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Houston investment firm takes stake in hydrogen company

The target company, Kaizen Clean Energy, specializes in the design, development, and manufacture of hydrogen generators for decentralized power.

Balcor Companies has taken a stake in Kaizen Clean Energy, Inc., a developer of hydrogen-based distributed energy resources, according to a news release.

Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Founded in 2021, KCE is a future fuels-focused company, headquartered in Houston, TX, specializing in the design, development, and manufacture of hydrogen generators for decentralized power in transportation, power, agricultural, EV charging, municipalities, and hydrogen markets, according to the release.

Balcor Companies is an investment firm headquartered in the Museum District of Houston, Texas. They are composed of three divisions: hospitality, commercial real estate, and private equity.

Balcor’s founder and director, Chris Balat, said, “We are thrilled to make our first foray into the energy sector with Kaizen Energy as our trusted partner. Our association with Kaizen is a testament to our commitment towards a sustainable future, driving positive change in the world while delivering value to our stakeholders.”

Kaizen Clean Energy, a dynamic and forward-thinking energy company, is equally excited about the collaboration and its potential to accelerate clean energy adoption in the United States. Craig Klaasmeyer, Kaizen’s Co-Founder stated, “We welcome our future collaboration with Chris and his team at Balcor. Through our long-standing relationship with Balcor, we realize there is a shared vision of the potential for Kaizen to reduce global emissions.”

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Clean Seas investing $50m in Arizona plastic-to-hydrogen project

The subsidiary of the Clean Vision Corporation is working to secure “stages of necessary capital” for the project in Phoenix.

Clean-Seas, Inc. has signed an MOU with the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service to establish a plastic waste to hydrogen facility in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a press release.

Clean-Seas Arizona, a subsidiary of the Clean Vision Corporation, intends to invest at least $50m in the project. The company will “work towards securing the various stages of necessary capital to finance the innovative facility in phases,’ the release states.

Clean-Seas Arizona will source waste plastic feedstock from the Phoenix metro area for a global network of clean hydrogen hubs and recycle it into AquaH, Clean-Seas’ brand of hydrogen.

RMWSSS, an institute at Arizona State University, will provide scholarly, technical, and sustainability advisory services.

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German hydrogen truck firm signs LOI with Ford

Several of German electric and hydrogen truck maker Quantron’s technologies will be evaluated for integration into Ford Trucks’ vehicles.

Quantron AG, a specialist in sustainable passenger and freight transport, and Ford Trucks have jointly signed a Letter of Intent (LOI).

Under the LOI, the Quantron Inside technology effective range, innovative e-axle, customized high-power battery, fuel cell and tank integration, energy-management and optimized Aerodynamics for efficiency will be evaluated for integration into Ford Trucks’ vehicles, thus enabling emission-free transport solutions.

The focus of the collaboration lies in hydrogen fuel cell-powered heavy-duty trucks, according to a news release.

Through the 1st phase of collaboration with Ford Trucks, QUANTRON ensures a seamless adaptation of Ford´s advanced trucks which will be built in compliance with the new security regulations as soon as from Q1, 2024.

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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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Exclusive: Hydrogen blank-check deal and capital raise on track

A de-SPAC deal and associated capital raise for a hydrogen technology and project development firm are still on track to close this year, despite this year’s busted SPAC deals and sagging hydrogen public market performance.

H2B2 Technologies is still on track to close a de-SPAC deal and related capital raise before the end of this year, CEO Pedro Pajares said in an interview.

Spain-based H2B2 announced the deal to be acquired by RMG Acquisition Corp. III and go public in a $750m SPAC deal in May. In tandem, Natixis Partners and BCW Securities are acting as co-private placement agents to H2B2 for a capital raise that the company must close as part of the acquisition.

The company said recently in filings that the deal as well as the capital raise would close before the end of 2023, a fact that Pajares reiterated in the interview. He declined to comment further.

Many publicly traded hydrogen companies have dropped significantly in value in recent months, and dropped further on Friday following news from Plug Power that it would need to raise additional capital in the next 12 months to avoid a liquidity crisis.

Meanwhile, there have been 55 busted SPAC deals this year, according to Bloomberg, with Ares Management’s deal for nuclear tech firm X-Energy the latest to not close.

Expansion

H2BE recently inaugurated SoHyCal, its first facility in Fresno, California, and wants to get the message out to offtakers in California’s Central Valley that it has hydrogen available to sell.

“What we want to show is that H2B2 is the solution for those who are seeking green hydrogen in the Central Valley,” Pajares said.

Phase 1 (one ton per day) of the plant was funded by a grant from the California Clean Energy Commission. Phase 2 (three tons per day) will involve transitioning to solar PV power, and the company could consider a project finance model to finance the expansion, though Pajares believes the market is not yet ready to finance hydrogen projects.

In addition to project development, the company is also an electrolyzer manufacturer. It is focusing its efforts in the California market on future projects that are larger than SoHyCal, as well as those related to individual offtakers, Pajares said. End users will be in mobility and fertilizer, with offtake occurring via long-term contracts as well as through spot market transactions.

The company is pursuing developments in other regions of the US as well, he added, declining to name specific areas.

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Exclusive: New sustainability hedge fund to raise up to $2bn

A new hedge fund founded by a clean fuels industry veteran is gathering partners to raise up to $2bn initially for deployment into ammonia and other climate-transition technologies.

New Waters Capital, an emerging hedge fund based in New York City, is gathering its primary partners for its first fundraise of between $1bn and $2bn, founder Bill Brown said in an interview.

Brown formerly spent 15 years at North Carolina-based 8 Rivers Capital, which recently announced an ammonia project in Texas. Brown, a co-founder, sold his shares to South Korea’s SK, Inc. in that company’s majority takeover of 8 Rivers last year.

Brown recently created New Waters as a multi-strategy fund manager to invest in publicly traded companies in sustainability, AI, and clean fuels.

“The molecule-based economy is really important, and there’s some companies that have been in the molecule-based economy that are not really sure what they’re doing,” Brown said.

This creates an environment ripe for disruption, he said.

The firm is in the process of selecting its prime brokers, which will help determine the size of New Waters’ fundraises, Brown said. The first raise will be conducted in the next six months, and likely not be larger than $2bn to start.

New Waters’ law firm is Seward & Kissel.
The Wild West of molecules

Of all hydrogen produced in the US, about 65% is used for fertilizer production, Brown said. In Japan, where hydrogen is being co-fired with coal, replacing all coal-fired generation with ammonia would require 10 times the current ammonia production of the US.

“The market for molecules is so big, and yet the largest producer in the US of ammonia is CF Industries.” That company has one plant in Louisiana that represents roughly one third of total US ammonia production. “So CF is tiny compared to the opportunities out there.”

Brown said he is looking for the companies that are going to be the Valero and Phillips 66 of ammonia refining. He believes 8 Rivers is on track for something like that.

“We look at companies like that,” he said. “I think that entire market is up for grabs right now; it’s a whole new market.”

 Companies that can seize that market are the companies that are going to be part of the energy system of the future.

“In many respects right now, we’re in the Wild West, if you will, of the molecules of the future,” Brown said.

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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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