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M.I.T. weighs in on ‘additionality’

Citing a recent study, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed comments with the IRS, promoting a phased approach for the implementation of hourly time-matching of renewable generation resources with demand from electrolytic hydrogen production.

Researchers with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week filed comments with the IRS in support of a phased approach to hourly time-matching requirements for pairing renewable power sources with green hydrogen electricity demand.

M.I.T conducted case studies of the Florida and Texas electric grids using its open-source energy system model to compare emissions intensities of hydrogen production using annual and hourly time-matching requirements under two distinct models: “A) in a competitive environment, where any electricity demand for H2 production and non-H2 production ‘compete’ for the renewable generation resources entering the grid (Compete), and B) in a non-competitive environment, where any electricity demand for H2 production comes from new low-carbon generation installed in addition to a grid that is already cost-optimized for the existing non- H2 demand (Non-Compete).”

The researchers concluded that, in the short term, annual time-matching is sufficient and cost-effective to meet the .45 kg CO2eq / kg of H2 Tier 1 limit in the Inflation Reduction Act while demand for green hydrogen remains low.

However, the authors state, “Once demand for electrolytic H2 becomes substantial, switching to hourly time-matching would be necessary to avoid high emissions. When H2 production is forced to compete for clean electricity deployments for grid decarbonization, annual time-matching results in higher emissions” than potentially grey hydrogen.

The researchers write that while hourly time-matching in a “non-compete” framework would reduce emissions, its implementation would require greater capital investments, larger land areas, and hydrogen storage when compared to annual matching – a dynamic that could work against the policy objectives of the tax credit to scale green hydrogen.

“By utilizing a phased approach for the time matching of energy inputs used in the qualified clean hydrogen production process, starting with annual matching and then an automatic conversion to requiring hourly matching later (e.g., 2030), the IRS can ensure the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from hydrogen production is achieved while not interfering with other grid decarbonization efforts,” the authors write.

The full study can be found here.

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Developer inks supply agreement for Kansas CO2 utilization facility

The facility will produce green syngas from CO2 to be used for making products such as hydrogen, synthetic base oils, low-carbon jet fuels, green methanol, and others.

HYCO1, Inc.  announces that it has entered into a 20-year carbon dioxide supply agreement with Kansas Ethanol, located in Lyons, Kansas for the planned construction of the world’s largest biogenic carbon dioxide utilization facility, Green Carbon Synthetics Kansas, LLC.

HYCO1 is a Houston, Texas (USA) based technology company that has created a disruptive CO2 conversion catalyst and related low-cost CO2 process technology. HYCO1 CUBE™ Technology (Carbon Utilization, Best Efficiency) cost-effectively utilizes carbon dioxide and various methane source feedstocks to create low-cost, low-carbon chemical grade syngas in a single pass.

The syngas produced is used to produce low carbon intensity (CI) downstream products.   HYCO1 technology not only lowers the resultant carbon score of the downstream products by 50% to 100% but does so at a competitive cost compared to fossil feedstock derived products and without the requirement of incentives like many other technologies.  HYCO1 technology enables green syngas to be used for making products such as hydrogen, synthetic base oils, low-carbon jet fuels, green methanol, and many others.

The new HYCO1 project to be co-located with Kansas Ethanol will utilize all of their 800 tons per day of CO2 to produce approximately 60 million gallons per year of low-carbon and zero-carbon products.

Kurt Dieker, chief development officer and co-founder of HYCO1, stated, “While there are many paths that an ethanol facility can take to improve sustainability and margins, ranging from additional energy efficiencies to protein separation, in my opinion CO2 utilization represents the leading value-added step for an ethanol production facility.”

The Lyons HYCO1 project is in the engineering stage with plans to complete the pre-construction engineering in 2024. The facility will produce approximately 4,000 barrels per day of first-of-a-kind synthetic Base Lubricating Oils and Low-Carbon Jet Fuel made from CO2. High-performance products include four centistoke base oil for use in the highest grade synthetic motor oils; and a two centistoke base oil currently being tested by EV manufacturers for its ideal battery and drive-train heat transfer and lubrication properties.

The projects’ products are produced with more than 80% reductions in carbon footprints versus traditional fossil-derived products.   Approximately half of the weight of these new sustainable products will consist of biogenic CO2 that would have previously been emitted into the atmosphere.

Mike Chisam, CEO of Kansas Ethanol, said of the project, “Although most ethanol producers are considering or pursuing underground carbon sequestration in our industry to decarbonize, we believe that carbon utilization, which supports a circular carbon economy, represents the best use of our CO2, and positions us more competitively in the market. Value added products made from CO2 that displace fossil derived products represents a win for us at Kansas Ethanol, a win for the U.S. Ethanol Sector, and a win for the global environment. We are looking forward to the construction of the HYCO1-based Green Carbon Synthetics Kansas, LLC facility next to ours. The co-location benefits: carbon dioxide utilization, natural gas offset through waste heat steam production, and additional electricity offsets will position our facility as a world leader of low-carbon ethanol resulting in significant shared savings.” Chisam also noted “HYCO1’s carbon utilization technology enables us to sustainably produce all products, even if, or when, government support incentives are no longer available. That is incredibly important to us.”

HYCO1 is currently evaluating additional project sites and partners to mirror the Green Carbon Synthetics Kansas, LLC project, while also collaborating with downstream technology providers to produce other low-carbon products.

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Vertex Energy appoints advisor for renewable fuels strategy

NASDAQ-listed Vertex has engaged BofA as strategic financial advisor.

Vertex Energy, Inc., a specialty refiner and marketer of refined products, has named BofA Securities as strategic financial advisor to assist with its renewable fuels and sustainable products growth strategy.

During this engagement, the company expects to review various potential strategic transaction opportunities aimed at strengthening the balance sheet to support growth acceleration and asset development in line with the company’s forward trajectory as an energy transition company, it said in a statement.

Vertex has not set a timetable for the completion of this process and does not intend to comment further unless or until the Board of Directors has approved a definitive course of action, or it is determined that other disclosure is necessary or appropriate.

Benjamin P. Cowart, President and CEO of Vertex, stated, “Scaling our renewable fuels and sustainable products strategy is a top priority for us. As such, we are tightening our focus on strategic initiatives and considering options that optimally support our long-term vision. We believe BofA has the right tools and expertise to help us transition into this next phase of development for the company.”

Vertex Energy commissioned its first renewable diesel facility at the company’s Mobile refinery and the first renewable diesel facility in Alabama in. May.

In 2022, Vertex acquired a conventional fuels refinery from Shell plc, immediately launching a $115m conversion project. The primary aim of the project was to convert a standalone unit within the refinery to facilitate the production of renewable diesel, a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to petroleum diesel fuel.

The project reached mechanical completion on March 31st of this year.

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Superior Plus establishes low carbon fuels distribution platform with CAD 1.05bn Certarus acquisition

Superior Plus Corp. and Certarus Ltd. have entered into a definitive agreement for Superior to acquire Certarus, a North American distributor of over-the-road low carbon fuels, including CNG, RNG and hydrogen.

Superior Plus Corp. and Certarus Ltd. have entered into a definitive agreement for Superior to acquire Certarus, a North American low carbon energy solutions provider for a total acquisition value of CAD 1.05bn, representing 8.5x 2022E EBITDA, according to a news release.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Superior will acquire all the outstanding common shares of Certarus, representing an equity value of CAD 853m and assume Certarus’ outstanding senior bank credit and leases with a total value of CAD 196m. The Certarus shareholders will receive CAD 353m in cash and CAD 500m of Superior common shares priced at $10.25 per share, representing approximately 17% pro forma ownership. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both Superior and Certarus and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.

Certarus is a rapidly growing North American distributor of over-the-road low carbon fuels, including CNG, RNG and hydrogen. Through the use of mobile storage units (MSUs), Certarus delivers low cost and low carbon intensity energy alternatives to its customers. Certarus’ MSUs are interchangeable between CNG, RNG and hydrogen giving Certarus flexibility to service its customers across North America as they transition away from diesel and other distillates. Certarus provides a virtual pipeline to its customers that do not have infrastructure in place or are in need of supplemental infrastructure. Revenue is generated from fees for service to provide its lower cost and lower CI fuels, directly passing on changes in the commodity cost of its fuels to customers.

Certarus has 18 hubs throughout Canada and the U.S. and expects to have 640 MSUs by year end, making it the largest on-road low carbon fuels distributor in North America with approximately 85% of its revenue generated in the U.S. From 2020 to 2022E, Certarus has grown the number of MSUs by 37%, the volume of low carbon fuels delivered by approximately 76% to 57,000 MMBtu/d and is expected to maintain substantial growth as the demand for its products continues to increase. Over the same period, Certarus has more than doubled its Adjusted EBITDA2, with expected 2022 Adjusted EBITDA of $124 million, driven by continued volume and efficiency improvements.

Certarus’ rapid growth is the result of increasing customer demands to transition from higher cost and higher carbon intensity fuels such as diesel and other distillates to lower cost and lower carbon energy alternatives. The acquisition of Certarus accelerates Superior’s energy transition path with a business that is both rapidly growing and accretive to Superior’s financial results.

“The acquisition of Certarus is a highly strategic and transformative transaction for Superior as it represents an exciting opportunity for significant organic growth and provides our existing and new customers with the ability to meet their ESG goals through our low carbon energy distribution platform,” said Luc Desjardins, Superior’s president and CEO. “With our execution on the Superior Way Forward strategic initiatives in the past 24 months, we are ahead of our timing to achieve CAD 700m to CAD 750m in EBITDA from operations as we now expect to reach the lower end of the target by 2024.”

Curtis Philippon, Certarus’ President and CEO stated, “we are excited to be joining the Superior team. Certarus will benefit from Superior’s scale, portable fuel distribution expertise, and a shared commitment to safety. The joining of our businesses creates a strong platform upon which we can continue to grow and provide decarbonization solutions, including RNG and hydrogen.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Curtis and the team at Certarus,” said Angelo Rufino, Brookfield’s nominee on Superior’s board of directors and a member of Superior’s ad hoc Committee to evaluate Certarus. “Certarus’ low carbon and alternative fuel distribution platform provides an exciting new organic avenue of growth for Superior Plus and will further assist our core customers as they transition to a lower carbon future.”

Brookfield Asset Management made a USD 260m equity investment in Superior in 2020.

Superior intends to finance the Acquisition and related transaction expenses using a combination of approximately 48.8 million Superior common shares issued directly to Certarus shareholders valued at CAD 500m and incremental drawings from its expanded senior credit facilities.

The expanded senior credit facilities will increase to CAD 1.3bn from the current size of CAD 750m via the addition of a new CAD 550m senior secured credit facility with a three-year term. The New Credit Facility is fully committed with the CAD 550m provided by a group of lenders including Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Bank of Nova Scotia, The Toronto-Dominion Bank and National Bank of Canada.

CIBC Capital Markets is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Superior. Torys LLP is acting as Canadian legal counsel to Superior.

J.P. Morgan and National Bank Financial Inc. are acting as financial advisors to Certarus. TD Securities Inc. is acting as strategic advisor to Certarus. Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP is acting as legal counsel to Certarus.

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Exclusive: Advanced Ionics raising $12.5m, seeking pilot project partners

Advanced Ionics, an electrolyzer developer based in the Midwest, is approaching a close on the second tranche of its Series A and is seeking sponsors for pilot projects in Texas and elsewhere.

The company’s Symbiotic electrolyzers use steam by tapping into excess heat from industrial settings, thereby lowering electricity needs for water splitting to 35 kWh per kg, with 30 kWh per kg possible. That compares to industry averages over 50 kWh per kg.

Advanced Ionics, the Milwaukee-based electrolyzer developer, is about six weeks out from closing a second tranche of its Series A and is seeking new partnerships for pilot projects in the US, Chief Commercial Officer Ignacio Bincaz told ReSource.

Bincaz, based in Houston, is working to close the second $12.5m tranche, which is roughly the same size as the first tranche. The company has technical teams in Wisconsin but could build out those as well as commercial capabilities in Houston.
The company’s Symbiotic electrolyzers use steam by tapping into excess heat from industrial settings, thereby lowering electricity needs for water splitting to 35 kWh per kg, with 30 kWh per kg possible. That compares to industry averages over 50 kWh per kg.

“We just put together our first stack, Generation One, which are 100 square centimeters,” Bincaz said. Generation Two stacks will come later this year, but to get to Generation Three — commercial size, producing between 7 and 16 tons per day — the company will have to conduct a Series B about one year from now.

“For that, we need to hit certain benchmarks on durability of a stack,” he said. “The money will go toward scaling up and getting the data expected by investors to get us to Series B.”

Aside from equity provisions, Advanced Ionics is looking for sponsors for pilots and related studies, Bincaz said. “There’s different ways that we’re looking for collaboration.”

Between 2027 and 2028 the company expects to have commercial-size Generation Three stacks in the market.

Pilot projects

Advanced Ionics has two pilot projects in development with Repsol Foundation and Arpa-E (US Department of Energy), respectively.

The Repsol project is a Generation One development producing 1 kilogram per day, Bincaz said. The government project will be the first Generation Two project.

Another pilot is in development with a large energy company that Bincaz declined to name. The company is also exploring pilot projects with bp, which is an investor in the company.

After four or so pilot projects of ascending scale, the company will look to do its first industrial-scale project using real process heat or steam, integrated into a hydrogen-use process like ammonia manufacturing or chemical refining.

“We’re talking to companies in Asia, companies in Europe, companies in the US,” he said, specifically naming Japan and Singapore. “I’m in early conversations.”

Advanced Ionics’ first tranche Series A was led by bp ventures, with participation from Clean Energy Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and GVP Climate.

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Waste-to-energy specialist executes MoU with Nikola

The partnership will encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean Industries’ partners and feedstock suppliers. Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from the company’s green hydrogen projects.

Klean Industries, a Vancouver-based waste-to-value technology provider, has executed an MOU with Nikola Corporation to encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean’s partners and feedstock suppliers.

The two companies will also work on developing green hydrogen supply and dispensing infrastructure in the US and Canada, according to a statement seen by ReSource.

Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from green hydrogen projects being developed by Klean and its partners involving hydroelectric, wind and solar power in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Using Klean’s green hydrogen, the companies will convert Klean’s logistics partners’ truck fleet to Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles.

Both Klean and Nikola see a significant opportunity to collaborate on projects where Klean and its partners operate recycling, resource recovery, and waste-to-energy plants, the statement reads.

“We believe Nikola’s hydrogen-electric trucks are going to fundamentally change the ground transportation and logistics landscape. This exciting collaboration will create opportunities that will reinforce the importance of working together as we look to both deploy and develop a renewable hydrogen value chain,” said Jesse Klinkhamer, CEO of Klean Industries Inc., in a statement. “Developing clean energy projects with leading technology companies such as Nikola supports Klean’s strategic focus and enables our respective companies to create a symbiosis between waste, resources, and energy, while simultaneously helping in the creation of a circular low carbon economy. Green hydrogen has the potential to completely transform the energy landscape and drive a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Klinkhamer said in an interview last year that Klean was in the process of hiring an advisor to raise between $250m – $500m in a strategic capital raise.

Carey Mendes, president, energy at Nikola said, “Klean’s vision of utilizing a green hydrogen fleet of trucks in their tire recycling ecosystem is a clear indication of the company’s commitment to creating a better, more sustainable future. Klean has already brought together like-minded partners to decarbonize their truck fleets which is a testament to their far-reaching commitment and deep knowledge of this sustainability space.”

Klean recently partnered with City Circle Group to build a fully integrated, continuous tire pyrolysis plant to recover carbon black and biofuel in Melbourne Australia. The company also signed a partnership agreement with H2 Core Systems to distribute and build green hydrogen projects around the globe.

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EverWind in capital raise for Nova Scotia wind-to-hydrogen complex

EverWind Fuels is soliciting investor bids for a $1bn initial phase of its Point Tupper renewables and hydrogen/ammonia production facility in Atlantic Canada.

EverWind Fuels, the Canada-based renewable fuels developer, is preparing to launch a process to raise an estimated $800m in debt for its Point Tupper ammonia production and export facility near Halifax, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Citi and CIBC are mandated on the raise.

The company is seeking capital from a variety of investors, one of the sources said. The raise will likely conclude around the middle of the year with Citi stepping up for part of the debt quantum.

EverWind is also in talks with Canadian Infrastructure Bank, one of the sources said.

EverWind, Citi, CIBC and CIB did not respond to requests for comment.

Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change recently approved the Point Tupper Green Hydrogen/Ammonia Project – Phase 1. Construction should begin this year on phase 1 of the project, consisting of a 300 MW electrolysis plant along with a 600 tonnes-per-day ammonia production facility. The project also involves construction of a liquid ammonia pipeline to a jetty for international shipping and a 230 kW substation that will bring in electricity.

Government support for the project is leading to offtake agreements needed to build out a hydrogen supply chain at scale, a third source said. The project is nearing a $200m offtake agreement for green hydrogen with a large global manufacturer, this source added.

The German groups E.ON and Uniper said in August that they aim to buy up to 500,000 tonnes per year of ammonia each from EverWind, starting in 2025, when the project is set to begin production.

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