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Modular green ammonia start-up raises $22m

Proceeds will allow the firm, Talus, to ramp production of its green ammonia technology, with deliveries set for later this year.

Talus Renewables, a renewable energy infrastructure company and creator of the first modular green ammonia system deployed commercially, has raised $22m in a Series A financing.

The financing was co-led by Material Impact and Xora Innovation, a deep tech early-stage investment platform of Temasek, and joined by Cavallo Ventures, the VC arm of Wilbur-Ellis, and Rice Investment Group.

With this funding, Talus will ramp up production of its green ammonia technology, using water, air, and renewable power to revolutionize production of fertilizer, and enable on-site operations that significantly reduce the carbon footprint of historically difficult-to-decarbonize industries.

Talus’s systems’ ability to generate lower-cost, carbon-free ammonia at or near the point of use reduces or eliminates supply chain length for agriculture, mining, and industrials, with additional applications in maritime shipping, renewable energy storage, and power generation.

Talus will deliver multiple talusOne (up to 1.4 tonnes of green ammonia daily) and talusTen (up to 20 tonnes) systems beginning later this year in US and European markets. The first talusOne was installed in partnership with the Kenya Nut Company in the Kenya Highlands.

“We are gratified by our investors’ confidence in our ability to provide a more sustainable, cost-effective, and secure path forward for critical industries,” said Hiro Iwanaga, Co-Founder and CEO of Talus Renewables. “The promise of rapidly deployable, modular, autonomous green ammonia systems will extend far beyond agriculture to industrial and renewable energy applications.”

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Minnesota SAF production coalition formed

A collection of private and public entities intend to make Minnesota, and in particular the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, an important SAF hub.

Bank of America, Delta Air Lines, Ecolab and Xcel Energy have established the Minnesota SAF Hub, the first large-scale SAF Hub in the US committed to scaling sustainable aviation fuel production, according to a news release.

Anchor members are joined by other institutions, including the State of Minnesota, to implement a shared strategy for decarbonizing the airline industry. It’s organized through the GREATER MSP Partnership.

The aim is to produce low-carbon SAF by developing an integrated value chain from production to use at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

“After eight months of behind-the-scenes collaboration, the coalition will share its ambitious objectives today at the North American SAF Conference and Expo in Minneapolis,” the release states. “Progress to date includes establishing a shared, multi-phase strategy, securing nation-leading financial incentives from the State of Minnesota, and building a growing coalition of Minnesota-based organizations including the anchor companies, State of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the University of Minnesota, and knowledge partner McKinsey & Company.”

As early as 2025, the coalition aims to bring commercial-scale volumes of SAF to the airport. Minnesota’s SAF tax credit makes the state attractive for production. It is working with existing and prospective SAF producers to increase production in Minnesota.

“The coalition will welcome additional SAF producers, investors, corporate partners, and broader value chain players,” the release states.

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Schlumberger changes name to SLB, eyes hydrogen opportunities

Schlumberger has changed its name to SLB and is exploring opportunities in the hydrogen sector, among other areas in its New Energy business.

Schlumberger has changed its name to SLB, according to a press release.

The change underscores the company’s commitment to a decarbonized future, the release states.

In 2020, SLB launched its New Energy business to explore partnerships and opportunities in clean technology. Hydrogen is one of five areas SLB is looking to develop through New Energy, along with carbon solutions, geothermal and geoenergy, energy storage and critical minerals.

This includes Genvia, a clean hydrogen technology company formed as a public/private partnership with France’s renewables research agency, CEA, and other partners.

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GHI assessing ABB technology for Hydrogen City

GHI has signed an MoU to assess ABB’s automation and electrification technology for deployment at the South Texas Hydrogen City green hydrogen project.

ABB is collaborating with Green Hydrogen International (GHI) on a project to develop a major green hydrogen facility in south Texas, United States.

As part of the Memorandum of Understanding ABB’s automation, electrification and digital technology will be assessed for deployment at GHI’s Hydrogen City project, according to a news release.

The Power-to-X facility will use solar and onshore wind energy to power a 2.2 GW electrolyzer plant to produce 280,000 tons of green hydrogen per year, which will be turned into one million tons of green ammonia annually.

ABB has already completed a feasibility study to develop an electrical system architecture that optimizes return on investment for the project and supports compliance with EU legislation governing Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBO)2 and the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). ABB plans to supply its Integrated Control Safety System with the distributed control system ABB Ability™ System 800xA® to improve efficiency, operator performance and asset utilization.

MoU scope also includes electrical motors and drives, measurement and analytics solutions, and power and process optimization solutions.

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NanoScent seeking new investor to complete blended funding round

NanoScent is seeking a new investor to satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the European Innovation Council.

NanoScent, an Israel-based technology firm, is seeking a new investor to help solidify an equity investment from the European Innovation Council, CEO Oren Gavriely said in an interview.

To satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the EIC, NanoScent must bring on a new investor at EUR 2m, Gavriely said.

The ideal investor will have complementary capabilities that can ramp up the revenue stream, Gavriely added. Producers and suppliers of gasses and chemicals for industrial use would make sense.

The money will be used to further develop the proprietary VOCID Purity in-line sensor controller, which measures hydrogen quality by monitoring the cleanliness of gas lines. The technology is oriented towards producers and end-users like fuel cell stations, who will be responsible for the integrity of the hydrogen. The product will be rolled out at the end of 1Q23.

Gavriely said the company has several customers for the technology in the pipeline, declining to say who they are.

NanoScent, founded five years ago, has raised USD 10m in equity to date, with another USD 10m in non-dilutive funding. The company’s largest outside investor is Sumitomo Chemical, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Control of the company is maintained by the founders, Gavriely said.

NanoScent has 20 employees, Gavriely said. So far the company has relied on the expertise of its board, which includes one former investment banker, for financial advisory services. That could change in the future as the company grows.

NanoScent uses Pearl Cohen for law services and EY for accounting.

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Exclusive: Hydrogen adoption and production firm prepping capital raise

A decarbonization services provider is in development on multiple utility-owned hydrogen adoption projects in the Northeast, Texas and Georgia and is preparing to launch a capital raise in 3Q24.

Celadyne, a Chicago-based decarbonization and hydrogen solutions company, will launch a Series A this year as it continues its role in the development of several utility-owned hydrogen adoption projects in the US, founder and CEO Gary Ong told ReSource.

A $20m to $30m capital raise will likely launch in 3Q24, Ong said. The company is relying on existing investors from its recent seed round to advise, and the amount could change based on grants.

While the $4.5m seed round allowed the company to focus on transportation mobility, the Series A will be used to do more work on hydrogen production, so the company will be looking for strategics in oil and gas, renewable energy, and utilities.

DLA Piper is the company’s legal advisor, Ong said.

Celadyne has a contract signed with a utility in the Northeast for a small electrolysis demonstration and, following that, a multimillion-dollar project. Discussions on how to finance that latter project are underway.

Additional electrolysis projects in Texas and Georgia are in later discussions, while less mature deals are taking shape with a nuclear customer in Illinois and another project in Southern California, Ong said.

Fuel cell customers (typically OEMs that use hydrogen) to which Celadyne ships equipment are clustered mostly in Vancouver, Michigan and California.

Meanwhile, Celadyne has generated revenues from military contracts of about $1m, Ong said, a source of non-recurring revenue that has prodded the company to look for a fuel cell integration partner specific to the defense application.

‘Blocking hydrogen’

The company, founded in 2019, is focused on solving for the demand and supply issues for which the fledgling US hydrogen market is notorious. Thus, it is split-focused between hydrogen adoption and production.

Celadyne has developed a nanoparticle coating that can be applied to existing fuel cell and electrolyzer membranes.

On the heavy-duty side, such as diesel generators or back-up power, the company improves durability of engines between 3X and 5X, Ong said.

On the electrolysis side, the technology improves rote efficiency by 15%. In production, Celadyne is looking for pilot projects and verification studies.

“We’re very good at blocking hydrogen,” he said. “In a fuel cell or electrolyzer, when you have hydrogen on one side and oxygen on the other side, you need something to make sure the hydrogen never sees the oxygen,” noting that it improves safety, reduces side reaction chemistry and improves efficiency.

Hydrogen adoption now will lead to green proliferation later should the economics prove out, according to Ong. If not, blue hydrogen and other decarbonized sources will still pave the way to climate stability.

The only negative for that is the apparent cost-floor for blue hydrogen in fuel cell technologies, Ong said, as carbon capture can only be so cost efficient.

“So, if the price floor is say, $3.25 or $3.50 per kg, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use it for things like transportation, it just means that it might be hard to use it for things like shipping, where the fuel just has to be cheaper,” Ong said.

Three companies

Celadyne is split into three focus applications: defense, materials, and production. If only one of those wings works, Ong said he could see selling to a strategic at some point.

“If any of those things work out, we ought to become a billion-dollar company,” he said.

If all three work out, Ong will likely seek to do an IPO.

An acquisition could be driven by an acquiror that can help Celadyne commercialize its products faster, he said.

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AEM electrolyzer startup conducting Series B capital raise

A maker of anion exchange membrane electrolyzers is undergoing a Series B capital raise.

Versogen, an electrolyzer startup, is conducting a Series B capital raise, with the aim of closing the round in the coming weeks, CFO Tim Krebs said in an interview.

The Delaware-based maker of anion exchange membrane electrolyzers is seeking to raise multiples of its Series A capital raise, Krebs said, which was a $14.5m round completed in May, 2022.

Proceeds from the Series B would allow the company to complete development of its AEM electrolyzer, a 1 MW modular hydrogen generation system, Krebs said. The company is not using a financial advisor.

The Series A funding round was led by Doosan Corporation and its affiliate HyAxiom. Other investors include The Chemours Company, TechEnergy Ventures, Wenstone H2Tech, TOP Ventures America, a CVC arm of Thai Oil Public Company Limited, DSC Investment and CN Innovations Investments Limited. 

Krebs, a former investment banker who has been the CFO of three energy technology companies, expects some existing investors will also participate in Versogen’s Series B round.

Versogen is led by co-founder and CEO Yushan Yan, an electrochemical engineer and inventor. The company touts a technology using low-cost construction materials like an alkaline electrolyzer but a more efficient production process akin to a membrane-based PEM electrolyzer.

Market dynamics

The capital raise is taking place amid a crowded field of electrolyzer startups looking to raise money in order to finalize designs and cement commercial opportunities.

Among others, Electric Hydrogen, a PEM electrolyzer startup, recently raised a $380m Series C; Verdagy raised a $73m Series B in August; and HyAxiom, a developer and manufacturer of fuel cell and electrolyzer solutions, completed a $150m private placement of convertible preferred stock in July.

At the same time, growth equity as well as Series A and Series B funding for climate tech dropped significantly through the first half of 2023.

Series A funding fell 36%, while Series B funding dropped 20% and growth equity investments fell by 64%, according to data from Climate Tech Venture Capital. Series C funding dropped by 72% in 1H23 compared to the same period last year, the same data shows.

Still, the market for electrolyzers is supported by undersupply as green hydrogen projects advance around the world.

James Bowe, a partner at King & Spalding who is advising on several large green hydrogen projects, said the three top manufacturers of electrolyzers are sold out for the next three to four years, potentially providing an opportunity for startups to fill the gap. Bowe made the comments yesterday during a panel at the Reuters North America Hydrogen conference in Houston.

Additionally, several catalysts for further electrolyzer demand are on the near-term horizon. The US Department of Energy is expected to announce the winners of up to $8bn in government funding for hydrogen hubs this week, while guidance from the IRS detailing rules to qualify for green hydrogen tax credits should be issued in the coming months.

Further clarity on government support for the hydrogen industry is expected to spur many projects toward final offtake arrangements and final investment decisions, experts say.

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