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Monarch Energy considering Illinois SAF plant

The plant would supply SAF to the Rockford International Airport, according to a column by Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Monarch Energy is considering a sustainable aviation fuel facility in Rockford, Illinois.

The plant would supply SAF to the Rockford airport, according to a column by Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth.

“Monarch is considering building a facility that would use the emissions from nearby landfills that are already overburdened with waste from metro areas, converting them into American-made Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) that could then be used at Rockford International Airport,” the senator wrote.

In an interview last year, Monarch CEO Ben Alingh said the company was focused on several green hydrogen projects in the Gulf Coast region, most notably a 500 MW project near Beaumont, Texas and a 300 MW project near Geismar, Louisiana.

Monarch has a $25m preferred equity investment and $400m project equity commitment from LS Power.

The proceeds of the preferred equity raise will fund pre-FID aspects of Monarch’s 4.5 GW green hydrogen development platform: overhead, project development, interconnection, land, permitting, and engineering.

The $400m commitment, meanwhile, is earmarked for project equity investments in Monarch’s pipeline of projects. Under the arrangement, the projects will be dropped into a new entity, Clean Hydrogen Fuels, LLC, where LS Power provides the capital and Monarch provides the project, Alingh said in the interview.

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Buckeye Partners acquires EnCap-backed CCS developer

EnCap made a $350m initial capital commitment to Elysian in 2021.

Buckeye Partners has acquired Elysian Carbon Management from EnCap Flatrock Midstream.

Elysian provides integrated end-to-end carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions to industrial, power and similar facilities seeking to transition to lower carbon products to advance emissions reductions goals.

EnCap made a $350m initial capital commitment to Elysian in 2021.

“This acquisition reflects Buckeye’s commitment to continue to provide essential infrastructure and logistics solutions to meet our customers’ evolving needs in the energy transition,” said Buckeye CEO Todd Russo. “Rapidly developing CCS-related technologies and solutions offer abundant synergies across Buckeye’s project development capabilities and existing pipeline network and are essential to enabling the energy transition’s success. We’re excited for the Elysian team to join the Buckeye platform and to integrate their expertise to better serve our customers’ growing lower-carbon needs.”

This acquisition is another meaningful step in Buckeye’s ongoing commitment to building a business that is responsive to the needs of the future while continuing to serve the energy needs of communities today. Through advancing strategies to further reduce carbon emissions, Buckeye is committed to becoming a net zero energy business by 2040, across scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions. These commitments and others can be found in Buckeye’s newly released 2022 Sustainability Report.

“Buckeye continues to demonstrate resiliency and emissions-reduction results across its increasingly diversified energy solutions portfolio,” said Elysian CEO Bret Logue. “We’re fully aligned with their decarbonization mission and look forward to adding immediate value to Buckeye’s customer base and their momentum in the energy transition by integrating CCS technologies across the energy value chain.”

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European Commission establishes €3bn hydrogen bank

The new European Hydrogen Bank will guarantee the purchase of hydrogen, with a commitment of €3bn aimed at bridging the investment gap.

President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von Der Leyen today announced the creation of a new European Hydrogen Bank aimed at bridging the hydrogen investment gap and connecting future supply and demand.

The new European Hydrogen Bank will guarantee the purchase of hydrogen using resources from the Innovation Fund, with an investment of €3 billion to help build the future market for hydrogen, von der Leyen said during the State of the Union address.

“And hydrogen can be a game changer for Europe. We need to move our hydrogen economy from niche to scale. With REPowerEU, we have doubled our 2030 target to produce ten million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU, each year.

“To achieve this, we must create a market maker for hydrogen, in order to bridge the investment gap and connect future supply and demand. That is why I can today announce that we will create a new European Hydrogen Bank.

“It will help guarantee the purchase of hydrogen, notably by using resources from the Innovation Fund. It will be able to invest €3bn to help building the future market for hydrogen. This is how we power the economy of the future. This is the European Green Deal,” according to a transcript of her remarks.

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Amogy signs first pre-order with Norwegian shipowner

The customer will use Amogy’s ammonia-to-power system on a newbuild vessel for zero emissions sailing in 2025.

Amogy Inc., a pioneer of emission-free, energy-dense ammonia power solutions, and an undisclosed renowned Norwegian shipping company, have entered into a pre-order contract to supply four of Amogy’s 200 kW ammonia-to-power systems, according to a news release.

The newbuild vessel will be outfitted with a total of 800 kW of Amogy powerpacks. The Amogy integrated system will provide the primary power for the vessel with zero-emissions operations. Amogy’s highly efficient ammonia-to-power technology feeds liquid ammonia through its cracking modules integrated into a hybrid fuel cell system, which powers the electric motors.

The Hydrogen Source reported earlier this year that Amogy is set to launch a Series C capital raise of between $400m and $500m later next year.

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Exclusive: Renewable fuels firm hires advisor for topco raise

A renewable fuels firm with operations in California has hired a bulge bracket bank to raise project and platform capital for new developments in the Gulf Coast.

Oberon Fuels, a California-based renewable fuels developer, has hired Morgan Stanley for a topco and project capital raise to launch soon, CEO Rebecca Bordreaux said in an interview.

The company, backed by Suburban Propane, plans to reach COD on its next facility in the Gulf Coast in 2026, Boudreaux said. Late last year the company hired its first CFO Ann Anthony and COO Derek Winkel.

Oberon produces rDME at its Maverick Innovation Center in Brawley, California and recently established a partnership with DCC Fuels focused on Europe.

The location of the Gulf Coast facility is not public, Bordreaux said, though the company aims to reach FID on it this year. When operational it would produce 45,000 mtpy of methanol, or a comparative amount of rDME. Capex on the facility is in the range of $200m.

The company is shifting toward production of methanol as a shipping fuel, she said. New opportunities also include using DME as a renewable hydrogen carrier, as the fuel is easily transportable and compatible with many existing logistical networks.

Oberon is also preparing to issue $100m of municipal bonds from the state of Texas, Bordreaux said.

More than $50m has been raised by the company to date, with Suburban Propane being the largest investor and customer in California, Bordreaux said. The company has a third project in the pre-FEED phase.

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Renewables developer exploring move into green hydrogen

North Carolina-based Strata Clean Energy is engaged with engineers and consultants in preparations for a potential move into the production of green hydrogen.

Strata Clean Energy, the North Carolina-based utility-scale renewables developer, is researching locations in the U.S. where it could potentially build a green hydrogen production plant, executives said in an interview.

“We’ve been doing some hydrogen work for the past few years,” said Tiago Sabino Dias, former CEO of Crossover Energy, which was acquired by Strata in a deal announced this week. That forward momentum on green hydrogen and other areas of the energy transition was part of the reason the deal with Strata was made, he said.

Sabino Dias is now the senior vice president of origination at Strata following the takeover.

“We’ve done a lot of work thinking about where the high-value locations are,” Strata’s Chief Development Officer Josh Rogol said in a separate interview.

Hydrogen is adjacent to Strata’s core competencies in energy storage, Rogol said. The company is confident it could supply the green kilowatt hours for hydrogen production and is researching offtake scenarios in transportation and industrial uses.

Strata has a 13 GW project pipeline of standalone and combined solar and storage, according to its website, with 4 GW under management.

The company’s IPP has about 1 GW with ambitions to grow, Rogol said. It’s go-forward pipeline comprises more than 100 projects across 26 states.

Strata is now engaged with several consultants and engineers to explore green hydrogen opportunities, Rogol said. The company is open to new advisory relationships across verticals.

“We think we are really well positioned to be both the energy supplier, as well as the molecule producer,” Rogol said. The capabilities and intellectual property acquired through Crossover put the firm six to 18 months ahead of other nascent developers.

Early-stage development in green hydrogen can be funded with Strata’s balance sheet, similar to Strata’s bilateral takeover of Crossover, Rogol said. Later stage development and EPC will require “an ecosystem of partners” potentially both financial and strategic, he added.

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Exclusive: OCI Global exploring ammonia and methanol asset sales

Global ammonia and methanol producer OCI Global is working with an investment bank to explore a sale of ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

OCI Global is evaluating a sale of several ammonia and methanol assets as part of the re-opening of its strategic business review.

The global producer and distributor of methanol and ammonia is working with Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its ammonia production facility in Beaumont, Texas, as well as the co-located blue ammonia project under development, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The evaluation also includes OCI’s methanol business, one of the sources said.

Representatives of OCI and Morgan Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.

As part of the earlier strategic review announced last year, OCI in December announced the divestiture of its 50% stake in Fertiglobe to ADNOC, and the sale of its Iowa Fertilizer Company to Koch Industries, bringing in $6.2bn in total net proceeds.

However, OCI has received additional inbound inquiries from potential acquirers for the remaining business, leading it to re-open the review, CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said last month on OCI’s 4Q23 earnings call.

“As such, OCI is exploring further value creative strategic actions across the portfolio, including the previously announced equity participation in its Texas blue clean ammonia project,” he said, adding: “All options are on the table.”

The comments echoed the remarks of Nassef Sawiris, a 40% shareholder of OCI, who recently told the Financial Times that OCI could sell off most of its assets and become a shell for acquisitions.

In the earnings presentation, El-Hoshy took time to lay out the remaining pieces of the business: in particular, OCI’s 350 ktpa ammonia facility in Beaumont; OCI Methanol Group, encompassing 2 million tons of production capacity in the US and a shuttered Dutch methanol plant; and its European ammonia/nitrogen assets.

Texas blue

The Texas blue ammonia project is a 1.1 million-tons-per-year facility that OCI touts as the only greenfield blue ammonia project to reach FID to date. The company has invested $500m in the project as of February 24, out of a total $1bn expected investment, according to a presentation.

“Commercial discussions for long-term product offtake and equity investments in the project are at advanced stages with multiple parties,” El-Hoshy said. “This reflects the very strong commercial interest and increasing appetite from the strategics to pay a price premium to secure long-term low-carbon ammonia.”

El-Hoshy’s comments highlight the fact that, unlike most projects in development, OCI took FID on the Texas blue facility without an offtake agreement in place. The executive did, however, highlight the first-mover cost advantages from breaking ground on the project early and avoiding construction cost inflation.

Additionally, the project was designed to accommodate a second 1.1 mtpa blue ammonia production line, which would be easier to build given existing utilities and infrastructure, El-Hoshy said, allowing for an opportunity to capitalize on additional clean ammonia demand at low development costs.

“Line 2 probably has the biggest advantage, we think, in North America in terms of building a plant where a lot of the existing outside the battery limits items and utilities are already in place,” he said, emphasizing that by moving early on the first phase, they avoided some of the inflationary EPC pressures of recent years. 

At the facility OCI will buy clean hydrogen and nitrogen over the fence from Linde, and Linde, in turn, will capture and sequester CO2 via an agreement with ExxonMobil.

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