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OCOchem advancing CO2 electrolyzer cell

The startup has complete phase II of a project with the US Army to develop and scale a formate electrolyzer cell.

OCOchem has completed its Phase II project with United States Army to develop and test its 15,000cm2 formate electrolyzer cell.

The company scaled up from 10 to 15,000 cm2 over four steps in three years to achieve an industrial scale form factor. As a result of this new benchmark, OCOchem’s CO2 electrolyzer is 650% larger than other platforms, its final industrial scale cell size and is now scaling out into multi-cell stacks in a larger scale pilot plant, according to a news release.

ReSource previously interviewed OCOchem CEO Todd Brix, who said that the firm would seek to raise money later this year or early in 2025, and that its first commercial plant in Richland, Washington will cost “multiple tens of millions of dollars.”

OCOchem specializes in making an organic platform molecule known as hydrogen formate through CO2 electrolysis, leveraging clean electricity and advanced engineering technologies, instead of sunlight and plant biology, to transform carbon dioxide and water into valuable carbon-based molecules. Formate serves as a crucial precursor chemical, providing both carbon and hydrogen together in a single liquid molecule instrumental in synthesizing a diverse array of derivative materials, chemicals, and fuels. It is the liquid form of energized CO2 ready for use. OCOchem’s process to make formate is known as “electro-formation” and is designed for high (104%) carbon-to-product efficiency, high (85%) energy efficiency, room temperature and pressure operation, and lack of waste by-products.

The CO2 electrolyzer produces a safer and sustainable liquid platform chemical, hydrogen formate, which can be made at a lower cost than existing fossil-based pathways as it uses CO2, water, and clean electricity as its only raw materials. Formate is also used as a platform molecule to make many other molecules, which constitute more than 20% of the $3.5 trillion/year global chemical market.

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Marquis sells ethanol plant to United Cooperative

Ethanol producer Marquis has sold a 100 million gallon per year facility in Wisconsin to United Cooperative.

Illinois-based Marquis has sold its Necedah, Wisconsin ethanol facility to United Cooperative.

The facility, which has a production capacity of 100 million gallons of ethanol per year, will operate under the new name of United Energy Necedah. The asset sale will be effective May 31, 2024, according to a news release.

In addition to ethanol, the facility produces DDGs, high-protein animal feed, and corn oil.

“The purchase of Marquis’ Necedah ethanol plant aligns with our strategic initiative of investing in agriculture, opening new markets, and providing value-added products for our member-owners,” stated David Cramer, President and CEO of United Cooperative. “This type of diversification supports our mission, our local farmers, and the U.S. economy. Our investment also promotes our sustainability efforts by continuously improving the stewardship of the air, soil, and water, safeguarding our natural resources for generations to come.”

Mark Marquis, CEO of Marquis, said, “The sale of our Wisconsin facility aligns with our commitment to strategic growth in developing the world’s first carbon-neutral industrial complex in Hennepin, IL. We extend our sincerest gratitude to our valued grain customers, the supportive Necedah community, and to the incredible and talented team of employees at Marquis Energy Wisconsin for their hard work and dedication. We look forward to the continued success of United Energy Necedah LLC under the stewardship of United Cooperative.”

As part of the sale, Marquis will collaborate with United Cooperative to provide ongoing marketing and team support and looks forward to a prosperous future of working with the United Cooperative team.

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Developer inks supply agreement for Kansas CO2 utilization facility

The facility will produce green syngas from CO2 to be used for making products such as hydrogen, synthetic base oils, low-carbon jet fuels, green methanol, and others.

HYCO1, Inc.  announces that it has entered into a 20-year carbon dioxide supply agreement with Kansas Ethanol, located in Lyons, Kansas for the planned construction of the world’s largest biogenic carbon dioxide utilization facility, Green Carbon Synthetics Kansas, LLC.

HYCO1 is a Houston, Texas (USA) based technology company that has created a disruptive CO2 conversion catalyst and related low-cost CO2 process technology. HYCO1 CUBE™ Technology (Carbon Utilization, Best Efficiency) cost-effectively utilizes carbon dioxide and various methane source feedstocks to create low-cost, low-carbon chemical grade syngas in a single pass.

The syngas produced is used to produce low carbon intensity (CI) downstream products.   HYCO1 technology not only lowers the resultant carbon score of the downstream products by 50% to 100% but does so at a competitive cost compared to fossil feedstock derived products and without the requirement of incentives like many other technologies.  HYCO1 technology enables green syngas to be used for making products such as hydrogen, synthetic base oils, low-carbon jet fuels, green methanol, and many others.

The new HYCO1 project to be co-located with Kansas Ethanol will utilize all of their 800 tons per day of CO2 to produce approximately 60 million gallons per year of low-carbon and zero-carbon products.

Kurt Dieker, chief development officer and co-founder of HYCO1, stated, “While there are many paths that an ethanol facility can take to improve sustainability and margins, ranging from additional energy efficiencies to protein separation, in my opinion CO2 utilization represents the leading value-added step for an ethanol production facility.”

The Lyons HYCO1 project is in the engineering stage with plans to complete the pre-construction engineering in 2024. The facility will produce approximately 4,000 barrels per day of first-of-a-kind synthetic Base Lubricating Oils and Low-Carbon Jet Fuel made from CO2. High-performance products include four centistoke base oil for use in the highest grade synthetic motor oils; and a two centistoke base oil currently being tested by EV manufacturers for its ideal battery and drive-train heat transfer and lubrication properties.

The projects’ products are produced with more than 80% reductions in carbon footprints versus traditional fossil-derived products.   Approximately half of the weight of these new sustainable products will consist of biogenic CO2 that would have previously been emitted into the atmosphere.

Mike Chisam, CEO of Kansas Ethanol, said of the project, “Although most ethanol producers are considering or pursuing underground carbon sequestration in our industry to decarbonize, we believe that carbon utilization, which supports a circular carbon economy, represents the best use of our CO2, and positions us more competitively in the market. Value added products made from CO2 that displace fossil derived products represents a win for us at Kansas Ethanol, a win for the U.S. Ethanol Sector, and a win for the global environment. We are looking forward to the construction of the HYCO1-based Green Carbon Synthetics Kansas, LLC facility next to ours. The co-location benefits: carbon dioxide utilization, natural gas offset through waste heat steam production, and additional electricity offsets will position our facility as a world leader of low-carbon ethanol resulting in significant shared savings.” Chisam also noted “HYCO1’s carbon utilization technology enables us to sustainably produce all products, even if, or when, government support incentives are no longer available. That is incredibly important to us.”

HYCO1 is currently evaluating additional project sites and partners to mirror the Green Carbon Synthetics Kansas, LLC project, while also collaborating with downstream technology providers to produce other low-carbon products.

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IRS seeks industry comments on clean hydrogen PTC

The IRS seeks comments related to policy changes in the Inflation Reduction Act for clean vehicles, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen and fuels.

The Internal Revenue Service has issued three notices asking for comments on different aspects of extensions and enhancements of energy tax benefits in the Inflation Reduction Act.

The IRS anticipates that constructive comments from interested parties will aid the agency in drafting the guidance items most reflective of the needs of taxpayers entitled to claim energy credits.

  • Notice 2022-56 requests comments related to the qualified commercial clean vehicles provisions and the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property.
  • Notice 2022-57 requests comments related to the credit for carbon capture.
  • Notice 2022-58 requests comments related to the credit for the production of clean hydrogen and the clean fuel production credit.

The IRS is requesting that those interested in providing feedback to the questions in the notices follow the instructions in the notices to reply by December 3, 2022.

The latest information on energy guidance and other issues related to the Inflation Reduction Act is available on a special page on IRS.gov.

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Exclusive: Green hydrogen developer planning capital raises for distributed portfolio

A developer of US green hydrogen projects will need to access the project equity, debt and tax equity markets in the near term for a pipeline of distributed assets nationwide.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will be in the market for project financing for a portfolio of distributed green hydrogen projects in 2024, CEO Matt McMonagle said.

The company, which recently agreed to a $20m capital raise with Modern Energy, is aiming to attract additional private equity and infrastructure investors for the projects it is developing, the executive said.

“The opportunity is really there for attractive risk-adjusted returns at the project level based on how we’re structuring these projects with long-term contracted revenue,” he said.

The company plans to bring its first projects online in late 2024 or 2025.

“We don’t have the project financing set at the point that we can announce, but that’s something myself and my team have done in our careers,” McMonagle said, adding that he’s focused on bankability since founding the company. “We wanted to be as easy for the lenders to underwrite as possible.”

No financial advisors have been attached to the project financings, McMonagle said. A recently announced Series A, first reported by ReSource in February, gave the company exposure to investors that want to participate in project financings, he said.

“We’ll really be ramping that process up, likely after the new year,” McMonagle added, declining to say how much the company would need to raise in 2024.

NovoHydrogen doesn’t have a timeline on a Series B, he said.

Distributed pipeline

The company looks to do onsite projects adjacent to consumption, McMonagle said. The first projects that will go online will be 10 MW and smaller.

“Typically the permitting is straightforward in that we’re adding equipment to an already impacted industrial site,” McMonagle said. He declined to elaborate on where these projects are located or what customers they will serve.

The company also has off-site, or near-site projects, where production is decoupled from consumption. But the company still calls those distributed because they are being developed with a targeted customer in mind.

“We want to be as close as possible to that customer,” he said. Those off-site projects typically are larger and will begin coming online in 2026 and 2027.  

In Texas NovoHydrogen has two large-scale green hydrogen developments in production, co-located with greenfield renewables projects, McMonagle said. Partners, including EPC, are in place for those efforts. The company also has projects in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and along the west coast.

“Where can we add the most value and have the biggest competitive advantage?” McMonagle said of the company’s geographic strategy. “We have very specific go-to-markets in each of those regions which we feel play to our strengths.”

NovoHydrogen is a member of the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub and is involved with the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2), though not in line to receive DOE funding through that hub.

Post-IRA, green hydrogen projects will look much like renewables deals from the equity, tax equity and debt perspectives, he said.

“We’re structuring and setting up our projects to take advantage of that existing infrastructure and knowledge base of how to finance deals,” he said. New options on transferability will enable additional financing options as well.

No flipping

NovoHydrogen does not plan to flip projects before COD, McMonagle said.

“We are planning to deploy hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in capex for these projects, and we’ll certainly need to partner with folks to deploy that capital,” McMonagle said. “But we will remain in deals with our customers because that relationship is really the fundamental value that we bring in our business.”

Hydrogen projects are different from renewables in that the customers need greater assurances of resiliency, security of supply and performance, than in a space like solar, he said.

Flipping projects before COD would be inconsistent with the trust required to attract offtakers.

“We don’t believe doing a flip reflects that level of importance and support and, frankly, incentive, behavioral incentive, that we have to show to our customers,” he said.

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Exclusive: Ammonia plant sale paused until commercial operations

The sale process for a Texas ammonia plant has been paused until the facility reaches commercial operations.

Gulf Coast Ammonia, the developer of a world-scale ammonia plant in Texas City, Texas, has paused a sale process until the plant reaches commercial operations, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The process to sell the plant, which will produce 1.3 million tons of ammonia per year, was underway earlier this year, led by Jefferies as sellside advisor. The plant was expected to reach COD in 2023, according to documentation.

The project was initiated by Agrifos Partners LLC and advanced to FID in collaboration with joint venture development partners Mabanaft and Macquarie Capital. Following the FID taken in late 2019, GCA is wholly owned by a joint venture of Mabanaft and Lotus Infrastructure (formerly known as Starwood Energy).

GCA is investing $600m towards the construction, operation, and ownership of the ammonia plant, which is situated on land owned by Eastman Chemical Company within Texas City’s industrial park. It includes a portion of Eastman’s port access. 

In tandem with the ammonia plant construction, Air Products is building a $500m steam methane reformer to provide hydrogen to the plant via pipeline. Air Products noted in a recent investor presentation that the SMR project recently came onstream.

Officials at Lotus, Mabanaft, and Jefferies did not reply to inquiries seeking comment.

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exclusive

Waste-to-energy specialist executes MoU with Nikola

The partnership will encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean Industries’ partners and feedstock suppliers. Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from the company’s green hydrogen projects.

Klean Industries, a Vancouver-based waste-to-value technology provider, has executed an MOU with Nikola Corporation to encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean’s partners and feedstock suppliers.

The two companies will also work on developing green hydrogen supply and dispensing infrastructure in the US and Canada, according to a statement seen by ReSource.

Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from green hydrogen projects being developed by Klean and its partners involving hydroelectric, wind and solar power in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Using Klean’s green hydrogen, the companies will convert Klean’s logistics partners’ truck fleet to Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles.

Both Klean and Nikola see a significant opportunity to collaborate on projects where Klean and its partners operate recycling, resource recovery, and waste-to-energy plants, the statement reads.

“We believe Nikola’s hydrogen-electric trucks are going to fundamentally change the ground transportation and logistics landscape. This exciting collaboration will create opportunities that will reinforce the importance of working together as we look to both deploy and develop a renewable hydrogen value chain,” said Jesse Klinkhamer, CEO of Klean Industries Inc., in a statement. “Developing clean energy projects with leading technology companies such as Nikola supports Klean’s strategic focus and enables our respective companies to create a symbiosis between waste, resources, and energy, while simultaneously helping in the creation of a circular low carbon economy. Green hydrogen has the potential to completely transform the energy landscape and drive a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Klinkhamer said in an interview last year that Klean was in the process of hiring an advisor to raise between $250m – $500m in a strategic capital raise.

Carey Mendes, president, energy at Nikola said, “Klean’s vision of utilizing a green hydrogen fleet of trucks in their tire recycling ecosystem is a clear indication of the company’s commitment to creating a better, more sustainable future. Klean has already brought together like-minded partners to decarbonize their truck fleets which is a testament to their far-reaching commitment and deep knowledge of this sustainability space.”

Klean recently partnered with City Circle Group to build a fully integrated, continuous tire pyrolysis plant to recover carbon black and biofuel in Melbourne Australia. The company also signed a partnership agreement with H2 Core Systems to distribute and build green hydrogen projects around the globe.

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