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Pemex exploring hydrogen production at Deer Park refinery

Mexican state oil company Pemex is exploring adding blue or green hydrogen production at its Deer Park, Texas refinery, according to a strategy update. The plans include evaluation of a hydrogen pipeline that would bring green hydrogen from Texas to Pemex’s refinery in Cadereyta, Mexico.

Mexican state oil company is exploring the production of green or blue hydrogen at its Deer Park, Texas refinery as part of its strategy to decarbonize operations, according to a strategy update.

The firm said in a presentation last week that it is looking into opportunities for high-impact carbon abatement, which include a pilot project for green or blue hydrogen at Deer Park, near Houston, as well as potential production of renewable diesel and additional carbon capture opportunities.

Pemex would import hydrogen produced in Houston into Nuevo Leon, Mexico starting in 2030, and seek to begin domestic production of hydrogen while exporting surplus production. The plans include evaluation of a hydrogen pipeline that would bring green hydrogen from Texas to Pemex’s refinery in Cadereyta, Mexico.

Some of the projects could be developed along with other large scale projects in the Houston area, according to the document.

Pemex is also considering co-generation, fugitive methane abatement, and carbon capture at some of its Mexican-based assets.

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Mitsubishi Corp. planning $1bn fund for decarbonization startups

The Japan-based fund will invest primarily in European and US startups.

Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp., together with MUFG bank and others, will launch a $1bn decarbonization fund, Nikkei reported today.

The fund will invest a total of $1bn in startup companies with promising technologies in areas such as floating offshore wind turbines and sustainable aviation fuel, according to the report.

The fund will invest in European and US startups.

Mitsubishi will invest several hundred million dollars in the fund, called Marunouchi Climate Tech Growth Fund, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and other investors will be invited to take part as well. MUFG and Pavilion Private Equity will also invest in the fund.

The size of fund will grow to $1 billion by April 2024, with individual investments ranging between $20m and $100m, the report says.

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Maritime MoU to explore West Coast ammonia feasibility

The study aims to explore possibility to utilize existing ammonia storage terminal at port of Stockton for a pilot demonstration project of ammonia bunkering for car carriers.

American Bureau of Shipping, CALAMCO, Fleet Management Limited, Sumitomo Corporation and TOTE Services, LLC have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly conduct a feasibility study with the aim to be one of the pioneers in establishing a comprehensive and competitive supply chain for the provision of clean ammonia ship-to-ship bunkering in the US West Coast.

The study will be conducted at the Port of Oakland, Benicia and nearby major ports in U.S. West Coast, according to a news release.

Ammonia, which does not emit any CO2 when combusted, has long been considered one of the most promising alternative marine fuels to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) direct emissions within the shipping industry which aligns with the revised International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to reach net-zero emissions from international shipping “close to” 2050 on a life-cycle basis.

CALAMCO is a California based cooperative composed of grower members, as well as the largest ammonia distributer in California. The study aims to explore possibility to utilize CALAMCO’s existing ammonia storage terminal at port of Stockton for a pilot demonstration project of ammonia bunkering for car carriers calling at port of Benicia and container vessels calling at port of Oakland as a first step toward wide adoption of ammonia as marine fuel in the US West Coast.

Port of Benicia is one of the key vehicle-handing ports in U.S. West Coast, while Port of Oakland also rank among top 10 of US largest container ports.

Safety assessments are critical to formulate standards for use of ammonia as a marine fuel due to the toxicity of the substance. Relevant government agencies and experts in the US will be engaged in working towards the standardization of safe operation and regulations, the news release states.

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EU innovation fund contributes to two RWE projects

The FUREC project in the Netherlands and an offshore wind farm in Germany are among a total of 17 projects selected by the EU Innovation Fund for the preparation of grant agreements.

German multinational RWE is involved in two hydrogen projects that have been pre-selected for funding by the EU Innovation Fund, according to a press release. The FUREC project in the Netherlands and an offshore wind farm in Germany are among a total of 17 projects selected by the EU Innovation Fund for the preparation of grant agreements.

RWE wants to produce hydrogen for the chemical industry. Household waste from Limburg in the Netherlands is to replace natural gas. The FUREC project includes a plant under construction in Limburg to process household waste into pellets, to then be converted into hydrogen in a separate plant in Limburg’s Chemelot industrial park.

Nordsee Two is majority owned by RWE (51%) and minority by Canadian partner Northland Power (49%). A planned 433 MW wind farm off the German coast is scheduled to start commercial operation in 2026. The partners aim to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of producing hydrogen at sea. An electrolyser is planned to be integrated into the offshore wind farm for the production of green hydrogen for vessel fueling and to supply emergency power to the offshore substation.

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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

TC Energy executive talks hydrogen strategy

Canadian midstream giant TC Energy recently unveiled it was pursuing 10 hydrogen projects across North America. To learn more we caught up with Omar Khayum, a vice president at the company in charge of hydrogen project development.

TC Energy is evaluating 10 blue and green hydrogen hubs across North America, viewing incumbency as a significant competitive advantage.

The company is looking to use hydrogen as a means of providing a larger basket of low-carbon solutions to customers, according to Omar Khayum, a TC Energy vice president who is in charge of hydrogen project development. That basket includes mature power generation assets like wind, solar and pumped hydro, Khayum said in an interview, as well as additional firming resources, renewable natural gas, and carbon capture.

“We have a continental platform of customers that are in oil & gas and heavy industry that are looking to decarbonize their existing feedstock,” he said.

TC Energy is partnering with end-use customers, adding capabilities into the partnerships, and sharing in both the risk and benefit of the projects, he said.

“Our incumbency really allows us to partner with end users, and identify customer solutions,” Khayum said. “That’s our business model around de-risking what is a newer form of energy solution.”

Khayum declined to specify where the 10 hydrogen projects are located, other than to say they are proximate to industrial load – existing steelmaking, power plants, chemical facilities and refineries – and are not on the Gulf Coast. TC Energy has announced one project in Alberta which involves an evaluation of its Crossfield gas storage facility and would entail generating 60 tonnes of hydrogen per day with capacity potentially increasing to up to 150 tonnes per day.

In some cases, TC Energy is partnering with the end-use customer to jointly develop the hydrogen projects, Khayum said. “We are the lead developer in most cases but we’re not managing all of the risk ourselves – we’re putting together coalitions with organizations that have upstream and downstream capabilities to make sure we de-risk effectively.”

While conducting project management, TC will use external EPC firms and OEMs to deliver projects, depending on the location and technology in use, Khayum said.

Project funding

As for funding the projects, Khayum said the business model for hydrogen looks similar to the model for liquefied natural gas projects. “We have a wide degree of flexibility in how we can finance projects,” he said, noting the availability of project financing as well as the option to fund projects from TC Energy’s balance sheet.

“We have a number of financial advisors engaged to ensure that as we develop the projects from the offtake agreements to the supply chain agreements – and everywhere in between – those contracts are bankable to provide us the optionality to use project financing,” he said.

Khayum believes that the project finance market is still about 12 months away from being ready to finance hydrogen projects. “That’s because we are one of the early movers in hydrogen development and, as such, we’ll be bringing forward to the marketplace some of the first bankable offtake and supply chain contracts along with risk management tools and activities.”

He noted there was still work to be done among underwriters to validate those contracts for bankability. “We are working over the next year to not only get our projects to FID but working in tandem with our financial advisors to enable the banking system to accommodate those transactions.”

Much of the underwriting requirements have already been well-established in LNG, he noted. “If we can manage risk in a similar fashion,” he added, “we think it will be much more expeditious to achieving a positive FID.”

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Exclusive: Mississippi green hydrogen developer assembling banks for debt raise

The developer of a potentially massive network of green hydrogen production, transport and salt cavern storage — estimated to cost billions — is seeking banks to support a project debt raise.

Hy Stor, the developer of hydrogen generation and salt cavern storage, is currently raising “billions” in project finance for the first phase of its home state hub in Mississippi, Chief Commercial Officer Claire Behar said in an interview.

The first phase is expected to enter commercial service in 2026, guided by customers, Behar said.

Connor Clark & Lunn are equity partners in the Mississippi hub and is helping Hy Stor with its debt raise. Hy Stor is working with King & Spalding as legal advisor.

“We are already seeking banks and lining up our needed debt,” Behar said. She declined to say a precise amount the company will raise but said it will be in the billions.

Hy Stor plans to soon announce their renewable development partner to build dedicated off grid renewables, Behar said. The same is true for offtake in non-intermittent 24-hour industries like steel, plastic and fertilizer manufacturing.

“The customers are willing to pay that twenty-to-thirty percent premium that the market would need,” Behar said. “The business case is there.”

When asked if traditionally carbon intensive industrial manufacturing interests were actively seeking to co-locate with Hy Stor in Mississippi, Behar said the company has been advancing those agreements and hopes to have announcements soon. 
There is evidence of this type of activity in the state. Recently American steel manufacturer Steel Dynamics announced Columbus, Mississippi as the location of its upcoming aluminum flat rolled millwith a focus on decarbonization. Job postings for engineering roles at a separate facility detail plans to convert biomass into a direct carbon replacement suitable for steelmaking. 

Hy Stor hopes to have announcements in the coming weeks about a co-location opportunity, she added. Both domestic and international strategics are interested in the geology offering co-located salt cavern storage and geography offering river and deepwater port logistics networks, as well as highway and rail corridors.

Off-grid renewable generation means the company is not at the mercy of transmission interconnection queues. It also offers reliability because the lack of grid adage helps guarantee performance, and affordability because the company doesn’t have to pay utility rates, Behar said. Additionally, the electricity is decoupled from the grid and therefore absolutely decoupled from fossil fuels, which is important to Hy Stor’s prospective offtakers.

“This is what customers are demanding,” Behar said, adding that first movers are highly dedicated to decarbonization, needing quantitative accounting for all scope emissions, driven often by pressure from their customers.

The company has received a permit to take 11,000 gallons per minute of unpotable water from the Leaf River in Mississippi, Behar said, and is also looking at in-house wastewater treatment and water recycling.

Don’t go after gray users

Behar said the concept that users of gray hydrogen are the first targets for green hydrogen developers is misguided.

“The refineries, the petrochemicals, for them hydrogen is an end product already used within their system,” Behar said. “Those are not going to be the first users that are going to pay us a premium for that zero carbon.”

Hy Stor is instead focusing on new greenfield facilities that can co-locate.

“We’ve purposefully outsized our acreage,” she said of the 70,000 acres the company has purchased outside of Jackson, Mississippi, the Mississippi River Corridor, and the state’s southern deepwater ports in Gulfport and Port Bienville. New industrial projects can co-locate and have direct access to the salt cavern storge.

Looking forward the company’s acreage and seven salt domes mean they are not constrained by storage, Behar said. At each location, the company can develop tens and hundreds of caverns.

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