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Svante in Australian CCS partnership

Vancouver-based CCS equipment maker Svante and Pilot Energy have entered into an MoU to target the decarbonization of ~8-million tonnes per annum of CO2 emissions from the Western Australian Kwinana Industrial Area

Pilot Energy Limited and Svante Technologies Inc have entered into MoU to target integration of Svante’s market-leading solid sorbent-based post-combustion carbon capture technology with Pilot’s Cliff Head CO2 storage project, according to a news release.

The objective is to accelerate the commercial deployment of emissions reduction solutions, targeting Australia’s top greenhouse gas emitters.

Under the MoU, Pilot and Svante will collaborate to evaluate and deploy full-service carbon management solutions from the point of CO2 capture, transportation, and permanent storage at Cliff Head. The parties will initially target the decarbonization of ~8-million tonnes per annum of CO2 emissions3 from the Western Australian Kwinana Industrial Area4 as reported by the Kwinana Industries Council. The CHCCS project has the potential to provide a carbon management solution for 15 – 25% of the Kwinana Industries Council members reported scope 1 emissions.

Pilot’s CO2 storage project is an integral component of its Mid West Clean Energy project. The MWCEP leverages Pilot’s existing operational asset base (comprising the Cliff Head offshore oil production facility and onshore Arrowsmith separation plant) into the production of clean energy. The project includes a fully integrated carbon capture and storage operation through the conversion of the operating Cliff Head offshore oil field, which will enable the permanent storage of COand the production of blue hydrogen, green hydrogen, and ammonia. Svante’s carbon capture filter technology is intended to be deployed to capture CO2 from industrial flue gas stacks on the sites of emitters.

“Svante’s innovative solid sorbent carbon capture technology is an ideal solution to efficiently capture the Kwinana Industrial Area’s hard-to-avoid CO2 emissions, and we’re enthusiastic about this new collaboration,” said Brad Lingo, Pilot’s chairman.

Based in Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada, Svante manufactures novel solid sorbent-based nanoengineered filters that capture and remove CO2 from the source of post-combustion industrial emissions before it can reach the atmosphere. The company has been listed on the Global Cleantech 100 list since 2019 and has made several other recent announcements related to new collaborations and formal fundraising agreements, including a new collaboration with General Electric (GE) Gas Power and a formal announcement of an investment made by United Airlines as part of Svante’s record-setting US$318-million Series E fundraising round.

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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.”

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Envusa Energy created by Anglo American and EDF

Anglo American and EDF Renewables have formed Envusa Energy to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem in South Africa.

Anglo American and EDF Renewables have formed Envusa Energy to develop a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE) in South Africa, according to a news release.

The roll-out of the RREE will serve as an energy source for the production of green hydrogen for Anglo American’s nuGen Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS) – a planned fleet of hydrogen-powered ultra-class mine haul trucks to replace diesel, supporting the development of South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley.

In March the two companies signed a MOU to explore the ecosystem’s development. Envusa Energy is launching a  pipeline of more than 600 MW of wind and solar projects in South Africa – a major first step towards the development of an ecosystem that is projected to generate 3-to-5 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

This first phase of Envusa’s renewables projects is expected to be fully funded – including by attracting debt financing that is typical for high quality energy infrastructure projects – and ready for construction to begin in 2023.

Envusa is expected to supply Anglo American with a blend of renewable energy generated on Anglo American’s sites and renewable energy transmitted via the national grid. This energy portfolio approach will aggregate energy from geographically dispersed renewable generating assets and allocate this energy optimally to meet the load demand for Anglo American’s sites.

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Methane-to-value firm raises $28m

Windfall Bio, a provider of methane-to-value solutions, has raised $28m led by Prelude Ventures with participation from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and others.

Windfall Bio, a provider of methane-to-value solutions, announced its $28m Series A funding round led by Prelude Ventures with participation from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Global Brain (through its Norinchukin Innovation Fund L.P.), Incite Ventures, and Positive Ventures.

Existing investors also participated in the round, including B37 Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Mayfield, and UNTITLED (a fund backed by the Tetra Laval family), according to a news release.

Supporting its commercial pipeline, the new capital will enable Windfall to expand pilot deployments across methane intensive industries including agriculture, oil and gas, and waste management. Windfall will also invest resources to continue building out its team, manufacturing capacity and supply chain to meet growing global customer demand for methane mitigation solutions.

Windfall’s solution addresses methane emissions by capturing methane for a low, all-in cost while producing on-site, high quality fertilizer for customers to use or sell.

“While addressing methane emissions is the most impactful strategy available today to tackle near-term climate change, it has remained a critically underappreciated and underfunded problem for global warming, only recently gaining significant attention in climate discussions,” said Josh Silverman, co-founder and CEO of Windfall Bio. “However, methane represents an important resource that can create significant value for customers if they are given the right tools. We’ve seen early commercial traction and with the support of our strategic investors, Windfall will empower customers across industries to eliminate harmful methane emissions and create valuable outputs in return.”

Windfall’s nature-based solution harnesses methane-eating microbes—referred to as mems—that capture methane from any source while also capturing nitrogen from the air to produce organic fertilizer on customers’ sites. For agriculture and industrial customers, mems create value by improving soil health, enabling emissions tracking and reporting, improving resource efficiency, and generating new revenue streams from the sale of organic fertilizer.

Windfall exited stealth in March 2023 with a $9m seed raise. The Series A funding brings the company’s total fundraising amount to $37m and further validates the need and promise for its methane mitigation solution across multiple industries. The Series A builds on several milestones the company achieved in the last year, including building out its executive team and Board of Advisors to support Windfall’s go-to-market strategy

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Pharma and fuels tech provider could be ready for public listing

International biotechnology firm Insilico Medicine is applying the algorithms that produce novel drugs to synthesizing more sustainable petrochemical fuels and materials.

Insilico Medicine, a global biotechnology firm serving the pharmaceutical and carbon-based energy industries, could be ready for a public listing in the next phase of its corporate evolution.

Insilico, founded in Baltimore and now based in Hong Kong, has raised about $400m in private capital to date and is in the position of a company that would be exploring a public listing in the US and Hong Kong, CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said in an interview. He declined to say if he has hired a financial advisor to run such a process but said a similar company in his position would have.

The generative AI platform that the company uses to produce novel drugs can be applied to produce more sustainable carbon-based fuels, Zhavoronkov said. The objective is to maximize btu and minimize CO2, making the fuels burn longer and cleaner.

Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco is a user of the technology and participated in Insilico’s $95m Series D (oversubscribed and split between two sub-rounds) last year through its investment arm Prosperity7.

Petrochemistry is going to be needed well into the future, Zhavoronkov said. In addition to renewable energy and other ESG efforts, the efficiency of petrochemicals should be a top priority.

“If you burn certain petrochemicals in certain combinations, you can achieve a reasonably clean burn and an energy efficient burn,” he said. For specific tasks like space travel or Formula 1 racing, combined fuels produce the necessary torque, and generative chemistry can achieve those objectives in a more sustainable way. “I think that we can make the world significantly cleaner just by modifying petrochemical products.”

The technology can also be used to make organic matter in petrochemical products degrade more quickly, which is useful in the case of plastics, Zhavoronkov said.

The company’s AI is primarily based in Montreal and in the drug discovery business in China, but fuel research takes place in Abu Dhabi. Zhavoronkov said he has hired a lot of “AI refugees” from Russia and Ukraine to work at the latter location. The company has 40 employees in the UAE and will likely scale to 70.

Insilico is capitalized for the next two years or so, he said. That doesn’t account for revenue, which closed at just under $30m in 2022. The petrochemical and materials business is under the AI research arm of the business, which is covered by funds raised to date.

“Our board would probably not allow me to reinvent myself as an energy play,” Zhavoronkov said. But the board does not object to applying resources to petrochemical products.

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RNG developer selling landfill gas portfolio

A Texas-based renewable natural gas developer has tapped an advisor and is selling a portfolio of waste-to-energy projects.

Morrow Energy, an RNG developer based in Midland, Texas, is working with a financial advisor to sell off a portfolio of waste-to-energy projects.

Sparkstone Capital Advisors, a boutique advisory firm based in Virginia, is the sellside advisor on the sale, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Morrow and Sparkstone did not respond to requests for comment.

The Morrow portfolio in the US consists of 12 projects in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Washington, according to its website.

Of note, Morrow has developed the Blue Ridge Landfill High BTU project, which is designed for up to 13,000 SCFM of raw landfill gas and can be expanded to up to 30,000 SCFM. Gas from the facility is sold and delivered to vehicle fuel markets in the US.

The company is led by Paul Morrow, its founder and president, who has worked in the RNG industry for over 20 years. Morrow Energy built its first renewable gas facility in the year 2000.

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Green ammonia provider looking to US for growth

A European green ammonia solutions provider is considering a number of strategies to grow in the US, including capital raising, strategic partnerships and a spinoff.

Proton Ventures, a provider of small-scale green ammonia solutions based in Holland, is considering several possibilities for growing its presence in the US, founder Hans Vrijenhoef said on the sidelines of the World Hydrogen Summit in Rotterdam.

Vrijenhoef, who also serves as president of the Ammonia Energy Association, founded Proton Ventures in 2000 after speaking to John Holbrook, an early proponent of ammonia as a fuel and a founder of the AEA.

Today Vrijenhoef is a minority shareholder owning one-third of the company, he said. The majority shareholder is Kees Koolen, the former CEO of Booking.com and a founding partner of EQT Ventures.

In the US the firm’s concept is to deploy its technology – small scale ammonia production – at wind farms in Midwestern states like Iowa, Kansas and the Dakotas to make fertilizer for regional farms and replace grey hydrogen in US agribusiness.

The company’s technology has also been deployed to convert flare gas at shale oil production sites in Saskatchewan into ammonia, Vrijenhoef said, adding that any energy source is applicable.

“We are in a position to deploy multiple hundreds of units in the US,” he said. “We need liquidity to do projects. We need a shareholder to come in.”

The company may have a need for a US-based M&A advisor, Vrijenhoef said. Multiple capital strategies, including a spinoff of the North American subsidiaries, are possible.

The technology is proven through a pilot project in Morocco, which has reached FID, he said. Modular ammonia units can produce between 1,000 and 20,000 tonnes, with the option to put multiple units at one site.

The company partly contracts its manufacturing in The Netherlands but could find new partnerships in the US, Vrijenhoef said. He highlighted an existing relationship with Northwest Mechanical in Davenport,Iowa.

The US subsidiary of Proton Ventures is an LLC based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Vrijenhoef said. A Calgary-based subsidiary is called NFuelTechnologies.

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