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Raven SR and Chart Industries to collaborate on hydrogen and CCS

The parties will collaborate globally on the liquefaction, storage, and transportation of hydrogen as well as pure carbon dioxide produced from Raven SR's non-combustion steam/CO2 reformation process of converting waste to renewable fuel.

Raven SR, a renewable fuels company, and Chart Industries today announced their agreement to collaborate globally on the liquefaction, storage, and transportation of hydrogen as well as pure carbon dioxide produced from Raven SR’s non-combustion Steam/CO2 Reformation process of converting waste to renewable fuel.

Raven SR, which launched a capital raise earlier this year, produces transportation-grade hydrogen as well as Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuels, including sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), using local waste as a feedstock, including green waste, municipal solid waste, organic waste, and methane from municipal solid waste or stranded natural gas wells. A byproduct of this process is captured CO2, which when liquefied is a commodity used for food and beverage production, fertilizer production, and other consumer applications. In addition, CO2 can be a feedstock for concrete or alternative fuels such as eFuels.

“By partnering with Chart Industries, Raven SR will be able to optimize our facilities’ production of clean fuels, strengthening both project deployment and regional fuel supply,” said Matt Murdock, CEO of Raven SR. “As we expand globally, it is essential for Raven SR to collaborate with a world leader in hydrogen and carbon dioxide storage and transportation in order to increase energy efficiency throughout the supply chain.”

Chart Industries is a leading global engineering design and manufacturer of highly engineered equipment servicing multiple applications in the clean energy and industrial gas markets. Its unique product portfolio is used in every phase of the liquid gas supply chain, including upfront engineering, service and repair.

“We are excited to partner with Raven SR, a world leader in sustainable solutions, including waste to energy and transportation applications,” stated Jill Evanko, Chart’s CEO and president. “This collaboration brings two companies together that combined can offer a robust solution set of options for renewables customers as well as further progressing our customers’ CO2 reduction goals.”

The Raven SR technology is a non-combustion thermal, chemical reductive process that converts organic waste and landfill gas to hydrogen and Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuels. Unlike other hydrogen production technologies, its Steam/CO2 Reformation does not require fresh water as a feedstock. The process is more efficient than conventional hydrogen production and can deliver fuel with low to negative carbon intensity. Additionally, Raven SR’s goal is to generate as much of its own power onsite as possible to reduce reliance on the power grid and be independent of the grid. Its modular design provides a scalable means to locally produce renewable hydrogen and synthetic liquid fuels from local waste.

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ENEOS to develop commercial scale LOHC project

ENEOS will use technology from Honeywell to develop a commercial scale liquid organic hydrogen carrier project.

Honeywell today announced that ENEOS, a leading energy company in Japan, will develop the world’s first commercial scale Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) project using Honeywell’s solution at multiple sites.

The LOHC solution enables the long-distance transportation of clean hydrogen and can help meet the growing requirements for hydrogen use across various industries by leveraging existing refining assets and infrastructure.

“With more cost-effective long-distance transport, our Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier provides a method of more closely matching international supply and demand for hydrogen which enables hydrogen to play a critical role in the energy mix as we move toward lower-carbon economies,” said Ken West, president and CEO of Honeywell Energy and Sustainability Solutions, in a news release. “By providing solutions to help overcome the challenges of hydrogen transportation, Honeywell is supporting ENEOS in transitioning to a hydrogen-powered future.”

This is one of multiple hydrogen transportation projects on which Honeywell and ENEOS are collaborating. In the Honeywell LOHC solution, hydrogen gas is combined chemically through the Honeywell Toluene Hydrogenation process into methylcyclohexane (MCH) – a convenient liquid carrier – compatible with existing infrastructure. The hydrogen at these sites will be exported – in the same way as petrochemical products – to ENEOS in Japan in the form of MCH. Once at its destination, the hydrogen will be recovered using the Honeywell MCH Dehydrogenation process and released for use, while the toluene can be sent back for additional cycles.

Hydrogen is expected to play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At standard conditions, hydrogen is a flammable gas with low density and cannot be efficiently or easily transported. Current solutions available for transporting hydrogen include liquifying the hydrogen and using chemical carriers such as ammonia, each of which requires additional infrastructure to produce and transport hydrogen.

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Exclusive: CarbonFree raising capital for U.S. Steel carbon utilization project

CarbonFree, an established carbon capture utilization firm, is raising capital for its $150m plant at U.S. Steel’s Gary, Indiana steelmaking facilities.

CarbonFree, an established carbon capture and utilization firm, is raising capital to build a $150m capture and utilization plant at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works Blast Furnaces.

The San Antonio-based firm already generates revenues from existing projects, and will use cash on hand as well as additional private investments to fund construction of the project, a spokesperson for the company said via email.

We are pursuing additional equity investments in CarbonFree, rather than project-specific financing,” the spokesperson said. “The process is ongoing.”

The company is working with a financial advisor on the capital raise, but the spokesperson declined to name the firm.

CarbonFree and U.S. Steel announced this week that they have finalized a definitive agreement to use CarbonFree’s SkyCycle technology to capture and mineralize up to 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Construction is expected to begin as soon as this summer with operations expected by 2026.

The technology captures carbon emissions and converts them into a carbon-neutral calcium carbonate, used to make paper, plastics, and other products.

CarbonFree CEO Martin Keighley said in previous interviews that the objective of the CCU operation is that “it can be zero capital and zero OpEx for the emitter, because, in its own right, it is a profitable operation.”

The spokesperson estimated the addressable market for the calcium carbonate it produces to be $40bn, and added that CarbonFree was actively seeking new partners in that market.

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Shell sells interest in SouthCoast Wind

Shell has sold its 50% interest in SouthCoast Wind, a proposed offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts with 2.4 GW of capacity.

Shell New Energies US LLC (Shell), a subsidiary of Shell plc, has sold its 50% equity share in SouthCoast Wind Energy LLC (SouthCoast Wind) to joint venture partner Ocean Winds North America LLC (Ocean Winds), according to a news release.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

SouthCoast Wind is a 50-50 joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds, established to develop offshore wind projects off the coast of Massachusetts.

“In-line with our Powering Progress strategy, Shell continues to hone our portfolio of renewable generation projects in key markets where we have an advantaged position,” said Glenn Wright, Senior Vice President, Shell Energy Americas. “We are grateful to Ocean Winds for their years of partnership within this venture, and continue to seek opportunities to provide more energy, with fewer emissions.”

This deal was structured to simultaneously sign and close, with an immediate effective date.

SouthCoast Wind is developing a proposed offshore wind farm in US federal waters about 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 23 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts with an approximate capacity of 2,400 MW via Lease OCS-A 0521, which covers 127,388 acres. Formerly named Mayflower Wind Energy LLC, this joint venture was established in 2018.

Ocean Winds is a 50-50 offshore wind joint venture owned by EDP Renewables and ENGIE.

In the U.S., Shell is a 50-50 partner in an additional offshore wind joint venture, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC (Atlantic Shores), with EDF-RE Offshore Development, LLC. Atlantic Shores is developing a portfolio of wind farms off the coast of New Jersey and New York.

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Low-carbon crude refinery developer lining up project cap stack

The developer of a low-carbon crude refinery is in talks with banks and strategics to line up project financing for a $5.5bn project in Oklahoma.

Texas-based Southern Rock Energy Partners is holding discussions with banks and potential strategic investors with the aim of shaping a $5.5bn capital stack to build a low-carbon crude refinery in Cushing, Oklahoma.

The project, a first-of-its-kind 250,000 barrel-per-day crude refinery, would make it the first crude facility of that size built in the United States in several decades.

The company is evaluating a project finance route with a debt and equity structure for the project, and has held talks with several major investment banks as well as “industry-leading” strategics in midstream, industrial gas, and electricity generation, Southern Rock Managing Partner Steven Ward said in an interview.

In support of the refinery, the city of Cushing and the Cushing Economic Development Foundation approved $75m in tax-exempt private activity bonds, Ward noted. He added that the company could also tap industrial revenue bonds as well as PACE equity financing.

Seed capital for project development has so far come from strategic partners, some of which are operational partners, Ward said. He declined to comment further on the capital raise, noting that engagement letters have yet to be signed.

Engineering firm KBR is conducting a feasibility study for the Cushing project, and the company is moving through land acquisition, air permit preparation, and EPC selection, Ward said.

While most crude refineries consume natural gas, off-gasses, and ambient air, Southern Rock’s proposed refinery would use oxygen along with blue hydrogen produced from the refining off-gasses and green hydrogen from electrolysis. The process would eliminate 95% of greenhouse gas emissions at the proposed refinery.

“Our furnaces and our process heating units are fed 100% hydrogen and oxygen,” Ward said, noting that this type of system does not currently exist in the market. The company is expanding on technology it licenses from Great Southern Flameless, he said.

The size of the refinery would make it the largest to be built in the US since Marathon Petroleum built a 200,000 barrels-per-day facility in 1976.

Certain other low-carbon crude projects have been in the market for several years. Meridian Energy has been seeking to build cleaner crude refineries in North Dakota. Raven Petroleum ran up against environmental concerns while seeking to build a clean refinery in Texas. And MMEX is aiming to build an “ultra clean” crude refinery in West Texas.

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Exclusive: Zero-emission locomotive start-up in Series B capital raise

A locomotive start-up focused on the US market for zero-emission freight trains is undergoing a Series B capital raise, with sights on a much larger Series C raise next year.

OptiFuel Systems, a provider of zero-emission line haul locomotives and generation solutions, is conducting a $30m Series B capital raise.

The South Carolina-based firm is seeking to finalize the Series B by the end of this year, and plans to use proceeds to advance production of its zero-emission technologies for the rail industry, which represents a massive decarbonization opportunity, CEO Scott Myers said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the firm will seek to tap the market for around $150m for a Series C next year, Myers added. The company is not working with a financial adviser. 

While the Series B will focus on bringing to production some of OptiFuel’s smaller rail offerings, such as the switcher locomotives, the Series C will be mostly dedicated to progressing testing, manufacturing, and commercialization of its larger line haul locomotive.

The company is also considering making its own investments into digesters for RNG facilities, from which it would source the gas to run its RNG-fueled locomotives. As part of its offering, OptiFuel also provides refueling infrastructure, and envisions this aspect of its business to be just as profitable as selling trains.

“We anticipate that we would be the offtaker” of RNG, “and quite potentially, the producer,” Cynthia Heinz, an OptiFuel board member, said in the interview.

A systems integrator, OptiFuel offers modular locomotives for the freight industry that can run on zero-emission technology such as renewable natural gas, batteries, and hydrogen. The company recently announced that it will begin testing of its RNG line haul locomotive, which is a 1-million-mile test program that will take two years and require 10 RNG line haul locomotives.

Image: OptiFuel

The company’s target market is the 38,000 operating freight trains in the U.S., 25,000 of which are line haul locomotives run by operators like BASF, Union Pacific, and CSX. Fleet owners will be required to phase out diesel-powered trains starting next decade following passage of in-use locomotive requirements in California, which includes financial penalties for pollution and eventual restrictions on polluting locomotives. Other states are evaluating similar measures.

“The question is not will the railroads change over: they have to,” Myers said. “The question is, how fast?”

Following completion of testing, OptiFuel aims to begin full production of the line haul locomotive – which has a price tag of $5.5m per unit – in 2028, and is aiming to produce 2,000 per year as a starting point. The smaller switcher units are priced between $1.5m and $2.5m depending on horsepower.

OptiFuel has held discussions with Cummins, one of its equipment providers, to source at least 2,000 engines per year from Cummins to support its production goal. 

“That’s a $10bn-a-year market for us,” Myers added.

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Aemetis capitalized for hydrogen and biofuel development plans

Aemetis CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview that the company has lined up financing to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel projects it has in development.

Aemetis is well capitalized to complete the $1.2bn in biogas and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects it has in development, CEO Eric McAfee said in an interview.

Founded by McAfee in 2006 and listed on the NASDAQ in 2014, Aemetis plans to produce more than 60 million gallons per year of SAF and capture and sequester 125,000 mtpy of carbon in 2025. This is a diversification from existing ethanol, RNG and biodiesel operations in the US and India.

The company recently released an updated five-year plan including plans to generate $2bn of revenues, $496m of net income, and $682m of adjusted EBITDA by 2027.

McAfee, noting that Aemetis is well capitalized and has locked in financing for much of its plans, said, “The only thing we really need to do is just execute.”

For example, the company closed $25m of USDA loan guarantees in October at a 6.2% interest rate, McAfee said. The company has also signed a $125m USDA commitment letter for its Riverbank Biofuels Project in California, also called CarbonZero 1, which will produce SAF.

“We’ll be expanding that relationship with [the USDA],” McAfee said. “Everything else is financed.”

The Riverbank Biofuels Project has signed offtake agreements with major airlines, and the SAF segment is expected to be the biggest contributor to Aemetis’ revenues once the project is online in 2025, according to a presentation. Renewable diesel and SAF will add $348m of revenues in 2025 and $693.3m of revenues in 2026.

For its carbon sequestration projects, referring to upgrades at the existing Keyes ethanol plant in California and other operational assets, the company has an existing $100m line of credit provided by Third Eye Capital, $50m of which remains unused, McAfee said.

Projected revenues will allow the company to self-fund without new credit facilities, McAfee said. Revenues from Aemetis’ debt-free operations in India will also be available to fund new developments.

The Riverbank SAF plant will be fully engineered and permitted this year, McAfee said. Baker Hughes and ATSI are the company’s EPC partners on the new developments.

Aemetis has no plans to divest existing operational assets but could acquire California biogas assets, McAfee said. The company regularly talks to investment bankers.

McAfee is the largest single shareholder in Aemetis. JackBlock, the former US Secretary of Agriculture, sits on the company’s board. The largest institutional shareholder is BlackRock.

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