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LanzaJet in $100m investment round

The Illinois-based ethanol-to-SAF producer has received commitments from Microsoft and Southwest Airlines.

LanzaJet, the Illinois-based sustainable fuels technology and fuels company, is in a $100m investment round with commitments already made from brand name tech and airline majors, LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren said in an earnings call on Thursday.

The raise has received commitments from Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund and Southwest Airlines, she said.

LanzaJet announced an investment from Microsoft in April. The company, launched by LanzaTech in 2020, recently opened the Freedom Pines Fuels SAF production facility in Georgia.

“We remain bullish on sustainable aviation fuel,” Holmgren said.

LanzaTech holds about 25% in LanzaJet, she said. The capital raise is non-dilutive to LanzaTech.
Additional shareholders in LanzaJet include International Airlines Group (IAG), Mitsui & Co, Shell, and Suncor Energy along with Breakthrough Energy, British Airways, and All Nippon Airways (ANA).

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LanzaJet announces new CFO

The new executive joins following a role as CFO for North America at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Inc.

LanzaJet, the sustainable fuels producer, has appointed Doreen Pryor as Chief Financial Officer of the company, according to a news release.

Pryor joins LanzaJet following her role as CFO for North America at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Inc., – a leader in the development and maintenance of wind turbines. Pryor had led financial planning and analysis (FP&A) of Siemens Gamesa’s offshore wind business unit since 2017 before assuming the role of CFO North America in 2022, in addition to Managing Director and Board Member responsibilities.

Before transitioning to Siemens Gamesa, Pryor spent seven years at Siemens companies based in the United StatesDenmark, and Germany, where she ultimately assumed the role of Head of Business in Controlling Wind Power Offshore. In total, Pryor spent nearly 15 years at Siemens companies to lead and extend the global footprint of the Wind business.

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Energy Vault appoints United Airlines executive to board

The appointee, Theresa Fariello, has served as senior vice president of Government Affairs & Global Public Policy for United Airlines since 2017.

Energy Vault Holdings, a provider of sustainable grid-scale energy storage solutions, has appointed Theresa Fariello to the company’s Board of Directors effective February 1.

She replaces Henry Elkus, founder and CEO of Helena, a strategic partner and Series B-1 investor in Energy Vault, upon his concurrent departure from the Board.

Fariello has served as senior vice president of Government Affairs & Global Public Policy for United Airlines since 2017. In this role, she leads United Airlines’s federal, state, local, and international government engagement, including environmental affairs. Prior to her role at United Airlines, Fariello served a 16-year tenure at ExxonMobil, where she advised executive leadership on key governmental and policy matters. Prior to her time at ExxonMobil, Fariello served as deputy assistant secretary for International Energy Policy in the Office of International Affairs at the US Department of Energy and held senior leadership positions at Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

“We are honored to welcome Theresa, who brings extensive and valuable experience in government affairs and public policy at leading public companies to Energy Vault’s Board of Directors,” said Robert Piconi, chairman and chief executive officer, Energy Vault. “The recent passage of the IRA is one example of a significant accelerator for our industry and our customers in the United States. Theresa’s leadership and experience will help us fully leverage the opportunities associated with this landmark legislation while strategically optimizing our global approach to working with government organizations in an increasingly complex regulatory and public sector environment. I look forward to working with her as we execute our global growth plans.”

“It is a distinct privilege to join Energy Vault’s Board of Directors,” said Theresa Fariello. “I am inspired by Energy Vault’s mission and commitment to creating a cleaner, more sustainable future. As the need to address and combat climate change becomes ever more urgent, so too does the need to shape environmental and climate policy to accelerate the deployment of innovative solutions, such as Energy Vault’s energy storage technologies. I welcome the opportunity to work alongside the rest of my fellow board members, and I look forward to lending my voice and experience to the company as it continues to grow.”

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Gentari appoints head of US hydrogen development

Gentari, the energy transition arm of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, has appointed a US head of hydrogen development.

Gentari, the energy transition arm of Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, has appointed a US head of hydrogen development.

Justin Rencurel, a Houston-based energy industry veteran was appointed to the role, according to a LinkedIn post.

“Gentari is in the midst of building a competitive presence throughout the value chain for clean hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives products,” according to Rencurel’s profile.

Prior to joining Gentari, Rencurel was with Blue Pony Energy, providing project and commercial advisory services to start-ups. He also spent 10 years with Spectra Energy, a midstream natural gas firm.

Rencurel did not respond to requests for comment.

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Exclusive: Glenfarne exploring hydrogen projects on existing asset base

Glenfarne Energy Transition is advancing its flagship liquefied natural gas project, Texas LNG, and evaluating hydrogen projects on or near its existing asset base on the Gulf Coast.

The Biden administration’s pause on permits for new US liquefied natural gas facilities hasn’t hurt all unbuilt projects.

Glenfarne Energy Transition, a subsidiary of Glenfarne Group, is moving ahead with its fully permitted lower-carbon flagship LNG export facility, Texas LNG, as the project is now set up to be the only such US project to reach FID this year.

Texas LNG, a 4 million MTPA facility proposed for Brownsville, Texas, will be the lowest carbon emitting LNG facility approved in the US, largely due to its use of electric motors in refrigerated compression. 

As designed, the plant would emit .15 metric tons of CO2e per ton of LNG produced, placing it slightly lower than the much larger Freeport LNG facility, which also has electric motors and emits around .17 metric tons of CO2 per ton of LNG.

The carbon intensity measurement counts emissions at the Texas LNG plant only, and not related emissions from the electric grid, which is why Glenfarne is seeking to source power for the project from wind and solar generation in south Texas, Adam Prestidge, senior vice president at Glenfarne, said in an interview.

In fact, the lower carbon aspects of Texas LNG helps with every element of the project, Prestidge said, including conversations with European offtakers and potential debt investors.

“Having a focus on sustainability is table stakes for every conversation,” he added. “It’s the finance side, it’s the offtake side, it’s our conversations with regulatory agencies.”

LNG pause

Glenfarne is seeking to raise up to $5bn of equity and debt for the project, according to news reports, a process that could benefit from the Biden administration’s pause on issuing permits for LNG projects that export to countries without free-trade agreements with the US.

“Our confidence and our timetable for that has probably been accelerated and cemented by the fact we are fully permitted, despite the Biden LNG pause impacting the broader market,” Prestidge said.

“The market has pretty quickly recognized that if you want to invest in LNG or buy LNG from a project that’s going to FID in 2024, you really don’t have very many fully permitted options right now.”

Glenfarne’s other US LNG project, called Magnolia LNG, has not yet received the required federal approvals and is therefore on pause along with a handful of other projects.

For Magnolia, Glenfarne is proposing to use a technology for which it owns the patent: optimized single mixed refrigerant, or OSMR, which uses ammonia instead of propane for cooling, resulting in less feed gas needed to run the facility and thus about 30% lower emissions than the average gas-powered LNG facility, Prestidge said.

Hydrogen projects

Glenfarne Energy Transition last year announced the formation of its hydrogen initiative, saying that projects in Chile, Texas, and Louisiana would eventually produce 1,500 kilotons of ammonia. 

“We’ve got existing infrastructure in the US Gulf Coast, and in Chile. A lot of the infrastructure required to produce LNG is similar or can be easily adapted to the infrastructure needed to produce ammonia,” Prestidge said. “And so, we’ve looked at locating hydrogen and ammonia production at sites in or near the ports of Brownsville and Lake Charles,” where Texas LNG and Magnolia LNG are located, respectively.

“The familiarity with the sites and the infrastructure and the local elements, make those pretty good fits for us,” he added.

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Aemetis capitalized for hydrogen and biofuel development plans

Aemetis CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview that the company has lined up financing to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel projects it has in development.

Aemetis is well capitalized to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects it has in development, CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview.

Founded by McAfee in 2006 and listed on the NASDAQ in 2014, Aemetis plans to produce more than 60 million gallons per year of SAF and capture and sequester 125,000 mtpy of carbon in 2025. This is a diversification from existing ethanol, RNG and biodiesel operations in the US and India.

The company recently released an updated five-year plan including plans to generate $2bn of revenues, $496m of net income, and $682m of adjusted EBITDA by 2027.

McAfee, noting that Aemetis is well capitalized and has locked in financing for much of its plans, said, “The only thing we really need to do is just execute.”

For example, the company closed $25m of USDA loan guarantees in October at a 6.2% interest rate, McAfee said. The company has also signed a $125m USDA commitment letter for its Riverbank Biofuels Project in California, also called CarbonZero 1, which will produce SAF.

“We’ll be expanding that relationship with [the USDA],” McAfee said. “Everything else is financed.”

The Riverbank Biofuels Project has signed offtake agreements with major airlines, and the SAF segment is expected to be the biggest contributor to Aemetis’ revenues once the project is online in 2025, according to a presentation. Renewable diesel and SAF will add $348m of revenues in 2025 and $693.3m of revenues in 2026.

For its carbon sequestration projects, referring to upgrades at the existing Keyes ethanol plant in California and other operational assets, the company has an existing $100m line of credit provided by Third Eye Capital, $50m of which remains unused, McAfee said.

Projected revenues will allow the company to self-fund without new credit facilities, McAfee said. Revenues from Aemetis’ debt-free operations in India will also be available to fund new developments.

The Riverbank SAF plant will be fully engineered and permitted this year, McAfee said. Baker Hughes and ATSI are the company’s EPC partners on the new developments.

Aemetis has no plans to divest existing operational assets but could acquire California biogas assets, McAfee said. The company regularly talks to investment bankers.

McAfee is the largest single shareholder in Aemetis. JackBlock, the former US Secretary of Agriculture, sits on the company’s board. The largest institutional shareholder is BlackRock.

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Ammonia-to-industrial heat provider raising early-stage capital

An early-stage technology provider targeting clients in hard-to-abate industries is engaging investors and financial advisors to raise a seed round, with sites on a Series A in 2025.

Captain Energy, a Houston-based provider of ammonia-to-industrial heat technology, is seeking strategic investors for an early-stage seed round with plans for an eventual Series A, co-founder and interim-CEO Kirk Coburn said in an interview.

The company is developing a single-step process that can create industrial heat from cracked ammonia up to 700 degrees Celsius with zero NOX emissions, with hydrogen as a byproduct, Coburn said. The process uses a ceramic-based tubular solid oxide fuel cell that Captain manufactures in Dundee, Scotland.

“The results from the testing are that we’re 85% efficient,” Coburn said.

He likened the company to Amogy, but serving steel, cement and chemicals instead of transportation. Getting the kind of high-quality heat those industries need in a clean way can only come from a few sources, he noted.
“Ammonia is one of the greatest ways to do it if you can crack it efficiently like we can,” he said.
Past lab

The company is “past the lab stage” and needs to develop a pilot product to showcase to customers, Coburn said. About $5m will get the company to a 100-kilogram-per-day product, up from 25 kilograms now.

“That’s not, probably, big enough for most customers, but we can stack them,” Coburn said. “At this point we need to demonstrate commercially the product… after showcasing it we want to make larger units.”

Captain is owned by three co-founders, including Coburn. They have an 18-month line of site on a “much larger” Series A, Coburn said.

Strategic investors that would be end users of the technology are of interest to the company, particularly in Asian and European markets.

“We’re not getting in the game of making ammonia,” Coburn said. “We have to buy green ammonia.”

The company’s model is at “grid-parity” in Europe now, Coburn said, pointing to Germany in particular.

“We think we’re almost at subsidy-free pricing,” he said.

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