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Hydrogen technology firm hires advisor for capital raise

A firm with a technology to produce green hydrogen from sunlight without electrolysis is prepping a capital raise.

BoMax Hydrogen, a Florida-based hydrogen technology firm, is preparing to launch a capital raise later this month, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Boutique advisory firm Taylor DeJongh has been retained to run the process, the sources said. Teasers will likely go out in two weeks.

BoMax is seeking to raise around $15m in a Series A round, the sources added.

The company touts e a novel technology making hydrogen from visible light without the need for solar electrolysis, according to a pre-teaser marketing document seen by ReSource. An alpha prototype has been awarded by the US Department of Energy.

The technology, which does not require rare earth minerals, produces hydrogen at point of need and has been reviewed by scientists at Utah State University.

To date the company has raised about $5m, one of the sources said. That came mostly from friends and family and one Japanese investor.

Funds from the Series A will be used to make a beta prototype, scale operations at the company’s labs in Orlando and prepare for commercial production.

BoMax and Taylor DeJonghe did not respond to requests for comment.

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FirstElement receives grant to expand manufacturing capacity

A $7.7m grant from the California Energy Commission is meant to help increase the output of the Santa Ana components manufacturing facility tenfold.

FirstElement Fuel has received a $7.7m grant from the California Energy Commission to increase the Company’s Santa Ana, CA manufacturing facility output by more than 10 times, according to a news release.

The California-based company is currently operating the world’s largest network of hydrogen refueling stations comprised of 85 dispensers across 40 station locations and serving hydrogen-powered vehicles across California.

The facility in Santa Ana produces components and systems for hydrogen refueling stations, including liquid hydrogen cryopump systems. FistElement will also contribute at least $14m to the project.

The manufacturing expansion project will extend through March 2026. FistElement will also increase its pump testing capability at its hydrogen logistics hub and field-testing facility  in Livermore, California as part of the project.

Quantron US and FirstElement recently announced that Quantron will be one of the first to take advantage of FirstElement’s network of hydrogen stations designed for hydrogen fuel-cell electric trucks.

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ENGIE reaches FID on Australia GH2 project

ENGIE has taken the final investment decision in the development of Project Yuri, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2024.

ENGIE has taken the final investment decision in the development of one of the world’s first industrial-scale renewable hydrogen projects, to be located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, according to a press release.

Scheduled for completion in 2024, the first phase of the Yuri project will produce up to 640 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year as a zero carbon feedstock for Yara Australia’s ammonia production facility in Karratha. This will be key to developing a “Pilbara Green Hydrogen Hub,” serving local and export markets, and building on existing export infrastructure and abundant renewable energy resources in the region.

The Yuri project is being developed with the support of a $47.5m grant from The Australian Government’s ARENA Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Fund and a $2m grant by the Western Australian Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Fund.

ENGIE has executed an agreement with Mitsui & Co., Ltd., pursuant to which Mitsui has agreed to acquire a 28% stake in the joint venture company for the Yuri project, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions under the agreement.

ENGIE and Mitsui intend to operate the Yuri project through this joint venture company.

Global law firm DLA Piper advised ENGIE on the development, construction and financing of the first phase of Project Yuri, according to a separate release.

The project will include a 10 MW electrolyser powered by 18 MW of solar PV and supported by an 8 MW battery energy storage system, generating renewable hydrogen for use in Yara Australia’s ammonia facility at Karratha. Permitting is completed, a 100% offtake contract is in place with Yara and construction is set to commence by November 2022, thanks to a consortium made of Technip Energies and Monford Group selected as EPC contractor for the project.

Once commissioned it will be amongst the largest renewable energy powered electrolysis in the world, which will provide lessons to accelerate the hydrogen industry in Australia and demonstrate the ability to integrate electrolysers with ammonia plants, the release states.

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Iwatani acquires Aspen Air

The acquisition marks Japany-based Iwatani’s entrance into US industrial gases.

Iwatani Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Japan’s Iwatani Corporation, has acquired Aspen Air, based in Billings, Montana, according to a press release.

Aspen Air is a manufacturer and distributor of bulk liquid industrial gases in Montana and surrounding states. It supports industrial and medical customers including those in the energy and chemicals sectors, hospitals, and packaged gases and independent distributor networks.

This acquisition marks Iwatani’s entrance into US industrial gasses.

Tom Harrison, Iwatani Corporation of America’s Vice President of Industrial Gases, will lead the Aspen Air Team. He has been leading Iwatani Corporation of America’s Specialty Gases business and Hydrogen Sourcing activities for the past 2 years and prior to that spent 32 years with Linde.

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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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Ambient Fuels evaluating hydrogen project acquisitions

The company is well capitalized following a $250m equity investment from Generate Capital and is now opportunistically reviewing an initial slate of project M&A offerings.

Following an equity investment from Generate Capital, Ambient Fuels has begun to evaluate potential acquisitions of hydrogen projects that are under development, CEO Jacob Susman said in an interview.

“We’ve seen our first project M&A opportunities come through in the last 10 days or so,” Susman said.

Three projects for sale involve land positions, he said. Those that appear most attractive have a clear line of site to offtake or a strong approach to renewable power supply. Two out of three are not on the Gulf Coast.

“In no instance are these brokered deals,” Susman said.

Following the $250m equity investment from Generate Capital, Ambient is capitalized for several years and has no immediate plans to seek debt or tax equity, Susman said. The transaction was done without the help of a financial advisor.

Moving forward Ambient is open to JV formation with a partner that can help access offtake and renewable power, Susman said. Those points will drive future capital investment in the company and were resources that Generate brought to the table besides money.

According to ReSource‘s project tracker, Ambient is involved in at least two of the hubs that were encouraged by the DOE to submit a final application: California’s Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), and the Port of Corpus Christi Green Hydrogen Hub.

In 2021 Ambient completed a funding round led by SJF Ventures. Several other VC funds and angel investors also participated.

In January The Hydrogen Source reported that Ambient was in exclusivity with an equity provider.

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Midstream hydrogen firm to seek capital for projects within one year

The first slate of the company’s salt cavern hydrogen storage and pipeline projects will likely reach FID within six to 12 months, setting the stage for a series of project finance and tax equity transactions.

NeuVentus, the newly formed midstream infrastructure and hydrogen storage company backed by Lotus Infrastructure Partners, will likely seek project financing and tax equity for its first cache of projects in the Gulf Coast region of Texas and Louisiana in six to 12 months, CEO Sam Porter said in an interview.

“It sure looks like 45V and 45Q, and basically everything the IRA just did, is like a brick on the accelerator,” Porter said, explaining that he expects additional federal clarifications for hydrogen to come this year. “We’re looking at FIDing a first batch of projects, which I think are really going to marry up some things that the project finance community loves.”

That includes salt cavern storage and pipelines with a novel ESG twist, Porter said. The company plans to own and operate its developments as a platform. If in time demand for projects becomes overwhelming, the equity holders could sell those projects.

NeuVentus recently launched with Lotus’ backing. The private equity firm’s position is that they are able and ready to fund all project- and platform-level equity, Porter said.

“There’s certainly project level finance requirements, debt, tax equity and sponsor equity,” Porter said. The company will first get its projects de-risked as much as possible.

Pickering Energy Partners was mandated for NeuVentus’ seed raise. Porter said there could be additional opportunities for financial advisors to participate in fundraising, though Lotus has significant in-house capabilities and relationships.

Vinson & Elkins served as the law firm advising Lotus Infrastructure, formerly Starwood Energy, on the launch of NeuVentus.

The company is also open to acquiring abandoned or underutilized infrastructure assets, convertible to hydrogen, Porter said. Assets that connect production and consumption that can be more resistant to embrittlement than newer midstream infrastructure and would be of interest.

Exiting assets in regions that are good for hydrogen production, namely those that are sunny and windy, and are relatively close to consumption, will get the closest look.

Oil & gas in the energy transition

Renewable-sourced hydrogen offers an opportunity for traditional oil and gas operators to continue their work in salt domes.

NeuVentus’ plan is to focus on storage first, and then have the pipeline emanate from that, Porter said. The founding team of the company has a lot of experience in oil & gas and structuring land deals (mineral rights and surface/storage rights) in the Gulf region, where salt caverns are abundant.

The company is also open to an anchor tenant that needs a pipeline segment between production and consumption. But from a developers’ perspective the most prudent play will be around storage sites located with multiple interconnection options, he said.

There are roughly 1,500 miles of pipeline and 9 to 10 million kilograms of daily hydrogen production and consumption in the Texas and Louisiana Gulf region, Porter said.

“I think we’re going to see a significant need for more midstream build-out,” he said. “The traditional fee-for-service model is going to be appealing to a lot of the new entrants.”

A molecule-agnostic approach

Hydrogen is “a Swiss army knife” of a feedstock for numerous use cases, Porter said. That all of those use cases will prevail is uncertain, but NeuVentus ultimately only needs one or two of them to grow.

“Additional hydrogen infrastructure is going to be required,” whether it’s for ammonia as fertilizer or methanol as fuel or something else, Porter said. “We don’t necessarily care: all of them are going to require clean hydrogen.”

Equity owners in NueVentus will be opportunistic when it comes to an eventual financial exit, Porter said.

“The beauty of this is that I can see a number of potential buyers,” he said.

An offtaker that wants to vertically integrate, like foreign consumers of hydrogen products, could want to acquire a midstream platform for purposes of national energy security. Industrial gas companies could want to acquire the infrastructure as well. Large energy transfer companies that move molecules are obvious acquirers as well, and finally the company could remain independent or list publicly under its own business plan.

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