Resource logo with tagline

Sam Altman-led nuclear tech firm lists on NYSE

Oklo, which has partnerships with Diamondback Energy and Centrus Energy, has gone public via a reverse merger.

Oklo, the fast fission clean power technology and nuclear fuel recycling company, has started  trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol OKLO following the completion of its business combination with AltC Acquisition Corp. on Thursday, according to a news release.

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, is the Chairman of Oklo since 2015 and former Chief Executive Officer of AltC.

“Today is a milestone for the entire Oklo team. As one of the initial investors in the company, I’ve seen first-hand how Oklo has proven itself to be a clean energy leader and innovator,” Altman said in the release. “There are huge growth opportunities ahead.”

Oklo has received $306m in gross proceeds from the transaction before taking into account expenses associated with the transaction, which is expected to be used to execute Oklo’s business plan and fund the initial deployment of the Company’s Aurora powerhouse.

Oklo’s agreements include partnerships with Diamondback Energy and Centrus Energy Corp. The recent approval of the Safety Design Strategy for the Oklo Aurora Fuel Fabrication Facility marks a step in the US Department of Energy’s approval process.

Oklo’s owner-operator model targets established and growing markets, including artificial intelligence, data center, energy, defense, and industrials. The Company will focus on selling power directly to customers under long-term contracts.

The composition of Oklo’s Board of Directors includes Altman (Chairman), Michael Klein, former Chairman of AltC; Jacob DeWitte, Co-Founder and CEO of Oklo; Caroline Cochran, Co-Founder and COO of Oklo; Lieutenant General (Ret.) John Jansen of the United States Marine Corps.; Richard Kinzley, retired Chief Financial Officer of Black Hills Corporation; and Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Energy.

Unlock this article

The content you are trying to view is exclusive to our subscribers.
To unlock this article:

You might also like...

Mining giant Vale partners with Wabtec on alternative fuels study

The deal includes an order for three of Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery locomotives and a collaboration to test ammonia as a potential clean, alternative fuel to replace diesel.

Vale has agreed a partnership with Wabtec Corporation to advance the decarbonization of the company’s rail operations.

The deal includes an order for three of Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery locomotives and a collaboration to test ammonia as a potential clean, alternative fuel to replace diesel.

The three 100% battery powered FLXdrive locomotives will be used on the Carajás Railroad (EFC), which runs the world’s largest iron ore train consisting of 330 railcars transporting 45,000 tons. Today, three to four diesel locomotives pull the train. Once delivered, the FLXdrives will join the diesel locomotives to form Brazil’s first hybrid consist pulling the train uphill for 140 kilometers in Açailândia, in the state of Maranhão, where fuel consumption is the highest. The FLXdrives will replace the two diesel locomotives, known as “dynamic helpers”, that are used to pull the train uphill today.

Wabtec will build the FLXdrive locomotives at its plant in Contagem (state of Minas Gerais). The locomotives’ delivery is forecast for 2026.

“Initially, we are maximizing energy efficiency, replacing the diesel locomotives in the dynamic helper with battery ones, but the idea is that, in the future, the other locomotives on the train can be fueled by ammonia. This way, we would have a clean operation at EFC,” explains Vale’s Director of Energy, Ludmila Nascimento. “This agreement is the first of many that we are seeking in order to accelerate the decarbonization of our railway operation,” she adds.

Vale and Wabtec will work together on a study to use ammonia as a clean alternative fuel, which does not emit CO2. The study will initially be carried out as lab tests to validate performance, emission reductions, and feasibility. Among the advantages of ammonia is the fact that it allows the locomotive a longer range than other carbon-free fuels. In addition, ammonia has a high-octane rating and an established large-scale distribution infrastructure. The two companies will carry out the study in a laboratory over the next two years.

The FLXdrive locomotive’s energy management system recharges the batteries along the route as the train brakes. “It’s what we call regenerative energy produced by dynamic braking. Today, that energy is lost when a traditional locomotive brakes. In the downhill sections, we will be able to recharge the batteries, without having to stop the train’s operation,” said Alexandre Silva, manager of Vale’s Powershift Program. Vale introduced the Powershift Program to study alternative technologies to replace fossil fuels with clean sources in the company’s operations.

The FLXdrive locomotives are estimated to save 25 million litres of diesel per year, considering the consumption of all the railway’s trains that use the dynamic helper. This savings would reduce carbon emissions by approximately 63,000 tons, the equivalent emissions of around 14,000 passenger cars per year.

“Technological advances in battery power and alternative fuels are accelerating the decarbonization journey for railroads,” said Danilo Miyasato, president and general manager of Wabtec for Latin America. “Vale’s innovative approach to adopting alternative fuels for its locomotives will benefit its customers, shareholders, and communities. The FLXdrive provides Vale productivity, safety, fuel economy, and emission reductions for its rail network.”

Read More »

Holland & Knight adds partners with hydrogen focus

The firm hired a team of nine energy industry partners from Eversheds.

Holland & Knight has hired a team of nine energy industry partners from Eversheds, according to a press release.

The team is led by energy and renewables partner Ram Sunkara in Houston and tax partner Amish Shah in Washington, D.C.

Sunkara has an industry-recognized multidisciplinary practice advising clients on complex mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, tax equity transactions, project development and construction matters and structured commodity transactions across the electric energy (with a specific focus on renewables and renewable natural gas), oil and gas, transmission and storage, hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration, mining and metals, timber, chemicals and natural resource industries.

Shah provides sophisticated and practical tax advice to clients making investments in the energy sector or seeking to achieve ESG goals, including with respect to production tax credits (PTCs) and investment tax credits (ITCs) for renewable power, alternative fuels, carbon capture and sequestration, energy storage, hydrogen, biogas property, nuclear and other technologies incentivized through tax credits (including through the Inflation Reduction Act). He represents energy clients in seeking legislative and regulatory changes; in maximizing the value of tax credits, including through “begun construction” strategies; in project development, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and tax equity investments; and in tax controversy at the administrative, trial court and appellate levels.

The group also includes partners Jackson Allen and Kyle Wamstad in Atlanta; Joshua Belcher and Ronnie Dabbasi in Houston; Madeleine Tan in New York; and Alexander Holtan and Susan Lafferty in Washington, D.C. The team’s experience includes corporate transactions, power purchase agreements, project finance and development, equity and debt financing, general tax planning, energy-related tax credits, tax controversy, regulatory and environmental.

The move follows Holland & Knight’s 2021 merger with Thompson & Knight, a Texas-based firm and leader in the energy industry, as well as multiple lateral energy and renewable partner additions over the past several years, the release states. Holland & Knight’s Energy and Natural Resources Group includes more than 220 lawyers in key markets throughout the U.S. and in Mexico and Colombia.

“Since 2018, one important aspect of our business strategy has been to strengthen our energy practice,” said Steven Sonberg, managing partner of Holland & Knight. “The addition of this exceptional team, combined with the strength of the former Thompson & Knight lawyers, our partners in Bogotá and Mexico, as well as other recent partner additions, positions us to provide a full range of services to the international energy industry. Ram, Amish and their team will help us compete for the most sophisticated work across all areas of the industry.”

Read More »

Tidewater receives additional funding to complete renewable diesel and hydrogen complex

The Canadian fuels producer had experienced cost overruns in the final stages of the project.

Tidewater Renewables Ltd. initial unit commissioning at its Renewable Diesel (HDRD) Complex and its financing solution to support the completion and start-up of the HDRD facility, according to a news release.

Following the previously announced capital cost increase, the corporation has significantly enhanced its funding capacity.  Tidewater Renewables is in discussion with its lenders to seek consents for increases to its lending facilities.  It has also received additional government support, in the form of an issuance of credits that will result in cash proceeds of $43m.

Tidewater executives had previously blamed the cost overruns on the lack of exotic components needed to complete the project, adding on the company’s most recent earnings call that more up-front engineering should have been done to avoid cost increases.

The HDRD Complex continues to progress on schedule and with no change to the previously announced gross capital cost estimate of $342m. Construction is currently estimated to be 93% complete with the last major piece of equipment now on site.  Construction operations commissioning has begun on several units with final completion and start-up expected to begin within two months. The HDRD project continues to be a leader in safety performance with zero loss time injuries throughout the life of the project to date.

To support the HDRD project, Tidewater Renewables has recently entered into firm credit sales agreements that will result in $43m of proceeds net to the corporation.  Proceeds from the credit sales and the anticipated expansion of its lending facilities will primarily be employed to offset the previously disclosed capital cost increases at the Corporation’s HDRD Complex. Tidewater Renewables believes its enhanced liquidity will sufficiently fund the HDRD project through start-up while providing significant additional flexibility.

“The support from government and our current capital providers has been fundamental to the ongoing advancement and success of our HDRD Complex, which will become Canada’s first Renewable Diesel facility. This project will provide significant value to our stakeholders while reducing the carbon intensity of fuels used in British Columbia and Canada” said Rob Colcleugh, Chairman and Interim CEO.

HDRD Complex Update

  • HDRD Complex construction is progressing as forecast and is 93% complete.
  • All major equipment for the HDRD Complex is now on site and set.
  • The majority of the dry commissioning of the utility packages is complete.
  • The tank farm and rail systems are now ready for operation.
  • Target start-up is expected within two months.
  • Operating at its design capacity, the HDRD Complex is expected to generate annualized run rate EBITDA of between $90 – 115m.
Read More »

Exclusive: Hydrocarbon recycling firm raising pre-IPO equity

An early-stage company capturing and recycling CO2 from hydrocarbon engines in the northeastern US and Germany has hired an investment bank to help them with a public listing and is raising pre-IPO platform equity.

ESG Clean Energy, a Massachusetts-based carbon capture and recycling firm formed in 2016, plans to go public in 2025 but will first raise pre-IPO platform equity, CEO Nick Scuderi said in an interview.

ESG Clean Energy will change its name in a re-brand and has hired an investment bank to help with the IPO, which does not yet have a targeted quarter, Scuderi said. He declined to name the advisor.

After the name change but prior to the public listing, ESG is seeking to raise between $20m and $40m in platform equity, he said. The company is interested in a traditional IPO, not a SPAC or private debut opportunity.

Angel investors have backed the company to date, with some $40m total raised, Scuderi said. He owns a controlling stake in the company.

Power, water and CO2

ESG Clean Energy, billed as a thermal dynamics and fluid mechanics engineering company, has patented technology for use in fossil combustion engines – both piston-driven engines and bottoming cycles (secondary thermal dynamic waste-to-energy systems). Exhaust is treated to produce CO2 and water.

The technology is commercialized, producing power at a facility in Holyoke, Massachusetts under a 5 MW/20-year PPA with Holyoke Gas & Electric. The 5,000 square-foot plant in the city proper has two Caterpillar G3520 natural gas engines each producing 2 MW of power running on natural gas during peak hours.

The waste-heat from Holyoke One is used to create commodities, including distilled water.

“What we have is a design, a system, where we utilize our technology to separate the water from the exhaust,” Scuderi said. “We can utilize this technology in any power plant in the US that’s running on natural gas.”

In arid regions, the distilled water aspect has obvious potential. The Holyoke One facility makes up to 14,000 gallons of distilled water per day, Scuderi said.

The system is also applicable in ICE engines, Suderi said. The company has been in discussions with auto manufacturers to license ESG’s IP; he declined to name which auto companies.

The CO2 is sold to offtakers who do not re-emit it into the atmosphere, such as cannabis growers and CO2 beverage makers. ESG is also able to sell carbon credits.

Bankable opportunities in the US and Germany

Holyoke One, at a cost of $20m, can be replicated throughout the US and, post-IPO, ESG has eyes on power projects in New England, California and Florida, Scuderi said.

Power plants that produce from 100 MWh to 200 MWh will cost between $400m and $450m, and each of those projects will be set up as a separate LLC, Scuderi said. The demand is particularly large in powering data storage.

“We have different [investment] funds that are very large that are willing to put up the money” to fund the projects, Scuderi said. “It’s bankable because the power sales agreement is tied to a data storage company that’s triple-A rated.”

Data-heavy geographies like Virginia are targets for this kind of development, and ESG plans to sharpen its focus on these projects, as well as project finance efforts, following the IPO.

Now, the company has six large scale projects in development in Germany, including one advanced project serving a cloud computing offtaker in the Berlin area, needing 150 MW to 200 MW of power per hour, Scuderi said.

“In Germany, we’re very far along with getting power sales agreements,” he said. “Once we deploy this technology in one location, the world’s going to want it.”

Read More »
exclusive

DG Fuels charting path to be SAF powerhouse

The company has retained advisors and is mapping out a plan to build as many as 50 production facilities in North America for a “gigantic” sustainable aviation fuel market.

DG Fuels is charting a plan to build a proprietary network of 30 to 50 sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facilities in North America, CEO Michael Darcy said in an interview.

The Washington, D.C.-based company will pursue a combination of debt and equity on a case-by-case basis to fund the projects, Darcy explained, with financings underway now for the firm’s initial project in Louisiana and a second facility in Maine. The Louisiana facility recently inked a USD 4bn offtake agreement with an undisclosed investment grade industrial buyer.

The company is working with Guggenheim and Stephens as financial advisors, Darcy said. About 60 people hold equity in the company; Darcy and the founding team hold a majority stake.

In the coming months DG Fuels will likely make announcements about more SAF plants in the US and British Columbia, Darcy said. Site negotiations are underway and each project is its own subsidiary of the parent company.

“There’s clearly a good return of what we refer to as the ‘project level,’ and then we have the parent company,” Darcy said. “We have strategic investment at the parent and now we’re looking at strategic investment at the project level.”

Huge demand, low supply

DG Fuels produces SAF from cellulosic biomass feedstock, a technology that does not need sequestration of CO2 because natural gas is not used.

“We like to say it’s the corn cob, not the corn,” Darcy said. The company can also use timber waste, waxes, and renewable power as an important source of energy.

The company gets about 4.5 barrels of SAF for every ton of biomass feedstock, which is roughly three to four times the industry average, Darcy said.

“Practical scale” for a facility is 12,000 to 15,000 barrels a day, Darcy said. That’s big enough to be commercialized without stressing the electrical grid with power demand.

Despite the company’s advantages, there is “plenty of room” for other producers to come into the SAF space, Darcy said.

“Right now, the market for SAF is gigantic and the supply is minimal,” Darcy said. “Companies like us are able to pick and choose high-quality offtakers.”

DG Fuels includes Delta Airlines, Air France and General Electric as committed offtakers.

Multi-tasking

DG Fuels is “always engaged in some level of capital raise for construction of facilities and detailed engineering,” Darcy said. “There’s always more engineering to be done.”

Some of the financing has already been completed, but Darcy declined to go into additional detail. After Louisiana, the company will quickly follow up with Maine.

HydrogenPro AS recently announced that it would join Black & Veatch and Energy Vault in financing the remaining capital requirements of DG Fuels’ project in Louisiana, which is expected to be completed in mid-2022.

Most of the engineering work in Louisiana is transferable to the company’s project in Maine. Darcy likened the facilities’ build-out to a class of ships: once the first is completed, the second and third can be built almost concurrently.

“There will be a point where we won’t be building one at a time,” Darcy said.

The opportunity for funders to participate is broad in the SAF space, Darcy said. There is a crossover of good economics and ESG, so strategics, industrials, private equity and other pure financial players can all be involved.

The broad base of capital eager to participate in companies that are innovative — but not too innovative as to scare investors — is indicative of the industry’s ability to secure offtakers and feedstock.

Storing power

It’s one thing to acknowledge the need for reduction of carbon, but hard work is required ahead, Darcy said.

“The low-hanging fruit has been done,” he said of the renewables industry. “Now it’s not really about the power, it’s about the storage of power.”

DG Fuels is an offtaker of non-peak renewable power to displace fossil fuel energy. But baseload renewable power is becoming available almost anywhere.

The Maine project will use stranded hydroelectric power, Louisiana will use solar, and projects in the Midwest will use wind, Darcy said. Additionally, geothermal power is “starting to become a very real opportunity,” he added.

Deploying broadly with renewable power gets past the issues of variability of renewable power at a reasonable cost, he said.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Welcome Back

Get Started

Sign up for a free 15-day trial and get the latest clean fuels news in your inbox.