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Sinopec green hydrogen project enters operation

The project supplies hydrogen to Sinopec's Tahe Refining & Chemical to remove its fossil fuel-based electricity used for hydrogen production

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation announced that the Green Hydrogen Pilot Project constructed by the company in Kuqa City of Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has commenced operation. The official operation of the plant, which harnesses solar energy to generate green hydrogen, marks a major stride forward in Sinopec’s technological exploration to produce clean hydrogen as it empowers the country to transition to a greener and more sustainable energy system.

Spearheaded by Sinopec’s New Star Company, the mega project is the largest solar-to-hydrogen project in the world and the first of its kind in China that is equipped with a photovoltaic power generation complex, power transmission and transformation lines, as well as facilities for water electrolysis hydrogen production, hydrogen storage and transportation, and supporting auxiliary production.

Green hydrogen is produced by facilities powered by renewable power sources such as solar and wind energy, minimizing the carbon footprint across the entire production process. The Project takes advantage of the wealth of photovoltaic resources in Kuqa to achieve 20,000 tons per annum of green hydrogen by using solar power to electrolyze water, along with the capacity to store 210,000 cubic meters of hydrogen and transport 28,000 cubic meters per hour.

As a demonstration project that serves to carve out a new path for green hydrogen refining and provide an exemplary model for green hydrogen production in China, the Project supplies hydrogen to Sinopec’s Tahe Refining & Chemical to remove its fossil fuel-based electricity used for hydrogen production, which is expected to help it reduce 485,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

With a focus on hydrogen-powered transportation and green hydrogen refining, Sinopec aims to launch itself to become a new energy powerhouse that pioneers hydrogen production innovation in China, facilitating China and beyond to achieve low-carbon targets in the coming years. With an annual hydrogen production and utilization capacity exceeding 4.5 million tons, Sinopec’s self-developed megawatt-scale PEM electrolysis hydrogen production station has entered operation, and its first hydrogen demonstration project in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which is expected to produce 30,000 metric tons of hydrogen a year, has been launched in 2023.

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Heliogen and Dimensional Energy ink SAF production demo LOI

Heliogen has entered into a letter of intent with sustainable fuels-focused Dimensional Energy to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

Heliogen, a provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar energy technology, has entered into a letter of intent (LOI) with sustainable fuels-focused Dimensional Energy to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), according to a news release.

The project is located at Heliogen’s concentrated solar thermal demonstration facility in Lancaster, California. This collaboration aims to create a reserve of jet fuel created from sunlight and air.

The companies will work to deploy Heliogen’s proprietary, artificial AI-powered HelioHeat technology to convert sunlight directly into thermal energy in the form of high temperature steam and air that will be used to produce green hydrogen for Dimensional Energy’s Reactor platform.

The hydrogen will be produced using Heliogen’s concentrated solar technology. The LOI includes a goal of building a fully integrated ~1 barrel per day drop-in ready SAF demonstration. The parties expect the demonstration project to be a first step to develop a pipeline for approximately 3m barrels of fuel over the next ten years.

Dimensional Energy has signed a commercial agreement to supply United Airlines with 300 million gallons of SAF over 20 years.

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Tailwater Capital partners with renewable diesel and SAF developer

The company, Ash Creek Renewables, serves North American renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel producers through its feedstock marketing, distribution, pretreatment and logistics operations.

Tailwater Capital LLC, an energy and growth infrastructure private equity firm, has agreed to a partnership with Ash Creek Renewables, a platform dedicated to developing renewable fuel feedstock solutions to meet the demands of the growing renewable fuels market, according to a news release.

Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

The company serves North American renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel producers through its feedstock marketing, distribution, pretreatment and logistics operations.

Dallas-based Tailwater Capital is an energy and growth infrastructure private equity firm with $4.4bn in commited capital.

Ash Creek is led by chief executive officer John Cusick, who has over 20 years of experience in the low carbon fuels sector. Previously, Cusick was an owner of The Jacobsen, the leading consultancy for the renewable fuels industry. Prior to The Jacobsen, Cusick held senior positions at Renewable Biofuels, Inc., Glencore and Morgan Stanley.

“We are thrilled to partner with Tailwater as we embark on this exciting new chapter,” Cusick said. “Pairing Ash Creek’s deep industry knowledge, capabilities and multi-decade relationships in the renewable fuels industry with Tailwater’s experience in downstream-adjacent infrastructure creates an ideal partnership to execute our strategy.”

“Ash Creek will make an incredible addition to our portfolio and aligns well with our growth infrastructure expertise that has been developed through over a decade of investing in the downstream-adjacent infrastructure, renewable fuels, and logistics sectors,” said Edward Herring, co-founder and managing partner of Tailwater. “We are excited to partner with Ash Creek as they continue to develop meaningful solutions for renewable fuel producers.”

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Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners acquires majority stake in Gulf Coast blue ammonia project

The project has commenced detailed engineering and will initially consist of two phases, each with a production capacity of 4,000 tons per day once operational in 2027.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, through its Energy Transition Fund (CI ETF I), has acquired a majority stake in a blue ammonia project, which will be developed alongside U.S.-based Sustainable Fuels Group (SFG), according to a news release.

The financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.

The project has entered into an agreement with International-Matex Tank Terminals (IMTT), a terminaling and logistics company, to provide ammonia storage and handling services. Located along the Gulf Coast, the project has commenced detailed engineering (FEED) and will initially consist of two phases, each with a production capacity of 4,000 tons per day (~3.0 million tons of annual production from both phases) once operational in 2027.

Blue ammonia is a low-carbon approach to ammonia production which combines traditional ammonia synthesis using natural gas with subsequent carbon capture and storage process. The project will use Topsoe’s industry leading SynCOR™ technology to produce blue ammonia with the lowest carbon intensity and is expected to reduce CO2e emissions by 90% (Well-To-Gate) compared to traditional ammonia production, thereby abating 5.0 million tons of CO2 per year.

The project will form part of the CI Energy Transition Fund, which closed in August 2022 at the hard cap of EUR 3.0bn, and like all current CIP Funds, is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) principally through the expected avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from its investments.

The CI Energy Transition Fund focuses on clean hydrogen, and other next generation renewable technologies to facilitate the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors such as agriculture and transportation.

Søren Toftgaard, partner in Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, said of the acquisition: “We are developing a global portfolio of clean hydrogen and hydrogen-related products, such as clean ammonia. Blue ammonia is considered an important part of a successful energy transition, which can potentially help fill the ammonia shortage in Europe as well as being a steppingstone to the successful implementation of green projects, and we are excited to bring this project to the Gulf Coast region. Further, the agreement provides important diversification to our CI ETF I portfolio and can provide a platform for future hydrogen-related investments in the U.S.”

“IMTT is thrilled to support CIP’s development of this alternative fuels project,” said Chris Partridge, executive vice president of IMTT. “Additional clean energy sources, such as blue ammonia, are vital to advancing the global energy transition. We look forward to leveraging our terminaling experience and expertise to assist CIP in delivering this low-carbon fuel to the market.”

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California renewables developer taps advisor for capital raise

Utility-scale solar and storage developer RAI Energy has tapped an advisor for a capital raise. The company is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at projects in Arizona and California.

RAI Energy, the utility-scale solar and storage developer, has hired an advisor as it pursues a capital raise.

The company is working with Keybanc Capital Markets in a process to raise up to $25m, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

In an interview, RAI Energy CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said the company “is excited about having [Keybanc] act as our financial advisors on this fundraising round.” He noted that RAI is first a solar-plus-storage developer and is approaching investors as such.

However, RAI is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at two of its project sites in Arizona and California, he said.

“Hydrogen is a natural next step,” Alrai said of his company, adding that the end-product would be green ammonia for use in fertilizer production and industrial sectors. Pure hydrogen could also be kept for use in transportation.

A variety of partnerships would be required to develop hydrogen at RAI’s solar sites, Alrai said. The company could need advisory services to structure those partnerships.

RAI is working with engineers on the hydrogen question now and is open to additional technology and finance advisory relationships, he said. The company is also evaluating several electrolyzer manufacturers.

“It’s an open book for us right now,” Alrai said of hydrogen production. “We’re always open to talking to people who can help us.”

For hydrogen project development, RAI would seek project level debt and equity similar to its solar developments, Alrai said. Early-stage project sites in Colorado and New Mexico could also be candidates for hydrogen co-development.

Keybanc delined to comment for this story.

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US gas compression firm raising $432m

A Houston-based CNG company is raising money to develop a virtual marine pipeline between the US Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.

Andalusian Energy, a natural gas compression, export and transportation company, is undergoing a $432m capital raise to develop and build a compression and filling station in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and export line to Honduras, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Whitehall & Co. is advising on the transaction, the sources said. Capital allocation will also support the purchase of CNG containers and destination port improvements in Puerto Cortes, Honduras.

Targeted initial equity is $168m, or 40%, according to a teaser seen by The Hydrogen Source. Targeted COD of the project is 2H25.

Gross-cumulative investment could exceed $2bn. The phase I estimated project cost of approximately $421m is expected to be split 40% to permanent equity capital ($168m) and 60% to structured debt ($253m).

Andalusian uses lightweight composite cylinders to ship compressed natural gas (CNG) at ambient temperature to the Caribbean, Central America and eastern Mexico. Marketing materials state the process is lower cost than shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The company has installed a demonstration facility in Choloma, Honduras to import natural gas from CNG.

The Louisiana compression facility will be constructed with two adjacent docks and a site with utility connections. Natural gas will be supplied using a combination of regional pipeline networks including Southern Natural Gas pipeline and High Point Gas Transmission Pipeline. An agreement has been reached to provide interconnection and construction of a 1.5 mile lateral.

Andalusian completed its development capital raise with a strategic investment by MAN Energy Solutions USA, a division of Volkswagen AG, and equity investments by HBG, Progressive Energy and Grupo IDC.

Additional marine engineering, consulting, and ship classification services are being provided by DNV GL and confirmed by the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

Additionally, to monetize spare ship capacity and based on a contract to deliver CNG to an IPP in Honduras, Andalusian has reached an agreement with a global shipping company to transport commercial container cargo between Louisiana and Honduras, the teaser states.

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Cutting the electricity out of electrolysis

Milwaukee-based start-up Advanced Ionics is seeking to commercialize an electrolyzer that cuts electricity needs for hydrogen production to as low as 30 kWh per kilogram.

Advanced Ionics is seeking to ramp manufacturing capacity and raise capital as it begins to commercialize an electrolyzer promising to reduce electricity needs, CEO Chad Mason said in an interview.

The Milwaukee-based company is working to demonstrate its low-cost electrolyzer technology through a partnership with the Repsol Foundation.

The technology will be tested locally, but could grow to include additional tests and, eventually, a commercial relationship with the Spain-based energy and petrochemical company.

Advanced Ionics is looking to move into a larger facility in Milwaukee to advance early-stage production of the electrolyzer, which uses steam from process and waste heat to reduce the amount of electricity required in electrolysis.

The company last year raised $4.2m in a seed round led by Clean Energy Ventures, with participation from SWAN Impact Network. It has also received financial support from Repsol and $500,000 from the DOE.

As it scales, Mason said, the company will also need to raise additional capital, but he declined further comment.

Going to market

The Repsol arrangement is part of the company’s early access program allowing potential end users to take a first look at the technology.

“Repsol is just the tip of the iceberg here,” Mason said. “We’re talking to some really amazing partners at some of the largest energy companies in the world. People who use hydrogen today and want to make it green immediately understand what we’re doing.”

Given the concentration of hydrogen use in petrochemicals and ammonia, Advanced Ionics is targeting these sectors for deployment of its electrolyzers to produce clean hydrogen, Mason added.

Mason noted that, as the traditional petrochemical industry dies off over time, it will be replaced by green materials and green fuels like sustainable aviation fuel and biofuels that require hydrogenation to be useable.

“You’ll see a bit of a replacement happening on the petrochemical side, towards a green chemical,” he said, adding that a third potential key market is green steel production using hydrogen.

Thermodynamically favored

The company’s Symbiotic electrolyzers use steam by tapping into excess heat from industrial settings, thereby lowering electricity needs for water splitting to 35 kWh per kg, with 30 kWh per kg possible. That compares to industry averages over 50 kWh per kg.

Advanced Ionics’ water vapor electrolyzer

“We set out to build an electrolyzer specifically that would operate at intermediate temperatures,” he said. “And that allows you to have the synergy with those processes, and the downstream effect is the most cost-effective hydrogen you can get.”

The resulting hydrogen could be available for less than $1 per kg – but, Mason notes, the underlying power price math assumes an abundance of cheap, clean power. The models are usually pricing in two cents per kWh, the availability of which, Mason added, is “extremely geographically dependent.”

“If you’re in Texas, you have a system with wind, solar, and some amount of clean energy grid back-up, it’s pretty attractive,” he said. “Or if you hook up to a hydroelectric facility in the Northwest or in the Quebec area.”

Mason added, “Electrolysis rides on the coattails of cheap, clean electricity. What we have under our control is to make sure we’re using as little electricity as possible.”

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