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OMERS exec joins CCS project developer

Former managing partner and head of ventures at OMERS Ventures Damien Steel has joined a Montreal-based CCS developer as CEO.

Deep Sky, a Montreal-based venture commercializing carbon removal and storage solutions at scale, today announced that Damien Steel will take the helm as CEO.

Most recently, Steel served as managing partner and global head of ventures at Toronto-based OMERS Ventures (OV), part of one of Canada’s largest pension plans. There, he was responsible for investments, fund operations, and strategic global oversight of the group. During his tenure, he tripled the size of the platform to $2.5bn in assets while generating strong growth. Previously, he held roles with BridgeScale Partners and EdgeStone Capital Partners. Before joining OV, Damien was a healthcare entrepreneur, founding and selling a digital dental laboratory startup. He also serves on the board of tech disruptors, including Hopper, TouchBistro, Hootsuite and DuckDuckGo. Alongside his new CEO role at Deep Sky, Damien will remain a senior advisor to OMERS Ventures.

Steel brings significant finance, climate, infrastructure, and corporate governance experience in the highly regulated Canadian pension business to the position. In 2022, he led the early stage investment into a Toronto-based climate tech startup and gained first-hand insight into how businesses globally are prioritizing climate risk. Steel also led OV’s largest and most successful investment in travel app, Hopper, also started by Deep Sky founders Fred Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk. Through his work with Hopper in recent years, Damien has become increasingly committed to tackling the climate crisis.

“For nearly two decades I’ve had the privilege of supporting world class founders in their efforts to build world class companies,” said Steel. “At Deep Sky, I hope to apply all that I’ve learned from these great visionaries to what I believe is the greatest challenge facing humanity today – climate change inaction.”

“Building an ambitious company to reverse climate change requires an equally ambitious, big thinker at the helm,” said Deep Sky Co-Founder Fred Lalonde. “Damien is a proven visionary, leader, fundraiser, and operator who can catapult Deep Sky’s growth to meet the urgent threat that climate change presents. In working together since 2012, he’s demonstrated an uncanny knack for spotting the next moonshot that withstands the test of time. I’m pleased that he’s recognized Deep Sky as his next big bet.”

Deep Sky is working to build large-scale carbon removal and storage infrastructure in Canada. Acting as a project developer, the company is bringing together the most promising direct air and ocean capture technologies to deliver the largest supply of high quality carbon credits to the market. Powered by renewable energy, Deep Sky’s facilities are strategically located in Quebec, a region with an abundance of hydroelectric power, immense wind power potential and a vast territory with the rich geological makeup required for carbon capture.

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Gevo hires chief sustainability officer

Gevo has hired Nancy N. Young from Alder Fuels as its chief sustainability officer.

Gevo, Inc. has hired Nancy N. Young as chief sustainability officer to lead the sustainability, environmental, and scientific affairs for the company.

Nancy is a highly experienced veteran of the aviation industry, with deep expertise in developing environmental and sustainability policy, and regulatory programs, as well as in commercial deployment of low carbon fuels and technologies. Her most recent position was as chief sustainability officer for Alder Fuels.

“As we build the infrastructure for delivery of low carbon fuels and chemicals, Gevo will continue to focus on assembling the best possible team of industry experts and resources to optimize our efforts,” said Dr. Paul Bloom, Gevo’s Chief Carbon and Innovation Officer. “Nancy’s experience in commercialization, combined with her policy expertise will play a key role for Gevo and our ongoing development of Verity Carbon Solutions.”

Nancy is an accomplished strategist in the fields of environmental and sustainability law and policy, with a wealth of expertise in areas such as climate change, aviation sustainability, and sustainable fuels, according to the news release.

Her  experience includes serving as a transportation sustainability advisor on the United Nations High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport and leading environmental advocacy efforts for Airlines for America, the principal trade and service organization of the U.S. airline industry. Notably, Nancy served on the Steering Group and as co-Lead of the Sustainability Team under the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative® for several years, playing a significant role in the development of the policies that underpin the sustainable aviation fuels market. She also played a key role in the development of an array of agreements, standards, and policies under the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization aimed at reducing the aviation industry’s environmental impact.

“I am thrilled to be joining Gevo at such a critical time in the aviation industry,” Young said. “The commercialization of sustainable technology must align with our collective goals and policy governance, and Gevo is at the forefront of this important work. I look forward to contributing to the company’s continued development and success.”

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Chart Industries to buy Howden for $4.4bn

In late 2021 the Scottish Howden signed an MOU with Chart to construct a hydrogen liquefaction plant in Canada.

KPS Capital Partners will sell Scottish portfolio company Howden, a provider of air and gas handling solutions, to Chart Industries for $4.4bn, according to a press release.

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Barclays and Evercore served as financial advisors and Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison served as legal counsel to KPS and Howden.

Chart Industries is a Ball Ground, Georgia based manufacturer of equipment servicing applications in the clean energy and industrial gas markets. In 2021, Howden signed an MOU with Chart including the construction of a new hydrogen liquefaction plant in Canada.

Howden manufactures a portfolio of rotating equipment products, including compressors, blowers, fans, rotary heaters and steam turbines. Under KPS’ ownership, Howden entered or expanded its presence in end-markets that are critical to the future of the industrial economy, including hydrogen compression.

Headquartered in Renfrew, Scotland, Howden employs more than 6,500 associates globally in 35 countries, including over 750 engineers

KPS acquired Howden in 2019 from Colfax Corporation.

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Atome seeking project finance for Paraguayan fertilizer project

The UK-based developer is seeking investors for a green fertilizer project in Paraguay to serve the South American and European markets.

Atome, the UK-based green hydrogen, ammonia, and fertilizer project development company, has issued a notice to seek project financing for a fertilizer project in Paraguay, according to information from the company.

The financing is for Phase 1 of the Villeta project, issued by Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking. The project will deliver green fertilizer to both South American and European markets.

The publicly traded company has large-scale projects in Latin America and Europe.

Carbon footprint analytics indicate a significant amount of carbon credit revenue generation, with some 500,000 credits potential each year, an alert sent out by the company states.

Management will present to all shareholders on 6 September at 11 a.m. BST. IDB Invest, the Washington DC based multilateral for the Americas, is already onboard with a signed mandate.

Initial carbon footprint analysis indicates a potential displacement of some 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent each year from the production of green fertilizer at Villeta.

“As a result, the company estimates that it has the potential to generate approximately 500,000 valuable carbon credits each year,” company materials state.

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Exclusive: Methanol electrolyzer start-up gearing up for seed capital raise

An early-stage technology company seeking to commercialize an electrolyzer that produces methanol from CO2 at ambient temperature and pressure is preparing its first capital raise.

Oxylus Energy, a methanol technology and project development start-up, is preparing to kick off its first capital raise later this month.

The Yale-based firm is seeking to raise $4m in seed funding, with proceeds funding the advancement of a production-scale CO2-to-methanol electrolyzer cell and its first commercial agreements for offtake, CEO Perry Bakas said in an interview.

Oxylus aims to commercialize an electrolyzer that creates methanol from CO2 at room temperature and pressure, and also plans to develop and operate its own methanol production plants, he said.

The technology, which will scale to larger versions in coming years, recently hit a key milestone with the validation of a 5cm2 platform.

The seed capital raise would provide approximately 26 months of runway, according to Bakas. The company would then raise between $20 – $30m in a follow-on Series A in late 2026.

“What we’re gonna do with the Series A is put that first electrolyzer into the ground,” he said. “It’ll be our first revenue-producing methanol.”

Oxylus is currently owned by Bakas and his fellow co-founders. The company has been entirely grant funded to this point. DLA Piper is advising as the law firm on the seed capital raise.

“I think the most important thing about the technology is it’s the most energy-efficient pathway to making renewable methanol,” he said. “At the right energy prices, you’re below cost parity with fossil-derived methanol. When that happens, I think it’ll become a very interesting development scenario.”

Oxylus is focused on bringing the so-called green premium down to zero, Bakas said, noting that it requires achieving scale in electrolyzer production or partnering with established electrolyzer manufacturers.

Methanol for shipping

Oxylus will seek to introduce its technology into target markets that are already using methanol as a feedstock, like high-value petrochemicals. In the longer term, shipping and aviation are likely to become attractive markets. Taken together, the company believes methanol has the potential to decarbonize 11% of global emissions.

Methanol will compete with ammonia for primacy as a shipping fuel in the future, but Bakas believes methanol is the better option.

“These are massive markets – they need a lot of solutions, and quickly,” he said. “But ammonia is not energy dense, and it doesn’t integrate with existing infrastructure.”

The International Energy Agency recently projected that while ammonia will be cheaper to make, methanol is easier to handle, resulting in roughly similar cost profiles for e-methanol and green ammonia. The added cost for methanol production, the report found, is likely to come from a scarcity of biogenic CO2.

On that topic, Bakas acknowledged that the methanol pathway still requires combustion of carbon, but emphasized his technology’s ability to displace existing fossil fuel-based methanol production.

“The distinction we need to make is: are these virgin hydrocarbons or are they recycled hydrocarbons? If you’re just continuously pumping new CO2 out of the ground into the atmosphere, you’re gonna continue to cause climate change,” he said.

“The technologies that we are building in this suite of technologies that cover direct air capture, point source capture, carbon conversion, that whole CCUS world,” he added, “are really working to monitor and create a homeostasis in the atmospheric balance of CO2.”

Oxylus recently completed a lifecycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions, Bakas said, finding that its fuels are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 95% at optimal voltage compared to natural gas steam methane reforming.

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exclusive

Gas-fired peaker sale touts hydrogen blend potential

An equity process for 25% ownership of a California peaker plant includes plans to blend up to 30% hydrogen as part of the sales pitch, according to a teaser.

An opportunity to acquire 25% of the Sentinel Energy Center in California includes decarbonization initiatives like blending 30% hydrogen and installation of on-site battery storage, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Project Oasis is being run by CIBC, the sources said. Voltage Finance, an entity managed by Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, is exploring the sale of its 25% indirect equity interest in the 850 MW generating facility in Riverside County.

The facility has more than 75% of its capacity contracted through 2027, according to a teaser seen by ReSource. The potential to execute a long-term green hydrogen offtake contract on several of Sentinel’s turbines is being evaluated.

“Sentinel is pursuing the implementation of hydrogen blending capabilities and has advanced the engineering and design through an agreement with a global OEM with beta testing expected in Q1 2025,” the document states.

Sentinel is also co-located with 15 MW of battery storage.

Guggenheim and CIBC did not respond to requests for comment.

Diamond Generating holds a 50% stake in Sentinel. The remaining 25% interest is owned by California-based fund manager Climate Adaptive Infrastructure (CAI), which bought its stake from Partners Group last year.

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Storage solutions firm in the market for strategic capital

An early-stage provider of hydrogen storage technology has hired a UK-based financial advisor to raise capital for a pilot plant.

Hydrogen carrier technology firm H2Fuel is seeking to raise approximately $25m to build a pilot project, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The Dutch-based company has mandated a UK-based financial advisor to engage potential investors, with capital needs in the $12.5m range of a $25m project cost, the sources added.

In an interview, H2Fuel CEO Peter Huisman said the firm is “location agnostic” in looking for a site for a pilot project, but would prefer the US. Europe and India are also possibilities.

“We are early stage, in our view,” Huisman said. “[An investor will] need to have a long-term view of the market.”

Huisman declined to say which bank his company has hired but referred to it as a “top five” institution.

H2Fuel’s process combines hydrogen to salt, forming an energy-dense solid compound that can be transported and stored in dry conditions without complex requirements. A patented energy release process requires no extra energy, Huisman said.

The company has talked with some large strategics but has been told they are too early, Huisman said. The company views the near-term capital opportunities as one for pension funds or a venture capital.

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