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OCI to transport ammonia via NuStar pipeline

OCI will spend $30m to facilitate the project, which includes the installation of a 14-mile segment in Iowa to connect to the anhydrous ammonia pipeline.

OCI Global and NuStar Energy have entered into an agreement for OCI to transport ammonia on a new segment of NuStar’s ammonia pipeline system, according to a news release.

Under the arrangement, NuStar will install a new 14-mile pipeline segment that will connect OCI’s Nitrogen facility in Wever, Iowa with NuStar’s existing 2,000-mile anhydrous ammonia pipeline, which originates in Louisiana and flows northbound to various points in the Midwest, including Iowa.

OCI’s facility uses ammonia to make fertilizer and produce DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), which reduces emissions from diesel engines in cars, as well as light and heavy-duty trucks, farming equipment and other heavy machinery.

“We are pleased to partner with OCI to better serve the area’s agricultural needs by delivering more ammonia to help meet fertilizer demand for local and regional farmers and by providing additional ammonia to serve as feedstock for upgraded products,” said NuStar Chairman and CEO Brad Barron. “We expect this healthy-return, low-capital project to meaningfully increase utilization of our system in 2024 and we are excited about the growing interest in ammonia – to reduce emissions and supply the globe – which we expect to generate significant additional opportunities for even greater utilization of our Ammonia Pipeline System over the next several years.”

The agreement has been executed by both companies and commits NuStar to provide transportation services under a long-term arrangement. To facilitate the project, OCI has committed $30m in capital expenditures for new ammonia cooling and storage infrastructure. The proposed infrastructure will allow OCI to economically transport ammonia from the Gulf Coast and capitalize on its existing storage capacity.

OCI, which owns and operates U.S. ammonia production facilities in Wever, Iowa and Beaumont, Texas, is expected to bring an additional 1.1 million tons of blue ammonia capacity online in 2025 in the Gulf Coast.

“We are excited to work with NuStar, a leader in safe and responsible midstream operations. This highly cost-effective project will allow us to safely and sustainably reach new customers, strengthens our position in the premium U.S. Midwest market and is one further step in our ammonia logistics,” said OCI Global CEO Ahmed El-Hoshy. “As one of the most efficient manufacturing plants in the nation, OCI Nitrogen, Iowa is leading the way in providing U.S. farmers a stable, high-quality source of nitrogen fertilizer products. Our plant in Iowa has been central to our U.S. operations since starting up in 2017 and we look forward to continued investment in the region.”

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French auto supplier gets €74m in public funding for hydrogen activities

The funding will support Plastic Omnium’s growth strategy for hydrogen mobility in France.

French automotive supplier Plastic Omnium has received €74m from the national government to support its growth strategy for hydrogen mobility in France.

The award was announced by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne during a visit to Plastic Omnium’s α-Alphatech research and development center. The  public funding is part of the PIIEC (Important Project of Common European Interest) framework and supports projects considered essential for Europe’s competitiveness.

Laurent Favre, Plastic Omnium’s CEO, welcomed the government’s decision to support development of the hydrogen industry in France, and announced the construction in Compiègne of Europe’s largest hydrogen vessels factory. The future facility will produce  80,000 vessels a year, with the  first produced as of 2025. The new plant in Compiègne and its expansion of hydrogen activities in France will in time represent around 200 jobs.

Laurent Favre also announced the signing of two major contracts with Stellantis and HYVIA. Both contracts  cover the  design  and  production, at its future Compiègne plant, of 700-bar high-pressure hydrogen vessels modules for commercial vehicles. Laurent Favre declared that: “The support of the French government allows us to accelerate the ramp-up of our industrial production of hydrogen vessels in France. The signing of two new contracts with Stellantis and HYVIA illustrates our customers’ confidence in our technological expertise in hydrogen storage. These announcements are a major step in our ambition to become the world leader in hydrogen mobility by 2030 and the preferred partner of the players in this sector, serving the profound transformation of our industry towards low-carbon mobility”.

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Ballard Power Systems makes senior leadership changes

The Canadian fuel cell developer has appointed Mark Biznek as chief operating officer.

Ballard Power Systems has appointed Mark Biznek as chief operating officer (COO), effective immediately, according to a press release.

During the past 10 years, Mark served in various leadership roles for Kohler Power Systems, including as general manager of Marine & Power Solutions, as vice president of Global Operations & Supply Chain, and as vice president of Operations & Engine Development.

He previously held manufacturing and strategy leadership roles at Mercury Marine (marine engines). In his earlier career, Mark served in various operations and engineering roles at Delphi (lithium batteries) and GE Aviation (aircraft engines). Mark has significant experience developing global manufacturing strategies, having had accountability for manufacturing facilities in the United States, France, China, India and Singapore.

Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s president & CEO, commented, “We are excited to welcome Mark to the Ballard team. Mark brings over 30 years of manufacturing and operations experience in the engine industry. His leadership experience across the business including supply chain, marketing, business development, and global operations will be a huge asset to Ballard’s operations as we prepare for commercial scale manufacturing.”

“With Mark’s appointment, Jyoti Sidhu, previously serving in the joint leadership role of senior vice president, chief people officer and senior vice president, Operations, will fully transition to the role of SVP, chief people officer. We are excited to have Jyoti fully leverage her operational insight into her CPO responsibilities and to support an orderly transition of Operations to Mark,” MacEwen added.

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Texas natural hydrogen production firm appoints new CEO

The new executive is tasked with advancing from field piloting to commercialization the technology that makes natural hydrogen from uneconomical oil in spent wells.

Gold H2, the Houston-based clean-hydrogen producing company, has hired Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon as Chief Executive Officer, according to a news release.

Sekhon was most recently with NextEra Energy Resources’ Strategy and New Business Development team. At Gold H2 his focus will be to advance the technology from field piloting to commercialization.

“This strategic hire marks a significant milestone in Gold H2’s mission to transform uneconomical, non-productive oil wells into mass hydrogen-producing assets, a business model that will reshape the traditional oil and gas industry landscape,” the release states.

Cemvita Factory had previously operated its Gold Hydrogen technology as a business unit focused on a field pilot program. Following successful field trial results in 2022, Cemvita spun out Gold H2 as a separate business.

The company raised and closed funding into the entity, led by founding investors Chart Industries and 8090 Industries, in 2022.

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Solar-powered hydrogen producer raising capital for EU and US growth

A European JV developing off-grid hydrogen production units using concentrated solar power – “white hydrogen” – plans to raise capital for growth in Europe and the US.

hysun, a Spanish JV between European firms Nanogap and Tewer Engineering, will raise $15m over three years for its first industrial plant and commercialization by 2026, CEO and Co-founder Tatiana Lopez said in an interview.

hysun has not engaged a financial advisor to date, but is open to meetings, Lopez said.

The new venture, formed in November, has raised $2m and is actively seeking another $3m (pre-money valuation of $10m) equity for a100 g H2/h prototype to close by the end of the year.

The company will then need $4m for an industrial plant, locations for which are being scouted now in the US and Europe. After that, the founders intend to enter a commercialization phase.

hysun’s intellectual property allows it to produce off-grid “white hydrogen” via steam generated with concentrated solar technology, Lopez said. The lack of electrolyzers means about eight times less land is needed to generate projects as large as 200 MW assuming 2,500 hours of sunlight per year.

“You don’t need to be next to a wind farm or solar plant,” Lopez said, adding that the hydrogen is produced at $1 per kilo.

Average project sizes range between 50 and 100 tonnes per year, assuming the same amount of sunlight, though the technology is applicable on a micro scale. The company sees the end uses being for ammonia production, replacement of grey hydrogen in industry and remote location deployment.

Lopez said the company is interested in growing in the US and Europe but believes the US will develop its industry faster.

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California renewables firm in talks for green fuel co-development

A utility-scale solar and storage developer based in California has started outreach and discussions to have green fuels projects co-developed at some of its larger sites in the western US.

RAI Energy, the California-based solar and storage developer, has started to engage with other companies about developing green fuels along with its utility-scale projects, CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said in an interview.

RAI recently took a development loan from Leyline Renewable Capital. That transaction ends a process launched by Keybanc first reported by The Hydrogen Source.

Alrai remains the 100% equity owner, he said. The liquidity from Leyline will last about two years.

The company’s most impending projects are in Colorado and California, Alrai said. Discussions around green fuels envision a partner coming in as a co-developer and customer for RAI’s renewable power.

“We’re definitely open to entering into conversations with all stakeholders,” Alrai said, adding that the effort could require capital raising. “We will be coming to the market to potentially raise equity.”

RAI is moving toward long-term ownership and operation of projects, he said. The company could also sell projects to raise capital.

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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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