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PCC Hydrogen to build ethanol-to-hydrogen pilot

The Indiana plant will convert ethanol into high purity, negative carbon index green hydrogen using a patented reforming process coupled with carbon capture.

PCC Hydrogen Inc, a low carbon/negative carbon hydrogen production company based in Louisville, KY, is pleased to announce plans to construct a pilot hydrogen production plant in Cloverdale, IN, according to a news release.

PCC H2’s plant will showcase the efficient conversion of logistically friendly ethanol into high purity, negative carbon index green hydrogen using a patented reforming process coupled with the capture of the processes pure CO2 byproduct. By providing a readily available, negative carbon index hydrogen close to the point of need, the Company is enabling the decarbonization of the economy in a cost effective and commercially viable way.

The Company has engaged Plant Process Group (PPG), a leading Houston based design, engineering, fabrication, construction, and commissioning services company to support the project with plans to have the pilot plant operational by first quarter 2024. PPG has decades of experience designing and building facilities for the refining industry, chemicals manufacturers, and biofuels producers.

PCC H2 is also working closely with the Town of Cloverdale and Putnam County to support the establishment of the first negative carbon index hydrogen production facility of its kind in the world. The production facility expects to hire local personnel at competitive wages and benefits.

Tim Fogarty, PCC H2 CEO, stated “We are excited to work with the Town of Cloverdale and Putnam County to showcase our groundbreaking technology. The Cloverdale location is ideal for the construction and operation of our first production facility given existing local hydrogen demand and the potential for broad adoption of low cost, negative carbon index hydrogen to help decarbonize the local economy in a financially rational way.”

Hydrogen generated from the PCC H2 process can be used in myriad applications ranging from hydrogen combustion engines to fuel cells (fuel cell powered loaders, trucks, other rolling stock, and for fuel cells in non-grid connected BEV charging stations). Furthermore, PCC H2 is exploring the use of its hydrogen to lower the emissions profile of any heating/calcining process. Finally, the Company is leveraging the logistically friendly nature of ethanol to produce hydrogen at smaller, distributed facilities closer to the point of use, diminishing the adverse added expense of transporting liquid hydrogen over long distances.

Cloverdale Town Manager, Jason Hartman, added “Cloverdale is extremely pleased to support the construction of the first of its kind negative carbon index hydrogen production plant that will decarbonize local industry while offering competitively priced jobs to the local community.”

The PCC H2 core reformer at the pilot plant will be mounted on three skids and operate 24/7. The company expects to break ground at the site this Summer.

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Hydrogen investment fund launches pure-play platform

The recently established outfit, called Avina Clean Hydrogen, has an advanced portfolio of green ammonia and hydrogen plants that are expected to become operational in 2024.

Principals of Hydrogen Technology Ventures, a firm established in 2019 to invest across the clean hydrogen value chain, have launched Avina Clean Hydrogen Inc, a pure-play clean hydrogen platform, according to a press release.

The recently established outfit has an advanced portfolio of green ammonia and hydrogen plants that are expected to become operational in 2024.

Avina has recently concluded multiple strategic partnerships, customer off-takes and investment agreements with leading industry players and is well capitalized to advance development of 250 MW of green ammonia and hydrogen plants in multiple locations within the United States.

The platform plans to invest $1 billion in green ammonia and hydrogen plants by 2025 and has a pipeline of an additional 1.5 GW of renewable energy assets that can be converted into green hydrogen projects under various stages of development.

The platform is developing proprietary, modularized solutions to deploy low-cost distributed green hydrogen at scale and is well equipped with industry experts that have decades of experience in green hydrogen, industrial gas and renewable energy sectors, according to the release.

“Today, even though gray hydrogen production costs in the United States are about $1.50/kg, delivered gray hydrogen costs to the end customer in many instances are still a multiple of production costs and this problem is likely to become much larger as new applications for hydrogen get developed in locations where supply is not easily accessible,” said Vishal Shah, Avina’s Founder and CEO.

“Moreover, intermittency of renewable power and increasing transmission and distribution costs will continue to remain a challenge for the hydrogen industry even as electrolyzer costs continue to decline. Our platform is uniquely positioned to offer proprietary system level solutions to multiple stakeholders – renewable developers that are dealing with the grid congestion problem, hydrogen customers that are dealing with unsustainable distribution costs as well as customers that want to bring production costs down by solving the renewable power intermittency problem.”

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Exclusive: Natural gas decarbonization firm in capital raise

A Canadian methane pyrolysis firm is working with a pair of financial advisors and is in the market with an equity capital raise.

Ekona Power, the industrial hydrogen solutions firm based in British Columbia, is raising a Series B of between $50m and $80m, two sources familiar with the matter told ReSource.

RBC Capital Markets is conducting the raise, the sources said, while the Vancouver office of Fort Capital is also involved.

The capital raise would fund the second stage of decarbonization efforts at the Gold Creek Natural Gas plant in Alberta.

The company is targeting US investors, particularly large strategics, one of the sources said, and has had discussions with ExxonMobil Low Carbon Solutions.

Ekona is eyeing expansion in the US Pacific Northwest, Western and central Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia and China, the source added.

In early 2022 TransAlta made a CAD 2m equity investment in Ekona. Baker Hughes participated in the company’s Series A.

Ekona and Fort Capital declined to comment. RBC did not respond to requests for comment.

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Klean Industries agrees German partnerships for containerized hydrogen facilities

The arrangement will allow Vancouver-based Klean to add hydrogen production to its tire recycling operations in Oregon and beyond.

Klean Industries has signed a partnership agreement with H2 Core Systems to distribute and build green hydrogen projects around the globe, according to a press release.

H2 Core Systems develops, manufactures, and maintains modular and configurable electrolysis systems that are expandable and scalable at any time.

The combination of this partnership in deploying hydrogen at scale is being built on the foundation of Enapter AG’s anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysers. Enapter provides this partnership with modular electrolyzers which can be deployed individually or at scale for any amount of on-site hydrogen and for any application. Inspired by the mind-blowing cost reduction of solar panels and microchips through standardization and mass production, the release states, Enapter has developed plug-and-play electrolysers that can be manufactured at scale.

“Klean, H2 Core, and Enapter share synergistic values and the understanding of what the world needs to achieve Net Zero, in a Circular Economy that supports the development of a sustainable society. The KleanTeam has conducted extensive due diligence on the hydrogen production marketplace, and we believe that H2 Core’s technology applications combined with Enapter’s AEM Electrolysers’ and energy management system offer the perfect design for both Klean’s internal projects and our customers’ projects. The uniqueness of these designs also compliments the integration of our KleanLoop™ technology, which together represent a game changer for combined applications of alternative energy production”, said Marc Schwarzlose, Director of Project Development for Klean Industries Inc.

Over the course of the next few months, Klean is planning the development of a modular and scalable 40’ containerized pilot project with the integration of an AEM MultiCore 1 MW electrolytic production unit designed by H2 Core for Klean’s flagship facility in Boardman, Oregon. This site is the perfect location for creating green hydrogen onsite from cost-effective, clean, reliable, and environmentally friendly hydroelectric power as Boardman has one of the lowest costs for electricity in North America.

The hydrogen produced at the Boardman facility is being engineered for its potential application and use in Klean’s modular oil upgrading units. The carbon emissions-free hydrogen produced can be utilized to upgrade recovered fuel oil and pyrolysis oil into highly valuable, drop-in replacement fuel known as e-fuels to produce significantly lower CO2 gasoline and diesel to meet the needs of California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standards.

Additionally, Klean and H2 Core see an opportunity for a number of Klean’s projects to have their own hydrogen-generating plants for producing 100% renewable green hydrogen, which could be used in Klean’s fleet vehicles for the collection and transportation of feedstock and output products. This alone offers a significant environmental advantage to its projects and the communities in which Klean operates, according to the release. This concept is further reinforced by the ability to also integrate fuel cells, engines, and boilers that are powered by green hydrogen to offset energy costs in terms of electrical demand, with the added benefit of also providing both heating and cooling applications in various projects.

Beyond Klean’s internal applications, H2 Core and Klean see increasing market demand for green hydrogen produced by electrolysis. Together through this partnership, Klean plans to work with its project partners in Canada, the United States, and Australia to deploy H2 Core’s fully integrated containerized solutions. By doing so, they aim to unlock hydrogen’s true potential in reducing pollution and climate change by building hydrogen supply solutions and station networks to support the rollout of fuel-cell electric vehicles and decentralized renewable energy plants.

“Partnerships make what we do at H2 Core Systems possible. Enapter, H2 Core Systems, and Klean Industries are aligned in our commitment to both deploying and developing a renewable hydrogen value chain. We believe this partnership is a great first step in what we hope will become a long and successful relationship”, said Ulf Joergensen, CEO H2 Core Systems.

“We believe Enapter’s mass-produced AEM Electrolysers will enable low-cost green hydrogen to be deployed at a massive scale in the shortest amount of time. It is partnerships like this that illustrate the demand and opportunity throughout various industries for green hydrogen worldwide. By combining technologies and applications, this partnership offers integrated solutions that address both climate protection and decentralized energy generation. To make all of this happen, we must act with urgency, opt for simplicity, and insist on transparency and global partnerships.\”, said Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, CEO Enapter GmbH.

“Developing clean energy projects in partnership with leading technology providers such as Enapter and H2Core Systems supports Klean’s strategic focus and enables our companies to create a symbiosis between waste, resources, and energy, while simultaneously creating a circular low carbon economy,” said Jesse Klinkhamer, CEO of Klean Industries Inc.

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Exclusive: Appalachian biogas firm seeking project debt

An RNG developer based in Appalachia with projects across the US is seeking project debt financing.

Northern Biogas, the West Virginia-based developer and operator of anaerobic digester and RNG facilities, is independently seeking debt for its project pipeline, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Backed by HIG Capital, Northern Biogas serves diary, landfill, food waste and municipal projects. The company has raised some $200m in debt with assistance from alternative energy finance provider Pathward National Association, one source said. Project debt has typically been raised in tranches of $20m to $30m for individual projects.

Northern Biogas’ portfolio includes five dairy farm projects under construction in Wisconsin and one in Michigan, according to the company’s website. The company has a presence in Texas and Colorado as well.

Representatives of the company did not respond to requests for comment.
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IPP retains banker for California plant sale

An independent power producer has retained a banker for a sale of a decades-old gas plant in California. Aging gas plants have been in the sights of clean fuels developers looking to retrofit or use facilities for clean fuel production and combustion.

GenOn, an independent power producer, has hired Solomon Partners to sell a 54 MW gas plant in California, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The plant, Ellwood, is located in Goleta, in Santa Barbara County, and was shuttered and retired by GenOn as of 2019. It reached COD in 1973 and ran two Pratt & Whitney FT4C-1 gas turbine engines.

Ellwood previously interconnected via Southern California Edison, a utility that is pursuing multiple natural gas decarbonization projects, including a hydrogen-blending initiative with Bloom Energy.

A teaser for the sale of Ellwood, which was issued last week, notes there is an opportunity to install a battery energy storage system at the site, one of the sources added.

Elsewhere in California, investment firm Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and developer Meridian Clean Energy are seeking to demonstrate decarbonization in peaker plants at the much newer gas-fired Sentinel Energy Center. Their plans include hydrogen blending.

GenOn declined to comment. Solomon Partners did not respond to requests for comment.

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Exclusive: Pan-Atlantic developer planning e-methanol project in West Texas

A clean fuels developer with projects on both sides of the Atlantic is pursuing an e-methanol project in West Texas with an estimated cost of between $800m – $900m.

Green fuels developer ETFuels is planning an e-methanol project in West Texas.

Following the blueprint of projects in development in Finland and Spain, ETFuels has leased land and the Lone Star State is in the early stages of determining the feasibility of the project, which would require between 300 MW – 500 MW of renewables, Director Patrick Woodson said.

Depending on the ultimate size of the project, it would cost between $800m – $900m and produce 80,000 to 120,000 tons per year of e-methanol on site, he said, which would then be trucked to end markets.

“We like the modularity of projects of that size,” he said, noting “more optionality to bring projects to market.”

Woodson, the former CEO and Chairman of E.ON Climate & Renewables, a renewables developer, said ETFuels would develop the renewables portion of the project internally.

The company is still exploring likely target markets for the e-fuels, but Woodson noted that they perceive robust demand for green methanol from the shipping industry.

“We understand the decarbonization challenges faced by the shipping industry are significant, with question marks over pricing and supply availability at scale, and we are addressing these head-on,” ETFuels CEO Lara Naqushbandi said in a news release last year.

ETFuels attracted financial backing last year from France-based SWEN Capital Partners, with Green Giraffe providing financial advisory services.

For its Spain project, the company is developing a 100,000 ton green methanol plant, including 420 MW of solar PV and 120 MW of onshore wind capacity powering 220 MW of electrolyzers.

It expects to take a final investment decision on the Spain project by 2025, with production anticipated for 2028, according to the company website.

ETFuels as a third project in development in Finland, powered by “relentless” Arctic winds.

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