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TotalEnergies and TES partner on US e-NG facility

The project, which is expected to produce 100,000 to 200,000 metric tons of e-NG per year, will be equally owned by the partners and operated by TotalEnergies.

TotalEnergies has partnered with Tree Energy Solutions (TES) to study and develop a large-scale production unit in the United States for e-natural gas (e-NG), a synthetic gas produced from renewable hydrogen and CO2, according to a news release.

The project, which is expected to produce 100,000 to 200,000 metric tons of e-NG per year, will be equally owned by the partners and operated by TotalEnergies. This partnership combines TES’ e-NG know-how with TotalEnergies’ expertise in renewable power generation, large-scale project management and natural gas liquefaction.

The e-NG will be produced in two steps:

  • to produce renewable hydrogen, a 1 gigawatt (GW) electrolyzer will be powered by approximately 2 GW of wind and solar energy supplied by TotalEnergies through long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).
  • this renewable hydrogen will then be combined with biogenic CO2 to obtain the e-NG.

The resulting e-NG produced can be transported and/or liquefied, then sold like natural gas, using existing infrastructure, and end customers will be able to use it without any adaptation to their facilities.

TotalEnergies and TES will carry out the preliminary studies and aim to reach a Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2024. The project is expected to benefit from tax credits under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“We are pleased to partner with TES to pioneer the development of the e-NG industry. This synthetic fuel will contribute to the energy transition by helping our customers to decarbonize their activities, notably the ones that are difficult to electrify. This product presents two significant advantages. First, it does not require any new logistical infrastructure since e-NG and natural gas have the same properties and can therefore be mixed in existing infrastructures. Second, our customers will not have to change their current industrial processes,” said Stéphane Michel, president, Gas, Renewables & Power at TotalEnergies. “The United States has many advantages for the development of our first e-NG project, including well-developed gas infrastructure, growing renewable power generation capacity, and significant public subsidies.”

“The strategic cooperation with TotalEnergies is an important milestone towards large-scale e-NG production. Our purpose and vision are to accelerate the race to zero emissions and the development of hydrogen. The innovative business model developed by TES will help to diversify the European and Asian energy mix, making affordable renewable energy available. This groundbreaking project testifies to the effectiveness of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the United States. Today’s announcement confirms that cooperation among all players is what will make the energy transition possible,” said Marco Alverà, chief executive officer of TES.

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Advent Technologies in maritime JDA with Siemens

The pair will develop an integrated high-temperature PEM fuel cell solution for maritime applications and then evaluate to scale down/up the system to fit with market requirements from motor and Giga Yachts to ferries and container/commercial ships.

Advent Technologies Holdings, Inc., a provider of fuel cell and hydrogen technology, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Advent Technologies A/S, has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Siemens Energy, one of the world’s leading energy technology companies.

The newly signed JDA outlines the collaboration between Advent and Siemens Energy, combining Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cell 50kW modules utilizing its innovative Ion-Pair™ membrane electrode assembly (MEA) technology with Siemens Energy’s electrification and automation solutions for hybrid and electric vessels.

The goal is to develop an integrated 500kW High-Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (“HT-PEM”) fuel cell solution for maritime applications and then evaluate to scale down/up the system to fit with market requirements from motor and Giga Yachts to ferries and container/commercial ships.

The innovative clean energy solution resulting from this multi-year collaboration is expected to initially address the power needs of large yachts, according to a press release. Subsequently, plans are underway to broaden its application to include ferries and commercial/container vessels.

The initial prototype testing for the HT-PEM fuel cell module is expected to take place at Siemens Energy’s testing facility in Erlangen, Germany, in 2025, with the testing of the first fuel cell module scheduled for completion in 2026. Advent is currently engaging with world-leading customers in the maritime industry and anticipates signing commercial term sheets in the near term to pursue upcoming Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

This agreement builds upon the strong collaboration between Advent and Siemens Energy, which began in February 2022 with the Sanlorenzo Life Ocean pilot project. In this project, the companies jointly developed a marine HT-PEM fuel cell solution to provide clean power for hotel functions aboard a 50-meter Sanlorenzo superyacht. Additionally, in March 2024, Advent and Siemens Energy deepened their collaboration by joining as consortium partners in the RiverCell 3 research and development project, which is partially funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport as part of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

Advent Technologies’ HT-PEM fuel cells utilizing the innovative Ion Pair™ MEA technology, offer high-temperature operation between 80°C and 240°C. This advancement extends their lifespan by at least threefold and doubles the power density compared to earlier Advent systems. Additionally, Advent’s HT-PEM fuel cell technology enables the use of liquid green fuels like eMethanol, enhancing efficiency by utilizing both heat and electricity, resulting in high resilience. These fuel cells can function with impure hydrogen, impure air intake, and in extreme ambient temperature and humidity conditions, making them an ideal choice for widespread adoption in the maritime industry.

As the world advances towards extensive green hydrogen production, eMethanol emerges as a leading choice for marine fuel in the maritime industry, promising a potential 100% reduction in CO2 emissions. Methanol and its derivatives function as versatile energy carriers and storage solutions, efficiently releasing hydrogen catalytically through fuel reformers. With its efficient storage capabilities, ease of handling, and utilization of existing infrastructure for transportation, methanol stands as a secure and economically viable alternative to fossil fuels.

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Gulf Coast Ammonia hydrogen plant comes onstream

The Air Products plant providing hydrogen to the Gulf Coast Ammonia facility has come onstream.

Air Products executives today said the plant providing hydrogen to Gulf Coast Ammonia has come onstream and is generating revenues.

Pennsylvania-based Air Products invested $500m into the steam methane reformer and hydrogen pipeline capacity, as well as an air separation unit for nitrogen and a steam turbine unit for the GCA world-scale ammonia plant.

Lotus Infrastructure and Mabanaft GmbH own the GCA facility and provided equity for the project. The project financing closed on December 30, 2019.

Jefferies last year was leading a sale of the plant, which was paused until it reached commercial operations. An official at Lotus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The approximately 175 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) SMR built by Air Products will include the addition of over 30 miles of hydrogen pipeline from Texas City to Baytown, to be connected to its Gulf Coast Pipeline system, the company announced previously. The GCA project will use approximately 270 mmscfd of hydrogen from the SMR and Gulf Coast Pipeline. 

GCA’s ammonia facility, which will produce approximately 3,600 metric tons per day of ammonia, will also receive Air Products’ supply of approximately 90 mmscfd of nitrogen from a new ASU to be built and operated at the Texas City site.

While the hydrogen plant is onstream, Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi today declined to comment on the ammonia portion of the project, saying he’s like the owners of that facility to make a statement if necessary.

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California outfit to build hydrogen-powered data center

Data center-as-a-service provider ECL is seeking to build its first 1 MW hydrogen-powered data center in 2Q23.

Data Center-as-a-Service pioneer ECL is seeking to build a modular, sustainable, off-grid data center that uses green hydrogen as its primary power source.

ECL will deliver data centers in 1 MW blocks with 99.9999% uptime, according to a news release. The company also announced $7m in seed financing co-led by Molex Ventures and Hyperwise Ventures.

The funds will be used by ECL to expand its market presence and in the construction of its first data center at the company’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, with completion scheduled for Q2 2023.

While other data center providers have deployed hydrogen fuel cells as backup power supplies, and with some conducting trials of systems forecast for production delivery in three-to-five years, ECL is the first provider to deliver a fully-green hydrogen-powered data center, the release says. This innovation is enabled by bringing together several technologies including green hydrogen-based power generation, battery energy storage and highly reliable power architecture without dependence on the utility grid. This maximizes efficiency and time to delivery and all but eliminates waste.

Lily Yeung, vice president at Molex Ventures and Nathan Shuchami, managing partner at Hyperwise Ventures join ECL Founder and CEO Yuval Bachar as members of the ECL board of directors.

Optimized for use by mid-sized data center operators – typically large companies with a mix of cloud and on-premises IT environments – ECL’s Datacenter-as-a-Service is two-thirds the total cost of ownership (TCO) of traditional colocation data center providers when measured over five years. The community-integrated data center design consumes no local resources, including power or water, and operates with zero emissions at extremely low noise levels. ECL’s modularity and lack of dependence on local utilities also means that its data centers can be designed and delivered much faster than others’, reducing planning and construction cycles from between 18 to 24 months to between six and nine months.

Bachar previously held top engineering, infrastructure and architecture roles at Microsoft Azure, LinkedIn, Facebook, Cisco, Juniper Networks and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). He was a founder of the Open19 project, a data center industry initiative establishing a new open standard for servers based on a common form factor, and is past president of the Open19 Foundation. He holds eight U.S. patents in data center, networking and system design and is the recipient of three Cisco Pioneer Awards.

“We are proud to be a part of this much-needed revolution in the data center industry, and look forward to working closely with Yuval and his team as they bring this peerless innovation to market,” said Shuchami. “ECL has a long lead on the competition in the delivery of a data center powered primarily by green hydrogen and we can’t wait to stand with them as they raise the curtain in Q2 2023.”

“It’s exciting to see ECL investing to bring tremendously relevant and novel experience into this high growth space around customizable modular data centers that can support the growing demand for advanced and flexible computational needs and sustainable power use,” said Lily Yeung, VP of Molex Ventures.

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Renewable hydrogen developer to launch series A round next month

A Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer has hired an advisor and will launch a series A funding round next month.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will launch a series A capital raise in the middle of March to take on a new investor for project development and hiring, CEO Matt McMonagle said in an interview.

The company has hired GreenFront Energy Partners to run the process, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen builds its projects onsite with customers, as close to end use as possible, he said. The company serves transportation (heavy road transport, shipping and aviation), industrial (cement, glass, metal, steel, food, etc.) and power (peaking power and diesel generator replacement). Most of Novo’s customers are users of grey hydrogen looking to decarbonize. In the case of cement, they are looking to replace diesel for their trucks and coal and natural gas for their kilns.

“We first look to see if we can put our projects on our customer sites and make it there,” McMonagle said. “If we can’t do that, we’ll do offsite, but we still try to be as close to customers as possible to minimize that midstream component or distribution component.”

About 30 projects are in development in the US, ranging from a few megawatts to hundreds of megawatts, McMonagle said. NovoHydrogen’s most active markets are the West coast, Northeast, Appalachia, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, though the company is not geographically constrained.

The company aims to begin construction on its first projects by the end of this year, possibly early next year, McMonagle said. The first project could reach COD in 2024.

NovoHydrogen recently announced that it has closed its seed funding round and appointed four executives to its board of directors. Each of those executives represent an investor that participated in the seed round, McMonagle said.

The new board appointees are: Jeremy Avenier, an active investor at Ohmium International; Peyton Boswell, managing partner at Woodfield Renewable Partners; Bruno Franco, partner at Pacífico Energia and managing partner at PWR Capital; and Joseph Malchow, a managing partner at Hanover (a Silicon Valley VC), board member and investor in Enphase and board member and investor in Archaea.

More money

“We will certainly need more money as our projects mature,” McMonagle said. “I do not have the hundreds of millions of dollars on my balance sheet to build these projects.”

An ideal investor will bring accretive capabilities in hydrogen, in a field like value chain equipment or delivery, to the table, McMonagle said.

NovoHydrogen plans to be a long-term owner-operator of its projects, McMonagle said. That is an important point for customers: that the company is not going to sell the project and not care how the next owner operates.

“We want to earn future business from these customers,” McMonagle said, adding that most of them are transitioning piecemeal.

NovoHydrogen and TigerGenCo in November said they would advance development of green hydrogen capacity to reduce reliance on natural gas at the Bayonne Energy Center located in New Jersey. NovoHydrogen will develop and operate the hydrogen production facility to reduce Bayonne’s carbon emissions.

TigerGen owns the power plant and is the offtaker in that project. Ohmium International is providing the PEM electrolyzers in that project. McMonagle said the company may use other electrolyzer providers for future projects.

The company is also a partner in the Aliance for Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) for the California DOE Hydrogen Hub submission.

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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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IPP retains banker for California plant sale

An independent power producer has retained a banker for a sale of a decades-old gas plant in California. Aging gas plants have been in the sights of clean fuels developers looking to retrofit or use facilities for clean fuel production and combustion.

GenOn, an independent power producer, has hired Solomon Partners to sell a 54 MW gas plant in California, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The plant, Ellwood, is located in Goleta, in Santa Barbara County, and was shuttered and retired by GenOn as of 2019. It reached COD in 1973 and ran two Pratt & Whitney FT4C-1 gas turbine engines.

Ellwood previously interconnected via Southern California Edison, a utility that is pursuing multiple natural gas decarbonization projects, including a hydrogen-blending initiative with Bloom Energy.

A teaser for the sale of Ellwood, which was issued last week, notes there is an opportunity to install a battery energy storage system at the site, one of the sources added.

Elsewhere in California, investment firm Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and developer Meridian Clean Energy are seeking to demonstrate decarbonization in peaker plants at the much newer gas-fired Sentinel Energy Center. Their plans include hydrogen blending.

GenOn declined to comment. Solomon Partners did not respond to requests for comment.

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