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HIF USA signs LOI for offtake from Texas eFuels facility

HIF USA signed a letter of intent to negotiate a sale and purchase agreement for eMethanol from the Texas facility.

HIF USA, affiliate of HIF Global, and the Japanese energy company Idemitsu Kosan, signed a letter of intent to negotiate a sale and purchase agreement for eMethanol from the HIF Matagorda eFuels facility currently in development in Texas.

The parties will also study the joint development of the eMethanol business, according to a news release.

The HIF Matagorda eFuels Facility is currently performing engineering with Bechtel, Siemens Energy, and Topsoe and is designed to produce approximately 300,000 metric tons per annum of green hydrogen and approximately 1.4 mtpa of eMethanol. The HIF Matagorda eFuels Facility expects to purchase approximately 2 million mtpa of recycled carbon dioxide for conversion to eMethanol and 2,000 MW of renewable energy.

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SAF developer closes on development capital investments

The development capital milestone will allow the company to reach FID on a $4.2bn SAF facility in Louisiana.

DG Fuels, a SAF developer, has closed investment transactions with two Japanese companies, according to a news release.

With the investments in DGF made by aviner & co., inc., Chishima Real Estate Co., Ltd. (Chishima) and an undisclosed investor, DGF has now exceeded its minimum investment target as part of its final round of parent level development capital needed to fund the remaining expected expenses required to reach FID, including the ongoing FEL 3 and related expenses.

ReSource previously reported that DGF was working with Stephens and Guggenheim as investment bankers to advance a capital raise.

The relatively modest balance of the maximum $30m capital raise is expected to fund in the next few months. DGF currently expects that FID on its proposed $4.2bn, 180 million gallon per year SAF facility in Louisiana to occur in early 2024.

The Louisiana SAF facility will be the template for multiple other such facilities to be built across North America, Europe and Asia.

Yoshiyuki Shibakawa, representative director of Chishima said, “We believe the SAF to be produced by DG Fuels makes a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions in the aviation industry. Through its partnership with DG Fuels, we will contribute to the decarbonization of the aviation industry.”

Aviner, which is active in aircraft management and renewables, has worked closely with DGF as its strategic partner and representative in Japan and broader Asia to market DGF’s SAF product to off-takers in the Asia Pacific region as well as jointly studying potential production of SAF by DGF in the region.

“SAF sits right in between aviation and energy which are the prime focus of ours. We have strong belief in the DGF team and are excited to be part of this project. SAF produced by DGF’s high carbon conversion efficiency technology uses woody biomass feedstock which will not face limitation in feedstock supply and we expect DGF’s technology and know-how can be replicated in various locations around the world.” said Hideyuki Yamanaka, CEO of aviner.

“The DG Fuels facility will produce 180 million gallons of zero carbon emissions SAF,” said Michael C. Darcy, CEO of DG Fuels, The facility itself has a very minor atmospheric emissions and zero water discharge to the local environment and will bring 600 new permanent operating jobs and up to 2,100 construction jobs over three years to the local community.”

“We have worked diligently with our investors in implementing this long-term relationship to mutually focus on decarbonizing the aviation sector in a responsible manner,” said Christopher J. Chaput, president and CFO of DG Fuels. “The DG Fuels SAF product relies on no feedstock that would negatively impact the food supply and our highly efficient production process allows us to profitably sell SAF to airlines at attractive prices.”

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Electric Hydrogen to build electrolyzer gigafactory in Massachusetts

The VC-backed company plans to build a 1.2 GW factory, where it will produce its “world’s most powerful” 100 MW electrolyzer offering.

Electric Hydrogen Co., a manufacturer of advanced, industrial-scale hydrogen electrolyzer technology, announced the location of its first factory in Devens, Massachusetts.

The company has leased a newly constructed 187,000 ft2 facility and is now hiring production team members. The Devens factory will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 1.2 GW with production of EH2’s 100 MW green hydrogen electrolyzers commencing in Q1 2024.

“Our company has a single purpose: to make molecules to decarbonize our world,” stated David Eaglesham, EH2’s CTO and co-founder. “Industrial sectors such as fertilizer and steel need new ways to reliably replace fossil resources at costs that work. The machines we will produce at our new factory in Devens will have a transformational impact by enabling ultra-low-cost green hydrogen at an industrial scale.”

Green hydrogen, made by breaking the chemical bonds of water using renewable electricity, is a growth industry that can make an immediate impact on the global climate crisis. Electric Hydrogen expects its technology to establish the standard for industry-wide cost reduction to make green hydrogen cheaper than fossil alternatives.

“There are a lot of factory announcements in our industry, but not a lot of real capacity being built,” said Raffi Garabedian, EH2’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder. “We have a backlog of customer orders to fulfill and are moving quickly to build and ship the world’s most powerful electrolyzers.”

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California DAC firm secures $80m funding and strategic partnerships

The company will use the capital to deliver commercial-ready hybrid direct air capture units by the end of 2025.

Avnos, Inc., the Los Angeles-based company developing Hybrid Direct Air Capture (HDAC™) technology for carbon dioxide removal, has signed multi-year strategic and investment partnerships, in excess of $80m in aggregate.

Investors include ConocoPhillips, JetBlue Ventures, the corporate venture capital division of JetBlue, and Shell Ventures LLC, the US corporate venture capital arm of Shell plc.

Avnos will use the capital to deliver commercial-ready HDAC units by the end of 2025, according to a news release.

Avnos’ proprietary HDAC technology is the only carbon dioxide removal (CDR) solution that captures both CO2 and water from the atmosphere in a single system. While many other forms of Direct Air Capture (DAC) consume several tons of water per ton of CO2 captured, Avnos produces five to ten tons of water for every ton of CO2 captured. This innovative HDAC approach employs the captured water to drive a novel moisture-responsive CO2 adsorbent material, which eliminates the need for heat, thus reducing the system’s energy consumption. As a result, the Avnos solution requires less than half the energy required by competitors.

“Avnos is laser focused on delivering the most cost-effective, flexible, and scalable commercial Direct Air Capture technology in the world,” said Will Kain, CEO of Avnos. “Adding blue-chip strategic partners such as ConocoPhillips, JetBlue Ventures, and Shell provides us with an incredible opportunity to access more resources, know-how, and global reach to meaningfully accelerate our deployment schedule. Ultimately, we will be able to remove more atmospheric carbon, faster, and at lower costs than we would have been able to on our own. This is a very exciting announcement at a very exciting time for our company.”

Global carbon dioxide emissions rose to their highest-ever level in 2021, with this trend expected to continue unless significant decarbonization plans are put in place. Nearly all climate and energy models indicate the need for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technology to grow to billions of tons of annual capacity to make a significant impact on reducing emissions.

“ConocoPhillips is pleased to support Avnos as they develop a promising technology that captures carbon and produces water,” said Warwick King, vice president Low Carbon Technologies at ConocoPhillips. “Investing in this promising Hybrid Direct Air Capture technology aligns with our company’s commitment to finding innovative solutions that reduce carbon emissions crucial to enable an orderly energy transition.”

“JetBlue Ventures is thrilled to support Avnos and the development of their technology that not only captures CO2 at impressively low cost but also generates meaningful amounts of water in the process and could play an important role in e-fuels production. The caliber of the technology, team and partners around Avnos is top tier, and we’re glad to be on board,” said Jim Lockheed, investment principal at JetBlue Ventures.”

“We are pleased to invest in Avnos as they work to further solutions for carbon capture technology,” said Brian Panoff, president, Shell Ventures LLC. “Of particular interest is the potential of Avnos’ technology to reduce energy demand in capturing CO2 and its ability to produce water.”

Previously, Avnos has been awarded multi-million-dollar projects from the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate its HDAC solution in the field, and the U.S. Office of Naval Research to pilot CO2 capture and e-fuels production.

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Exclusive: California IPP considering hydrogen options for gas generation portfolio

A California-based IPP is considering burning hydrogen in the thermal plants it acquires, as well as in a portfolio of gas peaking assets it is developing in Texas and the western US.

Nightpeak Energy, the Oakland-based IPP backed by Energy Spectrum Capital, is planning to have wide optionality to burn hydrogen in the gas plants it acquires, as well as in quick-start peaking natural gas assets it is developing in Texas and the western US, CEO Paris Hays said in an interview.

“There’s just not a lot of places in this country where you can procure enough hydrogen at a reasonable price to actually serve wholesale electricity customers,” Hays said of the existing hydrogen landscape.

Still, OEMs are figuring out in real time which of their deployed fleet can burn hydrogen, he said. Studies on blending seem to be yielding positive results.

“That’s great news for a business like ours, because we can have optionality,” Hays said. When interacting with equipment providers, conversion to hydrogen is an important, if expensive, discussion point.

“We want to be in a position to be able to do that for our customers,” Hays said. “We can offer a premium product, which is kind of rare in our business.”

Nightpeak recently purchased Saguaro Power Co., which owns a 90 MW combined cycle power plant in Nevada. That facility is a candidate for hydrogen repowering, Hays said, though that’s just one option for an asset that is currently cash-flowing well.

The Nevada facility is close to California, which notably is a market with a demonstrated appetite for paying green premiums, Hays said.

“We wouldn’t manufacture hydrogen ourselves, we would be a buyer,” he said. “This is one path that any plants we own or develop could take in the future.”

Nightpeak has yet to announce any greenfield projects. But Hays said the company is developing a portfolio of “quick-start” natural gas generation projects in ERCOT and WECC. Those assets, 100 MW or more, are to be developed with the concept of hydrogen conversion or blending in mind.

Proposition 7, which recently passed in Texas, could present an opportunity for Nightpeak as the legislation’s significant provisions for natural gas development has pundits and some lawmakers calling for the assets to be hydrogen-ready.

Investor interest in being able to convert gas assets to burn hydrogen reflect an important decision-making process for Nightpeak, Hays said.

“Does it makes sense to just buy a turbine that only burns natural gas and may be a stranded asset at some point, or would we rather pay and select a turbine that already has the optionality?” Hays said. “Putting price aside, you’re always going to go for optionality.”

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Exclusive: Carbon capture firm raising $1.2bn for ammonia facility

A carbon capture and technology firm is conducting a FEED study for a blue ammonia facility it expects will cost some $1.2bn in traditional project finance. The company also has a pipeline of biomass-to-electricity (or “biome”) projects in the works.

8 Rivers Capital, the North Carolina-based carbon capture and technology firm backed by South Korea’s SK, Inc., is planning to raise some $1.2bn for its first ammonia production facility in Texas, Chief Development Officer Damian Beauchamp said in an interview.

The firm is conducting a FEED study for its Cormorant blue ammonia facility in Port Arthur, Texas, which will be finished in October, Beauchamp said. The firm is not using a financial advisor.

The money will be raised in a 30/70 split between equity and debt, he said. SK will take 100% of the facility’s production. 8 Rivers anticipates bringing the facility online in 2027 or 2028.

The company will seek to maintain significant ownership in its ammonia facilities. Once the FEED is finished on one the firm will start another until the company has completed between 10 and 20 of these facilities, Beauchamp said.

“We have the ambition to dominate the ammonia/zero carbon fuels space,” Beauchamp said.

‘BIOME’

In a new vertical start of electricity generation production, 8 Rivers is now scouting locations to develop its first biomass-to-electricity generation facilities in the US, Beauchamp said.

The projects, referred to as “biome” by the firm, will use forestry biomass as a feedstock in plants up to 250 MW in size. Unlike ammonia, 8 Rivers will not seek to keep ownership in an IPP play, but rather solicit co-investment from utility and industrial offtakers.

The southeastern US is a region of particular interest, Beauchamp said, because of a long growing season, the abundance of feedstock from timber, lumber and paper product producers, and proximity to existing CO2 management and transport infrastructure.

“That’s our general focus area for that first project,” he said of the deep south of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

The strategy is to take on strategic ownership partners – utilities and industrial powers users — as early as possible to finance development, he said. Large entities, including foreign utilities, could also take ownership interest in projects, not dissimilar from investment in LNG facilities.

Projects will likely cost $1bn and up, and the firm anticipates having the first progressing in earnest by 2029. Eventually 8 Rivers seeks to develop a portfolio of four or five of these projects at 250 MW each along with additional projects of a smaller size, Beauchamp said.

The first project should also be able to sell 2.7m tonnes of carbon credits per annum, Beauchamp said.

8 Rivers’ Calcite technology was announced as a winner of the Department of Energy’s Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub grant, as an anchor technology in the Alabama regional DAC hub led by Southern States Energy Board.

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Exclusive: Biomethane firm planning funding round

A biomethane solutions provider with projects in Europe and the US is planning a fifth round of funding to launch early next year, with a need to raise additional project debt.

Electrochaea, the US- and Europe-based biomethane developer, will go to market in 1Q24 for a new round of equity funding, with a near term need for project debt as well, two executives told ReSource.

The company, which was spun out from an incubator at The University of Chicago with offices in Denmark, has projects in Denmark, Colorado, New York and Switzerland. It is backed by Baker Hughes and, from early fundraising efforts, Munich Venture Partners, senior director Aafko Scheringa said. The former investor participated in its most recent (fourth) $40m funding round.

Electrochaea uses a patented biocatalyst that converts green hydrogen and carbon dioxide into BioCat Methane, a pipeline-grade renewable gas.

The average size of a project is roughly $25m, Scheringa said.

Funds from the next round will provide three years of working capital, CEO Mitch Hein added.

Electrochaea has not worked with a financial advisor to date, Hein said, adding that he may have need for one for new processes but has not engaged with anyone.

Scheringa said he is working to achieve commercialization on a pipeline of projects, with a 10 MWe bio-methanation plant in Denmark being farthest along with a mandatory start date before 2026.

Electrochaea has a bio-methanation reactor system in partnership with SoCalGas at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Energy System Integration Facility in Golden, Colorado, though Hein said a project in New York is as advanced in its development.

Bio-methane can be burned in place of natural gas with no systems degradation issues, so gas offtakers are a natural fit for Electrochaea, Scheringa said. Cheap clean electricity paired with available CO2 is critical, so the company will look to places like Texas, Spain, Scandinavia, Quebec and the “corn states” of the US Midwest, for new projects.

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