolar has planned a 3,700 MW+ DC solar plant, also off grid, with BESS storage and 750 MW of electrolysis, with production of 675,000 tons per year of green ammonia. In addition, a grid connected portion of the Missouri project would have 500 MW+ DC PV solar, 500 MW+ BESS, and 100 MW of hydrogen production.

The projects can scale further in phase 2, to around 10 GW of total renewable capacity, Baier noted. GoSolar is in discussions with thyssenkrupp Nucera and thyssenkrupp Uhde to provide electrolyer and ammonia production technologies, respectively.

The DC-to-DC-to-DC aspect of the projects mean the project is 20% more efficient, as they are not incurring losses on DC/AC conversion, Baier said. “And that is a big boost to make this very, very viable,” he said, adding that the project is being evaluated by RMI and that he hopes to showcase project feasibility in the next few weeks.

Additionally, the DC electricity is off grid and therefore qualifies under 45V requirements for clean hydrogen without interfering with the grid, he added.

Meanwhile, GoSolar set up the non-DC portions of its projects following a one-to-one ratio for solar PV and BESS in order to sell an attractive resource profile into the electricity supply market. 

“The main reason behind that is to have a long duration and full capacity to buffer eventually all of the solar into the battery so that you are not being curtailed on the other end,” he said. “That’s exactly what the utilities are looking for: to have sufficient energy on hold for a demand response in peak, or as a long-duration load to the grid to simulate their shutting down coal power plants or potentially shutting down their nuclear plants.”

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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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Electrolyzer company to go public in SPAC deal

Spain-based H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies is set to go public via a business combination with RMG Acquisition Corporation III, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company with shares trading on NASDAQ.

Spain-based H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies, a developer and operator of green hydrogen production systems for clean energy generation, and RMG Acquisition Corporation III, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, announced today that they have entered into a letter of intent for a potential business combination.

Under the terms of the LOI, H2B2’s shareholders would continue holding substantially all of their equity in the combined public company. RMG III and H2B2 expect to announce additional details regarding the business combination when a definitive agreement is executed, which is expected before the end of the first quarter 2023.

Since its founding in 2016, H2B2 has become a key player in the green hydrogen energy sector. The company is expanding rapidly in Europe, the United States, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East and has secured a role in strategic projects. In particular, H2B2 has been selected as a participant in the IPCEI Hy2Tech (Important Projects of Common European Interest) program, through which it has been approved by the European Commission to receive up to €25m in public grants out of the €5.4bn that will be invested.

In 2019, the California Energy Commission awarded H2B2 a grant for the development of a green hydrogen production facility, Sohycal plant, in Fresno, California. This 3MW plant is scheduled to begin production in Q1 2023 and will become the first green hydrogen plant, powered by H2B2, vertically integrated from the photovoltaic production of electricity to the transportation and dispensing of green hydrogen at the charging station.

In 2021 Colombia’s Ecopetrol, one of the world’s leading oil companies, began working with H2B2 and recently incorporated the Company into its group of strategic partners as part of its plan to decarbonize and develop green hydrogen energy. H2B2 has also recently entered the Indian market through a joint venture with GR Promoter Group and the creation of Electrolysis.

The company has reinforced its commitment to good corporate governance by increasing the number of independent directors on its board, including newly appointed chairman Antonio Vázquez, who has four decades of experience in international business development. Vázquez most recently was chairman of IAG, the holding company for Iberia, British Airways, Vueling and Aer Lingus, and president of Iberia. The company also recently appointed as CEO Anselmo Andrade Fernández de Mesa, who has been part of the management team since the Company was founded in 2016, including as its CFO until 2021 and head of the business development division for the last two years.

As part of the company’s transition to public ownership, Andrade takes the reins from Felipe Benjumea Llorente, founder of H2B2, who will assume the role of strategic advisor so that he can continue to contribute to the development of the business globally.

“The steps we are taking to finalize our business combination with RMG III will represent a new era for our company and a great step forward in accelerating the decarbonization of the energy sector globally,” said Vázquez.

Anselmo Andrade added: “The company will continue to distinguish itself by bringing together a team with decades of experience in the hydrogen energy sector and deploying its proprietary technology as it continues its expansion.”

RMG III’s Jim Carpenter said “RMG III is excited to be partnering with a company that we believe has the potential to become a global green hydrogen leader.”

RMG III’s securities are listed on NASDAQ, with $483m cash in trust raised through its IPO.

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JERA targeting 7 million tons of hydrogen/ammonia by 2035

In a newly published 2035 strategy document, JERA said that it is targeting 7 million tons of handling volume of hydrogen and ammonia by 2035.

JERA Co. Inc. (JERA) today announced the new growth strategy that integrates strategic business pillars and organizational edge, marking a realistic pathway towards 2035, and ultimately its 2050 zero emission goals.

JERA’s 2035 growth strategy is outlined in a presentation here.

Amidst complex and rapidly changing global energy dynamics, JERA’s new growth strategy ensures the agility and efficiency further solidifying its leadership in solving energy trilemma, achieving energy sustainability, affordability, and stability all at once, the firm said in a news release.

JERA strategically emphasizes three key business pillars: LNG, renewables, and hydrogen & ammonia—a sector pioneered by JERA. These three pillars bring complementary synergies instrumental in driving steady and reliable progress toward decarbonization.

JERA has set the following goals corresponding to the three business pillars by fiscal year 2035:
–    LNG: JERA targets more than 35 million tons of transaction volume as one of the world’s largest LNG integrated value chain players.
–    Renewables: JERA aims at 20 GW (gigawatts) of capacity becoming one of the industry leading renewables players.
–    Hydrogen & Ammonia: JERA targets approximately 7 million tons of handling volume and aims to pioneer the global hydrogen & ammonia value chain.

JERA is also progressing toward creating zero emissions in thermal power generation and has set ambitious but realistic environmental targets. JERA is committed to reduce CO2 emissions intensity by 20% as of 2030, total CO2 emissions by 60% as of FY2035 before achieving zero COemissions from its domestic and overseas operations as of 2050.

To achieve these targets, JERA will phase out inefficient coal-fired thermal power by FY2030. JERA also intends to convert 100% of the other coal-fired power generation to ammonia by 2040’s, and eliminate coal completely.

JERA’s effort is not limited to CO2 only. JERA has succeeded in reducing NOx and SOx emissions to the lowest level globally and aims to deliver further reductions through adoption of new technologies such as low-NOx burners, the company said.

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Green hydrogen developer in active discussions for California FID this year

A green hydrogen developer is in active discussions with counterparties as it pursues a final investment decision for its first project.

Houston-based green hydrogen developer Element Resources is in active discussions to reach FID this year on its first green hydrogen project slated for Lancaster, California.

The company had engaged Houlihan Lokey in recent months to lead a capital raise for the project, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The Houlihan mandate had involved raising non-dilutive debt, a process that is believed to have been shelved, said one of the sources.

“We are steadily working our way to an FID this year and are pulling together all parts of the project,” Element CFO Avery Barnebey said via email in response to inquiries. He declined to comment further.

A Houlihan representative did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The Lancaster facility, which is targeted to begin commercial operations in early 2025, will be built on 1,165 acres and consist of 135 MW of solar-powered electrolysis capacity, according to the company’s website. At full capacity, the 18,750 mt per annum of hydrogen produced by the facility will serve the growing demand for clean mobility fuels as well as clean energy for manufacturing.

Element is led by founder and CEO Steve Meheen, an oil & gas industry veteran. Barnebey is a former director of corporate development at California Resources Corporation.

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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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Renewable hydrogen developer to launch series A round next month

A Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer has hired an advisor and will launch a series A funding round next month.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will launch a series A capital raise in the middle of March to take on a new investor for project development and hiring, CEO Matt McMonagle said in an interview.

The company has hired GreenFront Energy Partners to run the process, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen builds its projects onsite with customers, as close to end use as possible, he said. The company serves transportation (heavy road transport, shipping and aviation), industrial (cement, glass, metal, steel, food, etc.) and power (peaking power and diesel generator replacement). Most of Novo’s customers are users of grey hydrogen looking to decarbonize. In the case of cement, they are looking to replace diesel for their trucks and coal and natural gas for their kilns.

“We first look to see if we can put our projects on our customer sites and make it there,” McMonagle said. “If we can’t do that, we’ll do offsite, but we still try to be as close to customers as possible to minimize that midstream component or distribution component.”

About 30 projects are in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts, McMonagle said. NovoHydrogen’s most active markets are the West coast, Northeast, Appalachia, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, though the company is not geographically constrained.

The company aims to begin construction on its first projects by the end of this year, possibly early next year, McMonagle said. The first project could reach COD in 2024.

NovoHydrogen recently announced that it has closed its seed funding round and appointed four executives to its board of directors. Each of those executives represent an investor that participated in the seed round, McMonagle said.

The new board appointees are: Jeremy Avenier, an active investor at Ohmium International; Peyton Boswell, managing partner at Woodfield Renewable Partners; Bruno Franco, partner at Pacífico Energia and managing partner at PWR Capital; and Joseph Malchow, a managing partner at Hanover (a Silicon Valley VC), board member and investor in Enphase and board member and investor in Archaea.

More money

“We will certainly need more money as our projects mature,” McMonagle said. “I do not have the hundreds of millions of dollars on my balance sheet to build these projects.”

An ideal investor will bring accretive capabilities in hydrogen, in a field like value chain equipment or delivery, to the table, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen plans to be a long-term owner-operator of its projects, McMonagle said. That is an important point for customers: that the company is not going to sell the project and not care how the next owner operates.

“We want to earn future business from these customers,” McMonagle said, adding that most of them are transitioning piecemeal.

NovoHydrogen and TigerGenCo in November said they would advance development of green hydrogen capacity to reduce reliance on natural gas at the Bayonne Energy Center located in New Jersey. NovoHydrogen will develop and operate the hydrogen production facility to reduce Bayonne’s carbon emissions.

TigerGen owns the power plant and is the offtaker in that project. Ohmium International is providing the PEM electrolyzers in that project. McMonagle said the company may use other electrolyzer providers for future projects.

The company is also a partner in the Aliance for Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) for the California DOE Hydrogen Hub submission.

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