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SK invests in World Energy GH2 green hydrogen project

South Korea's SK ecoplant has agreed to make an initial investment of $50m to acquire a 20% stake in the first phase of World Energy GH2's green hydrogen project in Atlantic Canada.

World Energy GH2 has signed an investment agreement with SK ecoplant, the environment and energy arm of SK Group, one of the world’s largest sustainable infrastructure companies. SK Group operates more than 200 companies across the energy, life sciences, advanced materials, mobility, and semiconductor industries.

The agreement signifies the first overseas investment in a Canadian green hydrogen project. SK ecoplant is initially investing $50m in Project Nujio’qonik, acquiring a 20 per cent stake in the first phase of the project. This investment is SK ecoplant’s first investment in a wind-to-green hydrogen project globally, and is a clear indicator that Newfoundland and Labrador is rapidly taking centre stage in the clean energy industry.

John Risley, chairman, World Energy GH2, commented that the investment is validation that World Energy GH2 has all of the requirements for a successful project.

“Just nine months after the signing of the Canada – Germany Hydrogen Alliance by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and German Chancellor Scholz in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, trade and export discussions continue to advance between Canada and Germany. This investment from SK ecoplant reflects confidence in the alliance, and also reflects the speed at which this new critical industry is moving.”

“Canada is creating a financial climate that is attracting investments of scale,” said Risley. “Our country’s robust response to the US Inflation Reduction Act, including the Canada Growth Fund, Investment Tax Credits and Contracts for Difference, are innovative ways Canada is implementing to stand up an industry that can compete globally.”

Sean Leet, Managing Director and CEO, World Energy GH2, commented further: “This is an international company that can do business anywhere in the world,” said Leet. “Not only did they choose Canada, they chose our home, Newfoundland and Labrador, and they chose Project Nujio’qonik. SK ecoplant recognizes the benefits, advancement, and sophistication of this project, and we look forward to a prosperous partnership.”

“We are incredibly proud of all of our stakeholders, including our First Nations and community partners, who have been instrumental in attracting SK ecoplant’s investment in our project,” said Leet. “We welcome our new investment partners to Project Nujio’qonik, and we look forward to developing a world-class green energy project together.”

SK ecoplant will continue to be an important partner in this project, thanks to its expertise in green hydrogen and engineering excellence. The company has already completed a green hydrogen value chain that includes renewable energy sources such as wind power and electrolysis. SK ecoplant has established itself as a leading company in wind power generation, evidenced by its ongoing development of a 2.6 GW offshore wind power project. Its subsidiary, SK oceanplant, is a globally recognized top-tier company specializing in substructures for offshore wind power installation. Last month, Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, assumed the role of Chairman of the Korea Wind Energy Industry Association.

Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant, says the investment in Project Nujio’qonik is a step toward launching the international green hydrogen industry.

“Newfoundland and Labrador is positioned to launch this industry in Canada and to be amongst the very few first-mover commercial producers of scale world-wide,” said Kyung-il Park, CEO, SK ecoplant. “Project Nujio’qonik has world-class wind, abundant fresh water, a deep-sea port with close proximity to Europe, strong First Nations and community support, and support at all levels of government. Our investment in this project is a step toward producing first green hydrogen and ammonia in 2025 and taking a leadership position in the fight against climate change.”

“As the first Korean company to participate in an intercontinental green hydrogen commercialization project, we have a competitive advantage and see more future business opportunities,” said Kyung-il Park. “SK ecoplant’s rapid execution ability and extensive experience will help us become a prominent leader in the global green hydrogen and green ammonia market in the future.”

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Amazon invests in green hydrogen companies

Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund is accelerating efforts to decarbonize global operations through green hydrogen.

Amazon’s USD 2bn Climate Pledge Fund is accelerating efforts to decarbonize global operations through green hydrogen.

The Climate Pledge Fund announced new investments in Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire, two U.S. and European-based developers of electrolyzers, a key technology that makes emissions-free green hydrogen using water and renewable electricity, according to a 13 July press release.

“To curb the climate crisis, we need to continually develop innovative solutions that can scale, whether it’s through the electrification of electric vehicles, investments in nature-based solutions, a decarbonized electric grid, or increased production of green hydrogen,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “We are proud to be investing in visionary companies like Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire that are developing vital technology for the deployment of green hydrogen to help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors.”

“Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund is a model for corporate investment in pragmatic climate solutions. We are thrilled to have Amazon as a partner in decarbonizing industries like long-haul freight transport and aviation,” said Raffi Garabedian, CEO of Electric Hydrogen. “Amazon and The Climate Pledge Fund have a clear and expansive vision of the role that green hydrogen will play in decarbonizing their operations. We look forward to collaborating on fossil-free hydrogen projects as we advance toward commercialization.”

“We are proud to welcome Amazon as our investor and look forward to working with a company that has such ambitious climate targets”, said Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire. “Green hydrogen is urgently needed to decarbonize and to secure energy supply without fossil fuels. Since 2010, Sunfire has been leading the way in this field. With a unique electrolyzer portfolio and a team of 400 specialists, Sunfire today is one of the few companies capable of providing hydrogen-producing systems on an industrial scale. With Amazon’s help, we want to further scale up our production capacity.”

The Climate Pledge Fund is investing in visionary companies across industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, circular economy, and food and agriculture.

Amazon has now invested in 18 companies, including Rivian, Redwood Materials, Turntide, CarbonCure, Pachama, Infinium, ZeroAvia, BETA Technologies, ION Energy, CMC, Resilient Power, Hippo Harvest, Amogy, Ambient Photonics, Brimstone, Verne, and now Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire. These companies are advancing technologies and business solutions that can help Amazon and others reach net-zero carbon by 2040.

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Comstock completes RenFuel investment

Comstock is investing up to $3m to support applications for RenFuel and Comstock complementary renewable fuel technologies, and the continued development of the 100,000 metric ton per year biorefinery joint venture project in Sweden.

Comstock Inc. has executed agreements with RenFuel K2B AB under which Comstock is investing up to $3m over three years to support commercialization of joint development applications for RenFuel and Comstock complementary renewable fuel technologies, and the continued development of the 100,000 metric ton per year (TPY) biorefinery joint venture project in Sweden.

The applicable investment agreements require the purchase of up to $3m in 7% senior secured convertible notes funded in quarterly installments of $250,000 for three years. The notes are convertible at pre-money per share valuation equal to the lower of $30m or the post-money valuation used for RenFuel’s then most recent offering at the time of conversion. Comstock has already invested the first $350,000 of this investment.

“RenFuel’s team, technologies, and our now collaborative production joint venture project are highly strategic to our Bioleum commercialization plans,” said Corrado De Gasperis, Comstock’s executive chairman and chief executive officer, in a news release. “RenFuel’s highly specialized chemical and process development expertise strongly adds to the breadth and depth of our own technical team and their patent portfolio complements our own extensive portfolio.”

Comstock’s proprietary technologies are proven to convert lignocellulosic biomass into Cellulosic Ethanol and proprietary Bioleum biointermediate blends at extraordinary yields exceeding 100 gallons per dry tonne of biomass on a gasoline gallon equivalent basis (GGE), and market-leading, extremely low carbon intensity (CI) scores of 15. Comstock is already using RenFuel’s patented catalytic esterification technology to refine its proprietary Bioleum derivatives into Hydrodeoxygenated Bioleum Oil (HBO), for use by advanced biofuel refineries in blending with, diversifying, and extending conventional hydroprocessed fat, oil, and grease feedstocks that can simultaneously produce SAF and Renewable Diesel Fuel. Comstock holds the exclusive license to RenFuel’s refining technologies in North America, Central America, and South America and available for global distribution.

RenFuel previously completed extensive preliminary engineering for a new biorefinery to convert about 75,000 TPY of lignin into a biointermediate for refining into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel in Europe. Comstock and RenFuel are evaluating the requirements for inclusion of an additional 25,000 TPY of biorefining capacity based on Comstock’s commercially available Cellulosic Ethanol and Bioleum derived fuels technologies, and several compelling opportunities for deploying our integrated solution.

Sven Löchen, RenFuel’s chief executive officer added, “We are thrilled with this expanding strategic partnership. Comstock’s technologies and proprietary Bioleum products create a vastly expanded market opportunity for our technologies worldwide, where Comstock is rapidly advancing across the Americas. Comstock’s direct investment in RenFuel supports our continued growth and development as we build value for all of our stakeholders.”

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Clean Seas investing $50m in Arizona plastic-to-hydrogen project

The subsidiary of the Clean Vision Corporation is working to secure “stages of necessary capital” for the project in Phoenix.

Clean-Seas, Inc. has signed an MOU with the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service to establish a plastic waste to hydrogen facility in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a press release.

Clean-Seas Arizona, a subsidiary of the Clean Vision Corporation, intends to invest at least $50m in the project. The company will “work towards securing the various stages of necessary capital to finance the innovative facility in phases,’ the release states.

Clean-Seas Arizona will source waste plastic feedstock from the Phoenix metro area for a global network of clean hydrogen hubs and recycle it into AquaH, Clean-Seas’ brand of hydrogen.

RMWSSS, an institute at Arizona State University, will provide scholarly, technical, and sustainability advisory services.

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Exclusive: Banker enlisted for CO2-to-SAF capital raise

BofA Securities is running a capital raise for a US-based CO2-to-SAF technology provider and project developer with a global pipeline of projects.

eFuels developer Infinium has launched a Series C capital raise along with efforts to advance unannounced projects in its development pipeline, Ayesha Choudhury, head of capital markets, said in an interview.

Bank of America has been engaged to advise on the capital raise.

Infinium recently announced the existence of Project Roadrunner, located in West Texas, which will convert an existing brownfield gas-to-liquids project into an eFuels facility delivering products to both US and international markets. Breakthrough Energy Catalyst has contributed $75m in project equity.

Infinium, which launched in 2020, closed a $69m Series B in 2021, with Amazon, NextEra and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries participating. Its Project Pathfinder in Corpus Christi is fully capitalized.

About a dozen projects, split roughly 50/50 between North America and the rest of the world, are in development now, Choudhury said. The company is always scouting new projects and is looking for partners to provide CO2, develop power generation and offtake end products.

A CO2 feedstock agreement for a US Midwest project with BlackRock-backed Navigator CO2 Ventures was recently scrapped after the latter developer cancelled its CO2 pipeline project.

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exclusive

NanoScent seeking new investor to complete blended funding round

NanoScent is seeking a new investor to satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the European Innovation Council.

NanoScent, an Israel-based technology firm, is seeking a new investor to help solidify an equity investment from the European Innovation Council, CEO Oren Gavriely said in an interview.

To satisfy the contingencies of a combined EUR 8m investment from existing investors and the EIC, NanoScent must bring on a new investor at EUR 2m, Gavriely said.

The ideal investor will have complementary capabilities that can ramp up the revenue stream, Gavriely added. Producers and suppliers of gasses and chemicals for industrial use would make sense.

The money will be used to further develop the proprietary VOCID Purity in-line sensor controller, which measures hydrogen quality by monitoring the cleanliness of gas lines. The technology is oriented towards producers and end-users like fuel cell stations, who will be responsible for the integrity of the hydrogen. The product will be rolled out at the end of 1Q23.

Gavriely said the company has several customers for the technology in the pipeline, declining to say who they are.

NanoScent, founded five years ago, has raised USD 10m in equity to date, with another USD 10m in non-dilutive funding. The company’s largest outside investor is Sumitomo Chemical, which trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Control of the company is maintained by the founders, Gavriely said.

NanoScent has 20 employees, Gavriely said. So far the company has relied on the expertise of its board, which includes one former investment banker, for financial advisory services. That could change in the future as the company grows.

NanoScent uses Pearl Cohen for law services and EY for accounting.

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Green hydrogen developer in exclusivity with new investor

New York-based green hydrogen developer Ambient Fuels is in exclusivity with a new investor, with proceeds from the capital raise slated to fund project development and acquisitions.

Ambient Fuels, the New York-based green hydrogen developer, is in exclusivity with a new investor for a bilateral capital raise, CEO Jacob Susman said in an interview.

Susman declined to name the private equity provider but said the backing will allow Ambient to develop several projects, as well as acquire projects from other developers. The deal is proceeding without the help of a financial advisor.

Once the company reaches its run rate, Ambient plans to complete three to four projects per year costing $50m and up, Susman said, with the first expected to reach operation in 2025.

The company’s initial geographic focus is on the Gulf Coast, centered on the Port of Corpus Christi, Susman said. New York, California, the Pacific Northwest and traditional wind energy states in the Midwest and West are areas of additional work.

Hydrogen hubs

Ambient is closely following the DOE hydrogen hub applications process, Susman said. Which regions are awarded funding could make a difference for where the company locates new projects.

According to ReSource‘s project tracker, Ambient is involved in at least two of the hubs that were encouraged by the DOE to submit a final application: California’s Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES), and the Port of Corpus Christi Green Hydrogen Hub.

In 2021 Ambient completed a funding round led by SJF Ventures. Several other VC funds and angel investors also participated.

Open for offtake business  

Ambient is looking for offtakers in industries that use the molecules for feedstock and energy but need to meet decarbonization targets.

The company is working to provide hydrogen as an industrial feedstock and energy source to sectors including transportation, oil and gas, mining, glass and steel production and automobile manufacturing. Supplying hydrogen for ammonia fertilizer is another target market.

Advisors with clients in those industries should reach out to Ambient, Susman said.

M&A strategy

Ambient strives to be a fully integrated devco with the resources, capital and expertise to take a project to fruition, Susman said. Projects developed by smaller companies can look to Ambient as a buyer for their projects.

“We want to be a home for those great projects that are being developed independently,” Susman said. “Absolutely we will be acquiring projects.”

Smaller developers with good projects could also be targets for takeover with the backing from the new investor, Susman said. The firm could also make a technology buy in software for project development, operations, or possibly the equipment side, though Susman said there’s a low probability of that.

Financial advisors that have leads on good projects Ambient can acquire are welcome to pitch, Susman said.

Susman said he is not in a hurry to exit Ambient and can see the company being independently financed for years to come.

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