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Norwegian firm building waste-to-energy facility in Alberta

The project will divert 150,000 tonnes of residential garbage from landfill per year beginning as early as 2027.

The City of Edmonton and Varme Energy Inc., the Edmonton-based subsidiary of Norway’s Varme Energy have reached an agreement that will enable green electricity and industrial heat generation while diverting approximately 150,000 tonnes of residential garbage from landfill per year beginning as early as 2027.

As part of this agreement, Varme will construct a privately funded and operated waste-to-energy facility located in Alberta’s capital region, the company said in a news release.

“This is a major milestone toward the development of this new facility and an enormous step forward for waste diversion and climate change mitigation in Canada,” said Sean Collins, Varme Energy Canada’s CEO. “We are excited to help lead this charge by bringing practical and proven waste diversion and energy generation technology to Alberta’s capital region.”

“We are very pleased with this partnership and see it as a positive step in the City’s waste diversion and climate resiliency efforts,” said Denis Jubinville, Branch Manager of Waste Services. “As we continue our efforts to help our community reduce and recycle their waste, this alternative is expected to limit landfill use, lower regional greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the carbon impact of our operations, including our long haul fleet.”

Waste-to-energy facilities combust garbage to produce steam that either generates electricity or provides heat for homes and industrial processes. The future Varme facility will apply proven technology that has been used successfully in Europe and around the world for more than three decades. It is expected to integrate carbon capture and storage (CCS), capturing about 90 per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions and preventing the release of thousands of tonnes of methane currently emitted from landfill waste into the atmosphere. Currently, the three most significant sources of methane in Canada are landfills, oil and gas, and livestock.

Once operational, the Varme facility—which will be located about 40 km northeast of Edmonton—will be Canada’s first industrial-scale, waste-to-energy facility with carbon capture. The majority of Edmonton’s residential waste that is not recycled or composted—approximately 40 per cent of overall residential waste—will be diverted from landfill and processed in a way that reduces carbon and methane emissions, avoids wasteful land use, and creates a reliable clean energy source for use in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. Varme is developing and financing the facility through private investment and is expected to bring 250 to 300 jobs to the region through construction and operation activities.

This facility will complement the work done at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre to sort and process compostable and recyclable waste. By putting residual garbage to use as a fuel source, the City can keep more waste out of the landfill and contribute to Edmonton’s green energy transition.

Beginning as early as 2027, after Varme completes construction of their waste-to-energy facility, the City will begin sending residual garbage waste which will continue for a 15-year period.

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JERA Americas completes modifications for hydrogen firing at NJ power plant

Hydrogen co-firing of up to 40% (by volume) will be possible at Linden Unit 6.

JERA Co. has completed modification of the gas turbine at Linden Gas Thermal Power Station Unit 6 in the United States to enable the use of hydrogen, making possible the co-firing of natural gas with hydrogen-containing off-gas generated at the adjacent oil refinery, according to a news release.

Because it will require the procurement of hydrogen at an economically rational price and the development of carrier technology, it is expected to take some time before hydrogen can be used for power generation in Japan. By working to resolve such issues and advancing the use of hydrogen at power plants in areas where hydrogen is already available, JERA seeks to accumulate technical capabilities and experience that can be applied to future power generation projects both at home and abroad.

JERA had previously decided to move forward, through JERA Americas Inc., with modification of the gas turbine at Linden Unit 6 to enable co-firing with hydrogen-containing off-gas supplied by Bayway Oil Refinery, which is owned by the major US oil refiner Phillips 66.

With the completion of this work, hydrogen co-firing of up to 40% (by volume) will be possible at Linden Unit 6. The effective use of hydrogen-containing off-gas sourced from the adjacent oil refinery is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at both Unit 6 and the oil refinery.

Under its “JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050” objective, JERA has been working to eliminate CO2 emissions from its domestic and overseas businesses by 2050. By leveraging its strengths across the entire value chain from upstream fuel development through power generation, working actively to develop decarbonization technologies, and seeking to ensure economic rationality, JERA will continue its efforts to achieve zero emissions going forward.

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Advent Technologies purchases 10m shares of common stock

The Boston firm previously announced intentions to collaborate on deployment of methanol-based fuel cells and green methanol generation development.

Advent Technologies, the Boston-based fuel cell and hydrogen tech firm, has entered into securities purchase agreements with investors to purchase 10m shares of common stock in a registered direct offering at a per share purchase price of $0.20, according to a news release.

The transaction, generating gross proceeds of $2m, is expected to close before the end of the year. Joseph Gunnar & Co. is acting as the exclusive placement agent for the offering.

In September Advent entered an MOU with Emergent Waste for deployment of methanol-based fuel cells and development of large-scale green methanol generation plants.

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NET Power and Rice Acquisition garner additional $275m PIPE commitments

The original transaction in December concerns NET Power’s 300 MW Serial Number 1 project near Odessa, Texas.

ET Power and Rice Acquisition Corp. II have announced an additional $275m of PIPE commitments in connection with their proposed business combination, according to a news release.

Occidental has increased its commitment to the PIPE by $250m, bringing its total investment to $350m, while the Rice family has committed an additional $25m, bringing their total investment to $125m.

“We believe NET Power’s technology can accelerate emissions reductions in our existing operations and ultimately supply emissions-free power to the Direct Air Capture facilities and sequestration hubs we are developing, the release states.”

The new commitments bring the expected gross proceeds of the business combination to $845m for NET Power, consisting of approximately $345m from RONI’s trust account (assuming no redemptions), and approximately $500m from the PIPE raised entirely at $10 per share of common stock.

Assuming no RONI shareholders exercise their redemption rights, the combined company is expected to have a market capitalization in excess of $2bn.

“Since announcing the transaction in December 2022, NET Power has continued to make excellent progress towards commercialization of its utility-scale power plant, including FEED commencement on the Occidental-hosted Serial Number 1 (“SN1”) project near Odessa, Texas,” the release states. “In support of the plant, NET Power expects Occidental will be a key offtaker of the clean power generated by SN1.”

It is anticipated that Occidental will manage the transportation, storage, and utilization of the captured CO2 from SN1.

“We believe NET Power’s technology can accelerate emissions reductions in our existing operations and ultimately supply emissions-free power to the Direct Air Capture facilities and sequestration hubs we are developing,” Vicki Hollub, president and CEO of Occidental, said in the release.

Following this additional commitment, Occidental’s ownership stake in the combined company will increase to approximately 39%, assuming no redemptions.

NET Power expects $200m of net proceeds from the business combination and the PIPE to fully fund corporate operations through commercialization of SN1, which is expected to be operational in 2026.

The net proceeds above $200m are expected to support SN1 capital needs and future commercial origination efforts.

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Low-carbon crude refinery developer lining up project cap stack

The developer of a low-carbon crude refinery is in talks with banks and strategics to line up project financing for a $5.5bn project in Oklahoma.

Texas-based Southern Rock Energy Partners is holding discussions with banks and potential strategic investors with the aim of shaping a $5.5bn capital stack to build a low-carbon crude refinery in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The project, a first-of-its-kind 250,000 barrel-per-day crude refinery, would make it the first crude facility of that size built in the United States in several decades.

The company is evaluating a project finance route with a debt and equity structure for the project, and has held talks with several major investment banks as well as “industry-leading” strategics in midstream, industrial gas, and electricity generation, Southern Rock Managing Partner Steven Ward said in an interview.

In support of the refinery, the city of Cushing and the Cushing Economic Development Foundation approved $75m in tax-exempt private activity bonds, Ward noted. He added that the company could also tap industrial revenue bonds as well as PACE equity financing.

Seed capital for project development has so far come from strategic partners, some of which are operational partners, Ward said. He declined to comment further on the capital raise, noting that engagement letters have yet to be signed.

Engineering firm KBR is conducting a feasibility study for the Cushing project, and the company is moving through land acquisition, air permit preparation, and EPC selection, Ward said.

While most crude refineries consume natural gas, off-gasses, and ambient air, Southern Rock’s proposed refinery would use oxygen along with blue hydrogen produced from the refining off-gasses and green hydrogen from electrolysis. The process would eliminate 95% of greenhouse gas emissions at the proposed refinery.

“Our furnaces and our process heating units are fed 100% hydrogen and oxygen,” Ward said, noting that this type of system does not currently exist in the market. The company is expanding on technology it licenses from Great Southern Flameless, he said.

The size of the refinery would make it the largest to be built in the US since Marathon Petroleum built a 200,000 barrels-per-day facility in 1976.

Certain other low-carbon crude projects have been in the market for several years. Meridian Energy has been seeking to build cleaner crude refineries in North Dakota. Raven Petroleum ran up against environmental concerns while seeking to build a clean refinery in Texas. And MMEX is aiming to build an “ultra clean” crude refinery in West Texas.

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Exclusive: Mississippi green hydrogen developer assembling banks for debt raise

The developer of a potentially massive network of green hydrogen production, transport and salt cavern storage — estimated to cost billions — is seeking banks to support a project debt raise.

Hy Stor, the developer of hydrogen generation and salt cavern storage, is currently raising “billions” in project finance for the first phase of its home state hub in Mississippi, Chief Commercial Officer Claire Behar said in an interview.

The first phase is expected to enter commercial service in 2026, guided by customers, Behar said.

Connor Clark & Lunn are equity partners in the Mississippi hub and is helping Hy Stor with its debt raise. Hy Stor is working with King & Spalding as legal advisor.

“We are already seeking banks and lining up our needed debt,” Behar said. She declined to say a precise amount the company will raise but said it will be in the billions.

Hy Stor plans to soon announce their renewable development partner to build dedicated off grid renewables, Behar said. The same is true for offtake in non-intermittent 24-hour industries like steel, plastic and fertilizer manufacturing.

“The customers are willing to pay that twenty-to-thirty percent premium that the market would need,” Behar said. “The business case is there.”

When asked if traditionally carbon intensive industrial manufacturing interests were actively seeking to co-locate with Hy Stor in Mississippi, Behar said the company has been advancing those agreements and hopes to have announcements soon. 
There is evidence of this type of activity in the state. Recently American steel manufacturer Steel Dynamics announced Columbus, Mississippi as the location of its upcoming aluminum flat rolled millwith a focus on decarbonization. Job postings for engineering roles at a separate facility detail plans to convert biomass into a direct carbon replacement suitable for steelmaking. 

Hy Stor hopes to have announcements in the coming weeks about a co-location opportunity, she added. Both domestic and international strategics are interested in the geology offering co-located salt cavern storage and geography offering river and deepwater port logistics networks, as well as highway and rail corridors.

Off-grid renewable generation means the company is not at the mercy of transmission interconnection queues. It also offers reliability because the lack of grid adage helps guarantee performance, and affordability because the company doesn’t have to pay utility rates, Behar said. Additionally, the electricity is decoupled from the grid and therefore absolutely decoupled from fossil fuels, which is important to Hy Stor’s prospective offtakers.

“This is what customers are demanding,” Behar said, adding that first movers are highly dedicated to decarbonization, needing quantitative accounting for all scope emissions, driven often by pressure from their customers.

The company has received a permit to take 11,000 gallons per minute of unpotable water from the Leaf River in Mississippi, Behar said, and is also looking at in-house wastewater treatment and water recycling.

Don’t go after gray users

Behar said the concept that users of gray hydrogen are the first targets for green hydrogen developers is misguided.

“The refineries, the petrochemicals, for them hydrogen is an end product already used within their system,” Behar said. “Those are not going to be the first users that are going to pay us a premium for that zero carbon.”

Hy Stor is instead focusing on new greenfield facilities that can co-locate.

“We’ve purposefully outsized our acreage,” she said of the 70,000 acres the company has purchased outside of Jackson, Mississippi, the Mississippi River Corridor, and the state’s southern deepwater ports in Gulfport and Port Bienville. New industrial projects can co-locate and have direct access to the salt cavern storge.

Looking forward the company’s acreage and seven salt domes mean they are not constrained by storage, Behar said. At each location, the company can develop tens and hundreds of caverns.

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Exclusive: Hydrocarbon recycling firm raising pre-IPO equity

An early-stage company capturing and recycling CO2 from hydrocarbon engines in the northeastern US and Germany has hired an investment bank to help them with a public listing and is raising pre-IPO platform equity.

ESG Clean Energy, a Massachusetts-based carbon capture and recycling firm formed in 2016, plans to go public in 2025 but will first raise pre-IPO platform equity, CEO Nick Scuderi said in an interview.

ESG Clean Energy will change its name in a re-brand and has hired an investment bank to help with the IPO, which does not yet have a targeted quarter, Scuderi said. He declined to name the advisor.

After the name change but prior to the public listing, ESG is seeking to raise between $20m and $40m in platform equity, he said. The company is interested in a traditional IPO, not a SPAC or private debut opportunity.

Angel investors have backed the company to date, with some $40m total raised, Scuderi said. He owns a controlling stake in the company.

Power, water and CO2

ESG Clean Energy, billed as a thermal dynamics and fluid mechanics engineering company, has patented technology for use in fossil combustion engines – both piston-driven engines and bottoming cycles (secondary thermal dynamic waste-to-energy systems). Exhaust is treated to produce CO2 and water.

The technology is commercialized, producing power at a facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts under a 5 MW/20-year PPA with Holyoke Gas & Electric. The 5,000 square-foot plant in the city proper has two Caterpillar G3520 natural gas engines each producing 2 MW of power running on natural gas during peak hours.

The waste-heat from Holyoke One is used to create commodities, including distilled water.

“What we have is a design, a system, where we utilize our technology to separate the water from the exhaust,” Scuderi said. “We can utilize this technology in any power plant in the US that’s running on natural gas.”

In arid regions, the distilled water aspect has obvious potential. The Holyoke One facility makes up to 14,000 gallons of distilled water per day, Scuderi said.

The system is also applicable in ICE engines, Suderi said. The company has been in discussions with auto manufacturers to license ESG’s IP; he declined to name which auto companies.

The CO2 is sold to offtakers who do not re-emit it into the atmosphere, such as cannabis growers and CO2 beverage makers. ESG is also able to sell carbon credits.

Bankable opportunities in the US and Germany

Holyoke One, at a cost of $20m, can be replicated throughout the US and, post-IPO, ESG has eyes on power projects in New England, California and Florida, Scuderi said.

Power plants that produce from 100 MWh to 200 MWh will cost between $400m and $450m, and each of those projects will be set up as a separate LLC, Scuderi said. The demand is particularly large in powering data storage.

“We have different [investment] funds that are very large that are willing to put up the money” to fund the projects, Scuderi said. “It’s bankable because the power sales agreement is tied to a data storage company that’s triple-A rated.”

Data-heavy geographies like Virginia are targets for this kind of development, and ESG plans to sharpen its focus on these projects, as well as project finance efforts, following the IPO.

Now, the company has six large scale projects in development in Germany, including one advanced project serving a cloud computing offtaker in the Berlin area, needing 150 MW to 200 MW of power per hour, Scuderi said.

“In Germany, we’re very far along with getting power sales agreements,” he said. “Once we deploy this technology in one location, the world’s going to want it.”

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