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Lotus Infra launches new midstream platform

NeuVentus, a new developer, owner and operator, will deliver hydrogen pipeline transportation and salt cavern storage projects.

Lotus Infrastructure Partners has launched NeuVentus, a platform focused on developing and delivering hydrogen pipeline transportation and salt cavern hydrogen storage projects, according to a news release.

Vinson & Elkins LLP advised Lotus Infra on the formation of NeuVentus. Norton Rose Fulbright and PEP Advisory advised the NeuVentus management team.

NeuVentus, a developer, owner and operator, will have its initial projects in the Texas Gulf Coast. In addition to clean hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia and methanol, the company will have the ability to provide transportation and storage services to adjacent industries like industrial gases.

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Plug Power and Fortescue evaluating hydrogen co-investment opportunities in North America

Plug and Fortescue have started the initial diligence process for Fortescue to take up to a 40% equity stake in Plug’s Texas hydrogen plant and for Plug to take up to a 25% equity stake in Fortescue’s proposed Phoenix hydrogen plant.

Plug Power, a provider of hydrogen solutions for the green hydrogen economy, is currently the preferred supplier of 550 MW electrolyzers to Fortescue, a global green energy and metals company, for Fortescue’s proposed Gibson Island Project, according to a news release.

Fortescue and Plug have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to evaluate the potential supply of a range of capital equipment including electrolyzers, liquefiers, tanker trailers and stationary storage tanks for green hydrogen production projects in North America, including Fortescue’s proposed Phoenix hydrogen plant (30 metric tons per day (MTPD) phase 1; 120 MTPD phase 2). Both parties are also looking to collaborate on additional large projects on a global basis.

Under the terms of the MOU, Plug and Fortescue will also evaluate co-investment opportunities in green hydrogen production projects in North America. Plug and Fortescue have started the initial diligence process for Fortescue to take up to a 40% equity stake in Plug’s Texas hydrogen plant (45 MTPD) and for Plug to take up to a 25% equity stake in Fortescue’s proposed Phoenix hydrogen plant.

The proposed 550 MW (megawatt) PEM (proton-exchange membrane) electrolyzer supply contract for Fortescue’s green hydrogen production Gibson Island Project in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, is subject to final negotiations and approvals and Fortescue’s final investment decision (FID) on that project. An FID is expected by the end of December 2023. Once operational, the plant is expected to produce approximately 385,000 [metric] tons of green ammonia a year from the green hydrogen produced onsite through the 550 MW hydrogen electrolysis facility.

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Carbon utilization firm raises $20m Series A

Investors include Korea’s Envisioning Partners as well as United Airlines’ Sustainable Flight Fund and Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund.

Dimensional Energy, Inc., a CO2-to-SAF and carbon utilization technology firm has closed a $20m Series A funding round.

In addition, the climate tech company announces their filing of the Delaware Public Benefit Corporation Charter, the first step in becoming a certified B Corporation.

The funding round was led by Envisioning Partners, a prominent Korea-based impact venture capital fund with a strong global focus on climate investing, with strategic participation from United Airlines’ Sustainable Flight Fund, Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, RockCreek Group’s Smart Aviation Futures fund, DSC Investment, Delek US, New York Ventures, Climate Tech Circle, and continuing support from existing investors Elemental Excelerator, Chloe Capital, and Launch New York among others, according to a news release.

The Series A round funding, combined with committed third-party project financing, positions Dimensional Energy for significant growth, enabling the company to rapidly achieve commercial scale and expand its portfolio of high-value, financially attractive projects, according to the company.

ReSource reported in August that the firm was in the late stages of a roughly $100m equity and debt round led internally.

In May, the company signed an offtake agreement for 5 million gallons per year with Boom Supersonic, which is seeking to build a supersonic airliner that will travel at speeds twice as fast as today’s commercial jets.

Dimensional Energy will allocate the newly raised funds to advance its key initiatives:

  1. Construction of the world’s first advanced power-to-liquid (PtL) fuels plant, utilizing emissions from the Lafarge Richmond Cement Plant in British Columbia, Canada, in partnership with Svante, a leader in carbon capture technology.
  2.  The continued development of commercial power-to-liquid plants globally including a project with financing from Seneca Environmental and development support from Elemental Excelerator’s Infrastructure and Community Engagement programs.
  3.  Introduction of Dimensional Energy’s first consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) products, including fossil-free surf wax and a cruelty-free fat alternative tailored for vegan food manufacturers.
  4. Technology advancements including the evolution of Dimensional Energy’s proprietary reactor and catalyst technologies, which are being developed with funding from the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E and SETO programs, in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Cornell University. These innovations are field-tested at Dimensional Energy’s technology center in Tucson, Arizona.
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NEXT Renewables acquires Oregon biofuels assets

Lakeview RNG plans to redevelop a failed biofuels project into a facility producing RNG and clean hydrogen from waste wood.

Lakeview RNG, a wholly owned subsidiary of NEXT Renewable Fuels, has acquired assets associated with the Red Rock Biofuels development in Lake County, OR, according to a news release.

The company is commencing a redevelopment plan focused on completing construction of certain aspects of the site while replacing or enhancing others. When complete, the Lakeview RNG facility is expected to be capable of converting forest waste into renewable natural gas and clean hydrogen.

NEXT Renewable Fuels reached a deal to go public via a SPAC transaction with listed Industrial Tech Acquisitions II. A merger agreement for the deal, which was set to close on April 14, has been extended to December 14, according to SEC filings.

“Acquiring the Lake County clean fuels infrastructure is another advancement in our mission to decarbonize the transportation industry and produce low carbon fuels at scale,” said Christopher Efird, CEO and Chairperson of NEXT. “This acquisition represents a major step toward our clean fuel production capabilities and pathways to meet growing demand for clean fuels along the west coast of the United States while helping to address the critical concern of forest health.”

Using wood waste, or “slash,” as the feedstock, Lakeview RNG will process that wood waste and turn it into a low-carbon gaseous fuel, benefitting environmental and community health in southern Oregon and beyond.

Lakeview RNG has evaluated the potential feedstock supply in Oregon and determined that all of its wood waste needs could come from within 150 miles of the facility. Wood waste used at the facility will be certified and compliant with applicable regulations for RNG production. Converting forest waste to renewable fuel products helps reduce forest fire fuel loads and provide an additional revenue source to timber communities. The local distribution network in Lake County is anchored by the Ruby pipeline and can deliver renewable fuels to transportation markets in Oregon and along the west coast.

The purchase price of the facility has not been disclosed.

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Exclusive: Carbon conversion startup planning capital raise

A Halliburton Labs-backed startup is developing a pilot plant in the Pacific Northwestern US, while forming financial relationships for an industrial-scale carbon conversion facility in the same location.

OCOchem, a Washington state-based carbon conversion startup, will seek new capital partners to build its first commercial scale facility in 2026, CEO Todd Brix said in an interview.

Starting in late 2024 or early 2025, the company will likely go to market for new liquidity – including project debt and equity, Brix said. He declined to talk about capex, but said the first commercial plant in Richland, Washington will cost “multiple tens of millions of dollars.”

The company is working with two EPCs now and is represented legally by Miller Nash law firm in the Pacific Northwest, Brix said. The company does not have a formal relationship with an investment bank but will likely form one for a Series A and later rounds.

“We’ve been in touch with a number of private equity and project finance people,” Brix said of early-stage discussions.

OCOchem is considering land options in Richland for its first plant and is organizing to begin permitting, Brix said. There is opportunity to form relationships with industrial partners in need of an offtaker for their CO2 emissions and new incremental revenue streams, as well as customers for chloral hydrates and other formic acid products.

“We expect to build hundreds of these plants all around the planet,” Brix said, referring to the process of electrochemically converting emitted CO2 and water to formic acid, which can then be used to make a suite of products like hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and formate (methanoate) derivatives. “We are close to industrial size on our plants right now.”

CO2 is captured from steam methane reformers, natural gas processing and piping, and ammonia production, among other processes. The gas is then combined with water in a cellular, modular process producing formic acid, derivatives of which can be used in a range of industries like pharmaceuticals.

The company recently raised $5m in seed funding from lead investor TO VC, which joined backers LCY Lee Family Office, MIH Capital Management, and Halliburton Labs. An additional $8m has been raised in grant funding from the US departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD).

The company is also partnered with the Nutrien Corporation on a small scale facility in Kennewick, Washington, just upriver from Richland, Brix said. Financing for that project is largely arranged with the FEED completed.

Brix owns a majority of the company with his father.

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Low-carbon crude refinery developer lining up project cap stack

The developer of a low-carbon crude refinery is in talks with banks and strategics to line up project financing for a $5.5bn project in Oklahoma.

Texas-based Southern Rock Energy Partners is holding discussions with banks and potential strategic investors with the aim of shaping a $5.5bn capital stack to build a low-carbon crude refinery in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The project, a first-of-its-kind 250,000 barrel-per-day crude refinery, would make it the first crude facility of that size built in the United States in several decades.

The company is evaluating a project finance route with a debt and equity structure for the project, and has held talks with several major investment banks as well as “industry-leading” strategics in midstream, industrial gas, and electricity generation, Southern Rock Managing Partner Steven Ward said in an interview.

In support of the refinery, the city of Cushing and the Cushing Economic Development Foundation approved $75m in tax-exempt private activity bonds, Ward noted. He added that the company could also tap industrial revenue bonds as well as PACE equity financing.

Seed capital for project development has so far come from strategic partners, some of which are operational partners, Ward said. He declined to comment further on the capital raise, noting that engagement letters have yet to be signed.

Engineering firm KBR is conducting a feasibility study for the Cushing project, and the company is moving through land acquisition, air permit preparation, and EPC selection, Ward said.

While most crude refineries consume natural gas, off-gasses, and ambient air, Southern Rock’s proposed refinery would use oxygen along with blue hydrogen produced from the refining off-gasses and green hydrogen from electrolysis. The process would eliminate 95% of greenhouse gas emissions at the proposed refinery.

“Our furnaces and our process heating units are fed 100% hydrogen and oxygen,” Ward said, noting that this type of system does not currently exist in the market. The company is expanding on technology it licenses from Great Southern Flameless, he said.

The size of the refinery would make it the largest to be built in the US since Marathon Petroleum built a 200,000 barrels-per-day facility in 1976.

Certain other low-carbon crude projects have been in the market for several years. Meridian Energy has been seeking to build cleaner crude refineries in North Dakota. Raven Petroleum ran up against environmental concerns while seeking to build a clean refinery in Texas. And MMEX is aiming to build an “ultra clean” crude refinery in West Texas.

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Midwestern SAF developer in capital raise

A municipal solid waste solutions firm based in the midwestern US is undergoing a $30m capital raise ahead of its first SAF project with plans to launch another raise late this year or early next.

Illinois Clean Fuels, the municipal solid waste solutions firm in Deerfield, Illinois, has mandated two advisors to run a capital raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Chabina Energy Partners and Weild & Co. are assisting on the process, which the company plans to have finished by October, the sources said.

The equity will be put toward six recovery facilities to supply feedstock for an unannounced project located in the Chicagoland region, one of the sources said. Following two years or so of engineering and permitting, that project should enter construction.

In December or early 1Q24 ICF plans to launch another equity raise for development capital.

ICF, Chabina and Weild & Co. declined to comment.

Illinois Clean Fuels has a synthetic fuel plant under development that will convert municipal solid waste into sustainable aviation fuel in combination with carbon capture and storage, according to its website.

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