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Plug Power re-starts hydrogen production at Tennessee plant

Between Georgia and Tennessee, Plug now has about 25 tons per day of liquid hydrogen production capacity.

Plug Power Inc., a provider of comprehensive hydrogen solutions, has re-started operation of its hydrogen plant in Charleston, Tennessee, adding about ten tons per day (TPD) of liquid hydrogen supply back onto the U.S. market. Plug also implemented design improvements to enhance overall plant efficiency, according to a news release.

Plug’s cryogenic trailer fleet will deliver liquid hydrogen from the Tennessee plant to Plug’s pedestal customers throughout North America, with a high-density of users clustered throughout the Midwest and along the East Coast. This adds to Plug’s supply of liquid hydrogen currently being delivered to customers for use in material handling operations, fuel cell electric vehicle fleets, and stationary power applications.

“With the Tennessee plant coming back online, we have taken another step towards building a vertically integrated hydrogen network in North America,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO. “In addition, we expect to have our joint venture plant in Louisiana to come online in the third quarter of 2024, adding another 15 TPD of liquid hydrogen capacity to the market.”

“This liquid hydrogen production out of Georgia and Tennessee is expected to bring down the average cost of delivered hydrogen, positively impacting Plug’s fuel margins in line with our strategy,” added Sanjay Shrestha, General Manager, Energy Solutions & Chief Strategy Officer at Plug.

Plug began production of liquid green hydrogen at its Georgia plant on January 23, 2024. At 15 TPD, this is the largest liquid green hydrogen plant in the U.S. market, and largest PEM electrolyzer deployment operating in the U.S. The company is doing substantial work on building plants in New York and Texas, as well as Europe, with plants underway in Finland and Belgium.

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Cleveland-Cliffs CEO: ‘Hydrogen is the future’

The largest producer of flat-rolled steel in North America plans to lean heavily on hydrogen to reduce its carbon footprint.

Cleveland Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves is staking his company’s ability to decarbonize on large-scale use of hydrogen as a reductant in its blast furnaces.

The steelmaker is building a $9m pipeline that will feed hydrogen from the edge of its Indiana Harbor 7 plant into the blast furnace, what Goncalves called the company’s “high water mark” for hydrogen since it is the biggest plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

“It’s the biggest blast furnace, the one that we use the most in terms of hydrogen because of its size,” Goncalves said on the company’s earnings call. “And it’s also because it’s our flagship, for instance, our biggest, the biggest in the Western Hemisphere and we are going to use as a demonstration plant for how to use hydrogen” in steelmaking.

Cleveland Cliffs in May completed a hydrogen injection trial at its Middletown Works blast furnace on a smaller scale.

Goncalves said previously that the company committed to offtake 200 tons per day of the 1000-ton-per-day project being developed by bp and Constellation as part of the Midwest Hydrogen Hub located in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.

The hub was recently awarded up to $1bn in funding from the US Department of Energy hydrogen hubs program.

“Cliffs’ commitment to buy a large portion of the output from the Midwest hub helped get this location selected by the Department of Energy,” Goncalves said.

“Hydrogen is the future,” he said. “Effectively, all of the current carbon emissions in our footprint are a result of the use of fossil fuel-based reductants or energy sources, where there is no economically feasible alternative,” he added. “Hydrogen can and ultimately will change that.”

He added that the use of hydrogen is very minimally capital intensive if you already have blast furnaces, with only minor plant additions needed, such as the Indiana Harbor pipeline.

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New JV to provide H2-blending solutions to gas utilities

Progressus Clean Technologies and Alkaline Fuel Cell Power have entered into a JV for a H2-blending pilot project for natural gas utilities.

Progressus Clean Technologies and Alkaline Fuel Cell Power have entered into a JV for a H2-blending pilot project for natural gas utilities, according to a news release.

The JV is intended to combine Progressus technologies with AFCP fuel cells to serve residential and small building customers across North America. PowerTap Hydrogen owns 49% of Progress.

Gas distribution companies and municipalities are setting-up projects to inject hydrogen into the local gas distribution grid.; generally up to 20% hydrogen.

The project is designed to use the Progressus hydrogen separation technology to efficiently extract hydrogen at high purities from the existing natural gas grid, and then convert the purified hydrogen using either AFCP’s 4 kW Micro-CHP or 4 kW generator to produce electricity, and potentially heat. This project could be put to immediate use in a residential home or commercial building, providing truly zero-emission power. AFCP has already identified interest from natural gas and electric utilities and municipalities to pilot the concept.

The exact location of the JV pilot project remains under consideration but, initially, North America will be the focus with secondary priority given to potential future pilots in Europe.

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Nikola names new CFO

Nikola has named Anastisiya Pasterick as its new CFO. She replaces outgoing CFO Kim J. Brady, who is retiring.

Nikola Corporation, a global supplier of zero-emissions transportation and energy supply and infrastructure solutions, today announced that CFO Kim J. Brady will retire as effective April 7, 2023, according to a news release.

Anastasiya “Stasy” Pasterick, who is currently serving as Nikola’s vice president, corporate controller, will succeed Brady as the company’s new CFO. Brady will remain employed with Nikola through April 28, 2023, as a non-executive officer in an advisory capacity to support the transition.

As CFO, Pasterick will be responsible for leading Nikola’s finance and accounting team, including investor relations, strategic finance, and treasury.

Pasterick started her career at KPMG LLP where she worked in audit for seven years, serving a diverse portfolio of clients in the automotive and technology sectors from pre-revenue start-ups to global multi-billion-dollar corporations, according to the release. Prior to joining Nikola in 2019, Pasterick held several financial leadership positions at OEM manufacturing firms including Director of Accounting Operations at Erickson, Inc., and Corporate Controller at nLIGHT, Inc., where she led all financial aspects of the company’s IPO.

At Nikola, Pasterick was key in executing the organization’s SPAC merger in 2020 and has been responsible for the overall financial operations of the company including accounting, reporting, transactional finance, and manufacturing finance. She has established Nikola’s accounting and reporting infrastructure as a new public company and has been instrumental in scaling the organization’s financial operations through entering commercial production.

“Stasy’s proven financial acumen and attention to detail are the capabilities the company needs now as we build on the momentum surrounding the unveiling of our new energy brand, HYLA, the commercialization of our Class 8 battery-electric truck, and the pending production of our Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle,” said Michael Lohscheller, Nikola Corporation president and CEO. “We are grateful to Kim for his leadership and dedication to the company for the past five years. He led the organization’s early rounds of funding and was instrumental in taking the company public and shaping its strategy. We sincerely wish him all the very best as he embarks on a new and exciting chapter in his life.”

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See all 79 DOE hydrogen hub applicants

The list, obtained by this publication, shows whether projects were ‘encouraged’ or ‘discouraged’ to submit a final application.

The complete list of 79 applicants to the US Department of Energy’s hydrogen hub funding opportunity includes previously unreported projects from oil majors and renewable energy giants.

The list, obtained by this publication via a FOIA request, shows whether or not projects were ‘encouraged’ or ‘discouraged’ by the DOE to submit a final application before the April 7, 2023 deadline. The program is expected to offer $8bn in federal funding for six to 10 clean hydrogen hubs, with no single project receiving more than $1.25bn. A decision of funding recipients is expected this fall.

Over nearly nine months, the DOE FOIA office was unwilling to send information about the initial 79 applications that were submitted last year, citing confidential materials in the concept papers. The resulting list is therefore scant in details, showing only the name of the project and the lead entity.

While many of the concepts have been publicly announced by proponents, several major projects that have not been reported previously appear on the list: among others, ExxonMobil was encouraged to apply for funding for a project called “Hydrogen Liftoff Hub”; and NextEra has a “Southeast Hydrogen Network” project, which was also encouraged to apply.

The full list of project names and proponents has been added to The Hydrogen Source’s project database, which now showcases over 370 projects in North America, including hydrogen, ammonia, and sustainable aviation fuel as well as eFuels, carbon capture, direct air capture, and more.

The full database is available only to paid subscribers. Simply click over to the database and select the “DOE applicants” filter for the full list.

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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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Arizona RNG firm seeking equity capital

A renewable natural gas developer with sites proposed in southern California and Arizona is seeking additional equity investors.

True North Renewable Energy Company, a Phoenix-based waste-to-energy developer, is undergoing a Series B equity raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Whitehall & Company is advising, the sources said.

True North develops, builds, and operates organics-to-energy facilities, including large, regional, high solids anaerobic digestion infrastructure, according to its website.

The firm is primarily active in southern California and Arizona. Sites have been announced in Imperial County, Kern County and Mojave (all in California) as well as Yuma County, Arizona. Collectively, these could produce up to 3m mmbtu per annum, using up to 700,000 tons of organic compost from regional farms.

The company is a holding of True North Venture Partners, of Phoenix and Chicago.

TNRE and Whitehall did not respond to requests for comment.

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