Resource logo with tagline

Grön Fuels’ massive Louisiana fuels project delayed 2 years

Commercial operations for the project are now expected in 2027 compared to 2025 previously, an executive told a local newspaper.

Fidelis New Energy’s plans to build a massive renewable fuels complex at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge have been delayed by two years.

The project, known as Grön Fuels, is a $9.2bn, 65,000 barrel per day renewable fuels facility producing sustainable aviation fuel, renewable diesel, renewable naphtha, and renewable propane as low carbon transportation fuels, according to the firm’s website.

The developer had said in a 2021 press release that Fidelis expected to achieve final investment decision in 2021. However an executive from Fidelis told local Louisiana newspaper that the firm is still working toward a final investment decision as it waits for final rules regarding the IRA.

“We now have a build-out path that enables the start of the construction and independent operations of the [sustainable aviation fuel] production portion of Grön Fuels while enabling the additional values of the FidelisH2 technologies to be added after the IRA rules that impact them are finalized,” Fidelis COO Bengt Jarlsjo wrote to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.

Commercial operations for the project are now expected in 2027 compared to 2025 previously, the executive told the newspaper.

Jarlsjo did not respond to a request for an interview from ReSource.

Unlock this article

The content you are trying to view is exclusive to our subscribers.
To unlock this article:

You might also like...

bp buys US travel center operator for $1.3bn

The purchase of TravelCenters of America will allow bp to expand new mobility offers including EV charging, biofuels, RNG and later hydrogen.

BP Products North America Inc., a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of BP p.l.c. has reached an agreement to purchase TravelCenters of America, one of the country’s leading full-service travel center operators, for $1.3bn in cash.

TA’s strategically-located network of highway sites complements bp’s existing predominantly off-highway convenience and mobility business, enabling TA and bp to offer fleets a seamless nationwide service. In addition, bp’s global scale and reach will, over time, bring advantages in fuel and biofuel supply as well as convenience offers for consumers. It will provide options to expand and develop new mobility offers including electric vehicle (EV) charging, biofuels, renewable natural gas (RNG) and later hydrogen, both for passenger vehicles and fleets.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as lead financial adviser to bp, Robey Warshaw LLP is acting as financial adviser to bp, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is acting as lead legal adviser to bp.

Convenience is one of bp’s five strategic transition growth engines in which it aims to significantly grow investment through this decade. By 2030, bp aims for around half its annual investment to go into these transition growth engines. Over 2023-2030 it aims that around half of its cumulative $55-65bn transition growth engine investment will go into convenience, bioenergy and EV charging.

Bernard Looney, CEO bp, said: “This is bp’s strategy in action. We are doing exactly what we said we would, leaning into our transition growth engines. This deal will grow our convenience and mobility footprint across the US and grow earnings with attractive returns. Over time, it will allow us to advance four of our five strategic transition growth engines. By enabling growth in EV charging, biofuels and RNG and later hydrogen, we can help our customers decarbonize their fleets. It’s a compelling combination.”

The acquisition is expected to bring around 280 TravelCenters of America sites, spanning 44 US states nationwide, into the bp portfolio. These travel centers, which average around 25 acres, offer a full range of facilities for vehicles and fleet trucks, including more than 600 full-service and quick service restaurants, as well as truck maintenance and repair services. Around 70% of TA’s total gross margin is generated by its convenience services business, almost double bp’s global convenience gross margin.

Dave Lawler, chairman and president of bp America: “Subject to approvals, we look forward to welcoming the TA team to bp. TA’s amazing nationwide network of on-highway locations combined with bp’s more than 8,000 off-highway locations have the potential to offer travelers and professional drivers a seamless experience for decades to come.”

bp yesterday announced plans to invest $1bn in EV charging across the US by 2030.

As part of the transaction, TA will enter into amended lease agreements with Service Properties Trust, establishing long-term real estate access. bp looks forward to continuing TA’s existing strong relationship with SVC.

The acquisition price of $1.3bn, or $86 per share, represents a multiple of around 6 times based on last twelve months’ TA EBITDA (4Q21 to 3Q22).  It is expected to add EBITDA for bp immediately, growing to around $800m in 2025.

It supports delivery of bp’s convenience and EV charging growth engine target of more than $1.5bn EBITDA in 2025 and aim for more than $4bn in 2030. bp expects the acquisition to be accretive to free cash flow per share from 2024 and to deliver a return of over 15%.

Read More »
Featured

Shell, Ohmium to develop green hydrogen energy projects

Shell India and Ohmium International to cooperate on green hydrogen applications, markets and project opportunities globally.

Shell India and Ohmium International have agreed to cooperate on green hydrogen applications, markets and project opportunities in India and globally, the two companies announced.

As part of the collaboration, both companies plan to launch joint working groups to assess opportunities from the technical, commercial, and safety perspectives.

The collaboration is positioned at further elevating Shell’s ambition to help build a global hydrogen economy by developing the most competitive opportunities in the production, storage, transport, and delivery of hydrogen to end customers.

“We have set an ambitious goal of becoming a net-zero emissions business by 2050 with a target to reduce absolute emissions by 50% by 2030,” said Nitin Prasad, chairman, Shell Group of companies in India. “Green hydrogen has a critical role in helping the world reach zero emissions. We plan to develop integrated hydrogen hubs to serve the industry and heavy-duty transport to be a leading player in this space.”

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Shell to explore green hydrogen opportunities and solutions worldwide. Shell has demonstrated tremendous ambition to become a net zero carbon business by 2050– we believe that green hydrogen is a critical component of that transition,” said Arne Ballantine, CEO of Ohmium International. “We look forward to working with Shell to explore all the opportunities our electrolyzers enable.”

Ohmium International is a green hydrogen company that designs, manufactures, and deploys PEM Electrolyzers. Ohmium’s unique interlocking modular PEM electrolyzers provide a safer, modular, flexible, easy to install and maintain alternative to customized electrolyzers. Ohmium is headquartered in the United States, with manufacturing in India and operations worldwide.

Read More »

Air Products nearing project finance mega-deal for green ammonia facility

The Pennsylvania-based company is nearing completion of a $8.5bn project finance deal, which includes more than 20 global financial institutions and will fund its NEOM green ammonia facility in Saudi Arabia.

Air Products will now pursue a project finance mega-deal to build the NEOM Green Hydrogen Complex in Saudi Arabia.

The company and its partners will close a non-recourse debt deal for $6.2bn “very soon” to finance the project, CEO Seifi Ghasemi said today on an investor call.

The debt will sit alongside $2.3bn of combined equity from Air Products, NEOM, and ACWA Power, representing a 75%/25% debt to equity split.

Air Products, which is the sole offtaker for the facility, will now invest approximately $800m of cash into the project instead of the original $1.7bn.

Meanwhile, the cost of the project – which consists of 4 GW of renewables powering production of up to 600 tons per day of hydrogen – has climbed to $8.5bn compared to an original capital estimate of $5bn, according to the presentation.

But, Ghasemi added, the offtake price of the green ammonia to Air Products remains the same as what was negotiated in July 2020 when the project was announced.

“We are project financing this thing with some of the biggest banks in the world giving us money,” Ghasemi said. “They have looked at this project […] and they’re willing to finance it, so I guess they all think this is a good project and a good prospect and they’re going to get their money back.”

Ghasemi noted there could be some upside for additional hydrogen production at the facility when compared to the initial design.

The significant amount of wind, solar, and electrolyzer capacity installed at the site, Ghasemi said, “might end up giving us the capability of making a lot more than the 1.2 million tons per year.”

“I personally think they’re could be an upside, but we’ll have to wait and see,” he added.

The executive said the company evaluates projects individually as to whether it will pursue project financing. Among other projects, Air Products is also building the Net-Zero Hydrogen Energy Complex in Alberta, Canada which will not use project financing, Ghasemi said. The company will “look at” using project financing for its mega-scale Texas green hydrogen project with AES, he added.

Read More »
exclusive

Of CfDs and RFNBOs: Untangling the global hydrogen policy web

US ammonia and hydrogen project developers are increasingly looking to Japan and South Korea as target markets under the belief that new rules for clean hydrogen and its derivatives in Europe are too onerous.

Much fuss has been made about the importance of pending guidance for the clean hydrogen industry from US regulators. Zoom out further and major demand centers like the European Union, Japan, and South Korea have similarly under-articulated or novel subsidy regimes, leaving US clean fuels project developers in a dizzying global tangle of red tape. 

But in the emerging global market for hydrogen and ammonia offtake, several themes are turning up. One is that US project developers are increasingly looking to South Korea and Japan as buyers, turning away from Europe following the implementation of rules that are viewed as too onerous for green hydrogen producers.

The other is that beneath the regulatory tangle lies a deep market, helping to answer one of the crucial outstanding questions that has been dogging the nascent ammonia and hydrogen industry: where is the offtake? 

Many projects are proceeding towards definitive offtake agreements and final investment decisions despite the risks embedded in potential changes in policy, according to multiple project finance lawyers. In most cases, reaching final agreements for offtake would not be prudent given the raft of un-issued guidance in these major markets, said the lawyers, who acknowledge a robust offtake market but may advise their clients against signing final contracts.

The European Union rules for green hydrogen and its derivatives became law in June, and included several provisions that are proving challenging for developers and their lawyers to structure around: prohibiting state-subsidized electricity in the production of green hydrogen, and the requirement that power for green hydrogen be purchased directly from a renewable energy supplier. 

Taken together, the policy developments have pushed many US project developers away from Europe and toward Japan and South Korea, where demand for low-carbon fuels is robust and regulations are viewed as less burdensome, if still undefined, experts say.

Developers are carefully choosing jurisdictions for their target offtake markets, “limiting their focus to North Asian rather than European buyers, with the expectation that certain standards and regulations will be less strict, at least in the near term,” said Allen & Overy Partners Hitomi Komachi and Henry Sohn, who are based in Japan and Korea, respectively.

Trade association Hydrogen Europe lambasted the new European rules last year while they were still in formation, saying they would cause a “mass exodus” of the continent’s green hydrogen industry to the US.

Make or break

US policymakers delivered a shock blow with last year’s approval of the Inflation Reduction Act – but its full benefits have yet to flow into the clean fuels sector due to outstanding guidance on additionality, regionality, and matching requirements. 

At the same time, the 45V tax credit for clean hydrogen has been called potentially the most complex tax credit the US market has ever seen, requiring a multi-layered analysis to ensure compliance. The US policy uncertainty is coated on top of an already-complex development landscape facing developers of first-of-kind hydrogen and ammonia projects using electrolyzer or carbon capture technologies. 

“Even though folks are moving forward with projects, the lack of guidance impacts parties’ willingness to sign definitive documents, because depending on the guidance, for some projects, it could break the economics,” said Marcia Hook, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington DC.

Now, US developers seeking access to international markets are contending with potential misalignment of local and international rules, with Europe’s recently enacted guidelines serving as a major example of poorly arrayed schemes. 

Some US developers have already decided it may be challenging to meet the EU’s more rigorous standards, according Hook, who added that, beyond the perceived regulatory flexibility, developers appear to be garnering more offtake interest from potential buyers in Asia.

Projects that depend on outstanding guidance in Asia are also moving ahead, a fact that, according to Alan Alexander, a Houston-based partner at Vinson & Elkins, “represents a little bit of the optimism and excitement around low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia,” particularly in Japan and Korea.

“Projects are going forward but with conditions that these schemes get worked out in a way that’s bankable for the project,” he added. “It’s not optimal, but you can build it in,” he said, referencing a Korean contract where conditions precedent require that a national clean hydrogen portfolio standard gets published and the offtaker is successful in one of the  Korean power auctions.

RED III tape

Unlike the US, the EU has focused on using regulation to create demand for hydrogen and derivative products through setting mandatory RFNBO quotas for the land transport, industry, shipping and aviation sectors, according to Frederick Lazell, a London-based lawyer at King & Spalding.

Lazell called the EU rules “the most fully-developed and broad market-creation interventions that policymakers have imposed anywhere in the world.” As a result, being able to sell RFNBO into Europe to meet these quotas is expected to fetch the highest prices – and therefore potentially the highest premiums to suppliers, he said.

The European guidelines enacted in June introduced several provisions that will make it challenging for US developers to structure projects that meet the EU’s classification for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs).

For one, the European Commission issued guidance that prohibits subsidies for renewable energy generation when it is transmitted via a power purchase agreement through the electrical grid to make RFNBO.

This provision potentially eliminates all green hydrogen-based projects in the US from qualifying as an RFNBO, a managing partner at a US-based investment firm said, given that green hydrogen projects will likely be tied to renewables that are earning tax credits.

“The EC’s decision to include this restriction on State aid makes the EU’s version of additionality more onerous than even the strictest requirements being considered in the US,” lawyers from King & Spalding wrote in a September note, adding that some people in the industry argue that the decision is inexplicable under the RED II framework that authorized the European Commission to define additionality. 

A second challenge of the EU regulations is the mandate that PPAs be contracted between the RFNBO producer and the renewable energy source. Such a requirement is impossible for electricity markets where state entities are mandated to purchase and supply power, a structure that is common in multiple jurisdictions. Moreover, the requirement would remove the possibility of using a utility or other intermediary to deliver power for green hydrogen production.

“These technical issues may be serious enough for some in the industry to consider challenges before the Court of Justice of the European Union,” the King & Spalding lawyers wrote. “However, it is not yet clear whether there is the appetite or ability to turn such suggestions into a formal claim.”

Go East

Although the subsidy regimes in Japan and South Korea are expected to be less stringent in comparison to the EU, the programs are still not completely defined, which leaves some uncertainty in dealmaking as projects move forward.

The traditional energy sector has always dealt with change-in-law risk, but the risk is heightened now since regulations can change more rapidly and, in some cases, impact ongoing negotiations, said Komachi and Sohn, of Allen & Overy, in a joint email response. 

“Certain regulations coming into force may be contingent or related to the funding plan of the project,” they said. As such, clean fuels offtake frameworks need to facilitate not only the tracking and counting of emissions, they added, but also leave sufficient flexibility as regulatory frameworks evolve.

Japan, through its Hydrogen Basic Strategy, set out targets to increase the supply of hydrogen and ammonia in the country while reducing costs, deploying Japanese electrolysis equipment, and increasing investment into its supply chain. Additionally, Japan is contemplating a contracts-for-difference-style regime to support the gap between the price of clean hydrogen or ammonia and corresponding fossil fuels for 15 years.

Still, standards for “clean hydrogen” have not been clarified, though most observers believe the country will follow a carbon emissions lifecycle analysis in line with IPHE criteria, which is proposed at 3.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilogram of hydrogen. Similarly, rules around “stacking” subsidies in Japan with other jurisdictions such as the Inflation Reduction Act have not been defined.

Meanwhile, Korea is considering carbon emissions standards of up to 4 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of hydrogen. It is pushing for greater use of hydrogen in part through its Amended Hydrogen Act, requiring electric utilities to buy electricity made from hydrogen in a bidding round starting in 2024. The requirement scales up from 1,300 GWh of general hydrogen in 2025 to 5,200 GWh for general hydrogen and 9,5000 GWh for clean hydrogen in 2028.

Both countries are working to incentivize the entire supply chain for hydrogen and ammonia to ensure the separate pieces of infrastructure will be available on investable and bankable terms, with the aim of creating a demand center when the export centers are developed, Komachi and Sohn added.

They also point out that the emerging clean fuels offtake market will operate in the near term in a more spotty fashion in comparison with the more liquid markets for oil and gas.

“Hydrocarbon markets have gradually moved towards portfolio players, trading and optimization,” said Goran Galic, an Australia-based partner at Allen & Overy. “Smaller market size, technological and regulatory considerations mean that clean fuels, at least initially, require more of a point-to-point approach and so building long-term working relationships between the developers and offtakers is a key aspect of offtake strategy.”

Read More »

Exclusive: Tenaska advancing 10 CCS projects

Independent power development company Tenaska is advancing a portfolio of more than 10 carbon capture and sequestration hubs across the US. We spoke with Bret Estep, who heads up the CCS strategy for the firm.

Tenaska, a Nebraska-based energy company, is advancing a portfolio of more than 10 carbon capture and sequestration projects in the US, Vice President Bret Estep said in an interview.

The portfolio includes three previously announced projects that are highly developed along with seven others that have not been publicly disclosed, Estep added. Tenaska is focused on the transport and storage aspects of the CCS value chain.

“Our base facility is 5 million metric tons per year of storage capacity, and then the necessary pipeline infrastructure to bring those emissions in,” he said.

The base facility design will cost approximately $500m to build, but varies depending on the land position, site geology, and required pipeline miles, Estep said.

“For us, as we plan, I generally use a big rule of thumb to say these are around $500m overnight cost projects,” he said. “Just the storage facility itself, you might be in the $250m to $400m range. And then in really difficult places where there are a lot of pipeline miles, and those are expensive pipeline miles, it might be another $200m or $300m of just pipe.”

Estep says that Tenaska, as a private company, has flexibility on the eventual financing structure for projects, but that project financing is an option. He said the company has held discussions with potential financial advisors but declined to comment further.

Tenaska’s three announced projects are the Longleaf CCS Hub in Mobile, Alabama; the Pineywoods CCS Hub in Houston; and the Tri-State CCS Hub in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

According to Estep, additional projects are going forward in Corpus Christi, New Orleans/Baton Rouge, and Central Florida. Further inland, Tenaska has two projects in Dallas, another in Oklahoma and another in Indiana.

Finding emitters

The projects “are not all easy – there’s a lot of competition out there,” Estep said. “In some places like let’s say Houston, there are a lot of other folks around, but there’s also a lot of emissions around. So I think there’s room for many people to be successful here.”

In other places like Mobile, Alabama or the Tri-State project, which are harder to develop, Tenaska is the only CCS developer, he added. 

As an example, the West Virginia project will likely be more costly to develop, given the suboptimal geology of the region. Still, the project benefits from a $69m DOE grant to support geologic characterization and permitting for the site.

For its CCS business, Tenaska makes money through what Estep calls a “plain vanilla” version of transport and storage: the take-or-pay contract.

“The emitter installs the capture equipment, they’re the taxpayer of record – they have whatever commodity uplift or green premium they can get on their product,” he said. “And they simply need someone to transport and store that CO2 long term really to qualify for that 45Q” tax credit.

For the Longleaf CCS project in Mobile, Estep places potential customers into four quadrants. The first is existing emitters like steelmakers, power plants, gas processing and pharmaceutical companies. “There’s less project-on-project risk in that way.”

The second is blue molecules. “There’s a growing blue molecule effort in that part of the world,” he said. Quadrant three is combined cycle with capture (though Tenaska is not pursuing a combined cycle for Longleaf) and quadrant four is direct air capture.

Tenaska is a participant in the Southeast DAC Hub, led by Southern States Energy Board, which received a grant of over $10m from the DOE.

“We see many emitters across industries from gas processing to cement, steel, power gen, you name it,” Estep said. “They want to do their own capture, or they want to deal straight with a capture technology, an EPC, or a standalone capture-as-a-service provider. And then what they really want is someone to come to their fence line and take the CO2 and store it long term, durably, safely,” he added. “That’s what we do.”

‘Intercept problem’

Tenaska is still about a year away from beginning to order long lead time items like specialized metallurgy or pipe, but will begin putting in orders once it has more visibility on matching up its development timeline with that of its customers.

Early on, Estep and his teams were sprinting to acquire land positions and submit permits, including some Class VI permits from the EPA, which are under review. But “the script almost totally flips” at that point, because under Tenaska’s hub and spoke model, “we want to be optimized for customers,” he said.

The firm looks at permitting timelines and the earliest likelihood of construction and injection versus when the emitter will likely take FID and begin capturing, “which we call the intercept problem,” Estep said.

Tenaska is the 100% owner of the projects at this point, and Estep believes they have put together a unique portfolio, “in that it’s diversified by customer, it’s diversified by EPA region, it’s diversified by geology and state.”

Estep added: “These kind of assets where there’s geology and storage, they can go the power gen route, they can go the hard-to-decarbonize route, cement and steel, they can go the new power gen route that’s advanced, they can go direct air capture, they can go to the molecule.”

“It’s a really interesting set of infrastructure projects that we are very bullish on for that reason.”

Read More »
exclusive

It’s an electrolyzer – but for CO2

A New Jersey-based start-up is seeking to commercialize an electrocatalytic technology that transforms CO2 into a monomer for the plastics industry.

RenewCO2 is developing and seeking to commercialize a modular technology that converts waste CO2 into a usable product.

The New Jersey-based company is advancing a pilot project at an Ace Ethanol plant in Wisconsin that will take CO2 and convert it to monoethylene glycol, which can be used by the plastics industry.

The project was recently selected by the US DOE to receive a $500,000 grant. It seeks to demonstrate the technology’s ability to reduce the ethanol plant’s carbon footprint and produce a carbon-negative chemical.

In an interview, RenewCO2 co-founders Anders Laursen and Karin Calvinho said their technology, which was developed at Rutgers University, is geared toward carbon emitters who can not easily pipe away their CO2 and who may have use for the resulting product.


“It’s a matter of economics,” said Calvinho, who serves as the company’s CTO. Using the RenewCO2 technology, the ethanol plant or other user is able to keep 45Q tax incentives for capturing CO2 while also creating a product that generates an additional revenue stream.

Additionally, the modular design of the technology prevents emitters from having to build expensive pipeline infrastructure for CO2, she added. “We want to help to facilitate the use of the CO2 on site,” she said.

One of the goals of the project is to measure the carbon intensity of these technologies in combination, which ultimately depends on the electricity source for the electrochemical process, similar to an electrolyzer, Laursen, who is the CEO, said.

“The main constraint from a location point of view is the availability of reliable and affordable green power,” Laursen added.

Creating a market

The principal target market for RenewCO2’s technology is existing producers of monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is used to make recycled plastics, as well as ethanol producers and other emitters with purified CO2 streams.

Producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – one of the most recycled plastics globally – are also potential customers since they use MEG in their production process and have CO2 sources on site.

“Right now, MEG produced in the US is, for the most part, not polymerized into PET – it’s shipped overseas for making PET plastics used in textiles, and then made into fibers or shipped further,” Laursen said. “So if you can shorten that transport chain, you can reduce the CO2 emissions associated with the final product.”

RenewCO2 is looking for partners to help build the modular units, and is evaluating the purchase of existing PEM electrolyzer units that can be reconfigured, or having the units custom manufactured.

“We’re talking to potential manufacturing partners and evaluating whether we should do the manufacturing ourselves,” Calvinho said. And if they choose the latter route, she added, “we will have to build our own facilities, but it’s early to say.”

The company has raised a total of $10m in venture investment and grant funding, including a pre-seed round of over $2m from Energy Transition Ventures, a Houston-based venture capital fund.

While not currently fundraising, Laursen said they are always taking calls to get to know the investors that are interested in the space. He added that the company may need to raise additional capital in 12 to 18 months.

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

Sign up for a free 15-day trial and get the latest clean fuels news in your inbox.