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Low-carbon fuels developer raises $30m

StormFisher Hydrogen is developing several facilities capable of converting up to 300 MW of renewable electricity from wind and solar into e-fuels.

StormFisher Hydrogen, a low carbon fuel facility development company, has secured a $30 million investment from ARC Financial Corp.

The funding will be used to develop an existing pipeline of projects in the United States and Canada, according to a news release.

Since its inception in 2006, StormFisher has been focusing on projects to produce low carbon fuels at scale. The recent successful sale of its organic waste-to-energy division has allowed StormFisher to focus on the production of renewable electricity derived fuels, also called e-fuels, that will meet the rapidly expanding demand for these products as industries evolve in their energy transition.

StormFisher, now known as StormFisher Hydrogen, has been actively working on e-fuel facilities since 2018, building off its success in producing Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) at scale, and has now created a robust pipeline to deploy several billions of dollars in capital over the next 5-10 years for these facilities. The capital infusion from ARC Financial accelerates StormFisher Hydrogen’s developments that will produce electrolysis-based fuels including clean hydrogen, e-methane, e-methanol, and green ammonia.

StormFisher Hydrogen is developing several facilities capable of converting up to 300 MW of renewable electricity from wind and solar into e-fuels. These low carbon fuels will have the ability to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors such as natural gas utilities in North America as well as through the liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply chain, heavy industries such as refineries, ammonia production facilities, steel plants, glass, cement and other industries with large process and thermal loads, as well as the marine sector.

Each StormFisher facility can produce enough e-methane to lower the carbon emissions from over 60,000 homes, or enough e-methanol to fuel a container ship transporting 350,000 cargo containers from Europe to the United States. To drive its expansion, StormFisher Hydrogen has re-enlisted three key executives from its past successes: Brandon Moffatt, EVP – Project Development and Execution; Chris Guillon, EVP – Commercial Operations and Finance; and Pearce Fallis, EVP – Project Origination and Development.

“We’re excited to bring our depth and expertise in low carbon fuel facility development to support global organizations seeking to reach net zero emissions,” said Jud Whiteside, CEO of StormFisher Hydrogen. “With this new funding, we now have the capital and partners to apply our years of experience building clean energy infrastructure to unlock the full decarbonization potential of e-fuels for organizations across the globe.”

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Canada to fund CAD 800m for clean fuel projects

60 projects have been selected to receive funding through Canada’s CAD 1.5bn Clean Fuels Fund.

Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson announced that approximately 60 projects have been selected to receive funding under the Government of Canada’s CAD 1.5bn Clean Fuels Fund (CFF).

These projects represent a first tranche of the highest-ranking applications from last year’s call for proposals and have a total combined value of more than CAD 3.8bn. They include production facilities, as well as feasibility and front-end engineering and design studies, spanning seven jurisdictions and covering five different fuel types.

The federal government is undertaking negotiations to finalize the terms of funding for each project, and the total federal investment in these projects will be up to CAD 800m. This funding will help project proponents address critical barriers to growth in the domestic clean fuels market and lays the groundwork for the low-carbon fuels of the future.

A second tranche of projects, from last year’s call for proposal, is currently being reviewed, with funding decisions expected to be finalized in December. Once successful applicants have been informed, Natural Resources Canada will start contribution agreement negotiations.

Canada’s clean fuels industry is rapidly growing, owing to the global demand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bolster energy security. The importance of continued investment into the production, development and distribution of clean fuels together with their infrastructure and technology is clear, as Canada strives to position itself as a global leader with investments such as the CFF.

At today’s announcement, Minister Wilkinson also highlighted a combined investment of more than $8.8m to six organizations for 10 hydrogen and natural gas refuelling stations to help accelerate the decarbonization of road transportation. Federal funding for these projects was provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) and the Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment (EVAFIDI).

The funding under ZEVIP and EVAFIDI includes:

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H2B2 to go public in $750m SPAC deal

The Madrid-based hydrogen platform H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies has reached a deal to go public in a SPAC deal with RMG Acquisition Corp. III.

H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies, Inc. (H2B2), a global green hydrogen platform that provides bespoke integrated solutions across the hydrogen value chain, and RMG Acquisition Corp. III (Nasdaq: RMGC) (RMG III), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, have entered into a definitive agreement to take H2B2 public via a business combination, according to a news release.

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, H2B2’s stockholders will roll 100% of their equity holdings into the combined public company.

The base purchase price of $750m is subject to adjustment based on the results of the proposed capital raise transaction described below. H2B2 is separately undertaking a capital raise transaction, which is expected to close prior to the proposed transaction. The capital raise transaction is being led by Natixis Partners Iberia S.A. and BCW Securities LLC, an affiliate of RMG III. Subject to the terms and conditions of the merger agreement for the business combination, post-capital raise transaction stockholders of H2B2 will roll 100% of their equity into the surviving corporation.

Cohen & Company Capital Markets is acting as capital markets advisor to RMG III.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is acting as legal advisor to RMG III.

Pérez-Llorca is acting as Spanish counsel to RMG III.

Natixis Partners Iberia S.A. and BCW Securities LLC are acting as co-private placement agents to H2B2.

Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal advisor to H2B2.

Since its founding in 2016, H2B2 has become a key player in the green hydrogen energy sector, the news release states. H2B2 is focused primarily on the United States and European markets, but is also expanding in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, where H2B2 has secured a role in several strategic projects. In particular, H2B2 has been selected as a participant in the IPCEI Hy2Tech (Important Projects of Common European Interest) program, through which it has been approved by the European Commission to receive up to € 25 million in connection with H2B2’s development and manufacturing capacity for both stacks and electrolyzers.

In 2019, the California Energy Commission awarded H2B2 a grant for the development of a green hydrogen production facility, SoHyCal plant, in Fresno, California. This 3 MW plant is to begin production in May 2023, with an additional 6 MW of hydrogen capacity and 15 MW of associated solar PV to be constructed during Phase II. In addition, in 2022, Ecopetrol, the leading oil company in Colombia, began working with H2B2 and recently welcomed it into its group of strategic partners as part of its broader plan to decarbonize and develop green hydrogen energy. H2B2 has also recently entered the Indian market through a joint venture with GR Promoter Group and the creation of GreenH.in Electrolysis.

Key Investment Highlights

  • A leading global green hydrogen platform: Capabilities spanning the entire value chain of green hydrogen production, including R&D, manufacturing proprietary electrolyzer technology, project development, EPC, O&M, green hydrogen production, storage and delivery.
  • Customer-centric business model: H2B2 provides tailor-made and scalable solutions worldwide, with a one-stop-shop approach, offering design, development, EPC, electrolyzers, offtake agreements, financing, and O&M services.
  • Proprietary and flexible electrolysis technology: Currently utilizing proven PEM technology in the supply of its manufactured electrolyzers but is also developing next generation technologies (AEM & SOEC) in-house.
  • Global company with the ability to identify and deliver unique projects of different scale across its target markets: A robust and diversified pipeline of over 260 projects, with an expected aggregate capacity of approximately 5.6 GW of identified potential projects. H2B2 is currently working with significant customers such as Ecopetrol, GP Joule, Cepsa and Tecnicas Reunidas.
  • Industry leading management team: The H2B2 management team has over 200 years of combined experience in engineering and financing renewable energy projects and have worked together as a team for more than 20 years in renewable hydrogen.

Bob Mancini, CEO of RMG III, commented that “RMG III and H2B2 are dedicated to accelerating the energy transition through the advancement of next-generation energy infrastructure. As a pioneer in the development of green hydrogen production facilities, and supported by an industry leading team, we are confident that H2B2 is well positioned to further expand and execute on its impressive pipeline of opportunities.”

Anselmo Andrade, CEO of H2B2 has confirmed that “With the operations that we have underway, we are seeking to strengthen not only the international business that we are currently developing, but our operational capacity worldwide. The business and technological development of H2B2 will be bolstered as a result of this transaction with RMG III, thus making the energy vector of hydrogen key to decarbonization.”

Antonio Vázquez, President of the Board of Directors of H2B2, has indicated that “The proposed business combination with RMG III that has been announced to the investor community reaffirms our letter of intent announced in January earlier this year, and together with the capital raise transaction on which we are working, gives us confidence to move forward with the goal of obtaining the necessary funds from the markets and visibility to finance the future growth of H2B2.”

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NuScale Power, Shell to research hydrogen production from modular nuclear reactor

NuScale, Shell, and industry participants will assess a concept for an energy system for hydrogen production using small modular reactor technology.

Portland, Oregon-based NuScale Power, LLC (NuScale) along with Shell Global Solutions (Shell) and industry participants will develop and assess a concept for an economically optimized Integrated Energy System (IES) for hydrogen production using electricity and process heat from a NuScale VOYGR™ small modular reactor (SMR) power plant, according to a press release.

The project, entitled, “Development and Demonstration of a Concept for an Economically Optimized IES,” will be completed in two phases. Additional research participants include Idaho National Laboratory, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), Fuel Cell Energy, FPoliSolutions, and GSE Solutions.

NuScale’s flexible SMR technology holds the potential to balance and stabilize power grids dominated by renewable energies through hydrogen production, the release states. Energy markets present reliability concerns at times when energy demand is high and renewable energy production is low. In these markets, hydrogen would be used as an end-product or as a stored energy source to be processed through a Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (RSOFC) for electricity generation.

“Hydrogen has been identified as a pathway for global decarbonization and NuScale’s SMR technology complements this goal through low carbon hydrogen production,” said John Hopkins, NuScale Power president and chief executive officer.

A NuScale control room simulator will be modified to evaluate the dynamics of the IES and will include models for the Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) system for hydrogen production, in addition to a RSOFC for electricity production. The research will consider the number of NuScale Power Modules™ needed for use in SOEC hydrogen production and the quantity of hydrogen stored for subsequent electricity production. Further, local economic factors from the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project will be assessed, such as the impact in the Western Energy Imbalance Market, resource adequacy programs, and other local market factors to be defined.

“We are pleased to join this collaboration, which is in line with our efforts to explore technologies that have the potential to enable decarbonization and support the energy transition,” said Dirk Smit, vice president of research strategy at Shell.

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Feature: Is the U.S. Midwest still navigable terrain for CO2 pipelines?

Strained efforts to build thousands of miles of carbon dioxide pipelines in the U.S. Midwest could carry major implications for future projects – and for the region’s nascent clean fuels industry. According to one industry CEO, “Ethanol plants are sitting on a gold mine.”

“We’re just not interested.” 

That’s the sentiment that echoes through the testimonies of many landowners at an Iowa Utilities Board public hearing on November 7. The hearing is about Summit Carbon Solutions’ project to build a CO2 pipeline across five states, and the view is summarized in the words of Sue Carter, who owns a farm in the pipeline’s proposed path.

“We feel that it’s not a good idea to sequester the CO2, we feel that it would be detrimental to our farmland, to Iowa, and that we’re just not interested.” 

Summit Carbon Solutions, a private company backed by investors such as TPG Rise Climate, Tiger Infrastructure Partners, and John Deere, is planning to build around 2,000 miles of pipeline to transport CO2 captured at 34 ethanol and sustainable aviation fuel plants to geologic sequestration sites in North Dakota. The proposed network spans across Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. 

The project, which would build one of the largest CO2 pipelines in the world, promises to capture and store up to 18 million tons of CO2 per year, offering the Midwest’s ethanol industry a path to net zero. 

But building is far from easy. 

In September, public service commissions in both North and South Dakota denied key permits to build the pipeline across those states. In Iowa, Summit is encountering staunch opposition from some landowners, who are worried about issues like safety and land preservation, and it is requesting the right of eminent domain over approximately 900 parcels of land. 

Commercial operations, which were initially expected for 2024, have been pushed back to 2026, and the project cost has risen from $4.5bn to around $5.5bn. 

In a country that, according to some estimates, needs to expand its carbon pipeline network more than ten times in 30 years to reach the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2050, Summit’s struggle to advance its Midwest project is emblematic of what might soon happen elsewhere. Navigator CO2 Ventures, for instance, has recently canceled a pipeline project in the area after encountering similar problems. 

And the uncertainty around pipeline development might hinder the region’s nascent clean fuels industry, which relies heavily on ethanol production and carbon capture technologies. 

*

Courtesy of Summit Carbon Solutions.

A potential cost increase was something that Summit took into consideration from the start, “whether that was because of factors related to inflation, supply chain shortages, or a longer-than-expected regulatory process,” according to Sabrina Ahmed Zenor, director of stakeholder engagement and corporate communications at Summit. He pointed out that Summit also increased the project’s expected capacity from 12 million to 18 million tons of CO2 since it was first announced. 

Regardless, the way Summit goes about securing success for its project and the extra costs and delays it faces are bound to set an example for developers across the country. 

“We need to see one or many of these projects be successful to develop a model as to how to deploy them,” said Matt Fry, senior policy manager at the Great Plains Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting carbon management technologies to achieve climate objectives. “We already have some infrastructure to transport CO2, but we just haven’t seen 1,000 to 2,000 miles transporting 10 plus million tons of CO2 a year yet.”

Already, Navigator has canceled its 1,300-mile Heartland Greenway pipeline, which was supposed to carry CO2 across Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The company announced the decision on October 20, citing “the unpredictable nature of the regulatory and government processes involved, particularly in South Dakota and Iowa.”

Permitting regulations regarding carbon pipelines change from state to state. 

“Some states have deadlines or timelines associated with when an application is submitted to when a decision must be granted, which provides certainty. Some places not so much,” said Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, vice president of government and public affairs at Navigator. “Ultimately, the board did not see a pathway forward that was commercially viable.” 

According to Burns-Thompson, Summit’s challenges contributed to the decision as well. Navigator will now focus on a sequestration site in Illinois.  

Asked about Navigator’s cancellation, Summit said it “welcomes and is well positioned to add additional plants and communities to our project footprint.”

On a smaller scale, Wolf Carbon Solutions is also planning a 280-mile CO2 pipeline in Iowa and Illinois, where it filed permit applications in February and June respectively. And in May 2022 Tallgrass Energy announced its intention to convert 392 miles of natural gas pipeline into a CO2 pipeline connecting Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming.

*

Pipelines have been carrying CO2 in the U.S. for over 50 years, with the first large-scale carrier built in the 1970s. At the moment, there are around 5,000 miles of active CO2 pipelines in the U.S., mostly carrying the gas to oilfields, where it’s used for enhanced oil recovery. For comparison, the country has around two million miles of natural gas distribution mains and pipelines. 

“There’s a very high likelihood, almost a certainty, that if the US is to reach net zero by 2050, it’s going to need many hundreds of millions of tons of CCS, maybe a billion,” said Chris Greig a senior research scientist at Princeton University, and one of the lead authors of Net Zero America, a study that presents various pathways for the U.S. to achieve the net-zero emissions goal. 

If we capture carbon, we also need to transport it. According to the Net Zero America report, the U.S. would need to develop over 60,000 miles of new CO2 pipelines over the next 30 years, which would come at a capital cost ranging from $170 billion to $230 billion, depending on the overall reliance on carbon capture. 

*

The United States is the largest producer of ethanol in the world, and it mostly produces it in the Midwest, with Iowa leading the charge. 

Ethanol can be used to make sustainable aviation fuel, and its fermentation process emits a CO2 that is almost pure, making it a very good candidate for carbon capture. The CO2 captured at ethanol plants, in turn, can be used to produce clean fuels such as e-fuels, sustainable aviation fuel, or green methanol. 

That means the Midwest is well situated to become a major clean fuel hub, but some say that depends on the successful development of pipelines that can move CO2 at scale.  

Pipelines are not the only way to move CO2, which can be trucked or shipped. But Summit’s project is expected to transport around 18 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, and that would require an army of railcars and trucks, and cost much more. 

Navigator, whose canceled project was supposed to have the capacity to transport 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year, expandable to 15 million tonnes in the future, estimated that it would have had to employ nearly half a million trucks to move the same amount. 

Biofuel maker Gevo has recently vented the possibility of relocating its $1bn Lake Preston Net-Zero-1 sustainable aviation fuel plant if the Summit pipeline doesn’t go through. The Lake Preston project is anticipated to start operations in South Dakota in 2025 

“Failure for the Summit pipeline to be built in South Dakota puts our Lake Preston project at severe risk of being relocated to a more advantageous location that has the availability of CCS,” said Kent Hartwig, Gevo’s director of state and local affairs, at a Brown County, South Dakota, commission meeting on October 3. 

Because of the cancellation of Navigator’s pipeline, a memorandum of understanding between Infinium and Navigator to produce e-fuels was scrapped. Navigator was supposed to provide Infinium with 600,000 tons of CO2 per year for use as feedstock for e-fuels, an amount of CO2 that would require multiple ethanol emission sources tied together to be delivered. Infinium did not respond to a request for comment. 

An alternative could be to produce the fuels in the same place where the CO2 is captured. That’s the business model of CapCO2 Solutions, a company that develops green methanol-producing technology that fits in a shipping crate. 

“Ethanol plants are sitting on a gold mine,” said Jeffrey Bonar, CapCO2’s CEO. And that’s regardless of whether large CO2 pipelines get built. 

CapCO2 is currently raising money to place its first shipping crate at an ethanol plant in Illinois. Eight to ten shipping crates would be able to process all the carbon captured at an average ethanol plant, making green methanol as a result.

According to experts, though, the scale of carbon capture that pipelines can provide is still needed. 

“While it is possible to produce synthetic fuels with CO2, the current scale of these production activities and the markets are not yet able to utilize millions of tons of CO2 per year, so associated CO2 storage would be necessary,” said Fry at the Great Plains Institute. “If we are, as a nation, serious about meeting climate objectives, we’re going to have to figure out how to make this work.”

*

Summit says it has secured voluntary easements for 75%, or around 1,300 miles of the pipeline’s route, and it’s still working to secure rights over all the land it needs. More landowners “are signing every day,” according to Ahmed Zenor, of Summit.

In 2020, a pipeline carrying both CO2 and hydrogen sulfide ruptured in Satartia, Mississippi, sending 45 people to the hospital. The episode was the first major accident involving a CO2 pipeline in at least 20 years — according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s data, there have been 105 incidents since 2003, and no fatalities — and it spurred an ongoing update of PHMSA safety regulations. 

Among the landowners who don’t want to give Summit access to their land, the incident exemplifies their safety concerns. 

“Pipelines such as the one Summit Carbon Solutions has proposed are highly regulated to ensure public safety,” said Ahmed Zenor in an emailed statement. “In addition to being regulated by the PHMSA, the project is also subject to federal environmental regulations and state oversight.” 

Transporting materials via pipeline, she added, is safer than transporting them via truck or rail. 

The safety concerns mix with a list of worries, including construction spoiling the land, potential leaks contaminating water sources, misuse of public money, and what some landowners describe as generally aggressive behavior from Summit’s agents trying to convince them to sign voluntary easements.  

“They went to nursing homes with donuts to try to convince vulnerable senior landowners,” said Jess Mazour, program coordinator of the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization that’s been active in fighting the pipeline.

Overall, Summit is facing the opposition any linear infrastructure always faces — a Maine transmission line linking hydroelectric dams in Canada to the Northeast, for example, has been slowed down by permitting delays — complicated by a lack of uniform regulations. 

“Siting and construction are dealt with on a state-by-state basis for CO2 pipelines,” said Danny Broberg, associate director for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s energy program. “This is not the case for gas pipelines, for which interstate siting and construction authorities exist through FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. One challenge at play for CO2 pipelines is that there is no federal jurisdiction for interstate siting and construction.” 

Stakeholders and legislators have started discussing how to overcome the challenge — if, for example, siting and construction for CO2 pipelines should be through FERC or not — and in May, the Biden Administration urged Congress to consider providing federal siting authority for CO2 pipelines as a priority for facilitating clean energy development. No official proposal is on the table yet. 

Despite the permitting setbacks, Summit says it believes “the regulatory process around pipeline projects works well.” 

*

Eminent domain is, to use the Great Plains Institute’s Fry words, “one of the most contentious things on the planet,” and as activists and opposing landowners have pointed out during the Iowa Utilities Board public hearing, it’s not clear it would apply to CO2 pipelines, at least in Iowa. 

“In Iowa, you can only use eminent domain if it’s a public use and convenience,” said Mazour of the Sierra Club. “And that’s one of our biggest arguments. This is not a public benefit.”

Carbon capture, according to Mazour, is extending the life of a harmful industry. “We don’t believe that ethanol is the best solution to take care of our soils and our water and our rural communities and our farmers,” she said. “And then if we have healthy soils and if we treat the land differently and farm differently, we can actually sequester a lot of carbon in our ground.” 

A better solution, according to Mazour and the Sierra Club, would be to expand deployment of wind and solar. 

Whether Summit is entitled to use eminent domain in Iowa or not is something that will be settled once the Iowa Utilities Board issues its final decision — the public hearing wrapped up on November 8, and there is no deadline they have to meet. 

Additionally, Summit has to refile a permit application in South Dakota, and still gain all the necessary permits in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Minnesota. 

The debate over eminent domain ties to a more general discussion over the benefits and effectiveness of carbon capture technology. Recently, a Bloomberg investigation found that last year Occidental sold its Century carbon capture facility for way less than it spent building it, after the plant never reached its full capacity in over ten years. The Petra Nova carbon capture facility in Texas has also struggled to meet capacity and financial objectives, and it just recently came back online after suspending operations for over two years. 

“Innovation includes risks and some tolerance for failure,” said Broberg at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “It’s going to take the entire toolkit of resources to meet net zero, both from the government and the private sector.” 

*

As the Midwest becomes an incubator for plans and strategies to build CO2 pipelines, and conversations are starting over how to make regulations more uniform, developers are probably going to take a few lessons from Summit and Navigator. 

The most important of these, according to experts, is how to better engage with communities and spearhead education about carbon capture technologies. 

“Everyone’s in a rush to take advantage of subsidies through the IRA,” said  Greig at Princeton University. “But you can’t rush communities, right? I’m not convinced that all the developers have the level of sensitive, forward-looking stakeholder engagement and community engagement and discussion that is going to be necessary.” 

If government entities are serious about developing carbon capture technologies, however, it can’t just be private companies explaining why we need them, according to Navigator’s Burns-Thompson. “It needs to come from the trusted voice of the regulators themselves. And that’s not just state entities. That’s our federal entities as well.”

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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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Canadian renewables major eyeing hydrogen production at pumped hydro facility

Canadian power generation giant TransAlta could co-locate hydrogen production with select wind and hydroelectric facilities.

TransAlta, the Canadian power generator and wholesale marketing company, is contemplating a buildout of hydrogen production capabilities at its 320 MW Tent Mountain pumped hydro storage project in Alberta, Executive Vice President of Alberta Business Blain van Melle said in an interview.

“Our view on hydrogen is that it’s a technology that’s an option, somewhat further out in the future, particularly when it comes to power generation,” van Melle said. “If we can offer our customers maybe a power and hydrogen solution, and they’re using the hydrogen in another process, that would be something we would look at.”

In early 2022 TransAlta made a CAD 2m equity investment in Ekona Power, a methane pyrolysis company based in Vancouver. The company also committed USD $25m over four years to EIP’s Deep Decarbonization Frontier Fund 1.

That latter investment is a way to continue to learn about hydrogen and have exposure to emerging technologies, van Melle said.

The recent 50% stake acquisition in the Tent Mountain project includes the intellectual property associated with a 100 MW offsite green hydrogen electrolyzer and a 100 MW offsite wind development project.

Having hydrogen production co-located with wind and pumped hydro storage could make sense for the company in a few years, van Melle said. FID on Tent Mountain could be reached sometime in 2025 and will require the company to secure a PPA offtake and determine capital cost. Development work will take three to four years and earliest construction could begin in 2026.

The company has not had discussions with potential offtakers, van Melle said, adding that development on the pumped hydro facility needs to mature before a hydrogen component advances.

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