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Trafigura orders ammonia powered vessels from HD Hyundai

Trafigura has signed a contract for four Medium Gas Carriers, capable of using low-carbon ammonia as a propulsion fuel, from the HD Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea.

Trafigura has signed a contract for four Medium Gas Carriers that will be capable of using low-carbon ammonia as a propulsion fuel when delivered, according to a news release.

The vessels will be built at HD Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, South Korea; they will carry LPG or ammonia and the first ship will be delivered in 2027.

Each vessel, when delivered, will be equipped with a dual-fuel low-carbon ammonia engine.

Trafigura is one of the world’s largest charterers of vessels, responsible for more than 5,000 voyages a year with around 400 ships currently under management.

The company is one of the few operators to have tested a full range of alternative shipping fuels including LNG, methanol, LPG and biofuels on its owned and chartered vessels. It has co-sponsored the development of a two-stroke engine by MAN Energy Solutions that can run on green ammonia and is also investing in on-board carbon emission capture technology.

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FuelCell Energy closes tax equity financings

In a first-of-a-kind transaction, FuelCell Energy will sell to a pair of investors the hydrogen PTCs generated over a 10-year period from a fuel cell “Tri-gen” system in California.

FuelCell Energy, Inc. has closed on transactions with Franklin Park and Group 1001 Insurance Holdings for two of its clean energy projects—the Tri-gen platform in Long Beach, California, and the new fuel cell park in Derby, Connecticut, according to a news release.

These two transactions include one of the first direct transfer agreements that monetizes both the Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) and Hydrogen Production Tax Credits (H2 PTCs) enabled by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and include a tax credit direct transfer agreement and a tax equity partnership totaling net proceeds of $34.2m. These give FuelCell Energy the financial flexibility to further refine its clean energy technology and to participate in clean energy collaborations and transition projects around the world.

“We are at a critical point on the path towards an energy transition, and it is particularly important to leverage these projects’ long-term, recurring cash flow through tax equity investments from firms like Franklin Park and Group 1001. This allows us to maintain a steady pace of investment in innovation and commercialization efforts and signals that our sustainable clean energy solutions are attracting strong interest from the market,’’ said FuelCell Energy’s President and CEO Jason Few.

Long Beach, California

FuelCell Energy and Toyota Motor North America, Inc. recently announced the completion of the first-of-its-kind “Tri-gen system” at Toyota’s Port of Long Beach operations. The Tri-gen system, owned and operated by FuelCell Energy, produces renewable electricity, renewable hydrogen, and water from directed biogas. FuelCell Energy contracted with Toyota to supply the products of Tri-gen under a 20-year purchase agreement. Tri-gen enables Toyota Long Beach to be the company’s first port vehicle processing facility in the world powered by onsite-generated, 100 percent renewable energy.

1. Tri-gen produces a net 2.3-megawatts of renewable electricity for delivery, part of which will support the Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) Long Beach operations at the port, which processes approximately 200,000 new Toyota and Lexus vehicles annually.

2. The FuelCell Energy Tri-gen system can also produce up to 1,270 kg/day of hydrogen which will provide for TLS Long Beach’s fueling needs for its incoming light-duty passenger fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) Mirai, while also supplying hydrogen to the on-site heavy-duty hydrogen refueling station to support TLS logistics, drayage operations, and other heavy-duty FCEV commercial vehicles at the port.

3. Tri-gen’s hydrogen production process can co-produce up to 1,400 gallons of water per day which will be used by TLS Long Beach for car wash operations for vehicles that come into port before customer delivery. This will help decrease the use of constrained local water supplies by up to as much as half a million gallons per year.

Group 1001 and Franklin Park purchased the ITCs from a FuelCell Energy subsidiary that owns Tri-gen, which yielded approximately $6.3 million of net proceeds to FuelCell Energy received by the company in October 2023. In addition, in a first-of-a-kind transaction under the agreement, FuelCell Energy will also sell to the investors the H2 PTCs generated over a 10-year period.

Derby, Connecticut

FuelCell Energy is also completing commissioning of two projects in Derby, Connecticut, for which Franklin Park is providing tax equity financing: a 14-megawatt baseload fuel cell project, which consists of 10 fuel cells, and a 2.8-megawatt baseload fuel cell project, which consists of two fuel cells. The two Derby fuel cell parks serve to fill some of the power generation gap impacting the state.

While fuel cells serve a variety of functions, such as creating hydrogen or capturing carbon, in Derby they are being used to deliver competitively priced, Class I Renewable Energy as part of 20-year power purchase agreements with Eversource and United Illuminating. In Connecticut, a Class I renewable energy source is defined by statute as electricity produced from wind power, geothermal power, or fuel cells.

  • The 14-megawatt baseload fuel cell project supplies power to thousands of customers of Eversource and United Illuminating. It is the second largest fuel cell park in North America following only FuelCell Energy’s Bridgeport, Connecticut, park. The location in Derby was selected by the state, which held a competitive bidding process as part of its efforts to foster distributed utility scale power to enhance energy reliability and grid resilience.
  • The 2.8-megawatt baseload fuel cell project was competitively awarded to FuelCell Energy by Eversource under the Shared Clean Energy Facility program in Connecticut.

Group 1001 and Franklin Park’s tax equity financing commitments for these projects will result in approximately $27.9 million of net proceeds to FuelCell Energy of which approximately $7.3 million of net proceeds were received by the company in October 2023 with the balance expected in the first fiscal quarter of 2024.

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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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Bloom Energy partners for expansion in Spain and Portugal

The California-based company has teamed with Telam Partners, a leading senior advisory firm specialized in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects.

Bloom Energy has teamed with Telam Partners, a leading senior advisory firm specialized in the financing and market entry of energy, infrastructure, and technology projects, to expand Bloom’s footprint into Spain and Portugal, according to a press release.

The two companies will market and deploy the Bloom Electrolyzer, as well as Bloom’s Energy Servers, supporting customers with solutions that can efficiently meet their energy security needs and green hydrogen demand.

“Business and political leaders are looking for clean technologies and energy solutions,” said Tim Schweikert, senior managing director of International Business Development, Bloom Energy Inc. “Bloom is now engaged to address these priorities in Spain and Portugal. Telam is a partner of choice, supporting Bloom’s long-term commitment to the Iberian Peninsula and to respond promptly to green transition policies and environmental imperatives.”

“At Telam we are excited to be able to work with the solid oxide fuel cell leader on the very important and urgent challenge of transitioning towards renewable energy,” said Jaime Malet, CEO of Telam Partners. “We are convinced that Spain and Portugal, thanks to an abundance of wind and solar resources, are among the clearest candidates to lead the production of green hydrogen in Europe.”

In line with Spanish and Portuguese objectives to become global green hydrogen hubs, Telam and Bloom will market Bloom’s solid oxide electrolyzer. With impressive efficiency confirmed in testing at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Labs, the Bloom Electrolyzer provides hydrogen with low cost of ownership. Further, the Bloom Electrolyzer is well suited for large-scale installations, as well as projects such as ammonia and renewable fuels synthesis, which can be integrated with the electrolyzer.

Telam and Bloom will also market Bloom’s highly efficient fuel cell Energy Server™ to decarbonize port activities when ships are at berth. Bloom’s fuel-flexible technology, which can operate on natural gas, biogas or hydrogen, produces electricity without combustion and reduces carbon emissions compared to the auxiliary diesel gensets usually used for shore power.

This represents Bloom Energy’s first deal for the Iberian Peninsula. It confirms Bloom’s commitment to the European market, after announcing the installation of its energy platform at Ferrari’s Italian plant and a strategic partnership for the Italian market with the engineering, procurement and construction company CEFLA in 2022.

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How hydrogen from nuclear power shows pitfalls of ‘additionality’

An interview with the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Director of Markets and Policy Benton Arnett.

Tax credits for low-carbon hydrogen production in the Inflation Reduction Act represent one of the climate law’s most ambitious timelines for implementation, with the provision taking effect late last year. That means low-carbon hydrogen producers can, in theory, already begin applying for tax credits of up to $3 per kilogram, depending on the emissions intensity of production.

However, IRS guidelines for clean hydrogen production have yet to be issued, and industry groups, environmentalists, and scientists are taking sides in a debate over whether the tax credits should require hydrogen made via electrolysis to be powered exclusively with new sources of zero-carbon electricity, a concept known as “additionality.”

In a February letter, a coalition of environmental groups and aspiring hydrogen producers expressed concern to the IRS that guidelines for 45V clean hydrogen production tax credit implementation would not be sufficiently rigorous, especially when it comes to grid-connected electrolyzers. Citing research from Princeton University, the group argued that grid-powered electrolyzers siphon off renewable generation capacity, requiring the grid to be backfilled by fossil power and thus producing twice the carbon emissions that natural gas-derived hydrogen emits currently.

(The group, which includes the National Resources Defense Council, Intersect Power, and EDF Renewables, among others, also argues in favor of hourly tracking, which they say would better guarantee energy used for electrolysis comes from clean sources, and deliverability, requiring renewable power to be sourced from within a reasonable geographic distance. In February, the European Commission issued a directive phasing in, over a number of years, rules for additionality, hourly tracking, and deliverability.)

Benton Arnett, director of markets and policy for the Washington, DC-based Nuclear Energy Institute, a nuclear industry trade association, does not believe the concept of additionality was part of Congress’s intent when the body crafted the Inflation Reduction Act. For one, he notes, the text of the 45V provision for clean hydrogen production includes specific prescriptions for the carbon intensity of hydrogen production as well as for the analysis of life-cycle emissions, but says nothing about additionality.

“When you get legislative text, you don’t usually have prescriptions on carbon intensities for the different levels of subsidies,” he said. “You don’t usually have specifications on what life-cycle analysis model to use – and yet all of that is included in the 45V text. Clearly [additionality] is not something that was intended by Congress.”

Reading further into the law, section 45V contains precise language allowing renewable electricity used for the production of hydrogen to also claim renewable energy tax credits, or “stacking” of tax credits. Further, the statute includes a subsection spelling out that producers of nuclear power used to make clean hydrogen can also avail themselves of the 45U tax credit for zero-emission nuclear energy production.

“It’s really hard for me to think of a scenario where the drafters of the IRA would have included a provision allowing existing nuclear assets to claim 45V production tax credits and also be thinking that additionality is something that would be applied,” Arnett said.

Text of the IRA

The NEI emphasized these provisions in a letter to Treasury and IRS officials last month, noting that, “given the ability to stack tax credits for existing sources with section 45V, the timing of when the section 45V credit was made available” – December 31, 2022 – “and congressional support for leveraging existing nuclear plants to produce hydrogen, it is clear Congress intended for existing facilities to be eligible to supply electricity for clean hydrogen production.”

Arnett adds that the debate around additionally ignores the fact that not all power generation assets are created equal. Nuclear facilities, in particular, given the regulatory and capital demands, do not fit within a model of additionality geared toward new renewable energy capacity. (Hydrogen developers have also proposed to use existing hydropower sources for projects in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast.)

This year, the NEI conducted a survey of its 19 member companies representing 80 nuclear facilities in the US. The survey found that 57% of the facilities are considering generation of carbon-free hydrogen. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy’s hydrogen hubs grant program requires that one hub produce hydrogen from nuclear sources; and the DOE has teamed up with several utilities to demonstrate hydrogen production at nuclear power plants, including Constellation’s Nine Mile Point Power Station, Energy Harbor’s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, and Arizona Public Service’s Palo Verde Generating Station.

“We’re worried that if [additionality] goes into effect it’s going to remove a valuable asset for producing hydrogen from the system, and it’s really going to slow down penetration of hydrogen into the market,” Arnett said.

As for the research underlying arguments in favor of additionality, Arnett says that it appears to take the 45V provision in a vacuum, without considering some of the larger changes that are taking shape in US electricity markets. For one, the research, which argues that electrolyzers would absorb renewable capacity and require fossil-based generation to backfill to meet demand, assumes that natural gas generation will continue to be the marginal producer on the electrical grid.

“One of the shortcomings of that is that the IRA has hundreds of billions of dollars of incentives aimed at changing that very dynamic. The whole goal of the IRA is that marginal additions of power are carbon-free,” he said, noting incentives for clean electricity production tax credits, investment tax credits, supply chain buildouts, and loan program office support for all of these projects.

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London-based hydrogen fund expanding in US

A UK-based investor in early-stage hydrogen companies has completely allocated its first two funds and is looking to grow its presence in the US.

AP Ventures, the London-based venture capital and private equity firm, will need new advisory relationships and offices in the US as it looks for investors and deployment opportunities there, Managing Partner Andrew Hinkly said in an interview.

The company has fully allocated its first two funds with 12 LPs, Hinkly said.

Fund 1 ($85m) is fully deployed with two of the LPs. Two realizations have come from that fund to date: the sale of United Hydrogen Group in Tennessee to Plug Power and the sale of Hyatt Hydrogen to Fortescue Future Industries.

Fund 2 ($315m) is fully allocated with 12 LPs, including the two from Fund 1. The portfolio includes 21 companies across the hydrogen value chain (ammonia for transport, liquefaction, electrolyzer production, compressor technology, etc.) at the seed, Series A and Series B stages.

“We believe we have a very differentiated set of capabilities and experiences because we are singularly focused on the hydrogen value chain,” Hinkly said.

The firm’s LPs include AngloAmerican, Equinor, Implats, Mitsubishi, Nyso Climate Investments, Pavilion Capital, Plastic Omnium, Public Investment Corporation, Sparx, Sumitomo, and Yara International.

Strategic advice need apply

In the near-term AP Ventures can offer deal flow, opportunities within portfolio companies for various professional services, and an understanding of the progression of hydrogen businesses for later-stage investors, Hinkly said.

Transactions to date have been conducted bilaterally with external legal counsel, Hinkly said. AP Ventures has yet to engage a financial advisor for that purpose.

“If you want to know about hydrogen and hydrogen deal flow, AP Ventures sees most of it,” Hinkley said. “We bring with us an ecosystem of fairly regular co-investors who are similarly interested in hydrogen.”

Co-investors include Amazon, Mitsuibishi, Chevron and Aramco.

Some of the firm’s more mature companies will take on strategic consulting services as they prepare for larger fundraising, Hinkly said.

“Clearly there are a series of advisory services that our portfolio companies require as they raise capital or subsequently look to acquire or be acquired,” he added.

Later-stage investors are keen to understand the development of AP’s portfolio, Hinkly said. Topco equity and larger-scale infrastructure investors have collaborative relationships with the firm as they prepare to acquire its portfolio companies in the future.

“We have a common interest in the continued development and maturity of the companies we’re investing in,” Hinkly said. “We have an ever-increasing roster of later-stage private equity investors who have a desire to maintain a dialog with us and to be introduced to our portfolio companies on a regular basis.”

New world opportunities

US portfolio companies could be in greater need of strategic advisory services in the near term than some of AP’s European holdings, Hinkly said.

The firm is looking to establish offices in the US with an eye on Denver and Houston, Hinkly said.

Greater support for hydrogen in the US under the IRA means European companies within AP Ventures’ portfolio are also looking to establish themselves in the US.

In terms of a target market, AP Ventures is particularly interested in Texas, which Hinkly said he expects will be the hydrogen capital of the world. Existing infrastructure, human capital and enormous wind and solar resources pair well with a willingness to build out the industry there, he said.

AP will continue investing in the full hydrogen value chain as it has been for years, identifying weak spots in the chain to strengthen the industry, Hinkly said. But moving forward, the firm would like to invest in carbon capture utilization and storage as well.

Scaling up with the industry

As the hydrogen industry grows and its portfolio companies scale, there is significant opportunity for AP Ventures to grow and provide more financing, Hinkly said.

“There is a huge requirement for capital and we are knowledgeable, very knowledgeable, of where good opportunities exist,” he said.

The nature of the firm’s early contracts gives them preferential access to those opportunities in some cases as well. Whether that would be best done directly with a new fund or partnership with a firm with complementary skills is an open question.

“That strategic question is one that’s frankly ahead of us this year.”

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Storage solutions firm in the market for strategic capital

An early-stage provider of hydrogen storage technology has hired a UK-based financial advisor to raise capital for a pilot plant.

Hydrogen carrier technology firm H2Fuel is seeking to raise approximately $25m to build a pilot project, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The Dutch-based company has mandated a UK-based financial advisor to engage potential investors, with capital needs in the $12.5m range of a $25m project cost, the sources added.

In an interview, H2Fuel CEO Peter Huisman said the firm is “location agnostic” in looking for a site for a pilot project, but would prefer the US. Europe and India are also possibilities.

“We are early stage, in our view,” Huisman said. “[An investor will] need to have a long-term view of the market.”

Huisman declined to say which bank his company has hired but referred to it as a “top five” institution.

H2Fuel’s process combines hydrogen to salt, forming an energy-dense solid compound that can be transported and stored in dry conditions without complex requirements. A patented energy release process requires no extra energy, Huisman said.

The company has talked with some large strategics but has been told they are too early, Huisman said. The company views the near-term capital opportunities as one for pension funds or a venture capital.

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