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HIF Global selects Johnson Matthey for Uruguay e-methanol plant

The facility would be the largest e-methanol plant in South America and will use electrolytic (green) hydrogen and waste CO2 from an ethanol plant.

Johnson Matthey (JM), a provider of sustainable technologies, has been selected by HIF Global, the world’s leading eFuels company, as the methanol licensor for HIF Global’s Paysandú eFuels project in Uruguay, according to a news release.

The facility would be the largest e-methanol plant in South America and will use electrolytic (green) hydrogen and waste CO2 from an ethanol plant to produce e-methanol. E-methanol, through use of renewable feedstocks, enables the production of a lower carbon fuel versus traditional methanol.

JM’s e-methanol eMERALD™ technology has been proven as a credible route to decarbonise methanol production¹ and this technology will be deployed at the HIF Paysandú eFuels facility, with expected production capacity of 700,000 tonnes per year of e-methanol. The e-methanol will be utilised to support the rapidly growing demand from the marine market, as well as a feedstock to produce e-gasoline (via a methanol to gasoline process) which will facilitate the decarbonisation of over 150,000 vehicles.

This collaboration builds on the successful demonstration of the eMERALD technology in the HIF Haru Oni eFuels facility, where JM licenses its technology and supplies the catalyst. The demo plant has successfully operated for over 12 months, producing methanol that is further processed into gasoline.

Additionally, HIF Global has announced other planned eFuels projects to be built in the US, Tasmania, and Chile. JM is already working with HIF Global to support the development of these projects.

HIF Global will invest $4 billion in the facility, making it the most significant investment in Uruguay’s history. Construction of the plant is planned for 2025 and is expected to create approximately 1,500 jobs during construction with an additional 300 permanent operational positions.

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Hydra Energy breaks ground on hydrogen refueling station

Vancouver-based Hydra Energy has broken ground on what it calls the world’s largest hydrogen refueling station in Prince George, British Columbia.

Vancouver-based Hydra Energy has broken ground on what it calls the world’s largest hydrogen refueling station in Prince George, British Columbia.

The groundbreaking marks the first project in the company’s Western Canadian Hydrogen Corridor servicing B.C.- and Alberta-based heavy-duty trucks that have been converted to run on both hydrogen and diesel using Hydra’s zero-cost, co-combustion conversion kits. This includes Hydra’s first paying fleet customer, Prince George-based Dymin Mechanical, whose fleet will represent 12 of the 65 trucks the new station will support.

“What’s so important about designing and building our own hydrogen refueling station is that it solidifies a template of how to overcome the chicken and egg problem that has plagued the hydrogen sector. This Prince George station demonstrates that hydrogen can be provided at diesel parity without up-front capital costs for fleets,” stated Hydra Energy Service Delivery Lead, Ilya Radetski.

The new station and hydrogen production will be located on five acres, will produce 3,250 kilograms of hydrogen a day, and can refuel as quickly as diesel and up to 24 Hydra-converted trucks each hour across four bays. The station’s low-carbon hydrogen is being produced from two on-site, 5 MW electrolysers with electricity coming from BC Hydro, B.C.’s main electricity utility with 31 hydroelectric facilities throughout the province.

Additional critical partners include energy project delivery expert, Solaris, and industrial construction specialist, PCL Construction, with project financing support coming from Hydra’s seed funders and non-dilutive government funding including the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation – Part 3 Agreement.

Hydra’s Prince George station will be operational early 2024. In the meantime, the company is also partnering with the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) to build a similar project on EIA land. This will service Hydra-converted trucks in the Edmonton region (like Hydra’s second fleet customer, VEXSL) marking the Eastern-most endpoint of Hydra’s Western Canadian Hydrogen Corridor on Highway 16. Additionally, another station is being explored along the same highway in Port Edward/Prince Rupert located west of Prince George. Hydra is currently raising the balance of funding needed for the projects and will announce new investors once confirmed.

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Dallas PE firm adds two partners from Navigator CO2 Ventures

Dallas-based private equity firm Cresta Fund Management has hired two new operating partners from Navigator CO2 Ventures, a BlackRock-backed CO2 pipeline effort that was recently cancelled, according to a news release.

The new hires are Eric Leigh and Jim Mullin. Leight helped lead business development and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) origination activities for Navigator and drove the firm’s strategy for environmental attributes as the Executive Director of Carbon Supply and Markets.

Mullin previously served as the Executive Director of Carbon Utilization for Navigator and helped commercialize carbon utilization and educate stakeholders on carbon sequestration and utilization markets and solutions.

Mullin and Leigh’s energy and carbon capture industry experience is expected to provide a key addition to Cresta’s Sustainable Fund Series, in particular Lapis Energy, Cresta’s CCS-focused portfolio company.

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Biomass-to-hydrogen developer to receive California grant

The first grant, of $500,000, will support Yosemite Clean Energy’s flagship project in Oroville, CA, and will help bring Yosemite to a final investment decision.

Yosemite Clean Energy was selected to receive two $500,000 Forest Biomass to Carbon-Negative Biofuels grants from the California Department of Conservation (DOC), according to a recent news release.

The first grant will support Yosemite’s flagship project in Oroville, CA, and will help bring Yosemite to a final investment decision; the plant will produce 24 tons of renewable hydrogen per day. The second grant will support preliminary engineering for Yosemite’s Tuolumne County hydrogen project.

The DOC grant program is a vote of confidence for forest biomass to biofuels projects in the state and will increase the pace and scale of biofuels development.

The projects funded under the program will support sustainable forest stewardship within California that will help reduce the risk of wildfires and provide zero emission, carbon-negative fuels for the transportation industry.

Yosemite’s applications were scored #1 and #2 out of the 8 projects selected to receive funding, the release says.

This grant is the first round in a two-phase grant program, with the second phase giving 2 to 4 awards of between $10m and $20m to construct projects. As stated on the Program website, the DOC received a $50m budget allocation in FY21-22 focused specifically on creating carbon-negative hydrogen and/or liquid fuel from forest biomass within the Sierra Nevada. The DOC has worked closely with both the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the Natural Resources Agency, CalFire, IBank, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to develop the grant program.

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Buckeye Partners closes acquisition of Bear Head Energy

Buckeye Partners has closed on the acquisition of Bear Head Energy.

Buckeye Partners has closed on the acquisition of Bear Head Energy, Inc., according to a news release.

Bear Head is developing a large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia production, storage and export project in Point Tupper, Nova Scotia with hydrogen electrolyzer capacity of more than 2 GW.

As part of the project’s phased development, Buckeye plans to partner with on-shore and off-shore renewable energy developers to build out a large-scale green hydrogen hub for Atlantic Canada.

Buckeye established its Alternative Energy operating segment as a clean energy business that focuses on the development, construction, and operation of alternative energy projects, including hydrogen, wind, and solar-powered energy solutions.

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Renewable hydrogen developer in exclusivity with strategic investor

A renewable hydrogen developer based in the western US is reaching the final stages of a capital raise with an investor in exclusivity.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, is in exclusivity with clean energy investment platform Modern Energy, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

ReSource reported in February that GreenFront Energy Partners was advising the company on a Series A.

NovoHydrogen CEO Matt McMonagle said previously that the company has about 30 projects in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts. Its 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, the executive had said.

NovoHydrogen declined to comment. GreenFront and Modern Energy did not respond to requests for comment.

Modern Energy, a certified B-Corporation, recently put $90m into net metered solar developer Industrial Sun along with partner EIG. In 2020 EIG committed USD 100m to Modern Energy through a debt facility to fund the development of clean energy assets.

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Ammonia-to-industrial heat provider raising early-stage capital

An early-stage technology provider targeting clients in hard-to-abate industries is engaging investors and financial advisors to raise a seed round, with sites on a Series A in 2025.

Captain Energy, a Houston-based provider of ammonia-to-industrial heat technology, is seeking strategic investors for an early-stage seed round with plans for an eventual Series A, co-founder and interim-CEO Kirk Coburn said in an interview.

The company is developing a single-step process that can create industrial heat from cracked ammonia up to 700 degrees Celsius with zero NOX emissions, with hydrogen as a byproduct, Coburn said. The process uses a ceramic-based tubular solid oxide fuel cell that Captain manufactures in Dundee, Scotland.

“The results from the testing are that we’re 85% efficient,” Coburn said.

He likened the company to Amogy, but serving steel, cement and chemicals instead of transportation. Getting the kind of high-quality heat those industries need in a clean way can only come from a few sources, he noted.
“Ammonia is one of the greatest ways to do it if you can crack it efficiently like we can,” he said.
Past lab

The company is “past the lab stage” and needs to develop a pilot product to showcase to customers, Coburn said. About $5m will get the company to a 100-kilogram-per-day product, up from 25 kilograms now.

“That’s not, probably, big enough for most customers, but we can stack them,” Coburn said. “At this point we need to demonstrate commercially the product… after showcasing it we want to make larger units.”

Captain is owned by three co-founders, including Coburn. They have an 18-month line of site on a “much larger” Series A, Coburn said.

Strategic investors that would be end users of the technology are of interest to the company, particularly in Asian and European markets.

“We’re not getting in the game of making ammonia,” Coburn said. “We have to buy green ammonia.”

The company’s model is at “grid-parity” in Europe now, Coburn said, pointing to Germany in particular.

“We think we’re almost at subsidy-free pricing,” he said.

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