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HydrogenPro hires North American CEO

The change is the latest leadership move at the Norwegian electrolyzer maker.

Jeff Spethmann has been appointed as the CEO of HydrogenPro, Inc., the US-based subsidiary of Norway’s HydrogenPro, according to a press release.

Spethmann will be responsible for overseeing HydrogenPro’s North American operations and growth, the release states.

Little more than one year ago the company appointed Tarjei Johansen as CEO. Johansen was replaced mid-year by Jarle Dragvik, who had been a board member.

Spethmann was most recently the Senior Vice President for Industrial Products at Donaldson Co., a provider of filtration systems and replacement parts with 13,000 employees worldwide. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.

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700 MW electrolysis capacity for H2 Green Steel plant

thyssenkrupp nucera will provide electrolysis capacity for H2 Green Steel’s plant in Sweden.

The agreement between the Germany-based specialist for high-efficient water electrolysis, thyssenkrupp nucera, and the Swedish industrial start-up H2 Green Steel, secures capacity of more than 700MW for H2 Green Steel’s electrolysis plant in Boden – making it one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants announced to date.

According to a news release, the agreement with thyssenkrupp nucera will cover alkaline water electrolysis technology (AWE) and large-scale electrolysis plant engineering. thyssenkrupp nucera has a proven track record with more than 600 installed projects and over 10 GW capacity in the chlor-alkali technology, which is the DNA for ‘scalum’, its large-scale 20 MW standard AWE module.

“This electrolyzer agreement indicates a change in market dynamics and is also a proof of our new business model for reservation of production capacity. For customers where time-to-market is critical, ensuring access to production capacity of leading electrolyzer technology becomes essential. With this bold investment, H2 Green Steel has shown a strong commitment to their timeline to decarbonize the steel industry and we look forward to working with them,” says Dr. Werner Ponikwar, CEO of thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA.

Through this collaboration, thyssenkrupp nucera will deliver capacity of more than 700MW to the electrolysis plant, likely making the H2 Green Steel plant one of the world’s largest AWE installation by the time its commissioned.

The giga-scale electrolysis plant, the first globally, is based on a concept where H2 Green Steel uniquely will use several complementing technologies for green hydrogen production, enabling balancing of the system for cost- optimization and operational flow as each technology’s core benefits can be harvested. To build it, H2 Green steel is teaming up with different world-leading partners and expertise in design, construction, equipment, operations and financing.

“The electrolysis plant in Boden will be many times bigger than most electrolyzer installations that exist today. Combining our own strong technical expertise with that of an experienced electrolysis supplier like thyssenkrupp nucera gives us a solid edge in the growing green hydrogen economy, which we will leverage to transform hard to abate industries. We start with steel in Boden, Sweden, but it’s only the beginning,” says Maria Persson Gulda, Chief Technology Officer H2 Green Steel.

Hydrogen produced in the electrolysis plant in Boden will be consumed on-site in a direct reduction process, reducing iron ore to sponge iron, enabling production of green steel. The electrolyzer units will be crucial to maximize the operational and economic benefits of the hydrogen in the steel mill, which also forms the foundation for new patented intellectual property assets.

The work leading up to the signing of the contract was enabled through support from Sweden’s Industrial Leap programme, led by the Swedish Energy Agency.

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California outfit to build hydrogen-powered data center

Data center-as-a-service provider ECL is seeking to build its first 1 MW hydrogen-powered data center in 2Q23.

Data Center-as-a-Service pioneer ECL is seeking to build a modular, sustainable, off-grid data center that uses green hydrogen as its primary power source.

ECL will deliver data centers in 1 MW blocks with 99.9999% uptime, according to a news release. The company also announced $7m in seed financing co-led by Molex Ventures and Hyperwise Ventures.

The funds will be used by ECL to expand its market presence and in the construction of its first data center at the company’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, with completion scheduled for Q2 2023.

While other data center providers have deployed hydrogen fuel cells as backup power supplies, and with some conducting trials of systems forecast for production delivery in three-to-five years, ECL is the first provider to deliver a fully-green hydrogen-powered data center, the release says. This innovation is enabled by bringing together several technologies including green hydrogen-based power generation, battery energy storage and highly reliable power architecture without dependence on the utility grid. This maximizes efficiency and time to delivery and all but eliminates waste.

Lily Yeung, vice president at Molex Ventures and Nathan Shuchami, managing partner at Hyperwise Ventures join ECL Founder and CEO Yuval Bachar as members of the ECL board of directors.

Optimized for use by mid-sized data center operators – typically large companies with a mix of cloud and on-premises IT environments – ECL’s Datacenter-as-a-Service is two-thirds the total cost of ownership (TCO) of traditional colocation data center providers when measured over five years. The community-integrated data center design consumes no local resources, including power or water, and operates with zero emissions at extremely low noise levels. ECL’s modularity and lack of dependence on local utilities also means that its data centers can be designed and delivered much faster than others’, reducing planning and construction cycles from between 18 to 24 months to between six and nine months.

Bachar previously held top engineering, infrastructure and architecture roles at Microsoft Azure, LinkedIn, Facebook, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). He was a founder of the Open19 project, a data center industry initiative establishing a new open standard for servers based on a common form factor, and is past president of the Open19 Foundation. He holds eight U.S. patents in data center, networking and system design and is the recipient of three Cisco Pioneer Awards.

“We are proud to be a part of this much-needed revolution in the data center industry, and look forward to working closely with Yuval and his team as they bring this peerless innovation to market,” said Shuchami. “ECL has a long lead on the competition in the delivery of a data center powered primarily by green hydrogen and we can’t wait to stand with them as they raise the curtain in Q2 2023.”

“It’s exciting to see ECL investing to bring tremendously relevant and novel experience into this high growth space around customizable modular data centers that can support the growing demand for advanced and flexible computational needs and sustainable power use,” said Lily Yeung, VP of Molex Ventures.

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M2X partners on gas-to-methanol-to-hydrogen pathway

M2X and Element 1 are pursuing a joint research and development program on the use of M2X’s low-carbon methanol as a feedstock for point-of-use hydrogen production.

M2X Energy, a startup company with a proprietary process technology that converts stranded gas into low-carbon methanol, and Element 1 Corp, a global leader in advanced hydrogen generation systems for the fuel cell industry, are conducting a joint research and development program to explore the use of M2X low-carbon methanol as a feedstock for point-of-use hydrogen production.

Element 1 is demonstrating the viability of low-carbon methanol produced by M2X’s gas-to-methanol unit as a feedstock for its hydrogen generation unit, and subsequent conversion to electricity, according to a news release.

The process technologies developed by the two companies can unlock the potential for clean energy production in demanding locations, where power grids are overloaded, and operating conditions require adaptability and grid independence. After confirming that M2X’s low-carbon methanol is a suitable feedstock for Element 1’s methanol-to-hydrogen systems, methane-rich stranded gases that today are often flared or vented, may instead be harnessed for downstream stationary power applications, hydrogen refueling stations, and on-board generation for hydrogen-fueled road vehicles, trains, and maritime vessels.

Early testing of methanol produced by M2X Energy shows promising results for unlocking hydrogen as a cost-competitive and low-carbon chemical sourced from stranded gases. “M2X is excited about this collaboration with Element 1. Serving as a supplier of low-carbon methanol for Element 1’s process equipment demonstrates our product market fit and the value of M2X low-carbon methanol as an attractive, low-cost hydrogen carrier, especially during the energy transition,” commented Paul Yelvington, Chief Science Officer at M2X.

With details emerging on the implementation of production credits for hydrogen and clean fuels in the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act (e.g., 45V and 45Z), M2X Energy and Element 1 are well-positioned to provide an integrated pathway to cost-competitive, low-carbon hydrogen with greatly simplified logistics for production, transportation, and storage.

Dave Edlund, co-founder and CEO of Element 1 Corp, said, “Low-carbon methanol, such as that produced by the M2X process, offers the most economical and practical pathway to widespread adoption of grid-independent electricity production while maintaining a low-carbon footprint. We are pleased to be partnering with M2X Energy on this important demonstration.”

This cross-industry collaboration aligns with the strategic priorities announced at COP28 for reducing methane emissions and expanding the role of hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier. It lays the groundwork for future commercial partnerships for the supply of M2X Energy’s low-carbon methanol in deployed hydrogen generation equipment using the Element 1 technology.

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Green hydrogen developer raising capital for projects

Fusion Fuel, a green hydrogen developer based in Portugal, has engaged an advisor and is in talks with investors to raise capital for projects in North America.

Fusion Fuel, a green hydrogen developer based in Portugal, has engaged an advisor and is in talks with investors to raise capital for projects in North America.

The company is working with RBC Capital Markets as financial advisor, Fusion Fuel Co-Head Zachary Steele said in an interview, and expects to produce infrastructure-type returns on its projects.

For its first project in the U.S., Fusion Fuel has agreed to a JV with Electus Energy to build a 75 MW solar-to-hydrogen facility in Bakersfield, California.

The project will produce up to 9,300 tons of green hydrogen per annum including nighttime operation and require an estimated $180m in capital investment, with a final investment decision expected in early 2024 and commissioning in the first half of 2025.

The combination of green hydrogen and solar production incentives along with California’s low carbon fuel standard make the economics of the project attractive, Steele said.

“Hydrogen is selling for up to $15-$18 per kilogram in California in the mobility market, and we can produce it at around the low $3 per kilogram area, so that leaves a lot of room for us to make a return and reduce costs for customers,” he said.

The company sells electrolyzer technology for projects but also serves as a turnkey developer. The technology consists of Hevo-Solar, which utilizes concentrated solar power to create hydrogen; and Hevo-Chain, a centralized PEM electrolyzer powered by external electricity.

Fusion Fuel’s proposition is that its smaller-scale technology – of 25 kW per unit –  is ready to use now, and can be dropped into places like a gas station in New York City, Steele said.

“This allows customers to scale into hydrogen and makes it available on site, compared with the massive projects going up in Eastern Canada or the Gulf Coast that require customers to commit significant capital to underwrite large scale projects,” he added.

Along with Electus, Fusion Fuel has already entered into a land-lease agreement for 320 acres in Kern County, California for the Bakersfield development. Black & Veatch will perform a concept study while Cornerstone Engineering and Headwaters Solutions are also engaged.

Iberian pipeline

The company targets to have EUR 40m of revenues in 2023, with a third of that coming from tech sales and the balance coming from Fusion Fuel-owned development projects.

Its revenue pipeline for next year is focused on the Iberian peninsula, and has been largely de-risked with the company having secured grants, with land and permitting underway.

In addition to the electrolyzer sales, the company, together with its partners, can provide turnkey projects that include engineering, procurement of the balance of plant equipment, construction of the facility, and operations, Steele said on an investor call this week.

“This allows us to not only make returns on the tech sale but also on the overall project and potentially recurring revenue from operations,” he said.

The company plans to use projects it is building in Portugal to expand into other core markets, beginning with a focus on mobility opportunities and targeted industrial decarbonization projects. Starting in 2024 the company plans to extend its reach further into North America and also Italy.

U.S. focus

Similar to other international hydrogen players, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act caused a strategic shift of focus to the U.S. and accelerated Fusion Fuel’s plans to grow its business there, company executives said.

Notably, since Fusion Fuel will use its own technology in the projects it is seeking to develop, a required amount of that technology will need to be manufactured in the U.S. in order to qualify for the full benefits provided in the IRA.

As such, Fusion Fuel is scouting for a location to build one, or possibly two, manufacturing facilities in the U.S.

“The size of the Bakersfield project alone justifies building a new manufacturing facility,” Steele said on the investor call.

Steele was previously CEO of Cedar LNG, a floating LNG development in British Columbia, prior to exiting to Pembina. He works alongside Fusion Fuels Co-Head & CFO, Frederico Figueira de Chaves, who is based in Portugal.

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Green hydrogen developer in exclusivity with new investor

New York-based green hydrogen developer Ambient Fuels is in exclusivity with a new investor, with proceeds from the capital raise slated to fund project development and acquisitions.

Ambient Fuels, the New York-based green hydrogen developer, is in exclusivity with a new investor for a bilateral capital raise, CEO Jacob Susman said in an interview.

Susman declined to name the private equity provider but said the backing will allow Ambient to develop several projects, as well as acquire projects from other developers. The deal is proceeding without the help of a financial advisor.

Once the company reaches its run rate, Ambient plans to complete three to four projects per year costing $50m and up, Susman said, with the first expected to reach operation in 2025.

The company’s initial geographic focus is on the Gulf Coast, centered on the Port of Corpus Christi, Susman said. New York, California, the Pacific Northwest and traditional wind energy states in the Midwest and West are areas of additional work.

Hydrogen hubs

Ambient is closely following the DOE hydrogen hub applications process, Susman said. Which regions are awarded funding could make a difference for where the company locates new projects.

According to ReSource‘s project tracker, Ambient is involved in at least two of the hubs that were encouraged by the DOE to submit a final application: California’s Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), and the Port of Corpus Christi Green Hydrogen Hub.

In 2021 Ambient completed a funding round led by SJF Ventures. Several other VC funds and angel investors also participated.

Open for offtake business  

Ambient is looking for offtakers in industries that use the molecules for feedstock and energy but need to meet decarbonization targets.

The company is working to provide hydrogen as an industrial feedstock and energy source to sectors including transportation, oil and gas, mining, glass and steel production and automobile manufacturing. Supplying hydrogen for ammonia fertilizer is another target market.

Advisors with clients in those industries should reach out to Ambient, Susman said.

M&A strategy

Ambient strives to be a fully integrated devco with the resources, capital and expertise to take a project to fruition, Susman said. Projects developed by smaller companies can look to Ambient as a buyer for their projects.

“We want to be a home for those great projects that are being developed independently,” Susman said. “Absolutely we will be acquiring projects.”

Smaller developers with good projects could also be targets for takeover with the backing from the new investor, Susman said. The firm could also make a technology buy in software for project development, operations, or possibly the equipment side, though Susman said there’s a low probability of that.

Financial advisors that have leads on good projects Ambient can acquire are welcome to pitch, Susman said.

Susman said he is not in a hurry to exit Ambient and can see the company being independently financed for years to come.

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Siemens Energy planning new US electrolyzer capacity

The company is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Siemens Energy North America is laying the groundwork for new electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the United States, President Richard Voorberg said during a panel discussion recently.

Siemens Energy, a global energy technology company, makes an 18 MW PEM electrolyzer, one of the largest in the world, and is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Voorberg said.

The company is building its first gigawatt factory in Berlin, Germany via a joint venture with France’s Air Liquide. The Berlin factory is expected to produce 1 GW of PEM electrolyzers per year starting in mid-2023.

“As soon as we get that first one up and running… I’ve got a plan already to put a 1,000 MW line in the US,” Voorberg said, speaking during an event at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington D.C. last month.

Siemens’ existing manufacturing capacity in the US could expand to accommodate that new line, or the company could look to build an entirely new facility, Voorberg said. He added that the recently passed IRA helps makes the business case to do so.

Following the IRA, customers went from asking for fractions of a megawatt to seeking 2 GW in a single order, Voorberg said. His 18 MW line is now insufficient.

“We’ve got to scale up,” he said. “Scale is everything.”

Voorberg said his company sees hydrogen being used in electricity production around 2035, but mobility can use it now.

The planned move by Siemens underscores the extent to which the IRA legislation has trained the hydrogen industry’s focus on the U.S. Norway-based electrolyzer producer Nel is speeding efforts to expand electrolyzer capacity in the U.S. And Cummins announced last month that it would add electrolyzer production space at its existing facility in Fridley, Minnesota.

Siemens Energy is independent of Siemens AG, having spun off in 2020. The company has about 10,000 employees in the US and roughly 2,000 in Canada.

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