Resource logo with tagline

Nacero to transition Texas gasoline project to low-carbon jet fuel

Nacero will produce sustainable aviation fuel and low-carbon aviation fuel from renewable natural gas sourced from dairy farms and landfills, and from mitigated flared gas sourced in the Permian Basin.

Nacero will transition its current pre-construction, multi-billion USD facility in Texas, designed to produce low carbon gasoline to the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and lower carbon aviation fuel (LCAF).

When fully completed, Nacero’s facility in Texas will be the largest commercial scale facility in the US for producing SAF and LCAF utilizing TOPSOE’s MTJet™ technology, according to a news release.

Nacero will produce SAF and LCAF from renewable natural gas (RNG) sourced from dairy farms and landfills, and from mitigated flared gas sourced in the Permian Basin. The SAF and LCAF products will contain no sulfur, while produced utilizing 100%, low-cost renewable power, and utilizing integrated carbon capture within the process. As a result, Nacero and TOPSOE offer America’s aviation industry a lower carbon solution for everyday jet fuel at an affordable price and with up to a 100% reduction in its lifecycle carbon footprint.

“Topsoe fully supports Nacero’s decision to shift its focus to SAF and LCAF production given the challenge of meeting 2030 and 2050 consumption goals of renewable jet fuel. We have been working very closely with Nacero’s experienced project team to implement Topsoe NG to gasoline process (TIGAS™) and we are very excited about the opportunity to continue this successful collaboration while building a scalable solution to meet the world’s growing demand for SAF and LCAF,” Henrik Rasmussen, Topsoe’s managing director for the Americas, said in the release.

Nacero will leverage already complete project development work, site permitting, and extensive engineering and construction planning for the earlier proposed TIGAS™ gasoline project.  This work will be updated by TOPSOE and Nacero with minimal design modifications required to enable utilization of the very similar MTJet™ process. The already completed engineering and construction planning work, remains unchanged and is completely compatible as designed with TOPSOE’s MTJet™ process.  This includes TOPSOE’s proprietary processes, catalysts, and equipment designs for their SynCOR Methanol™ technology as well as integrated carbon capture technology provided by Giammarco Vetrocoke.  Leveraging this previous work enables and achieves significant schedule advantages for the joint development effort to achieve commercialization of SAF production.

TOPSOE has more than 50 years of commercial experience and internal research and development with methanol synthesis and methane-rich gas-to-gasoline processes which support a methanol-to-jet solution. TOPSOE, with Nacero participation, is currently working with ASTM to qualify the methanol to jet pathway. Topsoe will provide the required samples (produced from their demonstration unit) to validate fuel quality, safety, and compatibility with existing jet engines.

TOPSOE will provide Nacero with engineering and design services to update their Process Design Package (PDP) for MTJet™ technology and will supply catalyst and proprietary hardware for Nacero’s Texas facility.

Nacero and TOPSOE together will focus on long-term, large-scale impacts to achieve the established U.S. carbon reduction goals for 2030 and 2050, including expanding the supply of TOPSOE technology and catalysts for future Nacero SAF production facilities in the U.S.

TOPSOE’s MTJet™ technology, incorporated with Topsoe’s SynCOR Methanol™ technology, achieves exceptional economies of scale with each future production phase. By using six parallel SynCOR Methanol™ and MTJet™ process units, Nacero’s Texas facility, when fully developed, will produce more than 30,000 metric tons per day (MTPD) of methanol, which will be processed to SAF and LCAF for the aviation industry.

“At Nacero, we recognize the need to address climate change and decarbonize all sectors, yet we believe that we can make the greatest impact by helping to reduce carbon produced from air travel,” said Nacero’s CEO and chairman, Bruce Selkirk. “The airline industry and U.S. government agencies have pledged significant carbon reduction targets to be achieved by 2030 and 2050 which presently appear to be challenging to meet with current technologies and limited feedstocks.  By transitioning our facilities to SAF and LCAF, we believe we can make a significant contribution to meeting these goals while at the same time offering a product to the aviation industry that is cost competitive to traditional jet fuel.”

Unlock this article

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

You might also like...

Capital Power appoints new CEO

The Canadian-based power producer has appointed Avik Dey as its next CEO.

Capital Power Corporation’s board of directors has unanimously selected Avik Dey to be its next President and CEO and become a member of the board of directors, effective May 8, 2023.

The appointment follows the planned retirement of Brian Vaasjo who will support Dey to ensure a seamless transition, according to a news release.

The selection follows a rigorous North American search process conducted by a special committee of the Board, with the support of a leading executive recruiting firm. The board met with a wide range of high-quality internal and external candidates.

“Avik is a highly capable leader with deep experience in the energy and power sectors and has built a number of successful companies and teams,” said Board Chair, Jill Gardiner. “I am confident that through his knowledge, passion, and creativity he will inspire the Capital Power team to accelerate the company’s current strategic drive towards net zero. The Board looks forward to working with Avik as we continue to engage with our stakeholders and grow shareholder value. Avik will champion the team, driving the vision with our people who will own the outcomes well into the future.”

Dey spent more than two decades in executive, operational, investing and strategic advisory roles. He has invested over $12bn in growing long term value for energy and energy transition companies. Most recently Mr. Dey held key executive leadership roles with The Carlyle Group, NOVA Chemicals, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Prior to these roles, he was President & CEO of Remvest Energy Partners in Houston, Texas and a Founder serving as Chief Financial Officer of Remora Energy.

Read More »

Tata Steel to invest 65m euros in Dutch green steel production

Tata Steel Nederland has signed contracts with McDermott, Danieli and Hatch to advance technical preparations for green steel production.

Tata Steel Nederland has signed contracts with three companies – McDermott, Danieli and Hatch – to advance technical preparations for green steel production.

This phase in the project is expected to cost over 65m euros, and will result in an engineering package that forms the basis for final permitting and project planning, according to a press release.

Tata Steel wants to move to green steel manufacturing in a clean environment as fast as possible, with each of the three partner companies bringing their own specific expertise to help Tata shape and deliver hydrogen-based steel manufacturing.

The project is led by the Tata Steel internal project and sustainability team, in close support of the main delivery partners. McDermott is responsible for the construction input and support of the technical project management. Danieli is responsible for the engineering design for the  plant and technology that delivers the Direct Reduced Iron (DRI), the first step in the iron making process. Hatch is the technology licensor  of the electric furnaces (REF) that melt the DRI and help to reduce the oxygen content further thereby improving the final steel quality. The REF and DRI plant are closely coupled to form an integrated production system.

“We recently signed agreements about our future with two ministries and the province of North Holland. In doing so, we have committed to being CO2 neutral before 2045 and emit between 35 to 40% less CO2 before 2030. This will primarily be achieved via the hydrogen route where the blast furnaces are replaced with modern clean steel making technology that uses hydrogen or gas instead of coal,” said Hans van den Berg, CEO of Tata Steel Nederland in a statement.

DRI (direct reduced iron) technology is a relatively new production technology, in which iron ores are directly reduced using natural gas or hydrogen, rather than coal. The reduction of iron ores takes place in a DRI plant in a shaft reactor  at a relatively low temperature of up to about 1000°C. The reduced iron is then further processed into hot metal in an electric furnace (REF). During this step the right amount of carbon is being added to create a very precise and high quality feedstock for our steel plant.

The DRI-REF technology offers several advantages. By using green electricity and a predominant hydrogen stream, the CO2 emissions from the process are much lower than when using blast furnaces. The new process can also accommodate higher percentages of circular steel, where scrap can be added to the REFs or the induction furnaces.

Read More »

OCI: Blue ammonia CI on par with green ammonia under CBAM

The carbon intensity for blue ammonia from OCI’s Beaumont, Texas project is expected to be similar to green ammonia under the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, OCI CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said today.

The blue ammonia produced at OCI’s Texas Blue ammonia plant will garner the same carbon intensity scores under CBAM as green ammonia when the facility’s compressors run on renewable electricity.

The facility, which is expected to begin operations next year, would capture the same economic benefit under CBAM as green ammonia – but at a lower cost – since Europe’s levy on carbon emissions for certain imported products only includes scope one and two emissions, OCI CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy said today.

Under the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, or CBAM, our greenfield ammonia plant will capture effectively the same economic benefit as green ammonia, but at materially lower cost, making this greenfield blue ammonia the most cost-competitive product for low-carbon ammonia today,” he said.

The bulk of blue ammonia carbon emissions are due to the upstream methane slip for natural gas that’s being consumed – considered scope three emissions, he added.

“Therefore, if OCI’s blue ammonia were to be made with renewable electricity, as is currently contemplated, the CO2 footprint focusing on just scope 1 and scope 2 would give it a CBAM threshold almost equivalent to green ammonia.”

The executive has previously detailed his belief that the implementation of CBAM starting in 2026 will provide an avenue for a structural premium for blue ammonia products. OCI’s Texas blue ammonia facility and other assets are part of a re-launched strategic review process being led by Morgan Stanley.

El-Hoshy went on to detail his expectations for sources of demand for ammonia in the US and Europe as well as Asia and for marine fuels. He added that the recently published guidance for sustainable aviation fuel in the US could provide additional demand pull.

“For the first time in any federal and state biofuel program, climate smart agricultural practices including the use of sustainable fertilizers are now included as a lever to to lower the carbon intensity of sustainable aviation fuel and creative value,” he said. “This guidance to properly include low carbon fertilizers will potentially provide significant regulatory value for low carbon ammonia and materially benefit OCI on domestic low carbon sales over time.”

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Exclusive: Zero-emission locomotive start-up in Series B capital raise

A locomotive start-up focused on the US market for zero-emission freight trains is undergoing a Series B capital raise, with sights on a much larger Series C raise next year.

OptiFuel Systems, a provider of zero-emission line haul locomotives and generation solutions, is conducting a $30m Series B capital raise.

The South Carolina-based firm is seeking to finalize the Series B by the end of this year, and plans to use proceeds to advance production of its zero-emission technologies for the rail industry, which represents a massive decarbonization opportunity, CEO Scott Myers said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the firm will seek to tap the market for around $150m for a Series C next year, Myers added. The company is not working with a financial adviser. 

While the Series B will focus on bringing to production some of OptiFuel’s smaller rail offerings, such as the switcher locomotives, the Series C will be mostly dedicated to progressing testing, manufacturing, and commercialization of its larger line haul locomotive.

The company is also considering making its own investments into digesters for RNG facilities, from which it would source the gas to run its RNG-fueled locomotives. As part of its offering, OptiFuel also provides refueling infrastructure, and envisions this aspect of its business to be just as profitable as selling trains.

“We anticipate that we would be the offtaker” of RNG, “and quite potentially, the producer,” Cynthia Heinz, an OptiFuel board member, said in the interview.

A systems integrator, OptiFuel offers modular locomotives for the freight industry that can run on zero-emission technology such as renewable natural gas, batteries, and hydrogen. The company recently announced that it will begin testing of its RNG line haul locomotive, which is a 1-million-mile test program that will take two years and require 10 RNG line haul locomotives.

Image: OptiFuel

The company’s target market is the 38,000 operating freight trains in the U.S., 25,000 of which are line haul locomotives run by operators like BASF, Union Pacific, and CSX. Fleet owners will be required to phase out diesel-powered trains starting next decade following passage of in-use locomotive requirements in California, which includes financial penalties for pollution and eventual restrictions on polluting locomotives. Other states are evaluating similar measures.

“The question is not will the railroads change over: they have to,” Myers said. “The question is, how fast?”

Following completion of testing, OptiFuel aims to begin full production of the line haul locomotive – which has a price tag of $5.5m per unit – in 2028, and is aiming to produce 2,000 per year as a starting point. The smaller switcher units are priced between $1.5m and $2.5m depending on horsepower.

OptiFuel has held discussions with Cummins, one of its equipment providers, to source at least 2,000 engines per year from Cummins to support its production goal. 

“That’s a $10bn-a-year market for us,” Myers added.

Read More »

Exclusive: Former green hydrogen executive raising capital for fusion startup

A former executive that developed large hydrogen and ammonia projects in Texas is raising money in a new role with a fusion energy firm with ambitions to co-locate generation with heavy industry and fuels production.

Tokamak Energy, the UK-based fusion energy startup, is seeking to raise about $80m in a self-conducted Series C capital raise, President Michael Ginsberg told ReSource.

The company previously hired Bank of America to run a $1bn raise but pulled back on the process in favor of more incremental growth, Ginsberg said. The company has already raised $40m of the $120m Series C and is aiming for a close by mid-summer.

With US operations in West Virginia (where co-founder Mark Koepke is a professor of physics at WVU) and headquarters in Oxford, England, Tokamak was recently included in the US Department of Energy’s multimillion-dollar Fusion Development Program and partnered with General Atomics on advanced magnet technology.

Ginsberg previously worked as vice president of technology and project execution at Avina Clean Hydrogen, where he was instrumental in developing the Nueces Clean Ammonia project in Texas. He said Tokamak is planning to build fusion generation in the United States, but has a magnets business with a near-term return profile.

Magnets business

Tokamak is a developer of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets.

They are developed for fusion to contain plasma energy, but like the semi-conductor business, they’ve had applications in other industries, such as defense, offshore wind turbines, and mineral separation.

First revenue from those magnets, from another fusion company, came in last year, he said. There are ongoing contract negotiations with the US Department of Defense and an imaging device maker that uses magnets.

Rail companies interested in maglev (from magnetic levitation) technology are also in discussions with Tokamak, he said.

Turnaround for that business for investors is expected to be three to five years, Ginsberg said.

Fusion-to-X

Tokamak is planning to develop its first commercial scale plant (COD after 2030) in the US.

Requirements for site selection are dependent on nearby capabilities; if deuterium and tritium are to be used as fuels, there needs to be a nearby facility that can handle those hydrogen-isotope fuels. For example, Oak Ride National Labs in Tennessee can handle tritium.

The other siting concern is use case.

“It could be, certainly, pumping electrons onto the grid, in which case your limited by transmission lines,” Ginsberg said. “But also, we could create industrial thermal energy, thermal heat, and co-locate with decarbonized heavy industry.”

Co-location with data centers is another option, he said. Tokamak is also exploring hydrogen production.

“Obviously you could do the traditional electrolysis process, and we’re talking to some companies that just need electrons to convert the H2O into hydrogen and oxygen, and they want baseload power to do that as opposed to intermittent power,” he said. “Also, there’s thermal energy and thermal processes to produce hydrogen that we could use from the fusion reaction.”

Ginsberg, who oversees US operations at Tokamak, was hired following the DOE award.

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

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