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Tailwater Capital portfolio company launches carbon storage hub

The portfolio company, Frontier Carbon Solutions, is advancing a multipurpose carbon storage hub in Wyoming.

Frontier Carbon Solutions Holdings LLC, a project developer in the carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration sector and a portfolio company of Tailwater Capital LLC, today announced the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub, one of North America’s first open source, multipurpose carbon storage hubs.

The SCS Hub spans over 45,000 acres in southwestern Wyoming and will provide a carbon management solution for industrial emitters across the Mountain West. Additionally, Frontier has submitted 3 Class VI UIC Permits with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality for CO2 injection. When fully developed, the SCS Hub is expected to store over 350 million metric tons of CO2 in geologic reservoirs.

The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources (SER), with Frontier as a partner and collaborator, was recently awarded $40.5m by the Department of Energy’s CarbonSAFE initiative to further develop the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub. Frontier and SER will use grant proceeds to invest in the SCS Hub, including drilling Class VI injection wells and expanded reservoir characterization across the area. Alongside a recently announced upsized equity commitment from Tailwater Capital, Frontier will be well positioned to further build the SCS Hub into the preeminent carbon storage complex in the Rocky Mountain region.

“Frontier is honored to be awarded these funds from the CarbonSAFE initiative in partnership with the University of Wyoming,” said Robby Rockey, president and co-chief executive officer of Frontier. “This partnership allows us to highlight Wyoming as a key leader in carbon storage and we will utilize this capital to accelerate the development of the SCS Hub.”

Additionally, Frontier is pleased to announce the promotion of Alicia Summers to chief development officer. Summers is a co-founder of Frontier and brings more than two decades of reservoir and principal investment experience to the platform. She has played a leading role in Frontier’s subsurface development, site characterization, and Class VI permitting. In her new role, she will focus on strategic growth of the SCS Hub and additional sequestration sites across the Mountain West.

“Alicia is a clear leader in the CCUS industry,” said Steven Lowenthal, co-chief executive officer at Frontier. “As we advance the SCS Hub and other largescale storage sites across the Mountain West, Alicia’s expanded leadership role will further position Frontier as the premier carbon management provider in Rockies.”

“We are very proud of the progress the Frontier Carbon team has made advancing this project and we are fully committed to developing this best-in-class carbon storage hub in Southwest Wyoming,” said Stephen Lipscomb, partner of Tailwater Capital.

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Fluitron appoints Linh Austin as president and CEO

Austin, the former COO of BayoTech, has been appointed CEO at Fluitron, a manufacturer of integrated hydrogen gas compression, storage, and dispensing systems.

Fluitron, a manufacturer of integrated hydrogen gas compression, storage, and dispensing systems, has appointed Linh Austin as president and chief executive officer.

Austin is the former chief operating officer of BayoTech and regional chief executive officer of McDermott International’s Middle East and North Africa business. Fluitron is a portfolio company of Ara Partners, a decarbonization-focused private equity firm.

Austin brings more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry to Fluitron, including significant leadership experience directing US and international oil & gas businesses, hydrogen operations, P&L management, strategy, and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC). He has also led significant re-engineering initiatives, cost reductions, AI implementation, and energy transition efforts across multiple businesses.

“We are thrilled to welcome Linh to Fluitron as Chief Executive Officer,” said Tuan Tran, a partner at Ara. “Linh is a proven energy industry leader with the vision and expertise necessary to build upon the successful enterprise Fluitron has established over the past 47 years and take the company into its next phase of growth and innovation as a leader in hydrogen gas handling.”

“Linh has been a respected voice at the forefront of energy transition. We are delighted that he has chosen to bring his experience and passion to the leadership of Fluitron,” added Troy Thacker, Managing Partner of Ara Partners.

As Regional CEO for McDermott International in the Middle East and North Africa, Austin was responsible for over $3bn of business, and more than tripled the company’s regional revenue in under six years while maintaining margins. He also previously held several leadership roles at BP in both the US and UK.

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Infinium to purchase Permian CO2 for e-fuels

e-fuels firm Infinium will purchase CO2 captured in the Permian Basin for utilization as feedstock for e-SAF.

eFuels firm Infinium has reached an agreement with a subsidiary of midstream energy company  Kinetik Holdings Inc. to purchase carbon dioxide captured from Kinetik’s gas gathering and processing system in the Permian Basin for use as a feedstock in the production of ultra-low carbon electrofuels, according to a news release.

Infinium eFuels are created through a proprietary process using waste CO2 and green hydrogen derived from renewable power.

The agreement is unique in its long-term nature and broad decarbonization benefits, providing measurable impacts for transportation alternatives. It provides a model for the industry to rethink how to contract waste streams such as CO2 for use in solutions that provide beneficial reuse of emissions.

“There are many roles to be played in the energy transition, and this partnership shows that eFuels production and utilization is truly a win-win for all in the energy industry,” said Infinium CEO Robert Schuetzle. “It’s great to welcome Kinetik into our community of companies seeking beneficial reuse solutions for its CO2. The agreement demonstrates major progress and shows Kinetik’s leadership relative to the existing traditional oil and gas sector’s carbon emissions strategies.”

Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of Kinetik will dedicate CO2 from one of its amine gas processing facilities in West Texas to Infinium for use at its previously announced second eFuels project called Project Roadrunner. Project Roadrunner will deliver products into both U.S. and international markets. It will primarily produce Infinium eSAF, a sustainable aviation fuel with the potential to significantly reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with air transportation.

“Our partnership with Infinium reinforces Kinetik’s commitment to sustainability and our role as an agent for change. As the first step of Kinetik’s New Energy Ventures, I am excited to announce our participation in Project Roadrunner and strongly support Infinium’s mission to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Kinetik remains committed to further decarbonize our footprint and advance new low carbon technologies as part of our strategy of ‘energy for change,'” said Jamie Welch, Kinetik’s President and CEO.

Infinium previously announced a $75m equity commitment from Breakthrough Energy Catalyst for investment in Project Roadrunner, the first for the novel Bill Gates-founded platform that funds and invests in first-of-a-kind commercial projects for emerging climate technologies. American Airlines is the first announced offtake partner for eSAF produced at Project Roadrunner with emission reductions going to Citi, further modeling how long-term, innovative agreements contribute to decarbonization across multiple industries’ value chains.

Infinium operates the world’s first commercial scale eFuels facility in Corpus Christi, Texas and has more than a dozen projects in various stages of development globally.

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Tallgrass Energy acquires retired coal plant for H2 project

Tallgrass Energy has closed on the purchase of a 75% interest in Escalante H2 Power Denver-based Brooks Energy Company.

Kansas-based Tallgrass Energy has closed on the purchase of a 75% interest in Escalante H2 Power, according to a news release.

EH2 Power is developing a hydrogen-to-power project at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.’s Escalante Generating Station near Prewitt, New Mexico, by converting the retired coal-fired power plant into a clean hydrogen-fired power generating facility.

The ownership of Newpoint Gas, LLC will retain a 25 percent membership interest in EH2 Power and continue to partner with Tallgrass in EH2’s development of the hydrogen conversion project at the Escalante Station.

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Exclusive: TransGas CEO talks mega ammonia project

The owners of a proposed colossal ammonia production facility in Appalachian coal country are in the beginning stages of seeking liquidity, EPC contracting, and advisory services for a project they say will ultimately be financed akin to an LNG export terminal.

It’s an appeal often made in modern US politics – doing right by those left behind.

Perhaps no place is more emblematic of that appeal than West Virginia, and perhaps no region in that state more so than the southern coal fields. It’s there a fossil developer is proposing the architecture of the ruling coal industry be used to build a $10bn decarbonized ammonia facility and is gathering the resources to do so.

“It’s world class, and it makes southern West Virginia, Mingo County, the catalyst for the 21st century’s energy revival,” said Adam Victor, the CEO of TransGas Development Systems, the developer of the project. “The people [here] are the heirs and descendants of the people that mined the coal that built the steel that built the Panama Canal.”

The Adams Fork Energy project in Mingo County, jointly developed by TransGas and the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, is slated to reach commercial operations in 2027. Six identical 6,000 mtpd ammonia manufacturing plants are being planned on the site of a previously permitted (but not constructed) coal-to-gasoline facility.

ReSource exclusively reported this week that the state has issued a permit to construct the facility. TransGas owns 100% of the project now, though if the Tribe comes through with federal funding then it will become the majority owner.

TransGas itself could take on a liquidity partner to raise up to $20m in development capital for the project, Victor said. The company is not using a financial advisor now but will hire one in the future.

White & Case is TransGas’ legal advisor. The company is in discussions with Ansaldo Energia, of Italy, about construction.

“The project is not averse to talking to private equity or investment bankers, because nothing has been decided right now,” Victor said, noting that the company is just beginning talks with infra funds and is eager to do so. “The project will be looking for an EPC.”

The first of the six plants will cost about $2bn, but each one will get successively less expensive, Victor said. Total capex is about $10bn, though there is discussion of acquiring adjacent land to double the size of the project – or 12 plants in all producing 6,000 mtpd each.

TransGas has the support of West Virginia politicians like Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Jim Justice, Victor said. Financing the project will be a function of the offtake.

Electricity for data centers, or ammonia for export?

The company is conducting a market analysis to determine avenues for offtake, Victor said. They could do partial electricity generation onsite to power a data center, with the remainder of the hydrogen being used to make ammonia for shipment overseas.

Depending on the needs of offtakers, the facility could also do one or the other entirely, he said.

The project, if configured at current size, could support about 6,000 MW of non-interruptible power generation, 2,000 MW of that for cooling.

“This could basically become a 6,000 MW campus to become the center of data centers in the United States,” Victor said, noting that the region is much less prone to natural disasters than some others and is high enough in elevation to escape any flooding. “I think we could rival Loudoun County [Virginia] as where data centers should be located.”

Adams Fork sits on the largest mine pool reservoir in the eastern US, Victor noted. Data centers need constant cooling, particularly new chip technology that requires liquid cooling.

TransGas will know in a matter of weeks if it’s going to go the electrical route, Victor said. There are only five companies in the world with data centers large enough to efficiently offtake from it: Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Meta and Apple.

If not, the facility will continue down the path of selling the decarbonized ammonia, likely to an oil company or international ammonia buyer like JERA in Japan.

Partnering with a tech company will make it easier to finance the project because of high credit ratings, Victor said. International pressure on oil companies could affect those credit ratings.

“We think the investor world could be split,” he said, noting tech and fuels investors could both be interested in the project. “You’re doubling the universe of investors and offtakers.”

He added: “Once we have the offtake, we think we could have a groundbreaking this year.”

Two ways of shipping

For ammonia production the facility could use the same shipping channels the coal industry uses – either to the Big Sandy River to be sent by barge on the Ohio to New Orleans, or rail to ports in Baltimore; Norfolk, Virginia; and Savanna, Georgia.

By rail, two 40-car trains per day would take ammonia to port. Norfolk Southern and CSX both operate in the region.

Another option is to have a fleet of 50 EV or hydrogen-powered trucks to transport ammonia to the Big Sandy where electric-powered barges can take it to the Gulf, Victor said. That latter option could mean a lower CI score because it will eliminate rail’s diesel power.

Mercedes-Benz and Volvo both make the kind of trucks used for this work in Europe and Asia, he said. Coal mines in the region use diesel trucks in fleets as numerous as 500, and the original TransGas coal plant was permitted for 250 trucks per day.

“This is something that our offtake partner is going to determine,” he said. Japan would likely want the ammonia in the Gulf of Mexico, whereas European shipping companies would want it on an Atlantic port.

The LNG financial model

The offtakers themselves could fund the facility, Victor said.

“The financial model for this is the financial model for funding LNG terminals,” he said. “The same teams that put those large facilities together, financial teams, would be the same teams that we’re talking to now.”

The offtakers may also dictate who they want to be the financial advisor, he said.

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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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exclusive

California carbon transformation firm lands new CFO

The Bay Area company is looking toward a Series C before an IPO in a couple of years.

Jimmy Chuang, the former CFO for Strata Clean Energy, has left that company to take the same role at carbon transformation startup Twelve, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Twelve recently completed a $130m Series B led by DCVC and has raised USD 200m in equity to date, the sources said.

The Bay Area company is looking toward a Series C that would be much larger, before an IPO in a couple of years, one of the sources said. The company is in talks with bulge bracket bankers now but has not hired anyone.

Twelve did not respond to requests for comment. Strata declined to comment.

Twelve creates materials, like chemicals and fuels, from captured carbon. The company recently signed an MoU with Microsoft and Alaska Airlines to collaborate on the production of sustainable aviation fuel.

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