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HIF Global to supply eFuels to Japan

An agreement with ENEOS will have eFuels produced in South America, the US and Australia exported to facilities in Japan for conversion to eGasoline or jet fuel.

HIF Global, the eFuels company, and petroleum refiner ENEOS have reached a co-operation agreement designed to encourage the sale of carbon neutral fuel in Japan, according to a news release.

The agreement focuses on the supply of eFuels from HIF’s portfolio of developments in South America, USA and Australia to ENEOS, Japan’s largest petroleum refiner.

The agreement also extends to exploring the establishment of a carbon dioxide supply chain from Japan and potential development of production facilities in Japan for conversion of eMethanol from HIF’s plants to eGasoline or jet fuel.

“We are already producing eFuels from our first plant at Haru Oni in Chile and are poised to start construction next year at our first world-scale facility at Matagorda in Texas,” Cesar Norton, HIF Global CEO, said in the release. “Our portfolio of projects in development continues to expand, giving us confidence that HIF facilities in South America, USA and Australia will all contribute to meeting this vast demand.”

HIF Global recently announced its expansion to Uruguay, where it will commence development of an approximately $4bn eFuels project in the city of Paysandú. The Matagorda eFuels Facility will be the first world scale eFuels facility. HIF and Siemens Energy are engaged in front end engineering

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Los Angeles moves forward with $800m green hydrogen conversion

The Los Angeles City Council has authorized the Department of Water and Power to begin contracting processes for converting a gas-fired generating station to hydrogen.

The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved a motion to move forward with the the conversion of the gas-fired Scattergood Generating Station near El Segundo to hydrogen, according to a vote record posted on the city’s website.

Subsequent coverage in the Los Angeles Times states that the city has plans to converting additional regional gas facilities — Harbor and Haynes and Valley Generating Station – into hydrogen-fueled peaking power stations.

Environmentalists have grouped to oppose the plan based on expressed climate and safety concerns.

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IFM acquires majority interest in South Carolina RNG firm

IFM Investors has acquired a majority interest in GreenGasUSA, a South Carolina-based developer, owner and operator of renewable natural gas assets.

IFM Investors via the IFM Net Zero Infrastructure Fund (NZIF) has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in GreenGasUSA (GreenGas), a US-based renewable natural gas (RNG) developer, owner and operator, according to a news release.

GreenGas is a fully integrated renewables platform headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina with a track record of originating, developing and operating RNG projects. The company utilizes mature technologies to capture, purify and transport biogas from existing organic waste streams for its end use as pipeline quality RNG. GreenGas sells the RNG and associated environmental attributes under long-term offtake contracts with investment grade commercial & industrial customers, such as Mercedes-Benz, Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Duke University.

RNG projects operated by GreenGas can deliver significant emission reductions from waste streams by capturing methane, which has a 25 times more harmful impact on atmospheric warming than CO2 per the Environmental Protection Agency, demonstrating strong alignment with the net zero energy transition.

CEO and Founder Marc Fetten will continue to lead GreenGas alongside the existing management team. The acquisition marks a significant milestone for the company and secures long-term investment capital to expand its footprint of renewable natural gas projects and continue delivering on its mission to help food processors, farmers and industrial manufacturers capture greenhouse gas emissions from their operations.

“Our new partner IFM will be investing in GreenGas as a platform to meet the growing demand for renewable energy solutions across the United States,” said Fetten. “Our projects not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but help RNG buyers decarbonize their energy intensive operations. We look forward to working with IFM to grow the platform.”

Launched in 2022, IFM NZIF is an open-ended fund targeting essential infrastructure assets that seek to accelerate the world’s transition to a net-zero emissions economy. GreenGas represents NZIF’s first investment in the low carbon fuels sector, a core target sector of the fund.

“We are excited to welcome GreenGas into the IFM NZIF portfolio and support its next phase of growth,” said Kyle Mangini, global head of infrastructure at IFM Investors. “RNG projects operated by GreenGas can deliver significant emissions reductions, which is well aligned with IFM’s net zero commitments and our purpose to protect & grow the long-term retirement savings of working people.”

Transaction close is targeted for Q1 2023 and subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Marathon Capital, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to GreenGas on the transaction.

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Comstock completes RenFuel investment

Comstock is investing up to $3m to support applications for RenFuel and Comstock complementary renewable fuel technologies, and the continued development of the 100,000 metric ton per year biorefinery joint venture project in Sweden.

Comstock Inc. has executed agreements with RenFuel K2B AB under which Comstock is investing up to $3m over three years to support commercialization of joint development applications for RenFuel and Comstock complementary renewable fuel technologies, and the continued development of the 100,000 metric ton per year (TPY) biorefinery joint venture project in Sweden.

The applicable investment agreements require the purchase of up to $3m in 7% senior secured convertible notes funded in quarterly installments of $250,000 for three years. The notes are convertible at pre-money per share valuation equal to the lower of $30m or the post-money valuation used for RenFuel’s then most recent offering at the time of conversion. Comstock has already invested the first $350,000 of this investment.

“RenFuel’s team, technologies, and our now collaborative production joint venture project are highly strategic to our Bioleum commercialization plans,” said Corrado De Gasperis, Comstock’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, in a news release. “RenFuel’s highly specialized chemical and process development expertise strongly adds to the breadth and depth of our own technical team and their patent portfolio complements our own extensive portfolio.”

Comstock’s proprietary technologies are proven to convert lignocellulosic biomass into Cellulosic Ethanol and proprietary Bioleum biointermediate blends at extraordinary yields exceeding 100 gallons per dry tonne of biomass on a gasoline gallon equivalent basis (GGE), and market-leading, extremely low carbon intensity (CI) scores of 15. Comstock is already using RenFuel’s patented catalytic esterification technology to refine its proprietary Bioleum derivatives into Hydrodeoxygenated Bioleum Oil (HBO), for use by advanced biofuel refineries in blending with, diversifying, and extending conventional hydroprocessed fat, oil, and grease feedstocks that can simultaneously produce SAF and Renewable Diesel Fuel. Comstock holds the exclusive license to RenFuel’s refining technologies in North America, Central America, and South America and available for global distribution.

RenFuel previously completed extensive preliminary engineering for a new biorefinery to convert about 75,000 TPY of lignin into a biointermediate for refining into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel in Europe. Comstock and RenFuel are evaluating the requirements for inclusion of an additional 25,000 TPY of biorefining capacity based on Comstock’s commercially available Cellulosic Ethanol and Bioleum derived fuels technologies, and several compelling opportunities for deploying our integrated solution.

Sven Löchen, RenFuel’s chief executive officer added, “We are thrilled with this expanding strategic partnership. Comstock’s technologies and proprietary Bioleum products create a vastly expanded market opportunity for our technologies worldwide, where Comstock is rapidly advancing across the Americas. Comstock’s direct investment in RenFuel supports our continued growth and development as we build value for all of our stakeholders.”

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California Resources pursuing pipeline of blue molecule projects

Through a subsidiary called Carbon TerraVault, the upstream oil and gas producer will approach carbon capture and blue molecule production investments on a project-level basis to help meet California’s lofty decarbonization goals.

Through its subsidiary Carbon TerraVault, California Resources Corporation will approach carbon capture and blue molecule production investments on a project-level basis to help meet California’s lofty decarbonization goals, Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Gould said in an interview.

Carbon TerraVault is differentiated by its nature as a CCS-as-a-service company, Gould said, as most CCS projects are owned by emitters themselves.

“We are bringing to market a solution to decarbonize other parts of the California economy,” Gould said, noting that hydrogen producers, power plants and steel and cement makers are among potential clients. “We are out across the state, working with emitters.”

Carbon TerraVault is self-mandated to return one billion tons of carbon back into the ground, first as a gas and then pressurized into liquid. Revenue comes from the federal 45Q incentive and the California LCFS and related tradeable market.

The company has a JV with Brookfield Renewable for the first 200 million tons. That JV recently formed a separate JV with Lone Cypress Energy Services for a planned blue hydrogen plant at the Elk Hills Field in Kern County.

Carbon TerraVault will provide permanent sequestration for 100,000 MTPA at the facility, and will receive an injection fee on a per ton basis, according to a December 7 presentation.

In hiring Carbon TerraVault to provide CCS as a service, LoneCypress also invited the company to invest in the production, Gould said. The JV has the right to participate in the blue hydrogen facility up to and including a majority equity stake, the presentation shows.

“You should expect to see over time as we do more and more of these that we’re going to have multiple models,” Gould said of these partnerships and financial structures. A typical model may emerge as the industry matures.

The company could repeat that effort for “many more” blue hydrogen projects in the state, Gould said. “Green [hydrogen] is a longer-term proposition that is going to be based on renewable buildout,” he said. “Blue is kind of here now.”

Target market

Carbon TerraVault estimates that California’s total CCS market opportunity is between 150 MMTPA – 210 MMTPA, and is in discussions for 8 MMTPA of CCS, of which 1 MMTPA is in advanced discussions, the presentation shows.

Through California Resources’ Elk Hills land position of 47,000 acres and CO2 sequestration reservoirs, the company could attract additional greenfield infrastructure projects like the Lone Cypress Hydrogen Project and create a Net Zero Industrial Park, according to the presentation.

In that vein, Gould noted the huge need for decarbonized ammonia in California’s central valley agriculture, which today is imported from abroad.

“There is a need for clean hydrogen in California and it is best if it is created in California,” Gould said.

The JV with Brookfield funds Carbon TerraVault’s storage needs, Gould said. Investments in the production processes, such as the deal with Lone Cypress, will likely require additional capital.

Project level financing is a “default assumption,” Gould said, though that’s not set in stone. The company is working with a financial advisor but Gould declined to name the firm.

The scale of California’s hydrogen ambitions is far beyond what any one company can do, Gould said.

“If you’re an advisor that is working with a developer likeLone Cypress that is considering locating in California, then I would say give us a ring,” Gould said. “We’re the ones who are going to be able to do the sequestration there.”

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Exclusive: OCI Global exploring ammonia and methanol asset sales

Global ammonia and methanol producer OCI Global is working with an investment bank to explore a sale of ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

OCI Global is evaluating a sale of several ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

The global producer and distributor of methanol and ammonia is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its ammonia production facility in Beaumont, Texas, as well as the co-located blue ammonia project under development, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The evaluation also includes OCI’s methanol business, one of the sources said.

Representatives of OCI and Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.

As part of the earlier strategic review announced last year, OCI in December announced the divestiture of its 50% stake in Fertiglobe to ADNOC, and the sale of its Iowa Fertilizer Company to Koch Industries, bringing in $6.2bn in total net proceeds.

However, OCI has received additional inbound inquiries from potential acquirers for the remaining business, leading it to re-open the review, CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said last month on OCI’s 4Q23 earnings call.

“As such, OCI is exploring further value creative strategic actions across the portfolio, including the previously announced equity participation in its Texas blue clean ammonia project,” he said, adding: “All options are on the table.”

The comments echoed the remarks of Nassef Sawiris, a 40% shareholder of OCI, who recently told the Financial Times that OCI could sell off most of its assets and become a shell for acquisitions.

In the earnings presentation, El-Hoshy took time to lay out the remaining pieces of the business: in particular, OCI’s 350 ktpa ammonia facility in Beaumont; OCI Methanol Group, encompassing 2 million tons of production capacity in the US and a shuttered Dutch methanol plant; and its European ammonia/nitrogen assets.

Texas blue

The Texas blue ammonia project is a 1.1 million-tons-per-year facility that OCI touts as the only greenfield blue ammonia project to reach FID to date. The company has invested $500m in the project as of February 24, out of a total $1bn expected investment, according to a presentation.

“Commercial discussions for long-term product offtake and equity investments in the project are at advanced stages with multiple parties,” El-Hoshy said. “This reflects the very strong commercial interest and increasing appetite from the strategics to pay a price premium to secure long-term low-carbon ammonia.”

El-Hoshy’s comments highlight the fact that, unlike most projects in development, OCI took FID on the Texas blue facility without an offtake agreement in place. The executive did, however, highlight the first-mover cost advantages from breaking ground on the project early and avoiding construction cost inflation.

Additionally, the project was designed to accommodate a second 1.1 mtpa blue ammonia production line, which would be easier to build given existing utilities and infrastructure, El-Hoshy said, allowing for an opportunity to capitalize on additional clean ammonia demand at low development costs.

“Line 2 probably has the biggest advantage, we think, in North America in terms of building a plant where a lot of the existing outside the battery limits items and utilities are already in place,” he said, emphasizing that by moving early on the first phase, they avoided some of the inflationary EPC pressures of recent years. 

At the facility OCI will buy clean hydrogen and nitrogen over the fence from Linde, and Linde, in turn, will capture and sequester CO2 via an agreement with ExxonMobil.

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California carbon transformation firm lands new CFO

The Bay Area company is looking toward a Series C before an IPO in a couple of years.

Jimmy Chuang, the former CFO for Strata Clean Energy, has left that company to take the same role at carbon transformation startup Twelve, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Twelve recently completed a $130m Series B led by DCVC and has raised USD 200m in equity to date, the sources said.

The Bay Area company is looking toward a Series C that would be much larger, before an IPO in a couple of years, one of the sources said. The company is in talks with bulge bracket bankers now but has not hired anyone.

Twelve did not respond to requests for comment. Strata declined to comment.

Twelve creates materials, like chemicals and fuels, from captured carbon. The company recently signed an MoU with Microsoft and Alaska Airlines to collaborate on the production of sustainable aviation fuel.

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