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Honeywell advancing LOHC strategy

Honeywell is in discussions with multiple potential customers to provide its liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) solution, with plans to use existing refining infrastructure to reduce costs.

Honeywell is in talks with multiple customers to provide its LOHC technology for the expected growth in international hydrogen transport opportunities.

The LOHC product, which chemically combines hydrogen gas through toluene hydrogenation into methylcyclohexane (MCH), is expected to compete with ammonia and other modes of transport in global hydrogen supply chains. 

Honeywell will rely on its existing refining infrastructure – including through retrofits – to convert and transport hydrogen at a low cost, according to Bryan Glover, chief technology and growth officer for Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions.

“Honeywell’s LOHC solution is designed to use existing refinery infrastructure to convert and transport hydrogen,” he said via email. “Additionally, the potential to retrofit existing fixed bed and continuous catalyst regeneration platforming units dramatically reduces the overall investment cost for hydrogen transportation when compared to greenfield installations.”

Honeywell was recently selected by Japanese oil company ENEOS to provide the technology to what it calls the world’s first commercial-scale LOHC project. Hydrogen from the ENEOS project will be exported to Japan in the form of MCH, with the hydrogen recovered through dehydrogenation and the toluene, an organic solvent, sent back for additional cycles.

ENEOS in January announced that it made an equity investment in MCVE Gulf Coast, LLC, a U.S. Gulf Coast clean hydrogen project that seeks to produce hydrogen and ammonia. As part of the project, ENEOS is evaluating the feasibility of exporting hydrogen to Japan via MCH.

Some experts have questioned the long-term viability of MCH as a hydrogen carrier, citing the need for energy and storage infrastructure at export and import sites, in addition to the return shipping requirements and the fact that only about 6% of MCH by weight consists of hydrogen.

Honeywell already has over 1,000 dehydrogenation installations in service, and can utilize existing refining infrastructure to keep costs low, according to Glover.

“The key advantages of using MCH as a hydrogen carrier are cost and energy consumption alongside safety, permitting and infrastructure availability,” he said. “For exports, it provides an efficient hydrogen solution with minimal losses, and catalysts can be recycled for reuse.”

Glover said the LOHC solution will be used at multiple ENEOS sites located around the world, all with a focus on importing hydrogen into Japan. 

“Honeywell’s LOHC solution will be used at multiple ENEOS sites,” Glover said. “The units are not installed yet, however these will be located around the world with a focus on importing hydrogen into Japan,” he said, noting they will be built either in existing plant locations or at newly designated locations.

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Quantron AG established US HQ

Quantron AG, the German battery and hydrogen mobility solutions provider, has expanded into North America.

Quantron AG, the German battery and hydrogen mobility solutions provider, has expanded into North America, according to a news release.

Richard Haas, a veteran in the mobility industry based in Detroit, has joined as president and CEO for Quantron US. Haas was president and CEO of the automotive start-up Mahindra Automotive North America, launching a new assembly plant in the Detroit area. Before that, he was Director of Engineering for the Tesla Model S and a veteran at Ford Motor Company,

Based on its strategic partnership with the Canadian fuel cell expert Ballard Power Systems, Quantron aims to supply the hydrogen-based long-range vehicle segment in the U.S.

By 2025, the company aims to generate around 50% of its turnover in the North American market, with a strong focus on hydrogen solutions for long range transport such as Class 8 trucks.

In Europe, close to 100 vehicles converted by Quantron are in use.

“We see potential for the USA in the early years of a triple-digit volume annually,” Michael Perschke, CEO of Quantron AG, said in the release.

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Yara Growth Ventures invests in electrolyzer start-up

Yara Growth Ventures has made an investment in Dynelectro, an electrolyzer start-up aiming to increase the lifetime of solid-oxide electrolysis systems.

Yara Growth Ventures has invested in Dynelectro, a developer of technologies to unlock the potential of solid oxide electrolysis (SOE), according to a news release.

Dynelectro’s approach increases the lifetime of SOE systems dramatically from typically 2 to 10 years, and it also allows for integration of SOE with intermittent renewable electricity – a key requirement for large scale adoption.

“While solid oxide electrolysis has the best potential for low cost, it suffers a niche existence due to system lifetime issues. We believe Dynelectro will overcome these issues and pave the way to make low-cost renewable hydrogen a reality,” said Björn Heinz, Investment Director and part of the Yara Growth Ventures team.

The investment follows the company’s seed investment round, which was led in May 2023 by The Export and Investment Fund of Denmark (EIFO), Denmark’s national promotional bank and export credit agency, with contributions from Vsquared Ventures, a leading European deep-tech fund, and further local venture investors. The funding will be used for demonstration projects and further technology development.

Additional details of the investment were not disclosed.

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EUR 220m granted for Spanish H2 production

The European Commission has approved a EUR 220m Spanish measure to support Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. in the production of renewable hydrogen for use in industrial sectors.

The European Commission has approved a  EUR 220m Spanish measure to support Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. (COBRA) in the production of renewable hydrogen for use in industrial sectors, according to a press release.

The measure is in line with the EU Hydrogen Strategy and the European Green Deal targets, meant to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fast forward the green transition in accordance with the REPowerEU Plan.

COBRA, which is not yet active in hydrogen production, will start producing renewable hydrogen at large scale via water electrolysis. The renewable hydrogen produced will be used for external industrial off-takers, in particular in energy-intensive and hard-to-abate sectors such as refineries and ceramics.

The aid, which will take the form of a direct grant, will support the construction and the installation of electrolysers in the Spanish regions of Cartagena and Castellón. The two electrolysers will have a total capacity of 205 MW and are expected to produce approximately 8,550 tonnes of renewable hydrogen and 6,840 tonnes of oxygen per year. The electrolysers are envisaged to be constructed in stages, with the first electrolyser operating as of 2023.

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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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Former Denbury executive targeting growth through CCS at industrial emitters

Tracy Evans, a former COO of Denbury Resources, has launched a business unit aimed at offering carbon capture and sequestration services for existing industrial emitters.

CapturePoint, a Texas-based carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery specialist, is seeking to grow by offering carbon capture services to existing industrial emitters.

The company, started with an initial focus on enhanced oil recovery operations using CO2, has launched a subsidiary called CapturePoint Solutions to capitalize on growing demand for carbon capture services at industrial plants, CEO Tracy Evans said in an interview.

Evans, a former chief operating officer of Denbury Resources, has years of experience operating CO2 capture units, pipelines, and oil wells. “The only difference between EOR utilization and sequestration is going to the saline aquifers,” he said of the pivot.

The company’s primary focus is on existing emissions, Evans said, emphasizing the immediate opportunity over proposed plants that might take many years to build. He added that the company would target “pure” sources of CO2 versus diluted sources.

Evans brought in a JV equity partner for the CCS business, but declined to name them. He said the company is sufficiently capitalized for now but might need to raise additional equity as it signs up new projects in the next 12 to 16 months.

Tax equity and CCS

CapturePoint recently completed a tax equity deal for a CCS facility that has been operational since 2013, thanks to changes to provisions governing the use of 45Q for carbon capture that allowed existing plants to qualify if they capture over 500,000 tons of CO2.

The deal, at CVR Partners’ Coffeyville fertilizer plant, opened up an initial payment of $18m and includes installment payments, payable quarterly until March 31, 2030, totaling up to approximately $22m.

An ethanol facility where CapturePoint operates will also qualify for 45Q benefits because 80% or more of the carbon capture unit is being rebuilt, Evans said. The company was able to finance the new construction at the ethanol facility from cash flow out of its oil & gas operations.

Going forward, new projects installed at existing emitters will follow a project finance model, with equity, debt, and 45Q investors, Evans said. The company will use a financial advisor when the time is right, the executive noted, but said there’s more work to be done on sizing and costs before an advisor is lined up.

“The capture costs are similar for each site,” he said. “The pipeline distances to a sequestration site is what drives significant variation in total capital costs.”

Evans believes that tax credit increases in the Inflation Reduction Act – from $35 per ton to $60 per ton for CO2 used in EOR, and $50 per ton to $85 for CO2 sequestration – should help the CCS market evolve and lead to additional deals.

“There wasn’t much in it for the emitter at $35 and $50, to be honest,” he said, “whereas at $60 and $85 there’s something in it for the emitter.”

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Exclusive: Ammonia plant sale paused until commercial operations

The sale process for a Texas ammonia plant has been paused until the facility reaches commercial operations.

Gulf Coast Ammonia, the developer of a world-scale ammonia plant in Texas City, Texas, has paused a sale process until the plant reaches commercial operations, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The process to sell the plant, which will produce 1.3 million tons of ammonia per year, was underway earlier this year, led by Jefferies as sellside advisor. The plant was expected to reach COD in 2023, according to documentation.

The project was initiated by Agrifos Partners LLC and advanced to FID in collaboration with joint venture development partners Mabanaft and Macquarie Capital. Following the FID taken in late 2019, GCA is wholly owned by a joint venture of Mabanaft and Lotus Infrastructure (formerly known as Starwood Energy).

GCA is investing $600m towards the construction, operation, and ownership of the ammonia plant, which is situated on land owned by Eastman Chemical Company within Texas City’s industrial park. It includes a portion of Eastman’s port access. 

In tandem with the ammonia plant construction, Air Products is building a $500m steam methane reformer to provide hydrogen to the plant via pipeline. Air Products noted in a recent investor presentation that the SMR project recently came onstream.

Officials at Lotus, Mabanaft, and Jefferies did not reply to inquiries seeking comment.

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