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South Jersey Industries and OPAL Fuels sign RNG JV

The JV partners plan to expand production and distribution of renewable natural gas in New Jersey.
South Jersey Industries (SJI), an energy infrastructure holding company, and OPAL Fuels Inc., a vertically integrated producer and distributor of renewable natural gas (RNG) and renewable energy, have entered into a 50/50 joint venture to develop, construct, own and operate RNG facilities. The first facility, the Atlantic RNG facility, will be at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) solid waste landfill in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. “Its implementation underscores our current progress and renewed vision to achieve Scope 1 and 2 carbon-neutral operations by 2040 and lead our employees, customers, and communities to a better today and tomorrow,” said Mike Renna, President & CEO, South Jersey Industries. “This and future projects with OPAL Fuels will permit us to accelerate achieving these goals.” “The development of the Atlantic RNG facility with SJI marks just the beginning of our relationship, as together we will bring more production and distribution of RNG to New Jersey,” said Jonathan Maurer, Co-CEO of OPAL Fuels. “This joint venture furthers OPAL Fuels’ growth strategy as we look forward to leveraging our operational expertise to work with landfills to maximize the value of their resource and meet their ESG goals faster by displacing diesel fuel with RNG in heavy-duty truck fleets.” The Atlantic RNG facility will capture naturally occurring biogas, made up in large part by methane from the landfill, which will be upgraded to meet the required quality standards for distribution and sale. The Atlantic RNG facility is anticipated to have a nameplate capacity of 2,500 SCFM of landfill gas and is expected to produce more than 603,000 MMBtu or nearly 4.8 million gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) per year of RNG. The new Atlantic RNG facility will replace a previously decommissioned power plant and the RNG will be injected into the South Jersey Gas network, an SJI subsidiary, making this project the first of its kind in the gas company’s natural gas distribution system.

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NET Power and Rice Acquisition garner additional $275m PIPE commitments

The original transaction in December concerns NET Power’s 300 MW Serial Number 1 project near Odessa, Texas.

ET Power and Rice Acquisition Corp. II have announced an additional $275m of PIPE commitments in connection with their proposed business combination, according to a news release.

Occidental has increased its commitment to the PIPE by $250m, bringing its total investment to $350m, while the Rice family has committed an additional $25m, bringing their total investment to $125m.

“We believe NET Power’s technology can accelerate emissions reductions in our existing operations and ultimately supply emissions-free power to the Direct Air Capture facilities and sequestration hubs we are developing, the release states.”

The new commitments bring the expected gross proceeds of the business combination to $845m for NET Power, consisting of approximately $345m from RONI’s trust account (assuming no redemptions), and approximately $500m from the PIPE raised entirely at $10 per share of common stock.

Assuming no RONI shareholders exercise their redemption rights, the combined company is expected to have a market capitalization in excess of $2bn.

“Since announcing the transaction in December 2022, NET Power has continued to make excellent progress towards commercialization of its utility-scale power plant, including FEED commencement on the Occidental-hosted Serial Number 1 (“SN1”) project near Odessa, Texas,” the release states. “In support of the plant, NET Power expects Occidental will be a key offtaker of the clean power generated by SN1.”

It is anticipated that Occidental will manage the transportation, storage, and utilization of the captured CO2 from SN1.

“We believe NET Power’s technology can accelerate emissions reductions in our existing operations and ultimately supply emissions-free power to the Direct Air Capture facilities and sequestration hubs we are developing,” Vicki Hollub, president and CEO of Occidental, said in the release.

Following this additional commitment, Occidental’s ownership stake in the combined company will increase to approximately 39%, assuming no redemptions.

NET Power expects $200m of net proceeds from the business combination and the PIPE to fully fund corporate operations through commercialization of SN1, which is expected to be operational in 2026.

The net proceeds above $200m are expected to support SN1 capital needs and future commercial origination efforts.

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LSB Industries outlines blue ammonia project economics

US fertilizer producer LSB Industries gives a glimpse at the economics of two in-development blue ammonia projects.

LSB Industries estimates its Houston Ship Channel blue ammonia project will add approximately $150m of EBITDA annually, CEO Mark Behrman said today.

The facility, which would produce approximately 1.1 million metric tons of ammonia and capture and sequester 1.6 million metric tons of CO2 annually, is currently in the pre-FEED phase and planned for construction on the Vopak Exolum Houston Ship Shuttle Ammonia Terminal.

Behrman gave a back-of-the envelope estimate assuming the cost of the facility would come in at $800m, resulting in the added $150m of annual EBITDA .

“If you could tell me what the cost is, we’re only in pre-FEED now, but if we used an $800m cost, and I’m not suggesting that that’s the cost, I think we really need to go through our engineering, and we look at the types of returns that we would want, I would guess that for a very stable and steady stream of income, it’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million annually,” Behrman said.

Oklahoma-based LSB will use a project finance model to fund the project, the company previously said, giving estimates of between $500m – $750 for the cost.

LSB expects initial offtakers based out of Japan and Korea, but Behrman said today that, more recently, “we have had conversations with potential European offtakers and are encouraged as we now believe Europe to be a viable target market as well.”

The company is developing the facility in partnership with INPEX, Japan’s largest E&P company, and plans to build and operate an ammonia synthesis loop using low-carbon hydrogen produced by Air Liquide, who will also handle the carbon capture and sequestration as well as the nitrogen supply.

El Dorado

Meanwhile, LSB expects to add up to $20m of EBITDA per year from the installation of a carbon capture unit at its ammonia facility in El Dorado, Arkansas.

LSB has partnered with Lapis Energy on the project, which will capture and sequester 450,000 metric tons of CO2 per year from El Dorado’s ammonia production. Lapis will receive 45Q tax credits of $85 per ton of CO2 sequestered and pay a fee to LSB for each ton.

In turn, LSB will produce 375,000 tons of low-carbon ammonia that can be sold at a premium, executives said on an investor call today.

“All combined, this should equate to an estimated 15 to $20 million in annual incremental EBITDA for LSB,” CEO Mark Behrman said.

“The main gating factor is the approval of our Class VI permit application from the EPA that will enable Lapis to begin construction and then capturing and permanently sequestering,” he said. Indications from the EPA are that they are on track to issue the permit during 2025, he added.

At the same time, LSB elected to delay the expansion of production capacity at the El Dorado facility citing commodity market conditions, planned turnarounds and other initiatives the company has underway.

The El Dorado expansion project has been selected to receive funding under the USDA Fertilzer Production Expansion Program, a financing element under which LSB expects to have five years to complete the project once approved for the grant.

LSB previously paused a green ammonia project planned for Pryor, Oklahoma, citing lower gas prices, higher power prices, and uncertainties around tax credit incentives under 45V that created conditions favoring blue ammonia projects.

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Calumet receiving interest from strategics for SAF business

The specialty products maker is working with a banker as it fields interest from strategics for its sustainable aviation fuel business.

Specialty products maker Calumet is working with Lazard as it evaluates investment inquiries from strategics that are interested in the company’s sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) business.

Calumet has already contracted for 2,000 barrels per day of SAF with a blue-chip offtaker through its subsidiary Montana Renewables, based in Great Falls, Montana. That amount would make Calumet the largest SAF producer in North America once engineering modifications are complete in early 2023, said Louis Borgmann, CFO and EVP at Calumet.

Meanwhile, preliminary engineering work has been done to expand SAF production to as much as 15,000 barrels per day, a “world-class position [that] has generated considerable interest from strategic investors,” Borgmann added on the company’s 3Q22 earnings call.

Calumet had engaged Lazard to conduct a process that culminated in a $250m investment in Montana Renewables from Warburg Pincus in August, 2022. The investment, in the form of a participating preferred equity security, valued Montana Renewables at a pre-commissioning enterprise value of $2.25bn.

“Lazard remains retained. They’re out there. They’re very opportunistic,” Borgmann said. “And inbound honestly picked up with SAF. So, we don’t feel a rush, but there could be an opportunistic deal here that we could consider.”

Borgmann added that Montana Renewables’ SAF capacity was quickly contracted at a premium to renewable diesel prices.

The company is positioned to be a first mover in the high-growth West Coast and Canadian markets for SAF, Borgmann said, noting Montana Renewables’ proximity to western airports.

“Montana Renewables’ proximity to end product markets is exceptional,” he said. “We serve renewable markets on the West Coast with direct BNSF Rail access. And we’re perfectly positioned to support the continuously growing low-carbon markets in Canada.”

The company and other renewable diesel producers “that have invested in the ability to produce SAF could expect a lasting advantage” compared to new, more expensive technologies for producing SAF, he said. “And Montana Renewables is expected to have an additional transportation cost advantage relative to its Gulf Coast competition.”

Montana Renewables reached a supply and offtake agreement with Macquarie, announced last week.

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Hydrogen liquefaction provider looking for growth equity

An emerging liquid hydrogen and liquefaction management company is seeking equity to support manufacturing expansion in Europe and the US.

Absolut Hydrogen, a French liquid hydrogen and liquefaction company based in Grenoble, is looking for equity to scale up production following operations of their demonstration project in France, CEO Jerome Lacapere said in an interview.

Absolut has a partnership with SAF firm ZeroAvia to develop refueling infrastructure for aircraft, and is primarily focused on serving the mobility sector.

A subsidiary of Groupe Absolut, the company offers a full LH2 product range with an entry small-scale hydrogen liquefaction system (< 50 kg/day), a 100 kg/day Turbo-Brayton based H2 liquefier and a 1T/day liquefier based on the same technology. The company's liquefaction demonstration plant in France should produce 100 kg per day, Lacapere said. After that Absolut will need new investment to scale production. Longer term the company has its sites on the US transport market, Lacapere said. “We need to grow in the United States,” Lacapere said. The company will need US-based advisory services and offices in the country to do that, he said.

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Waste-to-energy company interviewing advisors for strategic capital raise

Vancouver-based Klean Industries plans to run a process to raise between $250m – $500m of capital to deploy into projects, some of which would use green hydrogen to upgrade recovered fuel and pyrolysis oils.

Waste-to-energy specialist Klean Industries is interviewing financial advisors and planning to run a process to find investors for a strategic capital raise.

The Vancouver-based company is seeking to raise between $250m – $500m in a minority stake sale that would value the company around $1bn, Klean CEO Jesse Klinkhamer said in an interview.

Klean had previously intended to list on the NASDAQ exchange but those plans were nixed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. The company still plans to list publicly in 2024 or 2025.

Proceeds from a capital raise now would be used to “rapidly deploy” into the projects that Klean is advancing around the globe, Klinkhamer said.

For one of those projects – a flagship tire pyrolysis plant in Boardman, Oregon – Klean is raising non-recourse debt to finance construction, the executive said. Klinkhammer declined to name the advisor for the project financing but said news would be out soon and added that the company has aligned itself with infrastructure funds willing to provide non-recourse debt for the facility.

The Boardman project, which is expected to cost roughly $135m, is an expansion of an existing site where Klean will use its advanced thermal conversion technology to recover fuel oil, steel, and refined carbon black from recycled tires. The end products are comparable to virgin commodities with the exception of being more cost-effective with a lower carbon footprint.

“A lot of what we do is of paramount interest to a lot of the ESG-focused infrastructure investors that are focused on assets that tick all the boxes,” Klinkhamer said, noting the consistent output of the waste-to-energy plants that Klean is building along with predictable prices for energy sourced from renewable power.

Klean has also partnered with H2Core Systems, a maker of containerized green hydrogen production plants, and Enapter, an electrolyzer manufacturer. The company will install a 1 MW electrolyzer unit at the Boardman facility, with the green hydrogen used to upgrade recovered fuel oil and pyrolysis oil into e-fuels that meet California’s Low Carbon Fuels Standards.

“We were exploring how we could improve the quality of the tire pyrolysis oil so that it could enter the LCFS market in California,” he said, “because there are significant carbon credits and tax incentives associated with the improved product.”

The company received proposals from industrial gas companies to bring hydrogen to the Boardman facility that were not feasible, and Klean opted for producing electrolytic hydrogen on site in part due to the abundance of low-cost hydroelectric power and water from the nearby Columbia River.

Addressable market

Discussing Klean’s addressable market for waste-to-energy projects, Klinkhamer points to Japan as an example of a comparable “mature” market.

Japan, an island nation of 126 million people, has built roughly 5,000 resource recovery, waste-to-energy plants of various scopes and designations, he notes. For comparison, the United Kingdom – another island nation of 67 million people – has just 20 waste-to-energy plants.

“The opportunity for waste-to-energy in the UK alone is mind boggling,” he said. “There are a thousand opportunities of scope and scale. Nevermind you’ve got an aging, outdated electrical infrastructure, limited landfills, landfill taxes rising – a tsunami of issues, plus the ESG advent.”

A similar opportunity exists in North America, he noted, where there are around 100 waste-to-energy plants for 580 million people. The company is working on additional tire, plastic, and waste-to-energy projects in North America, and also has projects in Australia and Europe.

Hydrogen could be the key to advancing more projects: waste-to-energy plants have typically been hamstrung by a reliance on large utilities to convert energy generated from waste into electricity, which is in turn dependent on transmission. But the plants could instead produce hydrogen, which can be more easily and cost effectively distributed, Klinkhamer said.

“There is now an opportunity to build these same plants, but rather than rely on the electrical side of things where you’re dealing with a utility, to convert that energy into hydrogen and distribute it to the marketplace,” he added.

Hydrogen infrastructure

Klinkhamer says the company is also examining options for participating in a network of companies that could transform the logistics for bringing feedstock to the Boardman facility and taking away the resulting products.

The company has engaged in talks with long-haul truckers as well as refining companies and industrial gas providers about creating a network of hydrogen hubs – akin to a “Tesla network” – that would support transportation logistics.

“It made sense for us to look at opportunities for moving our feedstock via hydrogen-powered vehicles, and also have refueling stations and hydrogen production plants that we build in North America,” he said.

Klean would need seven to 12 different hubs to supply its transportation network, Klinkhamer estimates, while the $350m price tag for the infrastructure stems from the geographic reach of the hubs as well as the sheer volume of hydrogen required for fueling needs.

“With the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. has set itself up to be the lowest-cost producer of hydrogen in the world, which will really spur the development of hydrogen logistics for getting hydrogen out,” he said. “And to get to scale, it’s going to require some big investments.”

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Waste-to-energy specialist executes MoU with Nikola

The partnership will encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean Industries’ partners and feedstock suppliers. Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from the company’s green hydrogen projects.

Klean Industries, a Vancouver-based waste-to-value technology provider, has executed an MOU with Nikola Corporation to encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean’s partners and feedstock suppliers.

The two companies will also work on developing green hydrogen supply and dispensing infrastructure in the US and Canada, according to a statement seen by ReSource.

Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from green hydrogen projects being developed by Klean and its partners involving hydroelectric, wind and solar power in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Using Klean’s green hydrogen, the companies will convert Klean’s logistics partners’ truck fleet to Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles.

Both Klean and Nikola see a significant opportunity to collaborate on projects where Klean and its partners operate recycling, resource recovery, and waste-to-energy plants, the statement reads.

“We believe Nikola’s hydrogen-electric trucks are going to fundamentally change the ground transportation and logistics landscape. This exciting collaboration will create opportunities that will reinforce the importance of working together as we look to both deploy and develop a renewable hydrogen value chain,” said Jesse Klinkhamer, CEO of Klean Industries Inc., in a statement. “Developing clean energy projects with leading technology companies such as Nikola supports Klean’s strategic focus and enables our respective companies to create a symbiosis between waste, resources, and energy, while simultaneously helping in the creation of a circular low carbon economy. Green hydrogen has the potential to completely transform the energy landscape and drive a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Klinkhamer said in an interview last year that Klean was in the process of hiring an advisor to raise between $250m – $500m in a strategic capital raise.

Carey Mendes, president, energy at Nikola said, “Klean’s vision of utilizing a green hydrogen fleet of trucks in their tire recycling ecosystem is a clear indication of the company’s commitment to creating a better, more sustainable future. Klean has already brought together like-minded partners to decarbonize their truck fleets which is a testament to their far-reaching commitment and deep knowledge of this sustainability space.”

Klean recently partnered with City Circle Group to build a fully integrated, continuous tire pyrolysis plant to recover carbon black and biofuel in Melbourne Australia. The company also signed a partnership agreement with H2 Core Systems to distribute and build green hydrogen projects around the globe.

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