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It’s an electrolyzer – but for CO2

A New Jersey-based start-up is seeking to commercialize an electrocatalytic technology that transforms CO2 into a monomer for the plastics industry.

RenewCO2 is developing and seeking to commercialize a modular technology that converts waste CO2 into a usable product.

The New Jersey-based company is advancing a pilot project at an Ace Ethanol plant in Wisconsin that will take CO2 and convert it to monoethylene glycol, which can be used by the plastics industry.

The project was recently selected by the US DOE to receive a $500,000 grant. It seeks to demonstrate the technology’s ability to reduce the ethanol plant’s carbon footprint and produce a carbon-negative chemical.

In an interview, RenewCO2 co-founders Anders Laursen and Karin Calvinho said their technology, which was developed at Rutgers University, is geared toward carbon emitters who can not easily pipe away their CO2 and who may have use for the resulting product.


“It’s a matter of economics,” said Calvinho, who serves as the company’s CTO. Using the RenewCO2 technology, the ethanol plant or other user is able to keep 45Q tax incentives for capturing CO2 while also creating a product that generates an additional revenue stream.

Additionally, the modular design of the technology prevents emitters from having to build expensive pipeline infrastructure for CO2, she added. “We want to help to facilitate the use of the CO2 on site,” she said.

One of the goals of the project is to measure the carbon intensity of these technologies in combination, which ultimately depends on the electricity source for the electrochemical process, similar to an electrolyzer, Laursen, who is the CEO, said.

“The main constraint from a location point of view is the availability of reliable and affordable green power,” Laursen added.

Creating a market

The principal target market for RenewCO2’s technology is existing producers of monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is used to make recycled plastics, as well as ethanol producers and other emitters with purified CO2 streams.

Producers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – one of the most recycled plastics globally – are also potential customers since they use MEG in their production process and have CO2 sources on site.

“Right now, MEG produced in the US is, for the most part, not polymerized into PET – it’s shipped overseas for making PET plastics used in textiles, and then made into fibers or shipped further,” Laursen said. “So if you can shorten that transport chain, you can reduce the CO2 emissions associated with the final product.”

RenewCO2 is looking for partners to help build the modular units, and is evaluating the purchase of existing PEM electrolyzer units that can be reconfigured, or having the units custom manufactured.

“We’re talking to potential manufacturing partners and evaluating whether we should do the manufacturing ourselves,” Calvinho said. And if they choose the latter route, she added, “we will have to build our own facilities, but it’s early to say.”

The company has raised a total of $10m in venture investment and grant funding, including a pre-seed round of over $2m from Energy Transition Ventures, a Houston-based venture capital fund.

While not currently fundraising, Laursen said they are always taking calls to get to know the investors that are interested in the space. He added that the company may need to raise additional capital in 12 to 18 months.

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HydrogenPro raises equity in private placement

Norway’s HydrogenPro has raised almost $8m in a private placement with international technology group ANDRITZ AG.

Norway-based HydrogenPro ASA has secured NOK 82.7m ($7.65m) in new equity through a private placement of new shares towards ANDRITZ AG, an international technology group listed on the Vienna stock exchange and one of the leading companies within green hydrogen plants and solutions.

HydrogenPro embarked on a new trajectory in August last year, expanding its presence in the United States and seeking strategic partnerships and alternative funding sources, according to a news release.

Jarle Dragvik, CEO of HydrogenPro, comments: “We are delighted to strengthen the ANDRITZ partnership as we continue to execute on our vision of delivering sustainable hydrogen solutions globally. They bring valuable industrial expertise as one of the leading actors within green hydrogen plants and solutions. Thanks to the partnership with Andritz and their EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) capability, HydrogenPro will together with Andritz achieve full scope delivery, fulfilling requirements of many customers in the large-scale electrolysis sector.”

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Carbon removal firm raises $100m

Carbon removal firm Charm Industrial has raised $100m in a Series B capital raise.

Charm Industrial has raised $100m in Series B funding in a raise led by General Catalyst.

General Catalyst’s CEO and Managing Director Hemant Taneja will join the company’s board alongside Ryan Panchadsaram from John Doerr’s office.

Lowercarbon, Exor Ventures, Kinnevik, Thrive Capital and Elad Gil also invested as part of the round, according to a blog post.

The company will use the new funding to accelerate its carbon removal deliveries. After deploying increasingly advanced pilot processes in 2021 and 2022, the company began ramping up in 2023. Its primary focus is expanding bio-oil production and transport capacity, and since the beginning of the year it has increased tons of carbon removal delivered per week 5x.

Continued acceleration requires ramping up our operations in Colorado and the broader corn belt, and expanding our lone pyrolyzer into a continent-wide fleet of tens of thousands of pyrolyzers. The future of carbon removal will be a massive investment in the heartland of America. Each Charm pyrolyzer will produce bio-oil for sequestration and improve the soil with biochar.

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CCUS developer closes 45Q direct transfer deal

A Mercuria Energy-backed CCUS developer has closed a 45Q direct transfer deal with assistance from Marathon Capital.

CapturePoint LLC has closed on a private Section 45Q direct transfer tax credit transaction for carbon dioxide (CO2) captured at the company’s Arkalon facility near Liberal, Kansas and utilized for Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) operations in the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, according to a news release.

The CapturePoint Arkalon CO2 capture facility has the capacity to capture 250,000 metric tons of CO2 annually from nearby bio-ethanol production. CapturePoint transports the captured CO2 through its 170-mile regional network of dedicated CO2 pipelines to over 75 active CO2 injection wells the company uses for CO2-EOR operations. Once CO2-EOR operations cease, the CO2 is ultimately securely stored permanently underground.

The new Arkalon CO2 capture facility was placed in service in April 2023, generating Section 45Q tax credits for capturing and utilizing industrially sourced CO2 emissions. The Tax Credit Transfer Agreement between CapturePoint and the buyer includes placement of 100% of the 45Q tax credits generated by the Arkalon facility for a total of 12 years. At closing, CapturePoint will transfer all 2023-generated 45Q tax credits to the buyer.

“CapturePoint is at the leading edge of carbon management innovation in the United States,” said CEO Tracy Evans, “and our Arkalon CO2 capture facility and Panhandle CO2-EOR operations are helping the nation achieve important environmental and energy security goals. Our team is also developing expansive deep underground carbon storage sites – like our CPS Central Louisiana Regional Carbon Storage Hub — to permanently and safely sequester much larger volumes of CO2 currently released into the atmosphere by industrial emitters.”

The Section 45Q transaction announced today was placed privately by Marathon Capital. ReSource previously interviewed Evans last year about the company’s plans.

“We were honored to support CapturePoint on one of the industry’s first Section 45Q tax credit transfer transactions for their Arkalon CO2 capture facility,” said Matthew Shanahan, Managing Director at Marathon Capital. “We wish the CapturePoint team continued success as a leader in carbon management services.”

With both the Arkalon CO2 capture facility Section 45Q placement and an earlier transaction announced in January 2023 for CO2 captured at a nitrogen fertilizer facility in Coffeyville, Kansas, CapturePoint now has nearly one million metric tons per year of industrially sourced CO2 being utilized in CO2-EOR operations and generating 45Q tax credits.

CapturePoint LLC and its affiliate CapturePoint Solutions LLC offer a wide array of carbon management services and are pioneering the U.S. development of leading-edge carbon solutions including deep underground geologic carbon storage sites. The companies are privately held, with significant financial backing from prominent investors in clean energy innovation including an affiliate of Mercuria Energy, one of the world’s largest independent energy and commodity groups.

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Air Products CEO discusses mega-scale green hydrogen project with AES

Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi further discussed its JV with AES Corporation to develop a $4bn green hydrogen project in Texas, noting that roughly half the price tag would come from developing 1.4 GW of renewables to feed the electrolyzers.

Air Products and AES Corporation will form a JV to develop a $4bn integrated green hydrogen facility in Texas, with roughly half of the cost coming from development of 900 MW of wind and 500 MW of solar generation, and the other half for the hydrogen build-out, Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi said on an investor call today.

Similar to his company’s JV in Saudi Arabia, the 50/50 JV will develop, build, own and operate a facility in Wilbarger County, at the site of a decommissioned coal-fired plant, Ghasemi said on the call.

Air Products has an exclusive global agreement with thyssenkrupp for electrolyzers, and could include battery storage at the Texas site to help power the electrolyzers, he added.

A separate entity owned 100% by Air Products will be the sole offtaker from the facility, Ghasemi said, which will produce more than 100 mtpd for use in transportation and industrial markets.

The relationship between AES and Air Products is not exclusive, he said.

Air Products expects a minimum internal rate of return of 10%, Ghasemi said. The company is hoping the tax benefits of the project will result in a lower hydrogen price from the JV.

The amount of capital invested by Air Products will be determined by downstream uses, Ghasemi said. The company has yet to decide if it will build a liquefaction plant, transport gaseous hydrogen by pipeline, or convert the hydrogen to ammonia and ship it by rail.

When it was noted that there is not an existing pipeline connecting Wilbarger County to Air Product’s Gulf Coast pipeline, Ghasemi said he was being pressured to get more deeply in the topic than he wanted, but that the company was confident emerging industry in the area would provide the necessary offtake.

“We don’t have to send it all the way down 250 miles to our existing pipeline,” Ghasemi said. “There’s a lot of different options.”

Air Products will not issue new stock to dilute shareholders or jeopardize its A-rating, Ghasemi said.

The labor cost is “very low on these projects,” Ghasemi said. And customers are attracted to getting 30-year contracts not associated with the price of oil, natural gas or geopolitics.

Air Products is investing approximately $500m for a 35 metric ton per day facility to produce green liquid hydrogen at a greenfield site in Massena, New York, as well as liquid hydrogen distribution and dispensing operations.

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Pharma and fuels tech provider could be ready for public listing

International biotechnology firm Insilico Medicine is applying the algorithms that produce novel drugs to synthesizing more sustainable petrochemical fuels and materials.

Insilico Medicine, a global biotechnology firm serving the pharmaceutical and carbon-based energy industries, could be ready for a public listing in the next phase of its corporate evolution.

Insilico, founded in Baltimore and now based in Hong Kong, has raised about $400m in private capital to date and is in the position of a company that would be exploring a public listing in the US and Hong Kong, CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said in an interview. He declined to say if he has hired a financial advisor to run such a process but said a similar company in his position would have.

The generative AI platform that the company uses to produce novel drugs can be applied to produce more sustainable carbon-based fuels, Zhavoronkov said. The objective is to maximize btu and minimize CO2, making the fuels burn longer and cleaner.

Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco is a user of the technology and participated in Insilico’s $95m Series D (oversubscribed and split between two sub-rounds) last year through its investment arm Prosperity7.

Petrochemistry is going to be needed well into the future, Zhavoronkov said. In addition to renewable energy and other ESG efforts, the efficiency of petrochemicals should be a top priority.

“If you burn certain petrochemicals in certain combinations, you can achieve a reasonably clean burn and an energy efficient burn,” he said. For specific tasks like space travel or Formula 1 racing, combined fuels produce the necessary torque, and generative chemistry can achieve those objectives in a more sustainable way. “I think that we can make the world significantly cleaner just by modifying petrochemical products.”

The technology can also be used to make organic matter in petrochemical products degrade more quickly, which is useful in the case of plastics, Zhavoronkov said.

The company’s AI is primarily based in Montreal and in the drug discovery business in China, but fuel research takes place in Abu Dhabi. Zhavoronkov said he has hired a lot of “AI refugees” from Russia and Ukraine to work at the latter location. The company has 40 employees in the UAE and will likely scale to 70.

Insilico is capitalized for the next two years or so, he said. That doesn’t account for revenue, which closed at just under $30m in 2022. The petrochemical and materials business is under the AI research arm of the business, which is covered by funds raised to date.

“Our board would probably not allow me to reinvent myself as an energy play,” Zhavoronkov said. But the board does not object to applying resources to petrochemical products.

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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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