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Major Atlantic Canada green hydrogen project prefers PEM electrolyzers

A Major Atlantic Canada green hydrogen project has a preference for PEM electrolyzers instead of a mix of PEM and SOEC, citing PEM’s technology readiness. The update was one of several new developments unveiled in an amended Environmental Impact Statement.

World Energy GH2, the developer of a major green hydrogen production facility in Newfoundland and Labrador, has filed an amended Environmental Impact Statement after its initial application was deemed insufficient by provincial authorities.

The developer said in the EIS that it now prefers PEM electrolyzers instead of using a mix of PEM and solid oxide electrolyzer cells, citing PEM’s technology readiness. In addition, using a single electrolyzer technology “reduces technology and construction schedule risk,” according to the developer.

The ammonia plant will be a standard Haber Bosch design, currently in the early phases of development by a leading ammonia licensor, Haldor Topsoe of Denmark, the company said in the filing.

The project, Nujio’qonik, involves the development, construction, operation and maintenance, and eventual decommissioning and rehabilitation of two onshore wind farms and one of the first Canadian commercial-scale, green hydrogen and ammonia production plants powered by renewable wind energy. 

Located on the western coast of the Island of Newfoundland, key components of the project will include onshore wind farms, situated on Crown lands in the Port au Port and Anguille Mountains areas of NL, and a hydrogen / ammonia plant, situated on a privately owned brownfield site at the Port of Stephenville (in the Town of Stephenville, NL) that is zoned for industrial use. 

The wind farms will each generate approximately 1 GW of renewable power that will be transmitted to the hydrogen / ammonia plant and used to produce up to approximately 206,000 metric tonnes of green hydrogen (equivalent to approximately 1.17 megatonnes [Mt] of ammonia) annually via electrolysis, according to the document. 

The hydrogen / ammonia plant will have an installed electrolyzer capacity of approximately 1,200 MW and will have the ability to be expanded in the future.

The project was initially expected to produce the first green hydrogen by the end of Q2 2024, but has been delayed. A schedule update is in progress as part of the FEED (Front End Engineering Design) Readiness Assessment process. This update, considering factors such as Long Lead Item availability and Offtaker delivery requirements, is an essential step before the start of FEED and is expected to be released around April 15, 2024. 

The CBC reported that the total cost of the project is estimated at $12bn.

In October, 2023, the Newfoundland and Labrador Ministry of Environment and Climate Change deemed that the environmental impact statement submitted by the company was deemed to be deficient. An executive at the company told Reuters in December that the project would be delayed due to the inability of offtakers to handle the product.

In May, 2023, the company closed a deal under which SK ecoplant is initially investing $50m in Project Nujio’qonik, acquiring a 20 per cent stake in World Energy GH2 Limited Partnership.

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AES expects $500m of EBITDA from green hydrogen business

US utility AES expects to generate $500m of EBITDA from its ownership of green hydrogen projects by 2030, based on 1,200 metric tons per day of hydrogen production plus related renewables and tax attributes.

Anchored by one of the largest proposed projects so far in the US, Virginia-based AES is launching a green hydrogen platform where it expects to generate approximately $500m of EBITDA by 2030.

The earnings projection includes an assumption of 1,200 metric tons per day of green hydrogen along with the related renewables and tax attributes, executives said in an investor day presentation.

Reaching 1,200 MT/D of production will require $20bn of total capital needs including hydrogen plants and renewables, with equity contributions from AES expected to be 5%, or $1bn, of the capex after debt and partner equity. The presentation notes that 100 MT/D of green hydrogen requires roughly $2bn of capital for hydrogen plants and renewables.

In other words, AES plans to invest $1bn in a business that will generate $500m of EBITDA by 2030, which at, say, a 10x EV multiple, would represent a 5x return on equity. Meanwhile, AES investments in tech platforms like Fluence and Uplight have led to 8x returns on equity to date, according to the presentation.

AES and Air Products have announced a partnership to build a Texas green hydrogen project – so far the largest in the country – with $4bn of capital requirements supporting 1.4 GW of wind and solar capacity along with 200 MT/D of green hydrogen production.

The renewables supporting the Texas electrolyzer project are designed similarly to a portfolio developed for data centers, Chris Shelton, SVP and chief product officer, said during the presentation.

“We’re developing the capability to time-match and dispatch these together – there’s ongoing innovation here – to deliver that hourly matching,” Shelton said. “That results in a very high expectation that we will receive the full $3 / kg incentive for this project,” he said, referring to the emissions-tiered incentive program outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act.

AES is targeting hydrogen growth in the US, Chile, and Brazil, and has 800 MT/D of green hydrogen projects in active development, within an identified opportunity set of 3,200 MT/D.

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Green hydrogen firm adds former Cummins, Rolls-Royce, and bp execs to advisory board

The executives will help guide Avina’s strategic initiatives and advise on the use of hydrogen for decarbonization in hard-to-abate sectors.

Avina Clean Hydrogen, a green hydrogen and green fuels developer, today announced the addition of Tom Linebarger, former CEO of Cummins, Susan Dio, former President & Chairman of BP America, and Warren East, former CEO of Rolls-Royce to the Avina Advisory Board (AAB), according to a news release.

This distinguished group will help shape and guide Avina’s strategic initiatives, as well as advise on how best to leverage hydrogen to address decarbonization challenges of hard-to-abate sectors.

“We are so grateful that a highly esteemed group of leaders have agreed to serve as our inaugural advisory board and have chosen Avina as a platform to drive meaningful decarbonization in hard-to-abate sectors,” said Vishal Shah, Founder & CEO of Avina Clean Hydrogen. “Now, more than ever before, green hydrogen has a meaningful role to play as a climate solution in multiple industries and each leader brings a unique expertise and perspective from their respective backgrounds, which will be crucial in addressing the needs of a diverse portfolio of industries and end customers.”

ReSource reported previously that Avina would seek to raise approximately $1bn for green hydrogen projects this year.

Tom Linebarger is Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Cummins, a global technology leader in engines, filtration and power generation products, and was the CEO for more than 10 years until he stepped down in August of 2022. As CEO, Tom refocused the company, positioning it to be a leader in zero and low-carbon solutions. Under Tom’s leadership, Cummins developed Destination Zero, the company’s strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, Cummins is offering customers a range of solutions required for the energy transition including advanced diesel, natural gas and fuel agnostic engine platforms. Cummins recently announced a hydrogen internal combustion technology that includes a 15L hydrogen engine, which will go into full production in 2027. The company has also announced several fuel cell partnerships with Daimler Truck North America, Komatsu and Scania as well as converting Air Products’ 2,000-truck delivery fleet to fuel cell electric vehicles. In addition, Cummins is manufacturing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain for use in North America and continues to build a leading presence in the electrolyzer business.

Currently, Tom is the co-chair of The Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led coalition working to accelerate the energy transition through hydrogen. The Hydrogen Council includes CEOs from over 300 companies in sectors including automotive, gas, utility and technology companies.

“There are few executives in the world who share Tom’s wealth of experience in driving legacy sectors to adopt zero and low-carbon solutions,” said Vishal Shah, CEO of Avina. “We are fortunate to have a leader with his background to embrace and champion Avina’s mission to accelerate the energy transition in hard-to-decarbonize sectors by bringing solutions to deploy green hydrogen at scale.”

Susan Dio is a proven executive with 25+ years’ experience in international refining, petrochemicals, and oil and gas. Prior to her retirement in 2020, Susan was Chairman and President of BP America where she had responsibility for all BP businesses in the U.S. In addition, she worked with policymakers, partnerships and trade associations on trade, and energy policy, as well as navigating the energy transition toward a low-carbon future. As Chairman of the BP America Board, she focused on setting strategic direction and oversight of material risk across the 350 US subsidiaries. Between 2015 and 2018, Susan was CEO of BP Shipping, which managed the fleet of BP-operated and chartered vessels that moved over 200 million tons of products around the globe each year. As CEO, she reset the organization’s strategy and operations and modernized the company’s fleet, delivering 26 new, highly efficient tankers. Other roles Susan held at BP include Head of Audit for refining and marketing and Managing Director of a refinery in Australia. She holds a degree in chemical engineering.

“Susan’s leadership and expertise, especially in the oil & gas sector, will be invaluable as we continue our conversations with leading executives who recognize the importance of hydrogen in solving the toughest de-carbonization challenges in the energy sector,” said Vishal Shah, CEO of Avina.

Warren East retired as the CEO of Rolls-Royce in December 2022. Warren initially joined the company as a board member in 2014 after retiring as the CEO of semiconductor company ARM and later, stepped into the CEO role in 2015. Rolls-Royce manufactures aircraft engines as well as engines for boats, trains, large land vehicles and nuclear submarine reactors. As CEO, Warren pushed to modernize the company and to embrace sustainability. He committed to becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2050, and with the future of the business in mind, invested money in R&D around new aero engine design and in nuclear power, and established a sustainable solutions business in the Power Systems division, to develop micro grid solutions including hydrogen electrolyzers and fuel cells. The company created a new business to focus on electrical aviation and broke the world record for the fastest electric flight. Recently Rolls-Royce demonstrated a gas turbine aero engine running on 100% hydrogen and in the meantime, is also enabling all its aero engines to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as well as working across the industry to establish the SAF ecosystem.

“Warren’s extraordinary legacy of trailblazing leadership in technology and aviation sectors will be very valuable to Avina’s continued growth,” said Steven Berkenfeld, Board Member of Avina. “We are excited for Warren to share his unique perspectives with our team as we continue to deploy green hydrogen and ammonia solutions in new sectors.”

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Plug, Airbus, Delta exploring hydrogen hub at Atlanta airport

The study will help define the infrastructure, operational viability, and safety and security requirements needed to implement hydrogen as a fuel source for future aircraft operations at ATL.

Plug Power Inc. along with Airbus, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and Delta Air Lines have joined forces to study the feasibility of a hydrogen-based hub at the world’s busiest airport in support of advancing a more sustainable future of travel.

The study, which was preliminarily launched earlier this year, will help define the infrastructure, operational viability, and safety and security requirements needed to implement hydrogen as a fuel source for future aircraft operations at ATL. It will also contribute to the understanding of hydrogen supply and infrastructure requirements at airports around the world.

The study in Atlanta is scheduled for completion at the end of 2026.

The use of hydrogen to power future aircraft could ultimately eliminate aircraft CO2 emissions in the air, while also decarbonizing air transport activities on the ground. This study reflects the partners’ ambition to use their respective expertise to support the decarbonization of the aviation industry.

Plug is a leading provider of equipment and end-to-end, turnkey solutions for the global green hydrogen economy. The company is building an end-to-end green hydrogen ecosystem including the manufacture of electrolyzers, fuel cells and hydrogen facilities across the United States to decarbonize a variety of industrial, transportation and energy needs and applications worldwide.

“The potential to decarbonize aviation with green hydrogen is substantial,” noted Plug CEO Andy Marsh in a news release. “We are pleased to contribute our expertise in hydrogen infrastructure and applications development to this pioneering effort at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. We have a ready-made supply of green hydrogen to support the airport from our new Woodbine, Georgia, production plant, the largest green hydrogen plant in the U.S.”

Airbus is currently developing the first hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft with the ambition to enter into service in 2035 and promoting the Hydrogen Hubs at Airports concept.

“The U.S. has easy and massive access to additional renewable energies to produce green hydrogen, and airports are looking for a diverse and balanced energy mix to help reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. Hydrogen is a key enabler for this,” said Karine Guénan, Airbus’ Vice President ZEROe Hydrogen Ecosystem. “The journey to prepare airport infrastructure to support hydrogen and low carbon aviation begins on the ground with studies like this one, working with pioneer players like Delta, Plug and the world’s busiest airport.”

“Hartsfield-Jackson has long been a leader in the commercial aviation industry and it only makes sense that we help lead this effort,” said ATL Senior Deputy General Manager Michael Smith. “If hydrogen proves to be a viable alternative, ATL will investigate options to update infrastructure needs in order to implement the new technology. We are thrilled to participate in this study and look forward to the results.”

As part of the study, ATL is providing the current airport layout plan and organization and will share updates on future developments and findings.

Delta is the largest airline operating at the world’s busiest airport and offers one of the largest commercial airline schedules globally. Delta has been a long-standing core partner in the Airbus ZEROe program since 2022 when it signed on to provide expertise to identify fleet and network expectations, and the operational and infrastructure requirements needed to develop commercial aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel. Delta’s Chief Sustainability Officer Amelia Deluca said this study is part of Delta’s ongoing commitment and that no one company can solve the industry’s sustainability challenges alone.

“All aviation stakeholders need to explore new paths in every direction today if the industry is going to reach a more sustainable future of travel by 2050,” she said. “While we work to scale sustainable aviation fuel to power today’s aircraft, hydrogen is the key to unlocking the decarbonized future of flight and the next generation of aviation. That’s why we are excited to be part of this journey to help map the industry’s hydrogen blueprints with partners who share our passion for connecting the world.”

Airbus launched the “Hydrogen Hub at Airports” program to jumpstart research into infrastructure requirements and low-carbon airport operations across the entire value chain. To date, agreements have been signed with partners and airports in ten countries including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

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Exclusive: Wisconsin RNG portfolio for sale with large renewables portfolio

A major Canadian utility is auctioning off four Wisconsin RNG assets as part of a larger renewables selldown. The subsidiary at auction has previously indicated that it would take part in Northeastern US hydrogen development.

Algonquin Power & Utilities is selling a package of four renewable natural gas assets, totaling 532 mmbtu, in Wisconsin as part of a larger renewables auction, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

JP Morgan is advising on the process, codenamed Project Power, the sources said.

The process comprises mostly operational onshore wind (2,325 MW) and solar (670 MW), along with an 8 GW development pipeline across 10 power markets, according to a teaser seen by ReSource. The renewable assets are collectively known as Liberty under the Algonquin banner.

The pipeline includes 1,600 mmbtu of RNG. The operational RNG assets reached COD in 2022.

Algonquin did not respond to requests for comment. JP Morgan declined comment.

The Wisconsin assets are apparently the former Sandhill Advanced Biofuels projects, which were acquired by Algonquin in 2022.

When that acquisition was made, it was announced that Liberty had signed on as a “hydrogen ecosystem partner” in the multi-state Northeast Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub. That hub ultimately was not selected by the US department of Energy for hub funding.

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Exclusive: Hydrocarbon recycling firm raising pre-IPO equity

An early-stage company capturing and recycling CO2 from hydrocarbon engines in the northeastern US and Germany has hired an investment bank to help them with a public listing and is raising pre-IPO platform equity.

ESG Clean Energy, a Massachusetts-based carbon capture and recycling firm formed in 2016, plans to go public in 2025 but will first raise pre-IPO platform equity, CEO Nick Scuderi said in an interview.

ESG Clean Energy will change its name in a re-brand and has hired an investment bank to help with the IPO, which does not yet have a targeted quarter, Scuderi said. He declined to name the advisor.

After the name change but prior to the public listing, ESG is seeking to raise between $20m and $40m in platform equity, he said. The company is interested in a traditional IPO, not a SPAC or private debut opportunity.

Angel investors have backed the company to date, with some $40m total raised, Scuderi said. He owns a controlling stake in the company.

Power, water and CO2

ESG Clean Energy, billed as a thermal dynamics and fluid mechanics engineering company, has patented technology for use in fossil combustion engines – both piston-driven engines and bottoming cycles (secondary thermal dynamic waste-to-energy systems). Exhaust is treated to produce CO2 and water.

The technology is commercialized, producing power at a facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts under a 5 MW/20-year PPA with Holyoke Gas & Electric. The 5,000 square-foot plant in the city proper has two Caterpillar G3520 natural gas engines each producing 2 MW of power running on natural gas during peak hours.

The waste-heat from Holyoke One is used to create commodities, including distilled water.

“What we have is a design, a system, where we utilize our technology to separate the water from the exhaust,” Scuderi said. “We can utilize this technology in any power plant in the US that’s running on natural gas.”

In arid regions, the distilled water aspect has obvious potential. The Holyoke One facility makes up to 14,000 gallons of distilled water per day, Scuderi said.

The system is also applicable in ICE engines, Suderi said. The company has been in discussions with auto manufacturers to license ESG’s IP; he declined to name which auto companies.

The CO2 is sold to offtakers who do not re-emit it into the atmosphere, such as cannabis growers and CO2 beverage makers. ESG is also able to sell carbon credits.

Bankable opportunities in the US and Germany

Holyoke One, at a cost of $20m, can be replicated throughout the US and, post-IPO, ESG has eyes on power projects in New England, California and Florida, Scuderi said.

Power plants that produce from 100 MWh to 200 MWh will cost between $400m and $450m, and each of those projects will be set up as a separate LLC, Scuderi said. The demand is particularly large in powering data storage.

“We have different [investment] funds that are very large that are willing to put up the money” to fund the projects, Scuderi said. “It’s bankable because the power sales agreement is tied to a data storage company that’s triple-A rated.”

Data-heavy geographies like Virginia are targets for this kind of development, and ESG plans to sharpen its focus on these projects, as well as project finance efforts, following the IPO.

Now, the company has six large scale projects in development in Germany, including one advanced project serving a cloud computing offtaker in the Berlin area, needing 150 MW to 200 MW of power per hour, Scuderi said.

“In Germany, we’re very far along with getting power sales agreements,” he said. “Once we deploy this technology in one location, the world’s going to want it.”

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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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