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Green ammonia developer seeking renewable energy partner

A green ammonia developer is seeking partners that can provide 45V-qualifying renewable energy to a 100 MW facility in Texas.

First Ammonia, a green ammonia project developer, is soliciting interest from potential providers of renewable energy for its flagship project in Port of Victoria, Texas.

The company is looking for 10 years of renewable energy to power the 100 MW facility beginning in 4Q26, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The renewable power must be eligible under rules for 45V regarding temporal matching and incrementality, the sources said.

Verdonck Partners is advising on the renewable power solicitation, they added.

ReSource previously interviewed First Ammonia CEO Joel Moser about the company and its plans for growth.

The project has an arrangement with Germany’s Uniper for offtake and with Denmark’s Topsoe for the supply of equipment including electrolyzers.

Representatives of First Ammonia and Verdonck did not respond to requests for comment.

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Gevo: equity investors for SAF plant standing by

Gevo executives said equity investors are standing by to finance its proposed alcohol-to-jet facility in Preston, South Dakota, pending finalization of a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.

Equity investors are standing by for Gevo’s Net-Zero 1 alcohol-to-jet fuel facility to reach terms on a DOE loan guarantee that would help finance construction of the plant in Preston, South Dakota.

Colorado-base Gevo is working with the DOE and independent experts to structure the guarantee, and once terms are finalized, the company will “ramp up the third-party equity capital raise and work towards a close of funding necessary to finance the project construction budget and all the project finance elements such as interest during construction, various reserves, and transaction costs,” Gevo CEO Patrick Gruber said on an earnings call last week.

“Equity investors are standing by for a clear line of sight to the debt terms, which is underway and will be announced when the DOE term sheet is agreed,” he said.

Gruber said the company plans to spend between $125m and $175m of additional capital to reach FID on the project, in addition to over $100m already spent. He added that the capital from Gevo will be reimbursable upon FID, but that the company would likely reinvest that money to take a big chunk of the equity in the project.

Gevo expects that Net-Zero 1 would have the capability to produce approximately 60 million gallons per year (MGPY) of liquid hydrocarbons in the form of jet fuel and renewable gasoline, using corn as feedstock. It plans to use green hydrogen produced onsite as well as CCS that flows out through the proposed Summit Carbon Solutions CO2 pipeline. Executives at the company have previously said the Net-Zeto 1 project would not work if the Summit pipeline is not built.

The company is partnered with Zero6, a Minneapolis-based renewables developer, which in February 2024 launched a process to raise $340m in project capital for its portion of the project: 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.

Gruber, citing a report from McKinsey, emphasized that the alcohol-to-jet pathway is the cheapest form of carbon abatement, at about $450 per ton of carbon abated, compared to the next-cheapest HEFA process fuels at between $600 – $700 per ton (all before federal and state incentives).

Publicly listed Gevo in February received notice it was not in compliance with NASDAQ listing requirements as its stock price has remained below $1 for 30 consecutive business days.

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CF Industries execs tout Waggaman ammonia plant acquisition

CF Industries executives touted their agreement to buy the Waggaman ammonia facility and predicted that many of the announced Gulf Coast ammonia projects will not get built.

Amid expectations for continued cost inflation to build the raft of announced Gulf Coast ammonia projects over the next few years, the per-ton cost of CF Industries’ acquisition of the Waggaman ammonia production facility is going to look “really attractive,” CEO Tony Will said today on an investor call.

CF in March agreed to pay $1.675bn to Incitec Pivot Limited to purchase an ammonia production complex located in Waggaman, Louisiana, with nameplate capacity of 880,000 tons of ammonia annually.

Asked about potential cost inflation due to a burst in planning and construction activity for ammonia plants, Will noted that the expects every aspect of the projects to experience cost pressures in the coming years, impacting both the time it takes for the projects to get built and the overall cost picture. (ReSource is tracking eight announced green or blue ammonia projects on the Gulf Coast.)

“The raw materials, the metals, the fabrication, the transportation, the labor — you’re seeing inflation in every single aspect,” Will said. “Remember, none of these projects that have been announced are really under way at this point, so minimum of 2027, maybe 2028 before any of these would potentially start up. It’s one of the reasons that make us so happy about the Waggaman acquisition, because our belief is, by the time some of these projects that are being discussed […] the cost per ton of capacity is going to look really attractive” from Waggaman, he added.

CF is under agreements with JERA Co., Lotte, and Mitsui to advance three separate clean ammonia facilities. It is also advancing green and blue ammonia elements at its Donaldsonville complex, and has entered into an agreement with NextEra to evaluate a joint venture to develop a zero-carbon intensity (green) hydrogen project at CF Industries’ Verdigris Complex in Oklahoma.

Addressing a question about long-term demand dynamics given the prospect of a flood of new ammonia capacity coming online, Will acknowledged uncertainty in the market but expressed confidence in the potential for long-term contracts with counterparties that will use ammonia as a source of clean energy.

“Whether its JERA, Lotte, or a number of others, they’re pretty far advanced in terms of their thinking on some of the pilot projects they’ve run on co-combustion and so forth,” he said. “Our sense is that [demand] is probably going to be developing in larger increments as we get into the ’27 – ’28 timeframe, but by the time we get to 2030 I think there will be a sizeable volume of ammonia consumed in non-traditional applications.”

Will expressed doubts about whether some of the announced Gulf Coast ammonia projects would ever get build. “How real are they, are they actually going to go forward, and are people going to be willing to put the money down?”

Looking back to 2012, Will noted there were around 27 new project announcements, of which only four got built, two of them by CF Industries and the other two by traditional industry participants. “A lot of the speculative plants that were talked about never materialized. And I would expect that same dynamic to happen here,” he said, characterizing some of the announcements as “vaporware.”

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IEA report outlines case for cost reductions in e-fuels

The International Energy Agency assesses needed cost reductions, resources and infrastructure investments for achieving a 10% share of e-fuels in aviation and shipping by 2030.

The International Energy Agency’s report on the role of e-fuels in decarbonizing transport finds that e-fuels’ cost gap with fossil fuels could substantially reduce by 2030, an important finding for the advancement of a family of emerging e-fuel technologies. 

In the report, which was published last month, the IEA aims to assess the implications of growth in e-fuels in terms of needed cost reductions, resources and infrastructure investments of an assumed goal of achieving a 10% share of e-fuels in aviation and shipping by 2030. 

For instance, the cost of low-emission e-kerosene might drop to $50/GJ ($2,150 per ton), making it competitive with biomass-based sustainable aviation fuels – but still 2 – 3x more expensive than fossil-based fuels. 

The costs for low-emission e-methanol and e-ammonia could also decrease, opening the door for their use as low-emission fuels in shipping. Interestingly, the production of e-fuels for aviation will also result in a significant amount of e-gasoline as a by-product, the report notes.

In terms of impact on transport prices, a 10% share of low-emission e-fuels would only modestly increase the cost of transport, according to the report. For example, e-kerosene would raise the ticket price of a flight using 10% of e-fuels by only 5%. 

However, the adoption of e-methanol and e-ammonia in shipping will necessitate significant investments in infrastructure and ships. The overall cost for a fully e-ammonia or e-methanol-fueled container ship would be 75% higher than a conventional fossil-fuel-powered ship, yet this represents just 1-2% of the typical value of goods transported in these containers.

The production of e-fuels generally suffers from low efficiency due to multiple conversion steps and losses, leading to high resource and infrastructure demand, according to the report. Producing significant amounts of low-emission e-fuels could increase the demand for renewable electricity by about 2,000 TWh/yr by 2030. This represents about one-fifth of the growth of low-emission electricity expected in this decade under certain policy scenarios. 

The production of e-fuels can exploit the potential of remote locations with high-quality renewable resources and vast land available for large-scale projects. However, achieving a 10% share of e-fuels in aviation and shipping would require a significant increase in electrolyser capacity, equivalent to the entire size of the global electrolyser project pipeline to 2030.

The accelerated deployment of low-emission e-fuels for shipping would require substantial investments in refueling infrastructure and vessels, especially for e-ammonia or e-methanol. Achieving a 10% share in shipping would demand approximately 70 Mt/yr of these fuels. The financial investment in shipping capacity and bunkering infrastructure would be substantial, yet represent less than 5% of the cumulative shipbuilding market size over the period 2023-2030.

Producing carbon-containing low-emission e-kerosene and e-methanol would necessitate a massive increase in CO₂ utilization, with significant potential synergy with biofuels production. Around 200 Mt CO₂ would be required for a 10% share of e-kerosene in aviation and 150 Mt CO₂ for the same share in shipping if using e-methanol. 

Access to CO₂ is a major constraint for carbon-containing low-emission e-fuels, and the best wind and solar resources are not always co-located with significant bioenergy resources. Direct air capture (DAC) of CO₂ could provide an unlimited source of CO₂ feedstock without geographic constraints, but it is expected to remain a high-cost option in 2030, the report projects.

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Exclusive: Renewable fuels firm hires advisor for topco raise

A renewable fuels firm with operations in California has hired a bulge bracket bank to raise project and platform capital for new developments in the Gulf Coast.

Oberon Fuels, a California-based renewable fuels developer, has hired Morgan Stanley for a topco and project capital raise to launch soon, CEO Rebecca Bordreaux said in an interview.

The company, backed by Suburban Propane, plans to reach COD on its next facility in the Gulf Coast in 2026, Boudreaux said. Late last year the company hired its first CFO Ann Anthony and COO Derek Winkel.

Oberon produces rDME at its Maverick Innovation Center in Brawley, California and recently established a partnership with DCC Fuels focused on Europe.

The location of the Gulf Coast facility is not public, Bordreaux said, though the company aims to reach FID on it this year. When operational it would produce 45,000 mtpy of methanol, or a comparative amount of rDME. Capex on the facility is in the range of $200m.

The company is shifting toward production of methanol as a shipping fuel, she said. New opportunities also include using DME as a renewable hydrogen carrier, as the fuel is easily transportable and compatible with many existing logistical networks.

Oberon is also preparing to issue $100m of municipal bonds from the state of Texas, Bordreaux said.

More than $50m has been raised by the company to date, with Suburban Propane being the largest investor and customer in California, Bordreaux said. The company has a third project in the pre-FEED phase.

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Green hydrogen developer raising capital for projects

Fusion Fuel, a green hydrogen developer based in Portugal, has engaged an advisor and is in talks with investors to raise capital for projects in North America.

Fusion Fuel, a green hydrogen developer based in Portugal, has engaged an advisor and is in talks with investors to raise capital for projects in North America.

The company is working with RBC Capital Markets as financial advisor, Fusion Fuel Co-Head Zachary Steele said in an interview, and expects to produce infrastructure-type returns on its projects.

For its first project in the U.S., Fusion Fuel has agreed to a JV with Electus Energy to build a 75 MW solar-to-hydrogen facility in Bakersfield, California.

The project will produce up to 9,300 tons of green hydrogen per annum including nighttime operation and require an estimated $180m in capital investment, with a final investment decision expected in early 2024 and commissioning in the first half of 2025.

The combination of green hydrogen and solar production incentives along with California’s low carbon fuel standard make the economics of the project attractive, Steele said.

“Hydrogen is selling for up to $15-$18 per kilogram in California in the mobility market, and we can produce it at around the low $3 per kilogram area, so that leaves a lot of room for us to make a return and reduce costs for customers,” he said.

The company sells electrolyzer technology for projects but also serves as a turnkey developer. The technology consists of Hevo-Solar, which utilizes concentrated solar power to create hydrogen; and Hevo-Chain, a centralized PEM electrolyzer powered by external electricity.

Fusion Fuel’s proposition is that its smaller-scale technology – of 25 kW per unit –  is ready to use now, and can be dropped into places like a gas station in New York City, Steele said.

“This allows customers to scale into hydrogen and makes it available on site, compared with the massive projects going up in Eastern Canada or the Gulf Coast that require customers to commit significant capital to underwrite large scale projects,” he added.

Along with Electus, Fusion Fuel has already entered into a land-lease agreement for 320 acres in Kern County, California for the Bakersfield development. Black & Veatch will perform a concept study while Cornerstone Engineering and Headwaters Solutions are also engaged.

Iberian pipeline

The company targets to have EUR 40m of revenues in 2023, with a third of that coming from tech sales and the balance coming from Fusion Fuel-owned development projects.

Its revenue pipeline for next year is focused on the Iberian peninsula, and has been largely de-risked with the company having secured grants, with land and permitting underway.

In addition to the electrolyzer sales, the company, together with its partners, can provide turnkey projects that include engineering, procurement of the balance of plant equipment, construction of the facility, and operations, Steele said on an investor call this week.

“This allows us to not only make returns on the tech sale but also on the overall project and potentially recurring revenue from operations,” he said.

The company plans to use projects it is building in Portugal to expand into other core markets, beginning with a focus on mobility opportunities and targeted industrial decarbonization projects. Starting in 2024 the company plans to extend its reach further into North America and also Italy.

U.S. focus

Similar to other international hydrogen players, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act caused a strategic shift of focus to the U.S. and accelerated Fusion Fuel’s plans to grow its business there, company executives said.

Notably, since Fusion Fuel will use its own technology in the projects it is seeking to develop, a required amount of that technology will need to be manufactured in the U.S. in order to qualify for the full benefits provided in the IRA.

As such, Fusion Fuel is scouting for a location to build one, or possibly two, manufacturing facilities in the U.S.

“The size of the Bakersfield project alone justifies building a new manufacturing facility,” Steele said on the investor call.

Steele was previously CEO of Cedar LNG, a floating LNG development in British Columbia, prior to exiting to Pembina. He works alongside Fusion Fuels Co-Head & CFO, Frederico Figueira de Chaves, who is based in Portugal.

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US clean fuels producer prepping equity and debt raises

A Texas-based clean fuels producer is close to mandating an advisor for a platform equity raise. It has already tapped Goldman Sachs to help arrange a cap stack in the billions for a project in Oregon.

NXTClean Fuels, a Houston-based developer of clean fuels projects, is preparing a $50m to $100m platform equity raise in the near term and has large debt and equity needs for a pair of projects in Oregon, CEO Chris Efird said in an interview.

The company is close to engaging a new financial advisor for the raise, which will launch late this year or early next, Efird said.

Port Westward

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs’ post-carbon group is retained for the capital stack on NXTClean’s flagship project at Port Westward, at the Port of Columbia County, Efird said. The $3bn CapEx (including EPC) project is fully permitted by the State of Oregon and is awaiting one federal Clean Water Act permit. An Environmental Impact Statement is expected this fall.

The project is dedicated to producing a split of renewable diesel and SAF, amounting to roughly 50,000 barrels per day total permitted capacity when fully operational.

FID is expected for roughly August 2024, he said. About 30 months from FID the plant will reach COD.

“What we’re most focused on right now is the true senior debt,” Efird said. On the equity side the company is engaged with strategic partners that have indicated interest in post-FID equity.

NXTClean has conversations ongoing with the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, along with commercial project finance lenders.

Red Rock

In April NXTClean acquired what was the Red Rock Biofuel facility in Lakeview, Oregon. That woody biomass-to-SAF facility foreclosed after $425m in investment, following technical and financial issues brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic. NXTClean purchased the facility for $75m in preferred stock at auction on the courthouse steps.

GLC advisors was retained by lead bondholder Foundation Credit to advise on that process, Efird said.

Red Rock is being repurposed to produce carbon-negative RNG for the adjacent Tallgrass Ruby Pipeline, Efird said. The fully-permitted project has a significant amount of equipment already installed or on skids.

A first phase will require a spend of $100m to $150m. Some $50m of equity will augment a balance of debt, raised in part through USDA programming, Efird said. Cash flow from the first phase will help with the second phase, which will bring the capital needs of the facility up to as much as $400m.

Looking forward

Geographically, NXTClean will expand in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Efird said.

Each of NXTClean’s two projects are held by a separate subsidiary. The company has a third subsidiary called GoLo Biomass that focuses on feedstock aggregation, Efird said. It engages with fish processors in Vietnam and used cooking oil suppliers in South Korea to augment supply from large companies.

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