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Industry groups call on EU to include biomethane in certification schemes

Lobbying groups said in a statement that the implementation of a Union Database in the EU would exclude biomethane and biomethane-based biofuels.

Two industry lobbying groups have issued a statement calling on the EU to recognize biomethane and biomethane-based fuels produced using a mass balance chain of custody from non-EU grids under its Union Database (UDB) system.

The UDB, which traces the origin and sustainability of renewable fuels, would apply to all clean fuels that touch an interconnected gas grid.

ReSource previously covered the complexities introduced by the European Commission’s effort to govern the complete clean fuels value chain under the UDB.

The signatories of the letter, SEA-LNG and the Methanol Institute, note that if such an exclusion materializes, “it will create a trade barrier that threatens to impede the importation of biomethane and biomethanol into the European Union, limiting the availability of these fuels to the bunkering industry in Europe. 

The statement adds: “Furthermore, it may also disqualify such fuels, bunkered outside the EU, and produced using a chain of custody approach mass balanced across non-EU interconnected gas grids from being certified against the requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive II (REDII). Consequently, these fuels would not count in relation to compliance with FuelEU Maritime carbon intensity reduction targets or be recognised as zero rate for EU ETS.”

The letter goes on to call for a meeting among industry representatives and the European Commision.

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US electrolyzer developer makes senior hires

A pair of clean fuel industry veterans have joined Wisconsin-based Advanced Ionics, an electrolyzer developer that recently completed a Series A.

Advanced Ionics, the Milwaukee-based green hydrogen electrolyzer developer, has added John Jung as President and Chief Operating Officer and Ignacio Bincaz as Chief Commercial Officer to its leadership team, according to a news release.

The new executives will support the global growth of the company, expand manufacturing capabilities, and launch next-generation pilot programs, the release states. These appointments follow the company’s Series A round earlier this year.

In April Resource reported that AI would raise capital to commercialize an electrolyzer. The company closed a $12.5m Series A financing led by bp ventures, with Clean Energy Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and GVP Climate.

Jung will manage Advanced Ionics’ business operations and oversee growth in the US and globally. Previously, he was the President of Energy Vault Solutions and led Greensmith Energy as founder, president and CEO before its acquisition to Wärtsilä.

Bincaz will be responsible for leading the company’s commercial strategy and initiatives to drive revenue growth. He will work with leaders in ammonia, petrochemical, nuclear and steel. He recently served as the Head of North America for H2Pro and a Senior Vice President at Worley, Inc.

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FuelCell Energy closes project debt financing

The publicly traded company closed debt financing transactions with two banks for fuel cell projects in Derby, Connecticut.

FuelCell Energy, Inc., has closed on a project debt financing transaction with Liberty Bank and Connecticut Green Bank for the company’s two fuel cell projects in Derby, Conn., which recently began operations, according to a news release.

The financing is structured as back leverage to a project finance subsidiary of the company supported by the strong cash flows of the projects and the investment grade quality of the offtakers. Liberty Bank’s senior commitment totals $6.5m and Connecticut Green Bank’s is $3m. Connecticut Green Bank will contribute an additional subordinated credit facility of $3.5m totaling $13m in gross financing.

The term of the senior facility is seven years, and the subordinated credit facility is 14 years. The interest rate for the senior debt is fixed at 7.25% and 8% for the subordinated debt. The transaction closed on April 25, 2024, and net funding to the Company totaled approximately $11.6m after transaction fees and debt service reserves.

The two Derby projects include a 14 MW fuel cell park, the second largest fuel cell park in the U.S. followed by FuelCell Energy’s 15 MW fuel cell park in Bridgeport, CT. The Derby projects are being used to deliver competitively priced baseload class I renewable energy as part of 20-year power purchase agreements with Eversource and United Illuminating. In Connecticut, a class I renewable energy source is defined by statute as electricity produced from wind power, geothermal power, or fuel cells. The second project supported by this financing is the 2.8 MW baseload fuel cell project also located in Derby.

The fuel cell modules of both facilities were made in America at FuelCell Energy’s Torrington, Connecticut, factory utilizing the majority of U.S. based materials and suppliers.

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Quinbrook Infrastructure moves into renewable fuels

Quinbrook has acquired renewable fuels and biogas company PurposeEnergy.

Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on the infrastructure needed to drive the energy transition, has acquired PurposeEnergy, according to a news release.

An established US-based renewable fuels and biogas specialist, PurposeEnergy is focused on waste solutions for the food and beverage industries. Over the last 15 years, PurposeEnergy has developed, owned and operated multiple projects that convert organic waste streams to biogas for use in industrial processes, conversion to renewable electricity, or refinement to Renewable Natural Gas (“RNG”).

“Quinbrook is really excited to be moving into such a high growth and important sector that desperately needs more sustainable solutions that convert organic food waste into renewable power and biogas. The demand for renewable fuels is exploding and in PurposeEnergy we have found a highly capable technical and operational team that have been in business over a decade, delivering impactful solutions for customers and the environment,” said Quinbrook’s Managing Partner and Co-Founder David Scaysbrook. “Now is the right time for us to scale this business to realise its full potential. PurposeEnergy is a great example of the Quinbrook model for value-add investing.”

Headquartered in New Hampshire, PurposeEnergy utilizes proven technologies including proprietary methods developed and patented by the company to convert organic waste streams to high value biogas and RNG that is sold to customers under long term contracts. The Company has established an impressive track record developing, designing, constructing and operating projects that have delivered high impact solutions for the food and beverage industry. In many cases, this has enabled customers to materially increase production and improve the economics of their core business.

PurposeEnergy has developed, designed and built seven projects that support the ESG, business and decarbonization objectives of some of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. The Company currently has one project in construction, two starting construction later this year and additional growth projected from existing and new customers. While PurposeEnergy has largely served the food and beverage industries, the Company also works with dairies and depacking operations to convert organic waste streams to energy.

“For more than a decade, PurposeEnergy has demonstrated technical and operational excellence in treating process wastewater and organic residuals for industrial food and beverage producers. The investment by Quinbrook will greatly expand our ability to identify, finance, build and operate new projects, helping our customers achieve their ESG goals while conserving capital to invest in their core businesses,” commented PruposeEnergy Founder & CEO Eric Fitch.

Quinbrook’s acquisition of the Company will deliver the capital resources, enhanced commitment to sustainability and ESG driven impact, and additional strategic relationships to support rapid scale up to meet the growing demand for renewable fuels. The food industry is an attractive sector for investment which is set for enormous growth given more stringent environmental regulations, the critical need for more sustainable solutions for growing food waste and the acute demand for renewable fuels across the board.

Commenting on an example of how PurposeEnergy delivers solutions for its customer partners, Agri-Mark Family Dairy Farm’s Vice President of Strategic Engagement & Sustainability, Jed Davis remarked, “The construction of the Middlebury Resource Recovery Center (MRRC) adjacent to Agri-Mark/Cabot’s flagship cheddar cheese and whey protein plant represents a critical step toward achieving our operational and sustainability goals. PurposeEnergy’s project allows us to send byproducts of cheesemaking to the digester via pipeline, creating renewable energy. This direct diversion eliminates the trucking of over 250 loads per month, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,000 tons a year. Agri-Mark’s family farm owners are committed to protecting the local environment and maintaining a resilient dairy industry for future generations. By repurposing process organics into renewable electricity for Vermont residents, Cabot is providing award-winning dairy products while supporting commitments to our local communities.”

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Exclusive: Additional details revealed on e-fuels equity raise

A US e-fuels developer is in the midst of a Series C raise with BofA Securities advising.

E-fuels developer Infinium is raising $300m in a Series C capital raise that launched last year, according to a source familiar with the matter.

BofA Securities has been engaged to advise on the process, as previously reported by ReSource. The amount of the capital raise was not previously reported.

Infinium and BofA did not respond to requests for comment. 

Infinium recently announced the existence of Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, which will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into an e-fuels facility delivering products to both US and international markets. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst has contributed $75m in project equity.

Infinium, which launched in 2020, closed a $69m Series B in 2021, with Amazon, NextEra and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participating. Its Project Pathfinder in Corpus Christi is fully capitalized.

About a dozen projects, split roughly 50/50 between North America and the rest of the world, are in development now. The company is always scouting new projects and is looking for partners to provide CO2, develop power generation and offtake end products, an executive said previously.

A CO2 feedstock agreement for a US Midwest project with BlackRock-backed Navigator CO2 Ventures was recently scrapped after the latter developer cancelled its CO2 pipeline project.

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New clean fuels firm takes first external financing

A clean fuels startup aiming to provide turnkey decarbonization solutions will be in the market for additional capital shortly.

Elemental Clean Fuels has closed on its first round of external financing from investors Piney Point Capital and Fusion Fuel Green plc, according to a company spokesperson.

The money will be used to build out the company’s pipeline and add new projects, which it plans to develop, own and operate. Clean fuels would be produced from renewables via electrolysis, followed by storage and transportation solutions, according to the company’s website.

Capital investment provided by Piney Point will be utilized by ECF to further develop its existing decarbonization portfolio in North America, as well as to expand its internal capabilities and add additional project assets (including the projects contributed by Fusion Fuel), according to a news release.

ECF is a business venture of CEO Zach Steele and CFO Jason Baran, former executives of Fusion Fuel who have executed and managed over $3bn in development projects in North America. They are joined by CDO Jeff Crone, a former vice president of engineering and construction services at Buckeye Partners.

In parallel, Fusion Fuel has also entered into a strategic technology partnership with Elemental, granting Fusion Fuel the right to bid on all PEM-based green hydrogen projects in Elemental’s North American pipeline for a period of three years, according to a release from Fusion Fuel.

Elemental has approximately 40 MW in pre-feasibility projects within its pipeline and is currently collaborating with Fusion Fuel on a feasibility study for a 2 MW green hydrogen project for a state utility to be delivered in 2024. This partnership will provide Fusion Fuel with exposure to the emerging North American green hydrogen market, whilst enabling the company to focus its near-term commercial efforts on the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Europe.

“We are extremely excited to have Piney Point as a partner as we progress our mission to drive growth in the emerging clean fuels market,” said Steele. “With investments in a broad range of companies across the energy transition, they are uniquely positioned to provide strategic partnerships and additional access across the value chain to drive scale.  Piney Point’s investment and expertise will accelerate the growth of our Company in the mobility and heavy industry sectors throughout North America.  We are also excited and optimistic about continued collaboration with Fusion Fuel going forward.”

“As investors, Piney Point Capital recognizes the immense potential of ECF in revolutionizing the clean fuel landscape. We believe in the vision and capabilities of the ECF team, and we are committed to supporting their mission to accelerate decarbonization through innovative projects and strategic partnerships across North America,” said Mike Keough, managing partner Piney Point Capital, a subsidiary of Racon Capital.

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Exclusive: Alternative asset manager exploring decarbonization fund

An asset manager in sustainable energy and agriculture is laying the groundwork for a fund focused on decarbonization of heavy industry and clean fuels.

Power Sustainable, the alternative asset manager based in Montreal, is deliberating on how to launch a fund focused on industrial decarbonization and clean fuels, a source familiar with the matter told ReSource.

The firm, which has AUM of CAD 3.8bn as of March 31 through several credit funds in energy infra and and an equity vehicle in sustainable food production, is exploring the launch of a decarbonization private equity vehicle to make investments in things like green steel, cement and plastics, the source said.

Hiring or partnering with experts in the space to make informed decisions about private equity investment opportunities would be key, the source said.

“We’re going to bring in a phenomenal team and really trust them to figure out where the best investment plays are,” the source said.

The company has a strong relationship with Éric Gauthier, the development manager and his team at TESCanada H2 in Quebec, which is developing a large-scale green hydrogen facility in that province.

That project, Project Mauricie, consists of the construction of an electrolyzer and renewable energy production assets. Upon its commissioning in 2028, the project will produce 70,000 mtpy of green hydrogen exclusively dedicated to Québec end users.

The firm is in growth mode, seeking to multiply the size of its existing mandates, the source said. The firm is open to consultation from external advisory services.

Power Sustainable declined to comment.

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