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Tidewater advancing new SAF plant in British Columbia

Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure has kicked off a FEED study for a new 6,500 bbl/day renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel project in British Columbia.

Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure has joined a JV with Tidewater Renewables to develop a new sustainable aviation fuel plant in British Columbia.

Tidewater Renewables completed a feasibility assessment for an expansion of its renewable fuel facilities, and in the first quarter of 2024 Tidewater Renewables and Tidewater entered into a joint development agreement related to a new 6,500 bbl/day renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel project in British Columbia.

The parties have the right to participate in up to 50% of the project upon a final investment decision. 

Tidewater Renewables is the developer and operator of the Renewable Diesel and Renewable Hydrogen (HDRD) complex in Prince George, BC, which began operating at design capacity in late February. 

The company is now looking forward to new opportunities in renewable fuels, CEO Jeremy Baines said on an investor call today. Baines took over as CEO of Tidewater in January.

“We recently entered into an agreement with the BC government to provide support for FEED work to provide us with a plan and capital cost estimate for a sustainable aviation fuel refinery,” he said.

“We have kicked off the study with a major global engineering firm,” he added, noting that the company hopes to have a bankable FEED study complete in the first half of 2025.

“In parallel, there is significant work underway on the commercial aspects of the projects, including significant interest in offtake from major airlines,” he said.

He added that the company is able to leverage its learnings from conventional and HDRD refineries.

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Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners invests in 220 GW green hydrogen pipeline

CIP, through its Energy Transition Fund I, has acquired a 26.67% stake in a development platform within CWP’s green hydrogen business.

CWP Global and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) today announced CIP’s strategic investment in CWP’s development portfolio of ultra-large-scale green hydrogen hubs, including projects across Africa, Australia and the Americas, according to a news release.

Under the deal announced today, CIP, through its Energy Transition Fund I, has acquired a 26.67% stake in a development platform within CWP’s green hydrogen business, thus seizing the opportunity to invest in the latter’s pipeline of green hydrogen hubs under development globally.

The investment brings together CWP’s leading green hydrogen team, built off the back of a two-decade track record in developing and operating utility-scale renewables projects, and CIP’s expertise in financing and developing large-scale green transition infrastructure. CIP’s backing represents a significant vote of confidence in the emerging green hydrogen sector from one of the world’s largest renewable energy infrastructure investors, according to the release.

As it currently stands, CWP’s green hydrogen hub portfolio has a planned combined renewable power generation capacity of nearly 220 GW.

Alex Hewitt, CEO of CWP Global, said, “We’re thrilled to welcome CIP to the CWP family, a new partnership that could not have come at a more important time. The race to net zero is on, and green hydrogen at scale will be a critical pillar for global decarbonisation, perhaps meeting one-fifth of global energy demand by 2050.”

Felix Pahl, Partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, said, “Achieving decarbonisation targets requires green hydrogen and green ammonia to be produced at scale. Through this investment, CIP’s Energy Transition Fund now further expands its participation in the development of gigawatt scale PtX developments. CWP has a proven track record in delivering onshore renewables and has already built a strong pipeline of PtX development projects.

With a strong management team and established regional footprints in Australia, Africa and Latin America, we expect CWP to become a global leader in developing ultra gigawatt-scale PtX projects and contribute significantly to decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors.”

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Nikola invests $50m for stake in Indiana hydrogen project

The cash and stock deal is for a 20% equity interest in a clean hydrogen project being developed in West Terre Haute, Indiana.

Nikola Corporation is investing $50 million in cash and stock in exchange for a 20% equity interest in the clean hydrogen project being developed in West Terre Haute, Ind.

The project, developed by Wabash Valley Resources, plans to use solid waste byproducts such as petroleum coke combined with biomass to produce clean, sustainable hydrogen for transportation fuel and base-load electricity generation while capturing CO2 emissions for permanent underground sequestration, according to a press release.

Once completed, the project is expected to be one of the largest carbon capture and clean hydrogen production projects in the United States. The focus is to produce zero-carbon intensity hydrogen with the potential to develop negative carbon intensity hydrogen in the future.

Working together, Nikola and WVR expect to lead in the transition to clean transportation fuels for trucking operations within the Midwest, one of the most intensive commercial transportation corridors in the United States.

This investment is anticipated to give Nikola a significant hydrogen hub with the ability to offtake approximately 50 tons a day to supply its future dispensing stations within an approximate 300-mile radius, covering a significant portion of the Midwest. Exercising its offtake right will likely require significant additional investment by Nikola to build liquefaction, storage, and transportation services.

“We intend this project to produce clean, low cost hydrogen in a critical geography for commercial transportation.” said Pablo Koziner, president, energy and commercial, Nikola. “The Wabash solution can generate electricity as well as hydrogen transportation fuel, which should provide the flexibility to support future truck sales and hydrogen station rollout in the region.  The expected efficiency of WVR’s clean hydrogen production should allow Nikola’s bundled truck lease, including fuel, service, and maintenance, to compete favorably with diesel.”

As part of this investment in the hydrogen economy in the Midwest, Nikola intends to build stations across Indiana and the broader Midwest to serve the region.

“WVR is developing a multi-product facility, where the hydrogen can be combusted in a turbine to produce clean baseload power. The recent spate of power outages serves as a reminder that the market has a pressing need for a non-intermittent source of clean energy.  We also look forward to working with Nikola to bring zero-emission transportation solutions to the Midwest,” said Simon Greenshields, chairman of the board for Wabash Valley Resources.

The completed facility should have the capability to produce up to 336 tons per day of hydrogen, enough to generate approximately 285 megawatts of clean electricity.  The project is expected to require 125 full-time employees and may support 750 construction jobs.  Groundbreaking is expected in early 2022 and take approximately two years to complete.

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Raven SR raises $20m from strategic investors

Wyoming-based renewable fuels company Raven SR has closed a USD 20m strategic investment.

Wyoming-based renewable fuels company Raven SR has closed a $20m strategic investment, according to a press release.

Chevron U.S.A., ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc. and Ascent Hydrogen Fund participated. Raven SR plans to build modular waste-to-green hydrogen production units and renewable synthetic fuel facilities initially in California and then worldwide.

Raven SR’s Steam/CO2 Reformation process involves no combustion, unlike incineration or gasification. The company’s process can also produce other renewable energy products such as synthetic liquid fuels (diesel, Jet A, mil-spec JP-8), additives and solvents (such as acetone, butanol, and naphtha) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The investment follows an agreement between Raven and Hyzon Motors to build up to 250 hydrogen production facilities across the United States and globally. Hyzon Motors, with US operations based in Rochester, New York, is a supplier of fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles.

Raven SR’s first renewable fuel production facilities will be built at landfills and will produce fuel for Northern California hydrogen fuel stations and for Hyzon’s hydrogen hubs. These initial facilities are expected to process approximately 200 tons of organic waste daily, yielding green hydrogen and producing on-site energy.

Raven SR’s production units are modular. In addition to landfills, they can also be placed at wastewater treatment plants and agriculture sites.

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Midwestern SAF developer in capital raise

A municipal solid waste solutions firm based in the midwestern US is undergoing a $30m capital raise ahead of its first SAF project with plans to launch another raise late this year or early next.

Illinois Clean Fuels, the municipal solid waste solutions firm in Deerfield, Illinois, has mandated two advisors to run a capital raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Chabina Energy Partners and Weild & Co. are assisting on the process, which the company plans to have finished by October, the sources said.

The equity will be put toward six recovery facilities to supply feedstock for an unannounced project located in the Chicagoland region, one of the sources said. Following two years or so of engineering and permitting, that project should enter construction.

In December or early 1Q24 ICF plans to launch another equity raise for development capital.

ICF, Chabina and Weild & Co. declined to comment.

Illinois Clean Fuels has a synthetic fuel plant under development that will convert municipal solid waste into sustainable aviation fuel in combination with carbon capture and storage, according to its website.

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Arizona RNG firm seeking equity capital

A renewable natural gas developer with sites proposed in southern California and Arizona is seeking additional equity investors.

True North Renewable Energy Company, a Phoenix-based waste-to-energy developer, is undergoing a Series B equity raise, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Whitehall & Company is advising, the sources said.

True North develops, builds, and operates organics-to-energy facilities, including large, regional, high solids anaerobic digestion infrastructure, according to its website.

The firm is primarily active in southern California and Arizona. Sites have been announced in Imperial County, Kern County and Mojave (all in California) as well as Yuma County, Arizona. Collectively, these could produce up to 3m mmbtu per annum, using up to 700,000 tons of organic compost from regional farms.

The company is a holding of True North Venture Partners, of Phoenix and Chicago.

TNRE and Whitehall did not respond to requests for comment.

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Biomass technology company launching US projects

Comstock Inc, a biomass technology company, is gearing up to build a fleet of plants that will use yield-enhancing technology to convert woody biomass into clean fuels.

Comstock Inc, a biomass technology company, is gearing up to build a fleet of plants that will use yield-enhancing new technology to process woody biomass into an intermediate product that can be further refined into clean fuels.

The company, traditionally a miner focused on gold and silver mining in Nevada, has been transformed into a technology innovator seeking to build, own, and operate a portfolio of carbon neutral extraction and refining facilities in the US, CEO Corrado De Gasperis said in an interview.

“We’re finalizing all of our documentation on readiness and engineering, and then we’ll be working to select an EPC, and then we’ll be ready to bond and finance,” he said.

Comstock, which trades on the NYSE, is currently engaged in the process of securing access to feedstock, and has mapped out nine regions in the U.S. which, combined, produce between 85 – 100 million tons of woody biomass residuals per year.

In parallel, the company is seeking to incentivize growth of trees like hybrid poplar that can be used as feedstock in the future, De Gasperis said. “We’re going to be building the backend of the supply chain with a feedstock strategy, accessing existing residuals, and then building these facilities,” he added.

In Minnesota, for example, there are around 300 sawmills with no place to send their sawdust and excess woodchips following the closure of several wood-to-energy plants, said David Winsness, a president at Comstock.

“Those are the materials that shouldn’t be sitting there – we should be converting them into fuel,” Winsness said.

Building plants

The company has set an objective to generate “billions” in revenue by 2030 – something it would achieve largely through building and operating the woody biomass plants near where the feedstock is located. Comstock also sells related services and licenses selected technologies to strategic partners.

Using simple math, Comstock could achieve its revenue goal by building and operating 10 facilities that produce approximately 1 million tons of clean fuels per year.

A plant producing 1 million tons per year would require capex of between $600m – $750m to build, and would likely be constructed using a project finance funding model, De Gasperis said. The company has not yet selected a financial advisor.

De Gasperis believes large refiners will want to co-build the facilities along with Comstock – which could also entail a strategic equity investment from the selected refiner and lead to a faster construction process.

“Speed and throughput is the goal,” he said, noting that the company has been engaged with roughly 12 of the large clean fuels refiners on a potential partnership. “The faster we’re producing these carbon-neutral gallons, the faster we’re decarbonizing, and the faster we’re making money.”

The company has private equity funds and infrastructure funds on their radar as potential investors but has not engaged with them yet.

The other half

Comstock’s technological breakthrough comes in its ability to produce a biointermediary – called bioleum – from a part of the woody biomass that is not cellulose, and which can be used to produce drop-in fuels. (Importantly, under new EPA rules implemented in June 2022, biointermediaries such as bioleum can be sold on to refiners, whereas previous rules required co-location with the refineries.)

“Cellulose only counts for 50% of a tree,” said Winsness. “For every gallon of fuel generated from cellulose, we’re getting another gallon from the byproduct. It’s a huge change for the industry to be able to get that much more throughput from the same amount of biomass.”

The Department of Energy recently issued a funding opportunity for projects that can produce more than 60 gallons of ethanol from 1 ton of wood feedstock, De Gasperis said.

“We saw that and we said, ‘We’re already there. We can do much more,’” he added.

Comstock can currently produce about 70 gallons of ethanol from 1 ton of wood, using cellulose. Meanwhile, with the non-cellulose half of the wood in 1 ton of feedstock, the technology can produce an additional 30 – 40 gallons of renewable diesel or aviation fuel.

The company has partnered on a process to convert ethanol to drop-in fuel, with the ultimate goal of producing 100 gallons of drop-in fuels from 1 ton of wood feedstock, according to De Gasperis. “All of our development is to stabilize the breakthrough we had on the bioleum – the heavy cellulose components of the wood is where our technology breaks through and shatters this.”

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