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Oberon Fuels adds executives

The renewable fuels firm has added executives from Key Capture Energy and Chevron.

Oberon Fuels, a renewable fuels firm, has hired its first Chief Financial Officer Ann Anthony and new Chief Operating Officer Derek Winkel to drive the company’s growth.

Both Anthony and Winkel will play critical roles in growing the business as it scales up the commercializations of its renewable DME and methanol, the company said in a news release.

Along with additional senior leaders, Anthony and Winkel will help Oberon scale to decarbonize  the propane industry — which emits emissions equivalent to the commercial aviation market — while accelerating hydrogen infrastructure.

“Ann and Derek each bring invaluable experience to support Oberon Fuels on its journey to commercialization and deliver the full impact that renewable fuels can have on reducing carbon emissions,” said Oberon Fuels President & CEO Rebecca Boudreaux.

Anthony brings nearly 30 years of experience helping innovative energy companies scale and successfully introduced OPAL Fuels, a renewable natural gas company, to the public markets. Before OPAL Fuels, Anthony served as the chief financial officer and secretary for Key Capture Energy, a VC-backed start-up focused on stand-alone battery storage in key electricity markets, where she played an instrumental role in the company’s acquisition by SK E&S Co., Ltd. She was also responsible for leading the company’s finance and human resources function, including financial planning and analysis, corporate procurement and capitalization efforts.

Winkel has nearly two decades of experience leading and scaling operations for renewable energy innovators. He most recently served as the vice president of manufacturing development, commercial performance and services for Chevron following the company’s acquisition of Renewable Energy Group (REG) at a $3.15B valuation. Following the acquisition, Winkel played a pivotal role in the improvement and expansion of their renewable diesel production facility, which took total site production capacity from 90M gallons per year to 340M gallons per year.

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BlackRock’s Larry Fink underscores ‘enormous’ capital demands for infrastructure

In acquiring GIP, BlackRock believes that, over the next 10 years, infrastructure and energy investments will become a major component of the private market ecosystem.

The growth of private markets in infrastructure underpins the industrial logic of BlackRock’s $12.5bn deal for infrastructure asset manager Global Infrastructure Partners, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said today.

In a Friday morning call with analysts, Fink emphasized the expected growth of private capital in infrastructure and energy markets over the next 10 years as a major factor in its acquisition of GIP.

“Growing public deficits, a modernizing digital world, advancing energy independence, and the energy transition are driving the mobilization of private capital to fund critical infrastructure,” Fink said.

“I believe that the amount of capital that is to be needed as we digitize everything, the need to upgrade our power grids worldwide is a must,” he said. “The capital associated with that is going to be enormous.”

BlackRock is acquiring GIP for $3bn of cash and approximately 12 million shares of BlackRock common stock. The combination creates the second-largest global infrastructure private markets business, with over $150m in client assets, according to a presentation.

Fink expects BlackRock to continue to partner with corporations in acquiring asset carve-outs or co-investing in infrastructure projects, such as its deals with Occidental Petroleum (direct air capture) and AT&T (5G buildout).

GIP Founding Partner, Chairman, and CEO Bayo Ogunlesi, who is slated to become a member of BlackRocks’ board following the transaction, highlighted the complementary aspects of the business combination.

“BlackRock has built a terrific infrastructure business,” he said. “But they make mid-market or mid-cap investments. We make large-cap investments.”

He added, “[BlackRock has] a terrific infrastructure debt business that is mostly investment grade, ours is mostly below investment grade. They have a capital solutions business that we don’t have. So if you put these two businesses together, we can go to clients, large cap clients, mid cap clients, offer them a complete array of solutions.”

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bp buys US travel center operator for $1.3bn

The purchase of TravelCenters of America will allow bp to expand new mobility offers including EV charging, biofuels, RNG and later hydrogen.

BP Products North America Inc., a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of BP p.l.c. has reached an agreement to purchase TravelCenters of America, one of the country’s leading full-service travel center operators, for $1.3bn in cash.

TA’s strategically-located network of highway sites complements bp’s existing predominantly off-highway convenience and mobility business, enabling TA and bp to offer fleets a seamless nationwide service. In addition, bp’s global scale and reach will, over time, bring advantages in fuel and biofuel supply as well as convenience offers for consumers. It will provide options to expand and develop new mobility offers including electric vehicle (EV) charging, biofuels, renewable natural gas (RNG) and later hydrogen, both for passenger vehicles and fleets.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as lead financial adviser to bp, Robey Warshaw LLP is acting as financial adviser to bp, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is acting as lead legal adviser to bp.

Convenience is one of bp’s five strategic transition growth engines in which it aims to significantly grow investment through this decade. By 2030, bp aims for around half its annual investment to go into these transition growth engines. Over 2023-2030 it aims that around half of its cumulative $55-65bn transition growth engine investment will go into convenience, bioenergy and EV charging.

Bernard Looney, CEO bp, said: “This is bp’s strategy in action. We are doing exactly what we said we would, leaning into our transition growth engines. This deal will grow our convenience and mobility footprint across the US and grow earnings with attractive returns. Over time, it will allow us to advance four of our five strategic transition growth engines. By enabling growth in EV charging, biofuels and RNG and later hydrogen, we can help our customers decarbonize their fleets. It’s a compelling combination.”

The acquisition is expected to bring around 280 TravelCenters of America sites, spanning 44 US states nationwide, into the bp portfolio. These travel centers, which average around 25 acres, offer a full range of facilities for vehicles and fleet trucks, including more than 600 full-service and quick service restaurants, as well as truck maintenance and repair services. Around 70% of TA’s total gross margin is generated by its convenience services business, almost double bp’s global convenience gross margin.

Dave Lawler, chairman and president of bp America: “Subject to approvals, we look forward to welcoming the TA team to bp. TA’s amazing nationwide network of on-highway locations combined with bp’s more than 8,000 off-highway locations have the potential to offer travelers and professional drivers a seamless experience for decades to come.”

bp yesterday announced plans to invest $1bn in EV charging across the US by 2030.

As part of the transaction, TA will enter into amended lease agreements with Service Properties Trust, establishing long-term real estate access. bp looks forward to continuing TA’s existing strong relationship with SVC.

The acquisition price of $1.3bn, or $86 per share, represents a multiple of around 6 times based on last twelve months’ TA EBITDA (4Q21 to 3Q22).  It is expected to add EBITDA for bp immediately, growing to around $800m in 2025.

It supports delivery of bp’s convenience and EV charging growth engine target of more than $1.5bn EBITDA in 2025 and aim for more than $4bn in 2030. bp expects the acquisition to be accretive to free cash flow per share from 2024 and to deliver a return of over 15%.

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CAD $20m awarded to 18 Alberta hydrogen projects

The total value of the funded projects, including matching investments for project partners, is more than CAD $200m.

The Alberta Hydrogen Centre of Excellence is awarding CAD $20m to 18 projects to advance innovations in hydrogen through its first funding competition, according to a press release.

A full list of the projects can be seen here.

One of the projects is the proposed Bremner 100% Hydrogen Community in Strathcona County, Alberta. ATCO and Qualico are studying the logistics, technology requirements and other considerations involved in developing 100% pure hydrogen communities – an step toward eliminating carbon emissions produced by hot water use.

“Other successful projects in the competition will examine the safe and effective use of pipelines for hydrogen transmission,” the release states. “Another project will look at how to convert heavy-duty long-haul trucks to dual-fuel machines. In all, projects will examine everything from production, transmission, distribution, and storage, to end-uses of hydrogen.”

A total of 68 project proposals were received. The HCOE will fund up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for the successful projects, or up to 75 per cent of eligible costs for projects led by post-secondary institutions, or those with a significant Indigenous component.

The total value of the funded projects, including matching investments for project partners, is more than CAD $200m. Projects have 24 months to complete their proposed work.

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Renewable hydrogen developer to launch series A round next month

A Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer has hired an advisor and will launch a series A funding round next month.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will launch a series A capital raise in the middle of March to take on a new investor for project development and hiring, CEO Matt McMonagle said in an interview.

The company has hired GreenFront Energy Partners to run the process, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen builds its projects onsite with customers, as close to end use as possible, he said. The company serves transportation (heavy road transport, shipping and aviation), industrial (cement, glass, metal, steel, food, etc.) and power (peaking power and diesel generator replacement). Most of Novo’s customers are users of grey hydrogen looking to decarbonize. In the case of cement, they are looking to replace diesel for their trucks and coal and natural gas for their kilns.

“We first look to see if we can put our projects on our customer sites and make it there,” McMonagle said. “If we can’t do that, we’ll do offsite, but we still try to be as close to customers as possible to minimize that midstream component or distribution component.”

About 30 projects are in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts, McMonagle said. NovoHydrogen’s most active markets are the West coast, Northeast, Appalachia, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, though the company is not geographically constrained.

The company aims to begin construction on its first projects by the end of this year, possibly early next year, McMonagle said. The first project could reach COD in 2024.

NovoHydrogen recently announced that it has closed its seed funding round and appointed four executives to its board of directors. Each of those executives represent an investor that participated in the seed round, McMonagle said.

The new board appointees are: Jeremy Avenier, an active investor at Ohmium International; Peyton Boswell, managing partner at Woodfield Renewable Partners; Bruno Franco, partner at Pacífico Energia and managing partner at PWR Capital; and Joseph Malchow, a managing partner at Hanover (a Silicon Valley VC), board member and investor in Enphase and board member and investor in Archaea.

More money

“We will certainly need more money as our projects mature,” McMonagle said. “I do not have the hundreds of millions of dollars on my balance sheet to build these projects.”

An ideal investor will bring accretive capabilities in hydrogen, in a field like value chain equipment or delivery, to the table, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen plans to be a long-term owner-operator of its projects, McMonagle said. That is an important point for customers: that the company is not going to sell the project and not care how the next owner operates.

“We want to earn future business from these customers,” McMonagle said, adding that most of them are transitioning piecemeal.

NovoHydrogen and TigerGenCo in November said they would advance development of green hydrogen capacity to reduce reliance on natural gas at the Bayonne Energy Center located in New Jersey. NovoHydrogen will develop and operate the hydrogen production facility to reduce Bayonne’s carbon emissions.

TigerGen owns the power plant and is the offtaker in that project. Ohmium International is providing the PEM electrolyzers in that project. McMonagle said the company may use other electrolyzer providers for future projects.

The company is also a partner in the Aliance for Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) for the California DOE Hydrogen Hub submission.

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Exclusive: Additional details revealed on e-fuels equity raise

A US e-fuels developer is in the midst of a Series C raise with BofA Securities advising.

E-fuels developer Infinium is raising $300m in a Series C capital raise that launched last year, according to a source familiar with the matter.

BofA Securities has been engaged to advise on the process, as previously reported by ReSource. The amount of the capital raise was not previously reported.

Infinium and BofA did not respond to requests for comment. 

Infinium recently announced the existence of Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, which will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into an e-fuels facility delivering products to both US and international markets. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst has contributed $75m in project equity.

Infinium, which launched in 2020, closed a $69m Series B in 2021, with Amazon, NextEra and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participating. Its Project Pathfinder in Corpus Christi is fully capitalized.

About a dozen projects, split roughly 50/50 between North America and the rest of the world, are in development now. The company is always scouting new projects and is looking for partners to provide CO2, develop power generation and offtake end products, an executive said previously.

A CO2 feedstock agreement for a US Midwest project with BlackRock-backed Navigator CO2 Ventures was recently scrapped after the latter developer cancelled its CO2 pipeline project.

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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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