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PCC Hydrogen signs MoU with cement manufacturer

PCC would use ethanol as a feed source and capture the CO2 byproduct to deliver negative carbon hydrogen for cement manufacturing.

Summit Materials, a vertically integrated construction materials solutions provider, in partnership with its subsidiary Continental Cement Company, has entered into an MoU with PCC Hydrogen, establishing a formal alliance to develop a fuel replacement strategy to lower carbon emissions from cement manufacturing.

The project aims to deploy negative carbon intensity hydrogen derived from ethanol as a replacement fuel for the existing hydrocarbon fuels used as a source of heat in the cement manufacturing process, according to a news release.

Continental Cement will provide its expertise related to the use of alternative fuels in the cement production process, while PCCH2 will develop a plan for the construction of one of its hydrogen production facilities to support the hydrogen needs resulting from the collaboration. It is the first MoU of its kind signed by Continental Cement and represents another positive step toward its efforts related to decarbonizing cement production.

“Continental Cement has a longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship, seeking out opportunities to develop innovative practices and differentiated solutions to build a better tomorrow,” said David Loomes, President at Continental Cement. “Our company has signed on to the Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality, a goal of achieving carbon neutrality across the value chain by 2050.”

Using ethanol as a feed source and by capturing the pure CO2 byproduct of the hydrogen manufacturing process, PCCH2 can deliver high purity, negative carbon green hydrogen to fuel Continental Cement’s manufacturing process resulting in optimal efficiency and thermal stability. Green hydrogen is one of the most attractive means to mitigate CO2 in industrial applications and ultimately to get closer to net zero CO2 emissions.

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H2B2 to go public in $750m SPAC deal

The Madrid-based hydrogen platform H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies has reached a deal to go public in a SPAC deal with RMG Acquisition Corp. III.

H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies, Inc. (H2B2), a global green hydrogen platform that provides bespoke integrated solutions across the hydrogen value chain, and RMG Acquisition Corp. III (Nasdaq: RMGC) (RMG III), a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, have entered into a definitive agreement to take H2B2 public via a business combination, according to a news release.

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, H2B2’s stockholders will roll 100% of their equity holdings into the combined public company.

The base purchase price of $750m is subject to adjustment based on the results of the proposed capital raise transaction described below. H2B2 is separately undertaking a capital raise transaction, which is expected to close prior to the proposed transaction. The capital raise transaction is being led by Natixis Partners Iberia S.A. and BCW Securities LLC, an affiliate of RMG III. Subject to the terms and conditions of the merger agreement for the business combination, post-capital raise transaction stockholders of H2B2 will roll 100% of their equity into the surviving corporation.

Cohen & Company Capital Markets is acting as capital markets advisor to RMG III.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is acting as legal advisor to RMG III.

Pérez-Llorca is acting as Spanish counsel to RMG III.

Natixis Partners Iberia S.A. and BCW Securities LLC are acting as co-private placement agents to H2B2.

Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal advisor to H2B2.

Since its founding in 2016, H2B2 has become a key player in the green hydrogen energy sector, the news release states. H2B2 is focused primarily on the United States and European markets, but is also expanding in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, where H2B2 has secured a role in several strategic projects. In particular, H2B2 has been selected as a participant in the IPCEI Hy2Tech (Important Projects of Common European Interest) program, through which it has been approved by the European Commission to receive up to € 25 million in connection with H2B2’s development and manufacturing capacity for both stacks and electrolyzers.

In 2019, the California Energy Commission awarded H2B2 a grant for the development of a green hydrogen production facility, SoHyCal plant, in Fresno, California. This 3 MW plant is to begin production in May 2023, with an additional 6 MW of hydrogen capacity and 15 MW of associated solar PV to be constructed during Phase II. In addition, in 2022, Ecopetrol, the leading oil company in Colombia, began working with H2B2 and recently welcomed it into its group of strategic partners as part of its broader plan to decarbonize and develop green hydrogen energy. H2B2 has also recently entered the Indian market through a joint venture with GR Promoter Group and the creation of GreenH.in Electrolysis.

Key Investment Highlights

  • A leading global green hydrogen platform: Capabilities spanning the entire value chain of green hydrogen production, including R&D, manufacturing proprietary electrolyzer technology, project development, EPC, O&M, green hydrogen production, storage and delivery.
  • Customer-centric business model: H2B2 provides tailor-made and scalable solutions worldwide, with a one-stop-shop approach, offering design, development, EPC, electrolyzers, offtake agreements, financing, and O&M services.
  • Proprietary and flexible electrolysis technology: Currently utilizing proven PEM technology in the supply of its manufactured electrolyzers but is also developing next generation technologies (AEM & SOEC) in-house.
  • Global company with the ability to identify and deliver unique projects of different scale across its target markets: A robust and diversified pipeline of over 260 projects, with an expected aggregate capacity of approximately 5.6 GW of identified potential projects. H2B2 is currently working with significant customers such as Ecopetrol, GP Joule, Cepsa and Tecnicas Reunidas.
  • Industry leading management team: The H2B2 management team has over 200 years of combined experience in engineering and financing renewable energy projects and have worked together as a team for more than 20 years in renewable hydrogen.

Bob Mancini, CEO of RMG III, commented that “RMG III and H2B2 are dedicated to accelerating the energy transition through the advancement of next-generation energy infrastructure. As a pioneer in the development of green hydrogen production facilities, and supported by an industry leading team, we are confident that H2B2 is well positioned to further expand and execute on its impressive pipeline of opportunities.”

Anselmo Andrade, CEO of H2B2 has confirmed that “With the operations that we have underway, we are seeking to strengthen not only the international business that we are currently developing, but our operational capacity worldwide. The business and technological development of H2B2 will be bolstered as a result of this transaction with RMG III, thus making the energy vector of hydrogen key to decarbonization.”

Antonio Vázquez, President of the Board of Directors of H2B2, has indicated that “The proposed business combination with RMG III that has been announced to the investor community reaffirms our letter of intent announced in January earlier this year, and together with the capital raise transaction on which we are working, gives us confidence to move forward with the goal of obtaining the necessary funds from the markets and visibility to finance the future growth of H2B2.”

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Buckeye Partners acquires EnCap-backed CCS developer

EnCap made a $350m initial capital commitment to Elysian in 2021.

Buckeye Partners has acquired Elysian Carbon Management from EnCap Flatrock Midstream.

Elysian provides integrated end-to-end carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions to industrial, power and similar facilities seeking to transition to lower carbon products to advance emissions reductions goals.

EnCap made a $350m initial capital commitment to Elysian in 2021.

“This acquisition reflects Buckeye’s commitment to continue to provide essential infrastructure and logistics solutions to meet our customers’ evolving needs in the energy transition,” said Buckeye CEO Todd Russo. “Rapidly developing CCS-related technologies and solutions offer abundant synergies across Buckeye’s project development capabilities and existing pipeline network and are essential to enabling the energy transition’s success. We’re excited for the Elysian team to join the Buckeye platform and to integrate their expertise to better serve our customers’ growing lower-carbon needs.”

This acquisition is another meaningful step in Buckeye’s ongoing commitment to building a business that is responsive to the needs of the future while continuing to serve the energy needs of communities today. Through advancing strategies to further reduce carbon emissions, Buckeye is committed to becoming a net zero energy business by 2040, across scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions. These commitments and others can be found in Buckeye’s newly released 2022 Sustainability Report.

“Buckeye continues to demonstrate resiliency and emissions-reduction results across its increasingly diversified energy solutions portfolio,” said Elysian CEO Bret Logue. “We’re fully aligned with their decarbonization mission and look forward to adding immediate value to Buckeye’s customer base and their momentum in the energy transition by integrating CCS technologies across the energy value chain.”

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TotalEnergies and Air Liquide to produce low-carbon hydrogen at refinery near Paris

Air Liquide will invest over €130m in the construction and operation of a new unit producing hydrogen.

TotalEnergies and Air Liquide will produce renewable, low-carbon hydrogen at the Grandpuits zero crude platform, a refinery near Paris, according to a press release.

Under a long-term contract committing TotalEnergies to purchase the hydrogen produced for the needs of its platform, Air Liquide will invest over €130m in the construction and operation of a new unit producing hydrogen. This unit will partly use biogas from the biorefinery built by TotalEnergies and will be delivered with Air Liquide’s carbon capture technology Cryocap.

These innovations will prevent emissions amounting to 150,000 tons of CO a year compared to current processes. TotalEnergies’ biorefinery will use the unit’s hydrogen to produce sustainable aviation fuel.

In line with the two companies’ shared ambition to get to net zero by 2050, the project includes sustainable and circular innovations:

  • The new hydrogen production unit, with the capacity to produce over 20,000 tons a year will produce hydrogen that is partly renewable, thanks to the recycling of residual biogas from the Grandpuits biorefinery, in place of the natural gas that is normally used.
  • This unit will be delivered with a carbon capture technology, allowing it to help reduce the platform’s carbon footprint, by capturing over 110,000 tons of CO2 a year for reuse in food and industrial applications.
  • Most of the unit’s renewable, low carbon hydrogen will be used by the biorefinery itself, to produce sustainable aviation fuel, but it could also be used to support sustainable mobility in the Ile-de-France region.

“By recycling the biogas produced by the biorefinery into renewable hydrogen, this innovative project makes full use of the conversion of the Grandpuits refinery into a zero crude platform harnessing the potential of biomass, especially in the production of sustainable aviation fuel,” said Bernard Pinatel, president, refining & chemicals, TotalEnergies. “Combined with the production of low carbon hydrogen and the capture of CO2, this project contributes to TotalEnergies’ ambition to decarbonize all of the hydrogen used by its European refineries by 2030.”

“This innovative project is characterized by the combination of several solutions in order to produce renewable and low-carbon hydrogen,and contribute to the decarbonization of TotalEnergies’ Grandpuits site. It also provides the opportunity to recycle CO2 as part of a circular economy approach while securing its supply for agri-food applications. This project illustrates Air Liquide’s expertise in working with its customers on customized solutions to help them reduce their carbon footprint and actively participate in the fight against global warming. It provides yet another example of the key role that hydrogen will play to succeed in the energy transition”,” added Pascal Vinet, senior vice president and member of the executive committee, Air Liquide, in charge of Europe industries activities.

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Brookfield-owned renewables developer planning hydrogen co-location

An IPP and developer of wind, solar and storage projects is in early discussions with potential partners to co-locate electrolysis with its operating assets and projects in development.

Scout Clean Energy, the Boulder, Colorado-based IPP and renewables developer, is laying the groundwork to co-locate electrolysis for green hydrogen with its wind and solar assets, CEO Michael Rucker said in an interview.

The company’s Power2X team is charged with looking for alternative strategies, Rucker said.

“We are actively trying to match project opportunities with the future hydrogen economy,” he said, noting that the company’s operating wind portfolio provides a crucial piece of that. “Wind is an especially good fit for hydrogen production just in terms of pricing.”

Scout, which is owned by Brookfield Renewable, sees itself as producing green electrons and doesn’t want to get into marketing and distribution of hydrogen, Rucker said.

Brookfield acquired Scout in 2022 for $1bn, with the potential to invest an additional $350m to support development activities.

Scout has its first solar project in development in ERCOT, a market where shipping of hydrogen would make for a promising project, Rucker said. The company has also looked at the Midwest, where a robust SAF production ecosystem is forming, as well as the Pacific Northwest.

The company is already working with one hydrogen developer to match production to one of its wind farms, Rucker said. An exact location has not been selected.

Pricing diligence has been promising, Rucker said. But the offtake market in the US remains slow to develop despite regulatory encouragement.

“The IRA has given us maybe the most subsidized hydrogen production market in the world but it’s really being production-driven not demand-driven, so we really need to see more of the economy using hydrogen,” Rucker said. “I trust that will come, it’s just going to take longer than we think.”

Scout is not ready to take anything to market related to hydrogen, but ultimately there will be a need for financial advisory, Rucker said.
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Exclusive: US-Ukraine battery storage firm in seed round

A US-based battery storage technology firm with operations in Ukraine and a utility-offtake pilot project in the southwestern US is in the early stages of finding institutional investors in the US and Europe.

SorbiForce, an Arizona-based battery storage technology firm, is raising $4.7m in seed funding with ambitions to find strategic investors for larger fundraising efforts in the next year, CEO Serhii Kaminskyi said in an interview.

The company, which was founded in western Ukraine and still has R&D operations there, aims to finish the seed round in five months, Kaminskyi said. Currently the US operations are housed at the University of Arizona Center for Innovation.

The batteries the company designs use little metal compared to other battery pack systems, instead using organic matter that can ultimately be biodegraded. The packs are filled with “ultra porous carbon materials” capable of storing up to 0.7 MWh.

SorbiForce is assisted by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff and Squire Patton Boggs as legal counsels, Kaminskyi said.

The seed round is for a 1 MW pilot project near Tucson, Arizona. That project has offtake contracted with Tucson Electric Power, Kaminskyi said. The B2B business model will be to sell batteries to customers in power generation, industrials, municipalities, and EV charging.

Kaminskyi, speaking from southern Italy, said the company is testing batteries in that country and has had discussions with offtakers in Germany, including automakers. The company has signed an agreement with a European energy company, he said, declining to name which.

The early-stage company is too-early for many financial investors, Kaminskyi said, and is looking for institutional investors with downstream need for battery storage.

“We’ve already received money from customers,” Kaminskyi said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put strain on the company, particularly concerning the families of the company’s founding employees, Kaminskyi said. The facilities in Ukraine are safe, but he is in process of moving those facilities to Arizona.

Kaminskyi owns 56% of the company, with additional equity held by the founding scientific team and US employees, he said.

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exclusive

California renewables developer taps advisor for capital raise

Utility-scale solar and storage developer RAI Energy has tapped an advisor for a capital raise. The company is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at projects in Arizona and California.

RAI Energy, the utility-scale solar and storage developer, has hired an advisor as it pursues a capital raise.

The company is working with Keybanc Capital Markets in a process to raise up to $25m, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

In an interview, RAI Energy CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said the company “is excited about having [Keybanc] act as our financial advisors on this fundraising round.” He noted that RAI is first a solar-plus-storage developer and is approaching investors as such.

However, RAI is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at two of its project sites in Arizona and California, he said.

“Hydrogen is a natural next step,” Alrai said of his company, adding that the end-product would be green ammonia for use in fertilizer production and industrial sectors. Pure hydrogen could also be kept for use in transportation.

A variety of partnerships would be required to develop hydrogen at RAI’s solar sites, Alrai said. The company could need advisory services to structure those partnerships.

RAI is working with engineers on the hydrogen question now and is open to additional technology and finance advisory relationships, he said. The company is also evaluating several electrolyzer manufacturers.

“It’s an open book for us right now,” Alrai said of hydrogen production. “We’re always open to talking to people who can help us.”

For hydrogen project development, RAI would seek project level debt and equity similar to its solar developments, Alrai said. Early-stage project sites in Colorado and New Mexico could also be candidates for hydrogen co-development.

Keybanc delined to comment for this story.

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