Resource logo with tagline

Methane-to-value firm raises $28m

Windfall Bio, a provider of methane-to-value solutions, has raised $28m led by Prelude Ventures with participation from Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund and others.

Windfall Bio, a provider of methane-to-value solutions, announced its $28m Series A funding round led by Prelude Ventures with participation from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Global Brain (through its Norinchukin Innovation Fund L.P.), Incite Ventures, and Positive Ventures.

Existing investors also participated in the round, including B37 Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mayfield, and UNTITLED (a fund backed by the Tetra Laval family), according to a news release.

Supporting its commercial pipeline, the new capital will enable Windfall to expand pilot deployments across methane intensive industries including agriculture, oil and gas, and waste management. Windfall will also invest resources to continue building out its team, manufacturing capacity and supply chain to meet growing global customer demand for methane mitigation solutions.

Windfall’s solution addresses methane emissions by capturing methane for a low, all-in cost while producing on-site, high quality fertilizer for customers to use or sell.

“While addressing methane emissions is the most impactful strategy available today to tackle near-term climate change, it has remained a critically underappreciated and underfunded problem for global warming, only recently gaining significant attention in climate discussions,” said Josh Silverman, co-founder and CEO of Windfall Bio. “However, methane represents an important resource that can create significant value for customers if they are given the right tools. We’ve seen early commercial traction and with the support of our strategic investors, Windfall will empower customers across industries to eliminate harmful methane emissions and create valuable outputs in return.”

Windfall’s nature-based solution harnesses methane-eating microbes—referred to as mems—that capture methane from any source while also capturing nitrogen from the air to produce organic fertilizer on customers’ sites. For agriculture and industrial customers, mems create value by improving soil health, enabling emissions tracking and reporting, improving resource efficiency, and generating new revenue streams from the sale of organic fertilizer.

Windfall exited stealth in March 2023 with a $9m seed raise. The Series A funding brings the company’s total fundraising amount to $37m and further validates the need and promise for its methane mitigation solution across multiple industries. The Series A builds on several milestones the company achieved in the last year, including building out its executive team and Board of Advisors to support Windfall’s go-to-market strategy

Unlock this article

The content you are trying to view is exclusive to our subscribers.
To unlock this article:

You might also like...

US steelmaker committing to hydrogen offtake

A US steelmaker has made offtake commitments to several hydrogen hubs in development, in an effort to support reliable supply and affordability. The resulting steel will be sold at a premium to the auto industry.

Cleveland-Cliffs, the largest producer of flat-rolled steel in the US, is starting to make commitments to several hydrogen hubs in the Midwest in an effort to advance the supply of clean hydrogen.

In remarks last week, Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said his company is seeking to break the hydrogen industry’s chicken-and-egg dilemma by committing to offtake from proposed hubs in Ohio and Northwest Indiana.

As it stands, industrial gas producers don’t produce hydrogen at scale to reduce costs because there’s no demand, Goncalves said. And there’s no demand, he added, because there’s no supply.

“We are breaking this chicken-and-egg conundrum by committing with offtakes to the hubs,” he said, noting his company will take half of the offtake from the Toledo, Ohio hub being developed by Linde and other partners.

“The footprint [of the project] is 100 tons per day,” Goncalves said. “Our offtake there is 50 tons per day,” with the additional 50 tons per day likely taken up by other industries like automotive, he added.

Meanwhile, Cleveland-Cliffs has made an offtake commitment to a Northwest Indiana hub being developed by Constellation and bp, Goncalves said.

Cliffs recently conducted a trial use of hydrogen in steelmaking at its Middletown Works blast furnace, and is set to launch another trial at its Indiana Harbor facility, which is near the proposed Northwest Indiana hub.

Due to the proximity of the company’s steelmaking facilities using hydrogen, Cleveland-Cliffs has committed to 200 tons per day of offtake from the Northwest Indiana hub, which is expected to produce 1,000 tons per day. Cliffs made further commitments for offtake with bp for hydrogen produced elsewhere in Northwest Indiana, Goncalves said.

According to Goncalves, the hydrogen production could turn the region into a producer of hydrogen cars.

“So that would make for us to be the enabler of having the automotive industry building stuff in Northwest Indiana to produce hydrogen cars if the OEMs really pursue this route,” he said.

He added that he is hoping that the hydrogen trial at its Indiana Harbor No. 7 facility will be done with a permanent pipeline.

Steel premiums

Cliffs is already charging a premium of around $40 per ton to automotive clients for steel produced using lower carbon feedstock from the company’s HBI facility. Goncalves estimates that this cost gets passed on to the ultimate buyer of a new car, raising the window sticker MSRP price of a car by around 0.1%.

“As one of the largest suppliers of steel to the automotive industry in the world, Cleveland-Cliffs wants to continue to invest in green initiatives,” Goncalves said. “And therefore, we need to be paid for that. That’s not unreasonable and should actually be expected and universally accepted.”

The current HBI steel product, called Cliffs H, will become Cliffs H2 – and become even more expensive – once hydrogen is available in larger and more affordable amounts, according to the executive. And when hydrogen completely replaces natural gas, the product will be called Cliffs H Max, where the steelmaking process has reached minimum theoretical coke rates – likely around 2029 or 2030, he said.

Read More »

Aemetis raising project finance for SAF facility

California renewable fuels company Aemetis is in an advanced process to raise approximately $500m in project financing for its Riverbank sustainable aviation fuel facility.

Cupertino, California-based Aemetis is far along in a process to raise roughly $500m for its Riverbank sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facility – the largest of several capital raises the company is pursuing, CEO Eric McAfee said today.

The financing for the Riverbank facility, which just received final permitting authorizations, is expected to include preferred equity as well as senior secured debt financing, he added.

“We are well into a process of project financing,” McAfee said, a process delayed by the permit hindrances, in what will amount to a package in the “half a billion range.”

Shares for publicly-listed Aemetis traded today at $3.26 and a $129m market cap.

For the Riverbank project, Aemetis has already signed a deal for 20-year senior debt financing under the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program, he said.

“But we have multiple opportunities in senior secured debt and we’ve got a very active customer base among airlines, many of whom have already funded into funds that are dedicated to the growth of SAF production,” he said.

He noted that airlines as well as manufacturers of widebody jets have all joined together to provide  mezzanine or equity financing to support SAF. “And we have active discussions with the largest of those investors,” he said.

The company has signed $3.8bn of final binding supply agreements with 10 airlines and a $3.2bn renewable diesel supply contract with the National Travel Stop Company, executives said on the call. In its five-year plan, Aemetis estimates the Riverbank facility will generate revenue of $672m with adjusted EBITDA of $195m in 2027 from the 90 million gallon plant.

Aemetis also expects to close on $75m of financing for biogas projects, and is also also raising a “little bit” of carbon sequestration financing, McAfee said.

The company generated LCFS credits from its biogas operations for the first time in Q124, 

“In addition to the sale of renewable natural gas as a fuel and the sale of federal D3 RINs, this new LCFS credit revenue stream will only increase as we build new digesters and as the California Resources Board approves the lower carbon intensity values that we have already demonstrated in actual operations ,” Andy Foster, president of North America said.

Though there have been delays in updating the California LCFS regulations for 2024, Foster noted that the California Air Resources Board’s model estimates the regulatory changes will raise the price of LCFS credits to more than $220 per credit in the next two years. The price of the credit has recovered from recent lows and is trading around $67 currently.

“There clearly was a realization that the LCFS credit overhang in the market was causing a serious deterioration in the ability for companies like us to make return on investment and further invest in programs, but also to encourage new investment in the entire renewable sector,” Foster said of the rule changes.

Read More »

Decarbonizing the planet’s 1,000 most CO2-intensive assets

A report from German management consulting firm Roland Berger outlines a pathway for decarbonizing the 1,000 assets that emit the most carbon globally.

A new report from German management consulting firm Roland Berger proposes a strategic approach to combat climate change by targeting the decarbonization of the world’s 1,000 most carbon-intensive assets. 

The plan, called the Global Carbon Restructuring Plan, identifies the 1,000 coal-fired power plants, iron, and steel plants that are major contributors to CO2 emissions, noting that over half of these assets are located in China, with significant numbers also in India and the United States.

The ownership of these assets is notably consolidated, with just 40 companies holding assets responsible for half of the noted emissions, suggesting that targeted initiatives could lead to significant environmental benefits, according to the report. Meanwhile, only 160 asset owners together account for around 80% of these emissions.

With a concerted effort to transition these assets towards more sustainable energy sources, including renewable energy, gas, nuclear power, and carbon capture and storage(CCS), the plan outlines a pathway to achieve a substantial reduction in global carbon emissions.

The report calls for widespread deployment of renewable energy in all regions, but notes that each region should “play to its strengths” by complementing renewables with the next best local solution:

  • For China and India, this means employing CCS for their high proportion of young coal- and gas-fired power plants. 
  • In the US, switching from coal- to gas-fired power plants with CCS makes sense due to the low natural gas prices. 
  • Europe should strive for the deployment of CCS and (re-) consider nuclear as a zero-emission technology that can replace baseload energy supply. 
  • Like China and India, countries in the RoW cluster should focus on widespread incorporation of CCS for carbon-intensive assets. 

According to the study, decarbonizing these key assets could result in a reduction of 8.2 gigatons of CO2 emissions, representing a third of the required reduction to maintain hopes of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Financially, the decarbonization efforts are estimated to cost between USD 7.5 trillion for renewable energy initiatives and up to USD 10.5 trillion for nuclear and CCS solutions over a 26-year period from 2025 to 2050.

 

The report points to stark differences in the costs of decarbonization among emitter countries. “Taken as one-off expenses, decarbonizing the top 1,000 assets will cost China 23-32% of its GDP and will cost 18-31% of GDP in India,” according to the report. “For the RoW cluster, it comes to 9-10%, but for Europe and the United States, it works out at just 2-5% of their respective GDPs.”

‘Headroom’

The Global Carbon Restructuring Plan delves into the financial viability of decarbonization technologies, highlighting a concept known as ‘headroom’. Headroom represents the financial capacity of asset owners to invest in decarbonization without reaching unsustainable levels of debt. The plan’s analysis indicates that the 406 asset owners identified possess a collective headroom of approximately USD 2.2 trillion, underscoring the financial potential to support decarbonization efforts significantly​​.

This financial headroom is unevenly distributed across regions and sectors. Remarkably, almost half of this capacity is held by companies outside of the traditional economic powerhouses, in the rest of the world (RoW), particularly within the oil and gas sector. Chinese companies account for 21% of the total headroom, with US firms close behind at 20%. European companies contribute 9%, while Indian firms represent a mere 3% of the global capacity​​.

The plan raises a pivotal question: Is this USD 2.2 trillion in headroom sufficient to finance the transition to low-carbon technologies? The answer varies by the type of decarbonization solution. For carbon capture and storage (CCS) and gas, the required capital expenditures (CapEx) of USD 1.2 trillion and USD 1.3 trillion, respectively, fall within the available headroom, suggesting these technologies could be pursued immediately with existing financial resources. However, renewable energy sources (RES) and nuclear power present a more complex financial challenge, each requiring an estimated USD 4 trillion in CapEx—nearly double the available headroom. This indicates that an additional USD 2 trillion in financing, from either public or private sources, would be necessary to fully implement these solutions​​.

Moreover, the plan underscores that financeability is not solely a function of the technology chosen but also varies significantly by region. While companies in RoW could feasibly finance all four decarbonization solutions, China and India face substantial financial hurdles across the board. In contrast, for Europe and the US, only the shift to 100% nuclear power would encounter significant financial barriers​​.

Read More »
exclusive

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.”

Read More »
exclusive

Denver green ammonia firm prepping series C capital raise

A green ammonia developer and technology provider is laying the groundwork for a series C capital raise later this year, and still deliberating on a site for its first project.

Starfire Energy, a Denver-based green ammonia producer, is wrapping up a series B capital raise and laying the groundwork for a series C later this year, CEO Joe Beach said in an interview.

The company completed a $6.5m series A in 2021 and finished a $24m series B last year. Investors include Samsung Ventures, AP Ventures, Çalık Enerji, Chevron Technology Ventures, Fund for Sustainability and Energy, IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Osaka Gas USA, Pavilion Capital and the Rockies Venture Club.

Beach declined to state a target figure for the upcoming raise. The firm has not used a financial advisor to date.

Starfire is currently deliberating on locations for its first production facility to come online in 2026, Beach said. Colorado is a primary contender due to ammonia demand, while the Great Plains offer abundant wind energy.

The firm’s strategy is to use renewable energy and surplus nuclear power from utilities to create ammonia from hydrogen with no storage component, eliminating the problems associated with hydrogen storage and transportation.

Targeted offtake industries include agriculture, maritime shipping and peaking power fuel consumption.

“The demand is global,” Beach said, stating that he expects about 150 leads to convert to MOUs. “We get inbound interest every week.”

For future capital raising, Beach said the company could take on purely financial investors, as it already has a long list of strategic investors.

“The expectation is we will wind up with manufacturing plants around the world,” Beach said.

The “new petroleum”

Many hydrogen production projects have been announced worldwide in the last year.

Beach said he expects many of those to transition into ammonia production projects, as ammonia is much easier to export.

Now, Starfire is working on developing its ammonia cracking technology, which converts ammonia into an ammonia/hydrogen blend at the point of use for chemical processes. The final product form in that process is 70% ammonia, 22.5% hydrogen and 7.5% nitrogen – all free of emissions.

The company is using proceeds of its series B capital raise to develop its Rapid Ramp and Prometheus Fire systems. Rapid Ramp uses a modular system design for the production of green ammonia using air, water, and renewable energy as the sole inputs. Prometheus Fire is an advanced cracking system that converts ammonia into hydrogen, operating at lower temperatures than other crackers and creating cost-effective ammonia-hydrogen blends that can replace natural gas.

The advantage to using this technology is that it makes the export of a hydrogen product financially feasible, Beach said.

“You should see ammonia becoming the new petroleum,” he said of the global industry. Ammonia can be deployed internationally like oil and provide the dependability of coal.

Eventually Starfire will undergo a financial exit, Beach said. Likely that will mean an acquisition, but an IPO is also on the table.

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

Sign up for a free 15-day trial and get the latest clean fuels news in your inbox.