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JERA Americas completes modifications for hydrogen firing at NJ power plant

Hydrogen co-firing of up to 40% (by volume) will be possible at Linden Unit 6.

JERA Co. has completed modification of the gas turbine at Linden Gas Thermal Power Station Unit 6 in the United States to enable the use of hydrogen, making possible the co-firing of natural gas with hydrogen-containing off-gas generated at the adjacent oil refinery, according to a news release.

Because it will require the procurement of hydrogen at an economically rational price and the development of carrier technology, it is expected to take some time before hydrogen can be used for power generation in Japan. By working to resolve such issues and advancing the use of hydrogen at power plants in areas where hydrogen is already available, JERA seeks to accumulate technical capabilities and experience that can be applied to future power generation projects both at home and abroad.

JERA had previously decided to move forward, through JERA Americas Inc., with modification of the gas turbine at Linden Unit 6 to enable co-firing with hydrogen-containing off-gas supplied by Bayway Oil Refinery, which is owned by the major US oil refiner Phillips 66.

With the completion of this work, hydrogen co-firing of up to 40% (by volume) will be possible at Linden Unit 6. The effective use of hydrogen-containing off-gas sourced from the adjacent oil refinery is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at both Unit 6 and the oil refinery.

Under its “JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050” objective, JERA has been working to eliminate CO2 emissions from its domestic and overseas businesses by 2050. By leveraging its strengths across the entire value chain from upstream fuel development through power generation, working actively to develop decarbonization technologies, and seeking to ensure economic rationality, JERA will continue its efforts to achieve zero emissions going forward.

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Uniper and SKW Piesteritz sign ammonia MoU

The agreement calls for SKW Piesteritz, the largest producer of ammonia and urea in Germany, to supply Uniper with sustainably produced ammonia, with SKW Piesteritz supplying green or blue ammonia in the medium to long term.

Uniper and SKW Piesteritz have signed an agreement to support each other in the supply, production and logistics of ammonia and hydrogen derivatives, according to a news release.

Among other things, the agreement calls for SKW Piesteritz, the largest producer of ammonia and urea in Germany, to supply Uniper with sustainably produced ammonia, with SKW Piesteritz supplying green or blue ammonia in the medium to long term.

The two companies will also collaborate closely on imports. The use of Uniper’s import terminal in Wilhelmshaven, for example, will make it easier for SKW Piesteritz to import green ammonia. SKW Piesteritz in turn will provide Uniper with capacities in other European ports via its parent company AGROFERT. The agreement also covers the necessary distribution logistics, the expansion of production capacities and the conversion of ammonia into hydrogen.

This collaboration combines Uniper’s strength in the global procurement of low-carbon and carbon-neutral ammonia, which also includes the expansion of the Wilhelmshaven site into a landing terminal and energy hub, with SKW Piesteritz’s expertise in the production of sustainable ammonia, its distribution logistics and landing capacities in Europe.

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Hydrogen investors like patents, IEA says

More than half of the USD 10bn of venture capital investment into hydrogen firms in 2011-2020 went to start-ups with patents, according to an IEA study.

More than half of the USD 10bn of venture capital investment into hydrogen firms in 2011-2020 went to start-ups with patents, according to a joint study of patents by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Start-ups with patents represented less than a third of companies in the report’s data set, according to a news release summarizing the findings.

The study found that holding a patent is also a good indicator of whether a start-up will keep attracting finance, noting that “more than 80% of late-stage investment in hydrogen start-ups in 2011-2020 went to companies that had already filed a patent application in areas such as electrolysis, fuel cells, or low-emissions methods for producing hydrogen from gas.”

The percentage increases to 95% when funding acquired in the IPO/post-IPO stage is taken into consideration.

Overall, the report found that hydrogen technology development is shifting towards low-emissions solutions such as electrolysis. Global patenting in hydrogen is led by the European Union and Japan, which account for 28% and 24% respectively of all IPFs filed in this period, with significant growth in the past decade. The leading countries in Europe are Germany (11% of the global total), France (6%), and the Netherlands (3%).

The United States, with 20% of all hydrogen-related patents, is the only major innovation center where international hydrogen patent applications declined in the past decade. International patenting activity in hydrogen technologies remained modest in South Korea and China but is on the rise. In addition to these five main innovation centers, other countries generating significant volumes of hydrogen patents include the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada.

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Advent Technologies in maritime JDA with Siemens

The pair will develop an integrated high-temperature PEM fuel cell solution for maritime applications and then evaluate to scale down/up the system to fit with market requirements from motor and Giga Yachts to ferries and container/commercial ships.

Advent Technologies Holdings, Inc., a provider of fuel cell and hydrogen technology, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Advent Technologies A/S, has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Siemens Energy, one of the world’s leading energy technology companies.

The newly signed JDA outlines the collaboration between Advent and Siemens Energy, combining Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cell 50kW modules utilizing its innovative Ion-Pair™ membrane electrode assembly (MEA) technology with Siemens Energy’s electrification and automation solutions for hybrid and electric vessels.

The goal is to develop an integrated 500kW High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (“HT-PEM”) fuel cell solution for maritime applications and then evaluate to scale down/up the system to fit with market requirements from motor and Giga Yachts to ferries and container/commercial ships.

The innovative clean energy solution resulting from this multi-year collaboration is expected to initially address the power needs of large yachts, according to a press release. Subsequently, plans are underway to broaden its application to include ferries and commercial/container vessels.

The initial prototype testing for the HT-PEM fuel cell module is expected to take place at Siemens Energy’s testing facility in Erlangen, Germany, in 2025, with the testing of the first fuel cell module scheduled for completion in 2026. Advent is currently engaging with world-leading customers in the maritime industry and anticipates signing commercial term sheets in the near term to pursue upcoming Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

This agreement builds upon the strong collaboration between Advent and Siemens Energy, which began in February 2022 with the Sanlorenzo Life Ocean pilot project. In this project, the companies jointly developed a marine HT-PEM fuel cell solution to provide clean power for hotel functions aboard a 50-meter Sanlorenzo superyacht. Additionally, in March 2024, Advent and Siemens Energy deepened their collaboration by joining as consortium partners in the RiverCell 3 research and development project, which is partially funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport as part of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

Advent Technologies’ HT-PEM fuel cells utilizing the innovative Ion Pair™ MEA technology, offer high-temperature operation between 80°C and 240°C. This advancement extends their lifespan by at least threefold and doubles the power density compared to earlier Advent systems. Additionally, Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cell technology enables the use of liquid green fuels like eMethanol, enhancing efficiency by utilizing both heat and electricity, resulting in high resilience. These fuel cells can function with impure hydrogen, impure air intake, and in extreme ambient temperature and humidity conditions, making them an ideal choice for widespread adoption in the maritime industry.

As the world advances towards extensive green hydrogen production, eMethanol emerges as a leading choice for marine fuel in the maritime industry, promising a potential 100% reduction in CO2 emissions. Methanol and its derivatives function as versatile energy carriers and storage solutions, efficiently releasing hydrogen catalytically through fuel reformers. With its efficient storage capabilities, ease of handling, and utilization of existing infrastructure for transportation, methanol stands as a secure and economically viable alternative to fossil fuels.

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California biomass-to-hydrogen firm in Series A

A woody biomass-to-hydrogen firm in California is conducting an in-house Series A for engineering and design on its first project, one that will need more than $800m of debt and equity in the future.

Mote Inc. is aiming to finish a Series A round, raising between $12m and $15m, by the end of the year, CEO Joshuah Stolaroff said in an interview.

The company does not have a relationship with a financial advisor and has been conducting the raise in-house, he said. Moving forward the company will need a financial advisor.

The Series A will provide some 18 months of technology development runway, plus engineering and design on the first project in Bakersfield, Kern County. That will require some $800m in debt and project equity to start in the next year.

A second project in Sacramento is in the pre-Feed stage. That development is the subject of a recently secured grant from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

“We need big partners to do it on any meaningful scale,” Stolaroff said of biomass-to-hydrogen. Investors tend to be technology VCs with little or no knowledge of project finance, and infra funds looking for no-risk projects. “We fall somewhere in between.”

Part of the Arches H2 hub in California, Mote has ambitions to expand to other areas of the US with good biomass supply and CO2 storage, like the southeast and Gulf Coast, Stolaroff said. The company would also like to expand internationally.

“We are a great deal right now,” he said of the Series A,” adding that a Series B or project equity round will follow shortly.

Majority equity is held by the company’s six employees, Stolaroff said. There are also seed investors that hold equity.

Abundant feedstock and a growing offtake market

Mote’s three primary feedstocks are agricultural and forestry reside and urban green waste. California produces some 45m tons of it per year and the number nationwide is about half-a-billion, Stolaroff said.

Mote is confident for demand from hydrogen customers, Stoaroff said. Transportation is expected to be a strong demand source by the time Mote is operational. The Arches hub also has connections with municipal users, filling stations and the ports of LA and Long Beach.

“We are all planning for growth,” he said.

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Carbon-negative materials firm in $40m equity raise

A Texas-based manufacturer of renewable plastics is developing its first plant in the Midwest, with a commercialization date set for 2026.

Citroniq Chemicals, a maker of renewable and carbon-negative plastics, is undergoing a $40m equity raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The process has launched and is being led by Young America Capital, the sources said. The company’s projects account for about $1bn in CapEx.

Based in Houston, Citroniq uses bio-based feedstocks to produce plastics at scale. The company recently signed a Letter of Intent with Lummus Technology for the development of Citroniq’s green polypropylene projects in North America.

“With a projected investment of over $5bn and a combined polypropylene annual capacity of over 3.5 billion pounds, Citroniq is prepared to execute a rapid expansion plan of its E2O process, to meet the market’s growing need for sustainable, carbon negative polypropylene at a competitive price,” Mel Badheka, Principal and Co-Founder of Citroniq Chemicals, said in a press release announcing the LOI. “Located in the Midwest, Citroniq’s first plant is scheduled to start production in 2026 and provide identical, drop-in products that can be directly certified as biogenic through physical testing.”

In January Citroniq announced a separate LOI with Mitsui Plastics for a large-scale supply agreement for sustainable polypropylene.

Citronia and Young America Capital did not respond to requests for comment.

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Developer Profile: Green hydrogen developer finds strength in numbers

Clean Energy Holdings is assembling a coalition of specialized companies as it seeks to break into the novel green hydrogen market.

Nicholas Bair draws a direct line from his childhood on an Oregon dairy farm to the coalition of specialized companies that, as the CEO of Clean Energy Holdings, he is now assembling in pursuit of key-player status in the green hydrogen industry.

“We created our own milk from our own hay,” he says, of his family’s organic dairy farm in Klamath Falls, near the California border. He adds, using an expression he often repeats: “Everything was inside the battery limits.”

This phrase – “inside the battery limits” – represents what Bair, who is forty-one and a chemist by trade, is trying to achieve with The Alliance: a broad, self-contained battery of partners with specialized competencies working in coordination on the challenges of developing and operating groundbreaking green hydrogen projects.

“We’re doing everything from soup to nuts,” he says.

CEH and The Alliance are planning to build roughly $1bn worth of projects per year over the next ten years, Bair says. As a launching point, the parties are advancing a green hydrogen facility – called Clear Fork – near Sylvester, Texas that would churn out 30,000 kg per day in phase 1 starting in 4Q24. The hydrogen would be produced using electrolyzers powered by a 325 MW solar farm, while ancillary facilities at the site would be powered by a gas turbine capable of blending up to 70% hydrogen.

As members of The Alliance, Equix Inc. is acting as the EPC for the solar and gas turbine portion of the project, while Chart Industries is providing tankers, trailers, and liquefaction to transport hydrogen from the site in northwest Texas. Meanwhile, Hartford Steam Boiler – an original contributor to standards written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers – will provide quality assurance and control; Coast 2 Coast Logistics is responsible for trucking; and The Eastman Group provides permitting and facilities management.

‘First-of-kind’

Although a renewable project, the green hydrogen concept is similar to most refinery EPC contracts, since many of them are first-of-kind with significant liquidated damages, Bair says. Additionally, the green hydrogen projects are “married to renewables, and you need the cryogenics and the distribution in between.”

Before starting Clean Energy Holdings, Bair was the founder and CEO of Bair Energy, a program and construction manager for infrastructure and energy projects – a service that Bair Energy is providing as a member of the Alliance. A period of low natural gas prices made Bair Energy’s specialty – geothermal power – less competitive, and Bair, seeking to develop his own projects instead of managing projects for others, sought to branch out into new types of energies.

Bair Energy itself consists of professionals that have been cherry-picked from the industry, Bair says. Candice McGuire, a veteran of Shell and Technip, is Bair’s chairman; chief operations officer John Strawn recently joined from Technip; and wind-industry veteran Peder Hansen has joined as VP and chief engineering manager.

“Our experience on the team is taking first-of-kind, developing it, and getting it to market,” he says. With The Alliance, “We went out and found the best at what they do, put them on lump-sum order, and brought them to the table early to figure out how to make their product talk to the other person’s product, so we can have a guarantee,” he says.

What distinguishes Clean Energy Holdings from other green hydrogen developers is, in fact, the coalition it is building, says Elizabeth Sluder, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright who is CEH’s legal advisor.

“It’s intended to be one-stop shopping in a vertically integrated structure such that as and when needed for future CEH projects or third party projects that are identified, you have all the various players you need to take it from point A to point B,” she adds.

Because the parties are on standby with a common goal, CEH and its partners can provide lump-sum turnkey services, with some element of bulk pricing potentially factored in, because savings are generated through not having to issue RFPs for partners in future projects.

“The savings in time and money is, I would expect, very valuable,” Sluder says. “And when you apply those principles to long-term strategy and equity investment-type opportunities, the lower capex spend should theoretically benefit the project at large.”

Keeping the pieces moving

Bair runs CEH alongside Co-Founder and President Cornelius Fitzgerald. The two met as children – Fitzgerald was raised on a nearby cattle farm in southern Oregon – and enjoy the uncommon chemistry of childhood friends.

In something of classic pairing, “I’m much more the trumpet, paving the path,” Bair says, while Fitzgerald “usually keeps the pieces moving.”

“Sometimes Cornelius has had the best cup of coffee and takes the lead in meetings. And sometimes I do,” he says. “It’s that ability to rely on each other that set the basis of design in my mind for what a good partner looks like.”

Fitzgerald says they approach the challenge of breaking new ground in green hydrogen with “quiet confidence and humility.” By having a big picture vision as well as “credible and tangible fundamentals for the project” – like land, resource, and water control – the project moved from an idea to a reality, he adds.

“And really we’ve been driving at how to get the best experience and expertise at the table as early as possible,” Fitzgerald says.

Equix, Inc, a civil engineering firm, joined the grouping to build the solar and gas generation portion of the facility, representing the company’s first-ever foray into a hydrogen project, says Tim LeVrier, a vice president of business development at the firm.

“There are many challenges integrating all these types of power sources and energy into creating hydrogen,” Levrier says. “From an electrical engineering standpoint it is extremely challenging to coordinate power switching from one source to another. Another consideration we are having to work through is what to do in regards to producing hydrogen at night. Will there be a battery portion to the project or do we just not produce hydrogen when it is dark? These are all things we are considering and will have to find creative solutions for.”

‘Pathological believer’

CEH recently added Chart Industries to The Alliance, which in addition to furnishing liquefaction, tanks and trailers to move hydrogen, will provide fin fans for cooling and a reverse osmosis system for cleaning water. “We don’t want to give away all our secrets,” Bair says, “but it’s a very efficient process.”

The unique perspective and expertise of partners in The Alliance makes for a fulsome ecosystem around any CEH project, says Jill Evanko, CEO of Chart Industries. With respect to CEH’s projects, Evanko says they are “very targeted, which, with focus, will continue to help evolve the hydrogen economy.”

“Chart’s hydrogen liquefaction process as well as associated hydrogen equipment including storage tanks and trailers” – which the company has been manufacturing for over 57 years – “will be sole-source provided into the project. This will allow for efficient engineering and manufacturing to the CEH Clear Fork project schedule,” she says.

In any molecule value chain, hydrogen included, Chart serves customers that are the producers of the molecule, those who store and transport it as well as those who are the end users, Evanko adds. “This allows us to connect those who are selling the molecule with those who need it.”

Looking ahead, CEH is preparing to meet with investors in the lead-up to an April, 2023 final investment decision deadline for the Texas project. And it is being advised by RockeTruck for another RFP seeking fuel cell vehicles to transport hydrogen from the site as the trucks become available – a design that will likely include hydrogen fueling stations at the production facility as well as at the Port of Corpus Christi, Bair says.

CEH also has plans to develop its own geothermal plants and explore the role that nuclear energy can play in green hydrogen. Bair Energy recently hired Eric Young as its VP of engineering and technology from NuScale, where he worked on the research team that received approvals from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a small modular nuclear reactor.

“We’re a technology-driven owner-operator,” Bair says. “We’re all technologists, which means we’re pathological believers in technology. We’re all looking for transformational energy.”

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