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Tidewater Midstream and Tidewater Renewables appoint interim CEO

The Canadian company is facing higher estimated costs to build a renewable diesel and hydrogen plant in British Columbia.

The Boards of Directors of Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. and Tidewater Renewables Ltd. have appointed Robert Colcleugh as interim CEO of both companies, effective November 28, 2022, according to a news release.

Colcleugh, who currently serves as a director of Tidewater Midstream, succeeds Joel MacLeod, who is stepping down from his management and board roles to pursue other opportunities.

Tidewater executives including MacLeod said on a recent earnings call that costs would climb an estimated 10% for a renewable diesel and hydrogen plant that’s under construction in British Columbia.

Colcleugh brings significant oil and gas management expertise as well as broad business and capital markets experience to the leadership roles. Thomas Dea will serve as chairman at Tidewater Midstream and Colcleugh will serve as chairman of Tidewater Renewables with Brett Gellner continuing to serve as lead independent director of Tidewater Renewables following Macleod’s departure.

“The business outlook remains strong and both companies are well positioned for continued success,” said Mr. Dea, chairman at Tidewater Midstream. “Under Colcleugh’s leadership, the companies will continue to execute their respective business plans while ensuring they maintain a strong culture of safety, further strengthen their balance sheets, and create value for all constituents. With his significant industry experience and knowledge of the Tidewater business, we have the utmost confidence in his ability to lead the teams and generate shareholder value.”

“We will continue to focus on building a profitable, diversified midstream and infrastructure company at Tidewater Midstream,” said Colcleugh. “At Tidewater Renewables, we will continue to deliver on our commitment to supply North America with low carbon intensity fuel solutions at scale. I look forward to delivering for our valued customers, partners, and shareholders.”

Colcleugh has been a director of Tidewater Midstream since 2017. Over the last 25 years he has held a variety of operational, advisory and board roles at a broad array of domestic Canadian and international energy companies and investment banks.

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Nebraska hydrogen outfit raises $300m

Monolith, a developer of clean hydrogen, carbon black and ammonia, has raised $300m in an investment round led by TPG Rise Climate.

Monolith, a developer of clean hydrogen, carbon black and ammonia, has raised $300m, according to a press release.

The investment was led by TPG Rise Climate, the dedicated climate investing strategy of TPG’s global impact investing platform TPG Rise, and joined by Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek, as co-lead. Additional investment was also received from NextEra Energy Resources, SK, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Azimuth Capital Management.

J.P. Morgan Securities and Goldman Sachs acted as placement agents.

The existing investor group, including Azimuth Capital Management, Cornell Capital and Warburg Pincus will retain their majority ownership stake in the company.

Monolith, based in Nebraska, produces essential materials including hydrogen and carbon black through methane pyrolysis. The company says it was the first U.S. manufacturer to produce clean hydrogen using methane pyrolysis at scale.

South Korea’s SK Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding last October with Monolith to produce hydrogen and carbon black in that country. It also generated a collaboration agreement and letter of intent with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company late in 2021.

This latest round of funding will be applied toward further technological development that will offer next generation product capabilities and other corporate-level expansion. It will also enable Monolith’s continued development of a deep backlog of clean hydrogen, ammonia and carbon projects with industry leading partners.

The company also received conditional approval for a more than USD 1bn loan from the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office to expand its production facilities in Nebraska.

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American Airlines invests in Universal Hydrogen

American joins Airbus Ventures, GE Aviation and Toyota Ventures, as well as several major hydrogen producers and aircraft lessors, as strategic investors.

American Airlines has made a strategic equity investment in Universal Hydrogen Co., a company building a green hydrogen distribution and logistics network for aviation.

The investment supports American’s science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2035, and ultimately its commitment to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050, and makes American the first U.S. airline to make two direct investments focused on the development of both hydrogen-electric propulsion technology and the future of hydrogen distribution logistics, according to a news release.

American joins Airbus Ventures, GE Aviation and Toyota Ventures, as well as several major hydrogen producers and aircraft lessors, as strategic investors in Universal Hydrogen.

Universal Hydrogen’s fuel distribution network uses modular hydrogen capsules that are handled like cargo, eliminating the need for new fueling infrastructure at airports and speeding up fuel loading operations. Universal Hydrogen anticipates starting hydrogen deliveries for regional aircraft in 2025, with plans to expand its services to larger, single aisle aircraft — first for auxiliary power in the late-2020s and then as a primary fuel by the mid-2030s. Because these segments represent two-thirds of aviation emissions — and with green hydrogen being a true zero-carbon fuel — these advances put aviation on a path to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets.

“This technology has the potential to be a game-changer on the industry’s path to zero-emission flight,” said American’s Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr. “As the world’s largest airline, American has a responsibility to exercise leadership in making aviation sustainable. Our investment in Universal Hydrogen represents a vote of confidence for green hydrogen as a key element of a sustainable future for our industry.”

“Together with our investors, we are putting together the end-to-end value chain to make hydrogen aviation a near-term commercial reality,” said Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen. “This move by American is a strong signal that customers want a true zero-emissions solution for passenger aviation and are willing to back tangible, pragmatic steps to get there quickly.”

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BlackRock investing $550m in Occidental DAC facility

BlackRock is investing in STRATOS, a DAC facility being developed by Occidental subsidiary 1PointFive.

Occidental said today that BlackRock will invest $550m on behalf of clients in the development of STRATOS, a direct air capture (DAC) facility, in Ector County, Texas.

Through a fund managed by its Diversified Infrastructure business, BlackRock has signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture with Occidental through its subsidiary 1PointFive that will own STRATOS.

STRATOS is designed to capture up to 500,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.  Construction activities for STRATOS are approximately 30 percent complete and the facility is expected to be commercially operational in mid-2025. The project is expected to employ more than 1,000 people during the construction phase and up to 75 once operational.

“We are excited to partner with BlackRock on this transformative facility that will provide a solution to help the world reach net zero,” said Vicki Hollub, president and CEO, Occidental. “This joint venture demonstrates that Direct Air Capture is becoming an investable technology and BlackRock’s commitment in STRATOS underscores its importance and potential for the world. We believe that BlackRock’s expertise across global markets and industries makes them the ideal partner to help further industrial-scale direct air capture.”

“BlackRock is proud to partner with global energy leader Occidental to help build the world’s largest direct air carbon capture facility in Texas,” said Larry Fink, chairman and CEO, BlackRock. “Occidental’s technical expertise brings unprecedented scale to this cutting-edge decarbonization technology. STRATOS represents an incredible investment opportunity for BlackRock’s clients to invest in this unique energy infrastructure project and underscores the critical role of American energy companies in climate technology innovation.”

DAC is a technology that captures and removes large volumes of CO₂ directly from the atmosphere, which can be safely and securely stored deep underground in geologic formations. STRATOS is expected to provide cost-effective solutions that companies in hard-to-decarbonize industries can use in conjunction with their own emissions reduction programs. To date, 1PointFive has signed CO₂ removal credit purchase agreements with customers, including Amazon, Airbus, All Nippon Airways (ANA), TD Bank Group, the Houston Astros, and the Houston Texans.

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New clean fuels firm takes first external financing

A clean fuels startup aiming to provide turnkey decarbonization solutions will be in the market for additional capital shortly.

Elemental Clean Fuels has closed on its first round of external financing from investors Piney Point Capital and Fusion Fuel Green plc, according to a company spokesperson.

The money will be used to build out the company’s pipeline and add new projects, which it plans to develop, own and operate. Clean fuels would be produced from renewables via electrolysis, followed by storage and transportation solutions, according to the company’s website.

Capital investment provided by Piney Point will be utilized by ECF to further develop its existing decarbonization portfolio in North America, as well as to expand its internal capabilities and add additional project assets (including the projects contributed by Fusion Fuel), according to a news release.

ECF is a business venture of CEO Zach Steele and CFO Jason Baran, former executives of Fusion Fuel who have executed and managed over $3bn in development projects in North America. They are joined by CDO Jeff Crone, a former vice president of engineering and construction services at Buckeye Partners.

In parallel, Fusion Fuel has also entered into a strategic technology partnership with Elemental, granting Fusion Fuel the right to bid on all PEM-based green hydrogen projects in Elemental’s North American pipeline for a period of three years, according to a release from Fusion Fuel.

Elemental has approximately 40 MW in pre-feasibility projects within its pipeline and is currently collaborating with Fusion Fuel on a feasibility study for a 2 MW green hydrogen project for a state utility to be delivered in 2024. This partnership will provide Fusion Fuel with exposure to the emerging North American green hydrogen market, whilst enabling the company to focus its near-term commercial efforts on the Iberian Peninsula and Northern Europe.

“We are extremely excited to have Piney Point as a partner as we progress our mission to drive growth in the emerging clean fuels market,” said Steele. “With investments in a broad range of companies across the energy transition, they are uniquely positioned to provide strategic partnerships and additional access across the value chain to drive scale.  Piney Point’s investment and expertise will accelerate the growth of our Company in the mobility and heavy industry sectors throughout North America.  We are also excited and optimistic about continued collaboration with Fusion Fuel going forward.”

“As investors, Piney Point Capital recognizes the immense potential of ECF in revolutionizing the clean fuel landscape. We believe in the vision and capabilities of the ECF team, and we are committed to supporting their mission to accelerate decarbonization through innovative projects and strategic partnerships across North America,” said Mike Keough, managing partner Piney Point Capital, a subsidiary of Racon Capital.

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Exclusive: Hydrogen blank-check deal and capital raise on track

A de-SPAC deal and associated capital raise for a hydrogen technology and project development firm are still on track to close this year, despite this year’s busted SPAC deals and sagging hydrogen public market performance.

H2B2 Technologies is still on track to close a de-SPAC deal and related capital raise before the end of this year, CEO Pedro Pajares said in an interview.

Spain-based H2B2 announced the deal to be acquired by RMG Acquisition Corp. III and go public in a $750m SPAC deal in May. In tandem, Natixis Partners and BCW Securities are acting as co-private placement agents to H2B2 for a capital raise that the company must close as part of the acquisition.

The company said recently in filings that the deal as well as the capital raise would close before the end of 2023, a fact that Pajares reiterated in the interview. He declined to comment further.

Many publicly traded hydrogen companies have dropped significantly in value in recent months, and dropped further on Friday following news from Plug Power that it would need to raise additional capital in the next 12 months to avoid a liquidity crisis.

Meanwhile, there have been 55 busted SPAC deals this year, according to Bloomberg, with Ares Management’s deal for nuclear tech firm X-Energy the latest to not close.

Expansion

H2BE recently inaugurated SoHyCal, its first facility in Fresno, California, and wants to get the message out to offtakers in California’s Central Valley that it has hydrogen available to sell.

“What we want to show is that H2B2 is the solution for those who are seeking green hydrogen in the Central Valley,” Pajares said.

Phase 1 (one ton per day) of the plant was funded by a grant from the California Clean Energy Commission. Phase 2 (three tons per day) will involve transitioning to solar PV power, and the company could consider a project finance model to finance the expansion, though Pajares believes the market is not yet ready to finance hydrogen projects.

In addition to project development, the company is also an electrolyzer manufacturer. It is focusing its efforts in the California market on future projects that are larger than SoHyCal, as well as those related to individual offtakers, Pajares said. End users will be in mobility and fertilizer, with offtake occurring via long-term contracts as well as through spot market transactions.

The company is pursuing developments in other regions of the US as well, he added, declining to name specific areas.

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Siemens Energy planning new US electrolyzer capacity

The company is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Siemens Energy North America is laying the groundwork for new electrolyzer manufacturing capacity in the United States, President Richard Voorberg said during a panel discussion recently.

Siemens Energy, a global energy technology company, makes an 18 MW PEM electrolyzer, one of the largest in the world, and is targeting expansion in the U.S. given the favorable policy environment following passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Voorberg said.

The company is building its first gigawatt factory in Berlin, Germany via a joint venture with France’s Air Liquide. The Berlin factory is expected to produce 1 GW of PEM electrolyzers per year starting in mid-2023.

“As soon as we get that first one up and running… I’ve got a plan already to put a 1,000 MW line in the US,” Voorberg said, speaking during an event at the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Washington D.C. last month.

Siemens’ existing manufacturing capacity in the US could expand to accommodate that new line, or the company could look to build an entirely new facility, Voorberg said. He added that the recently passed IRA helps makes the business case to do so.

Following the IRA, customers went from asking for fractions of a megawatt to seeking 2 GW in a single order, Voorberg said. His 18 MW line is now insufficient.

“We’ve got to scale up,” he said. “Scale is everything.”

Voorberg said his company sees hydrogen being used in electricity production around 2035, but mobility can use it now.

The planned move by Siemens underscores the extent to which the IRA legislation has trained the hydrogen industry’s focus on the U.S. Norway-based electrolyzer producer Nel is speeding efforts to expand electrolyzer capacity in the U.S. And Cummins announced last month that it would add electrolyzer production space at its existing facility in Fridley, Minnesota.

Siemens Energy is independent of Siemens AG, having spun off in 2020. The company has about 10,000 employees in the US and roughly 2,000 in Canada.

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