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Ingleside denies permit for Enbridge-Yara blue ammonia plant

An 'objectionable use' permit was denied after local residents came out in force against the project, according to local news reports.

The Ingleside city council last week unanimously denied a permit submitted for a permit submitted by Enbridge and Yara Clean Ammonia, according to local news reports.

An ‘objectionable use’ permit was denied after local residents came out in force against the project, the report notes.

As announced, the proposed project would have an expected blue ammonia production capacity of 1.2–1.4 million tons per annum.

Approximately 95% of the carbon dioxide generated from the production process is anticipated to be captured and transported to nearby permanent geologic storage. If confirmed through the Front-end Engineering Design (FEED) phase and approved, total project investment is expected in the range of US$2.6–US$2.9 billion, with production start-up in 2027/2028, the companies said in a 2023 news release.

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Fortescue buys Phoenix hydrogen project for $24m

FFI has invested $24m to acquire the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub from an affiliate of Nikola.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has made its first major move in the United States following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, investing $24m to acquire a 100% interest in Phoenix Hydrogen Hub, LLC (PHH), according to a news release.

FFI is acquiring PHH from an affiliate of Nikola Corporation.

PHH is developing a proposed green hydrogen project located near Phoenix, in the city of Buckeye, Arizona. Phase One of the PHH project is planned to be an 80 MW electrolyzer and liquefaction facility, capable of producing up to 12,000 tonnes of liquified green hydrogen annually, which can displace the equivalent of 10 million gallons of diesel consumption per year. The PHH project has further capacity to scale up production to help meet future demand.

FFI CEO Mark Hutchinson said FFI’s investment in the PHH has the potential to create hundreds of jobs. First production of green hydrogen from the PHH project is expected by the middle of this decade.

“FFI is actively expanding its U.S. presence and strengthening its position as a leading global developer of green energy production and technology,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“This investment by FFI will greatly strengthen one of the country’s first and most important hydrogen ecosystems and it is a significant milestone in creating the all-important local connective infrastructure to accelerate the use of green hydrogen,” he added in the news release.

Nikola provides zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions.

Nikola, whose trucks are manufactured in Coolidge, Arizona, will be a potential customer of liquified green hydrogen from the hub to support the deployment of its heavy-duty, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen refuelling stations in California and the U.S. Southwest.

“Nikola’s priority is to see more zero-emission trucks on the road and this investment by FFI will greatly strengthen one of the country’s first and most important hydrogen hubs,” said Nikola Corporation President and CEO, Michael Lohscheller.

The large-scale deployment of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel into the transportation sector is expected to benefit not only from the hydrogen tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act, but also state level incentives such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in California.

Buckeye Mayor, Eric Osborn said: “Buckeye is committed to attracting clean energy businesses to the city, especially near the Sustainable Valley area. This facility adds to our ‘green’ portfolio making Buckeye the perfect location for similar technologies to expand and grow in our community.”

Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, said: “FFI’s investment further establishes Arizona as a national hydrogen leader. FFI will advance Arizona’s efforts to create a clean hydrogen ecosystem and build upon initiatives among industry and academia, including the Southwest Clean Hydrogen Innovation Network (SHINe), which is focused on developing a Southwest clean hydrogen hub.

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Twelve plans groundbreaking for eSAF plant in Washington state

The first customers to receive E-Jet fuel from the plant will be companies and major airlines with which Twelve has existing partnerships, including Shopify, Alaska Airlines, and Microsoft.

Carbon transformation company Twelve and Washington Governor Jay Inslee have announced plans to scale the production of E-Jet® fuel, Twelve’s sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from CO2 and renewable energy, with a commercial-scale production facility in Moses Lake, WA.

The announcement was made during a press conference held at the Washington State exhibit at the 2023 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France.

A groundbreaking event for the facility will take place on July 11 with Gov. Inslee and other regional and local stakeholders who support sustainable aviation fuel development in Washington State. The first customers to receive E-Jet fuel from the plant will be companies and major airlines with which Twelve has existing partnerships, including Shopify, Alaska Airlines, and Microsoft.

Twelve’s E-Jet fuel is produced using the company’s carbon transformation technology, which uses only renewable energy and water to transform COinto critical chemicals and materials conventionally made from fossil fuels. With up to 90% lower lifecycle emissions compared to conventional fossil-based fuels, E-Jet fuel is a drop-in synthetic fuel that works seamlessly with existing aircraft and faces no constraints on feedstock, offering the best viable long-term solution to address emissions in the aviation industry. Transitioning to E-Jet fuel not only reduces reliance on fossil fuels, but also reduces particulate emissions from aviation and decreases impacts on neighboring communities.

“Washington maintains its widely-recognized leadership in the aviation and aerospace industries by creating a competitive business environment that fosters technology innovation, such as carbon transformation, that will help decarbonize the global aviation industry,” said Gov. Inslee. “We’re excited for Twelve to join the growing number of innovative companies that recognize everything that Washington has to offer.”

“Commercial-scale production of E-Jet fuel is a major milestone in our mission of creating a world run on air,” said Twelve co-founder and CEO Nicholas Flanders. “Washington is the perfect location for our facility, with its abundant renewable energy resources to power our carbon transformation process and longstanding global leadership in the aviation industry.”

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Methane-to-value firm raises $28m

Windfall Bio, a provider of methane-to-value solutions, has raised $28m led by Prelude Ventures with participation from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and others.

Windfall Bio, a provider of methane-to-value solutions, announced its $28m Series A funding round led by Prelude Ventures with participation from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Global Brain (through its Norinchukin Innovation Fund L.P.), Incite Ventures, and Positive Ventures.

Existing investors also participated in the round, including B37 Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mayfield, and UNTITLED (a fund backed by the Tetra Laval family), according to a news release.

Supporting its commercial pipeline, the new capital will enable Windfall to expand pilot deployments across methane intensive industries including agriculture, oil and gas, and waste management. Windfall will also invest resources to continue building out its team, manufacturing capacity and supply chain to meet growing global customer demand for methane mitigation solutions.

Windfall’s solution addresses methane emissions by capturing methane for a low, all-in cost while producing on-site, high quality fertilizer for customers to use or sell.

“While addressing methane emissions is the most impactful strategy available today to tackle near-term climate change, it has remained a critically underappreciated and underfunded problem for global warming, only recently gaining significant attention in climate discussions,” said Josh Silverman, co-founder and CEO of Windfall Bio. “However, methane represents an important resource that can create significant value for customers if they are given the right tools. We’ve seen early commercial traction and with the support of our strategic investors, Windfall will empower customers across industries to eliminate harmful methane emissions and create valuable outputs in return.”

Windfall’s nature-based solution harnesses methane-eating microbes—referred to as mems—that capture methane from any source while also capturing nitrogen from the air to produce organic fertilizer on customers’ sites. For agriculture and industrial customers, mems create value by improving soil health, enabling emissions tracking and reporting, improving resource efficiency, and generating new revenue streams from the sale of organic fertilizer.

Windfall exited stealth in March 2023 with a $9m seed raise. The Series A funding brings the company’s total fundraising amount to $37m and further validates the need and promise for its methane mitigation solution across multiple industries. The Series A builds on several milestones the company achieved in the last year, including building out its executive team and Board of Advisors to support Windfall’s go-to-market strategy

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Exclusive: Inside Strata’s P2X strategy

Strata Clean Energy is seeking to engage with global chemical, energy, and shipping companies as a potential partner for a pipeline of green hydrogen projects that will have FIDs in 2025 and CODs later this decade.

Strata Clean Energy is developing a pipeline of green hydrogen projects that will produce large amounts of green ammonia and other hydrogen derivatives later this decade.

Mike Grunow, executive vice president and general manager of Strata’s Power-to-X platform, said in an interview that the company is investing in the development of proprietary modeling and optimization software that forms part of its strategy to de-risk Power-to-X projects for compliance with strict 45V tax credit standards.

“We’re anticipating having the ability to produce substantial amounts of low-carbon ammonia in the back half of this decade from a maturing pipeline of projects that we’ve been developing, and we’re looking to collaborate with global chemical, energy, and shipping companies on the next steps for these projects,” he said.

Strata’s approach to potential strategic offtakers could also include the partner taking an equity stake in projects, “with the right partner,” Grunow said. The projects are expected to reach FID in 2025.

Grunow declined to comment on the specific size or regional focus of the projects.

“We aspire for the projects to be as large as possible,” he said. “All of the projects are in deep discussions with the regional transmission providers to determine the schedule at which more and more transmission capacity can be made available.”

Strata will apply its expertise in renewable energy to the green hydrogen industry, he said, which involves the deployment of unique combinations of renewable energy, energy storage, and energy trading to deliver structured products to large industrial clients, municipal utilities and regulated utilities.

The company “commits to providing 100% hourly matched renewable energy over a guaranteed set of hours over the course of an entire year for 10 – 20 years,” Grunow said.

“It’s our expectation that the European regulations and more of the global regulations, and the guidance from the US Treasury will require that the clean energy supply projects are additional, deliverable within the same ISO/RTO, and that, eventually, the load of the electrolyzer will need to follow the production of the generation,” he said.

Strata’s strategy for de-risking compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act’s 45V revenue stream for green hydrogen will give asset-level lenders certainty on the delivery of a project’s IRA incentives.

“Right now, if I’m looking at a project with an hourly matched 45V revenue stream, I have substantial doubt about that project’s ability to actually staple the hourly matched RECs to the amount of hydrogen produced in an hour, to the ton of hydrogen derivative,” he said.

During the design phase, developers evaluate multiple electrolyzer technologies, hourly matching of variable generation, price uncertainty and carbon intensity of the grid, plant availability and maintenance costs along with evolving 45V compliance requirements.

Meanwhile, during the operational phase, complex revenue streams need to be optimized. In certain markets with massive electrical loads, an operator has the opportunity to earn demand response and ancillary service revenues, Grunow said.

Optimal operations

“The key to maximizing the value of these assets is optimal operations,” he said, noting project optionality between buying and selling energy, making and storing hydrogen, and using hydrogen to make a derivative such as ammonia or methanol.

Using its software, Strata can make a complete digital twin of a proposed plant in the design phase, which accounts for the specifications of the commercially available electrolyzer families.

Strata analyzes an hourly energy supply schedule for every project it evaluates, across 8,760 hours a year and 20 years of expected operating life. It can then cue up that digital project twin – with everything known about the technology options, their ability to ramp and turn down, and the drivers of degradation – and analyze optimization for different electrolyzer operating formats. 

“It’s fascinating right now because the technology development cycle is happening in less than 12 months, so every year you need to check back in with all the vendors,” he said. “This software tool allows us to do that in a hyper-efficient way.”

A major hurdle the green hydrogen industry still needs to overcome, according to Grunow, is aligning the commercial aspects of electrolysis with its advances in technological innovation.

“The lender at the project level needs the technology vendor to take technology and operational risk for 10 years,” he said. “So you need a long-term service agreement, an availability guarantee, key performance metric guarantees on conversion efficiency,” he said, “and those guarantees must have liquidated damages for underperformance, and those liquidated damages must be backstopped by a limitation of liability and a domestic entity with substantial credit. Otherwise these projects won’t get financed.”

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Renewable hydrogen developer to launch series A round next month

A Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer has hired an advisor and will launch a series A funding round next month.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will launch a series A capital raise in the middle of March to take on a new investor for project development and hiring, CEO Matt McMonagle said in an interview.

The company has hired GreenFront Energy Partners to run the process, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen builds its projects onsite with customers, as close to end use as possible, he said. The company serves transportation (heavy road transport, shipping and aviation), industrial (cement, glass, metal, steel, food, etc.) and power (peaking power and diesel generator replacement). Most of Novo’s customers are users of grey hydrogen looking to decarbonize. In the case of cement, they are looking to replace diesel for their trucks and coal and natural gas for their kilns.

“We first look to see if we can put our projects on our customer sites and make it there,” McMonagle said. “If we can’t do that, we’ll do offsite, but we still try to be as close to customers as possible to minimize that midstream component or distribution component.”

About 30 projects are in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts, McMonagle said. NovoHydrogen’s most active markets are the West coast, Northeast, Appalachia, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, though the company is not geographically constrained.

The company aims to begin construction on its first projects by the end of this year, possibly early next year, McMonagle said. The first project could reach COD in 2024.

NovoHydrogen recently announced that it has closed its seed funding round and appointed four executives to its board of directors. Each of those executives represent an investor that participated in the seed round, McMonagle said.

The new board appointees are: Jeremy Avenier, an active investor at Ohmium International; Peyton Boswell, managing partner at Woodfield Renewable Partners; Bruno Franco, partner at Pacífico Energia and managing partner at PWR Capital; and Joseph Malchow, a managing partner at Hanover (a Silicon Valley VC), board member and investor in Enphase and board member and investor in Archaea.

More money

“We will certainly need more money as our projects mature,” McMonagle said. “I do not have the hundreds of millions of dollars on my balance sheet to build these projects.”

An ideal investor will bring accretive capabilities in hydrogen, in a field like value chain equipment or delivery, to the table, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen plans to be a long-term owner-operator of its projects, McMonagle said. That is an important point for customers: that the company is not going to sell the project and not care how the next owner operates.

“We want to earn future business from these customers,” McMonagle said, adding that most of them are transitioning piecemeal.

NovoHydrogen and TigerGenCo in November said they would advance development of green hydrogen capacity to reduce reliance on natural gas at the Bayonne Energy Center located in New Jersey. NovoHydrogen will develop and operate the hydrogen production facility to reduce Bayonne’s carbon emissions.

TigerGen owns the power plant and is the offtaker in that project. Ohmium International is providing the PEM electrolyzers in that project. McMonagle said the company may use other electrolyzer providers for future projects.

The company is also a partner in the Aliance for Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) for the California DOE Hydrogen Hub submission.

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US hydrogen developer auditioning bankers

A US-based clean fuels developer has large capital needs for unannounced green hydrogen projects in California and Illinois, as well as an ammonia facility in Texas.

A US-based clean fuels developer has large capital needs for unannounced green hydrogen projects in California and Illinois, as well as an ammonia facility in Texas.

Avina Clean Hydrogen has yet to formally engage an investment banker to raise the equity and debt needed for a trio of projects under development in the US, CEO Vishal Shah said in an interview.

The company, which recently announced the formation of a strategic advisory board composed of executives from companies like Cummins, bp and Rolls Royce, will need $600m or more of debt and between $200m and $300m of equity, as previously reported by ReSource. Capital raising talks are focused on the operating company and project level.

Capital raises for Avina’s 700,000 mtpa green ammonia project in the Texas Gulf Coast and a larger operating company raise will launch next month, Shah said.

“The amounts that we are going to need to raise have gone up,” Shah said. “We are working with a number of banks but we’ve not engaged anyone formally.”

Buildout of the Texas project has been accelerated. The company recently announced an agreement with KBR for that project, which is scheduled to come online next year.

Project level capital has been raised for Texas and a green hydrogen project in Southern California, Shah said. An additional green hydrogen project in Illinois is in development as well.

Finding the renewable power

Renewable power needs for these facilities are big, but Shah said the company doesn’t see a shortage of power. Instead, developers are facing interconnection issues and subsequent cost increases.

Hydrogen developers in California are in many cases offering higher prices for renewable energy than other buyers, Shah said. The issue is that credit-worthy investment counterparties are often seen as more attractive offtakers regardless of the higher price offers from aspiring hydrogen producers.

“I would say California is different,” Shah said. “The offtake market is a challenge.”

There are renewables developers with a genuine interest in hydrogen looking at the sector as a long-term play, Shah said. But for some without a strategic interest in hydrogen, a community choice aggregator offering a 15-year offtake is more certain than a hydrogen developer offering a 10-year offtake; higher price can be seen as a trade-off.

“That’s the nature of the beast, right now.”

Regulatory uncertainty

Investors looking into the space are hesitating to deploy capital in some cases because of uncertainty around IRA clarifications, particularly with regards to the PTC qualifications, Vishal said.

“A lot of the customers, lenders, everybody’s waiting to make decisions,” Vishal said. Offtakers also have hesitations. “Nobody wants to sign long-term contracts in an environment where pricing is not clear.”

Shah said investors should look for offtake when investing in projects. Avina has two of three contracts signed for each of its projects.

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