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Heliogen rejects cash offer from Continuum Renewables

An offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Heliogen for cash consideration of $0.40 per share was rejected by the company’s board of directors.

Heliogen has rejected the unsolicited, non-binding proposal it received from Continuum Renewables to acquire all its outstanding shares of common stock for $0.40 per share, according to a news release.

“After careful consideration and consultation with legal and financial advisors, the Board concluded that the non-binding proposal substantially undervalues Heliogen,” the release states. “In fact, the proposal would result in an implied equity value for Heliogen common stockholders that is materially below Heliogen’s available liquidity.”

The company’s board concluded that the proposal is subject to material contingencies, including CRI obtaining financing, the release states

“The Board remains fully committed to Heliogen’s management team and its strategic priorities of increasing sales, installing commercial projects and improving the Company’s financial position,” Julie Kane, chair of the board, said in the release. “We strongly believe that our new leadership’s execution of this dynamic plan is the best way to drive sustainable long-term value creation for all stockholders and is a superior path compared to CRI’s opportunistic proposal.”

Late last year Heliogen received notice from the New York Stock Exchange that the average closing price of its common stock over the prior consecutive 30 trading-day period was below $1.00 per share, which is the minimum average share price for continued listing on the NYSE. The company’s stock was trading at $0.29 at close of business on Monday.

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PowerCell serving H2 fuel stacks to ZeroAvia

The agreementcomprises 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell stacks with deliveries planned to start in 2024.

PowerCell has signed the world’s first contract covering the serial delivery of hydrogen fuel stacks to the aviation industry, according to a press release.

The agreement, potentially valued up to SEK 1.51bn, is conditioned on client ZeroAvia obtaining necessary certifications. It comprises 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell stacks with deliveries planned to start in 2024.

Approximately SEK 25m of the order value is expected to impact revenues in 2022.

ZeroAvia focuses on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions and aims to launch a 19-seat aircraft with 300-mile range by 2025. The American and British company acquired California-based fuel cell stack innovator HyPoint this month.

The total order value of SEK 1.51 billion is conditional on ZeroAvia obtaining necessary certifications of the powertrain.

PowerCell will, upon completed aviation certifications, deliver a total of 0.5 GW fuel cells comprising of 300 kW superstack modules based on the industrialized 100 kW fuel cell stack. The fuel stacks will be used by ZeroAvia to manufacture a 600 kW, low-temperature, hydrogen-electric powertrain for the certified 19-seat, fuel cell-powered commercial aircraft.

As part of the agreement, PowerCell will establish a unit in the UK for final assembly and the adaptation of the stacks to ZeroAvia’s fuel cell system and application.

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Bloom Energy partners for expansion in Spain and Portugal

The California-based company has teamed with Telam Partners, a leading senior advisory firm specialized in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects.

Bloom Energy has teamed with Telam Partners, a leading senior advisory firm specialized in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects, to expand Bloom’s footprint into Spain and Portugal, according to a press release.

The two companies will market and deploy the Bloom Electrolyzer, as well as Bloom’s Energy Servers, supporting customers with solutions that can efficiently meet their energy security needs and green hydrogen demand.

“Business and political leaders are looking for clean technologies and energy solutions,” said Tim Schweikert, senior managing director of International Business Development, Bloom Energy Inc. “Bloom is now engaged to address these priorities in Spain and Portugal. Telam is a partner of choice, supporting Bloom’s long-term commitment to the Iberian Peninsula and to respond promptly to green transition policies and environmental imperatives.”

“At Telam we are excited to be able to work with the solid oxide fuel cell leader on the very important and urgent challenge of transitioning towards renewable energy,” said Jaime Malet, CEO of Telam Partners. “We are convinced that Spain and Portugal, thanks to an abundance of wind and solar resources, are among the clearest candidates to lead the production of green hydrogen in Europe.”

In line with Spanish and Portuguese objectives to become global green hydrogen hubs, Telam and Bloom will market Bloom’s solid oxide electrolyzer. With impressive efficiency confirmed in testing at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs, the Bloom Electrolyzer provides hydrogen with low cost of ownership. Further, the Bloom Electrolyzer is well suited for large-scale installations, as well as projects such as ammonia and renewable fuels synthesis, which can be integrated with the electrolyzer.

Telam and Bloom will also market Bloom’s highly efficient fuel cell Energy Server™ to decarbonize port activities when ships are at berth. Bloom’s fuel-flexible technology, which can operate on natural gas, biogas or hydrogen, produces electricity without combustion and reduces carbon emissions compared to the auxiliary diesel gensets usually used for shore power.

This represents Bloom Energy’s first deal for the Iberian Peninsula. It confirms Bloom’s commitment to the European market, after announcing the installation of its energy platform at Ferrari’s Italian plant and a strategic partnership for the Italian market with the engineering, procurement and construction company CEFLA in 2022.

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DOE releases billion-ton biomass report

The report, which is released only every five years, details the opportunities and constraints to reaching 1 billion tons of biomass production per year in the U.S., and includes county-level data on resource availability.

The Department of Energy’s 2023 Billion-Ton Report provides a detailed analysis of the potential biomass resource availability in the United States, finding that more than 1 billion tons of biomass could be sustainably produced annually in the U.S., given adequate market conditions. 

This production capacity could significantly expand the current bioenergy economy, contingent upon the realization of market demand and adherence to environmental sustainability constraints.

The decarbonization of America’s transportation and industrial sectors depends on a significant increase in the production of renewable biomass for use in liquid fuel, bio-based chemicals, and other products, the DOE said in a press release. Highlights from the report include:  

  • The U.S. currently uses about 342 million tons of biomass, including corn grain for ethanol and wood/wood waste for heat and power, to meet roughly 5% of America’s annual energy demand 
  • The U.S. can triple the production of biomass, producing an estimated 60 billion gallons of low greenhouse gas liquid fuels, while still meeting the projected demand for food, feed, fiber, conventional forest products, and exports 
  • Currently available but unused biomass resources can add around 350 million tons of additional biomass per year above current uses and double the U.S. bioeconomy 
  • Biomass resources, like energy crops, in a future mature market can provide more than 400 million tons of biomass per year above current uses 
  • Further technological innovations could lead to evolving and emerging resources that represent additional biomass potential 
  • The analysis ensures sustainable outcomes by accounting for potential risks to soil, air and water quality, water availability, and the imperative to protect America’s forests and biodiversity 
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EXCLUSIVE: 8 Rivers co-founder departs firm

A co-founder and executive has departed the North Carolina-based firm, which recently announced an ammonia project in Texas.

Bill Brown, a co-founder of the technology commercialization firm and clean fuels developer 8 Rivers Capital, has retired from the company, a spokesperson confirmed via email.
According to Brown’s LinkedIn profile, he is serving now as CEO of New Waters Capital. He co-founded 8 Rivers and also served as CEO and CTO in this nearly 16 years there.
Brown did not respond to a request for comment.
According to 8 Rivers’ website, Dharmesh Patel is serving as interim CEO. The company recently announced development of the Cormorant Clean Energy ammonia production facility in Port Arthur, Texas
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Low-carbon tech company targeting hydrogen at 35 cents per kilogram

A North Carolina net-zero solutions company has plans to raise capital and is scouting for a location in the US Gulf Coast for its first clean hydrogen production facility.

8 Rivers Capital, the North Carolina net zero solutions company and technology commercialization platform, will need to raise capital and is scouting for a location in the US Gulf Coast for its first clean hydrogen production facility, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder Bill Brown said on the sidelines of CERAWeek in Houston.

Brown declined to elaborate on the capital raise, but said he is well connected to finance from previous roles he held at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The company received a $100m investment from South Korea-based SK Group last March.

8 Rivers has technology for power generation, hydrogen production, gas processing, and direct air capture. Through its involvement with affiliate Net Power, 8 Rivers has developed the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, a power cycle that uses the oxy-combustion of carbon-based fuels and a high-pressure CO2 fluid in a highly recuperated cycle that captures emissions. Net Power was recently acquired in a SPAC deal with Rice Acquisition Corp. II, which valued the company at $1.459bn.

In hydrogen, 8 Rivers has developed 8RH2, a process to make hydrogen from natural gas that produces lower emissions and higher efficiencies, according to its website.

8 Rivers announced in November that it signed an MoU with Japan-based JX Nippon to evaluate the US Gulf Coast for “commercial-scale deployment of 8 Rivers technologies across ammonia and other net-zero projects, including potential projects using CO2-rich natural gas.”

Hydrogen at 35 cents?

Brown isn’t too concerned with the source, or color, of hydrogen. He’s much more concerned with the price per kilo, and says his goal is to make low or zero-carbon-intensity hydrogen without concern for its provenance.

“If we can get hydrogen at 35 cents, you would never build a new power plant, because you’ve got hydrogen cheap enough to use a traditional hydrogen turbine,” Brown said. “I can make the cheapest hydrogen from methane, or coal for that matter. I can’t make it from electricity without subsidy.”

Hydrogen at 35 cents is USD 3 per MMBtu, making it competitive with gas.

“One-dollar hydrogen, to me, is worthless,” he said. “Let’s face it, right now, we have one-dollar hydrogen in the world, not clean, but we have seen the full demand already.”

“8 Rivers does not want to be the company that says ‘here, take my technology,’” Brown said. “8 Rivers wants to be the company that says ‘come to us and we will give you the cheapest hydrogen and we’re agnostic as to where it came from, but we can tell you it’s green.’”

Target markets include customers that are blending hydrogen, Brown said. With USD 50bn of hydrogen assets already deployed in the US, he’s not concerned about offtake.

“It’s the system,” Brown said. “The system is the offtake.”

For ammonia, island nations in transition, commercial shipping and coal replacement all present large potential markets, Brown said. If ammonia can be produced at USD 100 per ton, it will be more competitive than coal as an export fuel.

But Brown is adamant that hydrogen blending in existing infrastructure presents the best and most immediate use for hydrogen.

“All it takes is offtake,” Brown said. “The easiest thing to do with hydrogen is not converting it to ammonia to ship it overseas with some supply contract, the easiest thing to do is put it in a pipeline.”

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Carbon capture OEM eyeing US for manufacturing plant

A Vancouver-based maker of carbon capture equipment is considering building a manufacturing plant in the US. Its number one target market: gray hydrogen producers.

Svante, a carbon capture original equipment manufacturer based in Vancouver, is eyeing the US as it seeks to expand its market presence across North America.

The company has raised sufficient capital to construct its first plant in Vancouver, where it will make specialized filters and contactor machines used in the carbon capture and removal processes, Svante CEO Claude Letourneau said in an interview.

Within several years, Svante is planning to build a second manufacturing facility in the United States, closer to where its customers are located and where CO2 can be monetized, Letourneau said.

Svante raised $318m last year in a series E fundraising round led by Chevron New Energies. It will spend approximately $100m to build the Vancouver facility.

Letourneau says the company’s principal target market in North America is existing gray hydrogen facilities that use steam methane reforming, of which there are around 1,000. The cost of adding carbon capture to existing SMR plants brings the cost of blue hydrogen from $1.50 per kilogram to around $2 per kilogram, according to Letourneau, compared to green hydrogen that will cost between $3 – $6 per kilogram with a similar carbon footprint.

“It’s a good solution,” he said.

Optimizing costs

As an original equipment manufacturer, Svante has partnerships with some of the largest EPC companies in the world for carbon capture projects: Kiewit in North America, Technip in Europe, and Samsung in Asia.

“When you have a technology that you want to take to market, you need to get the benefit of a close relationship with these EPC contractors if you want to deploy quickly and reduce costs,” he said.

He noted that the filters and contactors typically make up between 10% – 15% of the cost of a carbon capture plant, while the rest is in the balance of plant. Filters typically have a lifespan of three to five years, he said, allowing for additional recurring revenues for Svante after the initial installation.

Svante is working on five to six projects with Kiewit in North America that are in the pre-FEED and FEED stages, with FIDs expected by the end of next year. It is also working with Linde on a Department of Energy-sponsored pre-FEED carbon capture project for Linde’s Port Arthur gray hydrogen facility.

Additionally, Svante has a partnership with Swiss-based Climeworks for direct air carbon capture technologies.

“We want to be for carbon capture what GE Aerospace is for the jet engine industry,” he said, using an analogy to a market in which there are only several OEMs in a large, consolidated industry.

Target market

There are around 10,000 emitting plants globally that need carbon capture in order to decarbonize; meanwhile there are only 40 carbon capture facilities in operation, according to Letourneau. Svante’s Vancouver plant will be able to make equipment for around 10 plants per year, but eventually the company would like to scale up to between 50 – 100 plants per year with additional manufacturing capacity.

“This is a big problem we’re trying to solve here,” he said.

To build the second plant in the US, the company will explore using project finance debt and seek to take advantage of US government incentives for clean energy manufacturing. The recently enhanced carbon capture tax incentives – of $85 per ton of CO2 captured versus $50 previously – will also benefit Svante’s carbon-emitting customers.

In addition to gray hydrogen, the company is targeting carbon emissions from oil and gas refining as well as pulp and paper mills.

Use cases

Svante’s modular solid sorbent technology can be inserted to capture flue gas at the end of the refining process instead of inside the plant, offering fewer disruptions to existing systems. Svante then concentrates the CO2 into a pipeline grade for storage or industrial use.

“Nobody makes these filters in the world,” Letourneau continued, “so if I want to convince somebody to give Kiewit and ourselves a purchase order for $300m to build a 1 million-ton-per-year plant, they need to see that we have a manufacturing plant to make the filters, they need to see that we have the size of the contactor done at commercial size, and they need to see that we’ve done all the engineering studies to justify that this project can be monetized, economical, and the like.”

The company is sufficiently capitalized to advance the projects in its pipeline, and is focused on completing the Vancouver plant and garnering purchase orders in order to become profitable. A potential future exit could come in the form of an IPO or sale to a larger player, Letourneau said.

“We understand the market is quite buoyant and probably a few large companies are going to try to dominate, and they may decide they want to acquire a company like us, so an M&A is a possible exit in the next five years, depending on the conditions,” he said.

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