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U.S. ethanol industry seeks to intervene in EU SAF scheme

Industry players are supporting a legal challenge to the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation, which effectively bans the use of crop-based biofuels as a feedstock for SAF.

Leaders of the U.S. ethanol industry are seeking to intervene in a legal challenge of the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation, which effectively bans the use of renewable, crop-based biofuels like corn ethanol as a feedstock for decarbonizing the aviation sector, the Renewable Fuels Association said in a news release.

Collaborating in the intervention are the Renewable Fuels Association, U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and LanzaJet.  Earlier this year, LanzaJet opened the world’s first ethanol-to-jet biorefinery, in Georgia.

The application to intervene in the proceedings supports a challenge brought by ePURE, a trade association representing European ethanol producers, and Pannonia Bio, one of Europe’s largest ethanol producers. Their application seeks to annul the relevant provisions of the ReFuelEU Aviation Regulation, which was adopted by the EU in 2023 and is set to take effect in 2025. A similar challenge was brought against the FuelEU Maritime Regulation, and RFA is seeking to intervene there, as well.

With regard to the new petition, the groups argue it will have a detrimental effect on the U.S. ethanol industry:

“[T]he Contested Provisions give rise to a de facto ban on the supply of crop-based biofuels to the aviation sector in the EU,” the organizations argue.  “Due to the substantial difference in cost between biofuels and fossil fuels in the EU – which the Regulation expressly acknowledged – aviation fuel suppliers will not purchase biofuels instead of fossil fuels unless they are obliged or incentivised to do so.  Since using crop-based biofuels will not help aviation fuel suppliers meet their obligations under the Regulation, they will not purchase those biofuels.”

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California electrolyzer tech company hires VP

The new hire will lead NewHydrogen’s business development efforts.

NewHydrogen, Inc., a developer of technology to produce low-cost green hydrogen, has hired Steven Hill as vice president and member of the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Hill is an accomplished sales executive with over 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, the company said in a news release.

In this capacity, Hill will lead NewHydrogen’s business development efforts while representing the company’s mission and technologies to investors, media, public, and potential partners.

Hill has held senior management positions over the course of his career including Regional Account Manager for Relypsa Inc, a biopharmaceutical start-up in Redwood City, CA. He also served as a managing member of Hill Investments, LLC, a real estate investment and design group during which time Mr. Hill consulted on property development and managed real estate investments.

“We are excited to welcome Steve to NewHydrogen, and expect that he will immediately strengthen our management team,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of NewHydrogen. “Steve’s vantage point coming from executive sales experience is one we believe will provide valuable insights as NewHydrogen progresses to meet its corporate objectives.”

NewHydrogen is currently funding a sponsored research program at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), aimed squarely at developing technologies to lower the cost of green hydrogen. The goal of NewHydrogen’s sponsored research at the UCLA is to lower the cost of green hydrogen by eliminating or drastically reducing the use of precious metals in electrolyzers. Electrolyzers currently rely on rare materials such as iridium and platinum. These materials often account for a substantial portion of the cost of electrolyzers.

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Masdar in green hydrogen MoU with 4 Dutch companies

The parties will seek to develop a green hydrogen supply chain, focusing on production in Abu Dhabi and export to the Netherlands through the port of Amsterdam.

Masdar has signed a memorandum of understanding with Port of Amsterdam, SkyNRG, Evos Amsterdam and Zenith Energy to explore the development of a green hydrogen supply chain between Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam to support Dutch and European markets.

Under this MoU, the parties will join their efforts to develop a green hydrogen supply chain, focusing on production in Abu Dhabi and export to the Netherlands through the port of Amsterdam. The exported green hydrogen will be delivered to key European sectors – sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), steelmaking, and bunkering for shipping – and will also be supplied to new, emerging European offtakers, via pipeline, truck and barge. Together, the parties will explore several hydrogen transportation methods, with a focus on liquid organic hydrogen carriers and liquid hydrogen.

Mohammed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said, “Masdar believes green hydrogen to be a promising energy source for hard-to-abate sectors in support of global decarbonization, which is why we launched our dedicated green hydrogen business last month. We are pleased to partner with Port of Amsterdam, SkyNRG, Evos Amsterdam, and Zenith Energy to leverage our synergies in the fuel and logistics sectors to see how green hydrogen can help us achieve our shared goals for decarbonization and sustainable economic growth.”

Port of Amsterdam, the operator of Europe’s fourth-largest port, is committed to scaling up green hydrogen capabilities and is working closely with commercial parties active in its port on green hydrogen development. SkyNRG, a global leader in SAF, is developing a network of SAF production facilities that require green hydrogen as input. Zenith Energy and Evos Amsterdam are the operators of some of the most prominent blending and storage terminals in the port, with Zenith developing a liquid hydrogen supply chain, while Evos Amsterdam is working on a liquid organic hydrogen carrier supply chain.

Last December, Masdar announced its new shareholding structure and green hydrogen business unit, with a goal of achieving 100 GW renewable energy capacity and green hydrogen production of 1 million tonnes per annum annually by 2030. Masdar is actively involved in a number of projects related to green hydrogen production. Last year, Masdar signed agreements with leading Egyptian state-backed organizations to cooperate on the development of green hydrogen production plants in the country, targeting an electrolyzer capacity of 4 GW by 2030, and output of up to 480,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year.

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BayoTech hires VP of development

The new hire, Jack Hedge, will be responsible for leading the development of hydrogen projects in North America.

New Mexico-based BayoTech Hydrogen has hired Jack Hedge as its new vice president of hydrogen hub development, according to a press release.

Hedge will be responsible for leading the development of hydrogen projects in North America. He will lead a team that is developing relationships with host property managers, community stakeholders, regulators, and local government officials who are interested in decarbonization.

“BayoTech is on the verge of making hydrogen production local and hub development is how we achieve it,” said BayoTech President & CEO, Mo Vargas. “Jack has years of experience in developing and executing major projects for some of the most recognized ports in the nation. That experience paired with his dedication to clean energy projects is exactly why we thought he was the right person to lead this phase of growth. We are delighted to have Jack’s leadership, passion for making the world better and experience both as a developer and as a project host to support customers decarbonization goals and drive projects to completion.”

“I am excited to begin this next chapter and blend all my previous experience into something truly meaningful and impactful. Working with the team at BayoTech we will lead the way to truly “smart, sustainable and equitable” supply chains,” Hedge said in the release.

Prior to joining BayoTech, Jack served as president of Utah Inland Port Authority, where he was responsible for developing and building one of the nation’s leading sustainable intermodal logistics hubs. Jack has also worked as the director of cargo and industrial real estate for the Port of Los Angeles where he lead the development, leasing, and asset management functions of the largest container port complex in North America.

BayoTech last year agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Carbon Clean under which the two parties will work togeterh on a demonstration facility to evaluate, design, and operate a carbon capture plant at a BayoTech site in North America which is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

Investors in BayoTech include Newlight Partners, Opal Fuels, Nutrien, The Yield Lab, Cottonwood Technology Fund, Sun Mountain Capital and Caterpillar Venture Capital Inc.

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CO2-to-SAF firm in $100m capital raise

A New York-based CO2-to-SAF firm is raising about $100m in equity and debt.

Dimensional Energy, the CO2-to-SAF startup based in Ithaca, New York, is in the late stages of a roughly $100m equity and debt round led internally, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The company is down to a shortlist of potential investors with two or three weeks until targeted close, the source said.

Dimensional did not respond to a request for comment.

Proprietary reactor technology powered by renewables is the core of Dimension’s regenerative process. According to its website, the company can make 15 barrels of fuel from every 10 tons of carbon sources form the atmosphere and hydrogen derived form electrolysis.

In May, the company signed an offtake agreement for 5 million gallons per year with Boom Supersonic, which is seeking to build a supersonic airliner that will travel at speeds twice as fast as today’s commercial jets.

Dimensional started production at a pilot-scale COutilization plant in Tucson, Arizona last year.

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Advisor Profile: Cameron Lynch of Energy & Industrial Advisory Partners

The veteran engineer and financial advisor sees widespread opportunity for capital deployment into early-stage renewable fuel companies.

Cameron Lynch, co-founder and managing partner at Energy & Industrial Advisory Partners, sees prodigious opportunity to pick up mandates in the hydrogen sector as young companies and early movers attract well-capitalized investors looking for auspicious valuations.

The firm, a three-year-old boutique investment banking outfit with offices in New York and Houston, is broadly committed to the energy transition, but is recruiting for new personnel with hydrogen expertise, Lynch said, adding that he is preparing for a new level of dealmaking in the new year.

“I think we can all expect 2023 will be even more of a record year, just given the appetite for hydrogen,” Lynch said. “Hydrogen is one of our core focuses for next year.”

Cameron Lynch

Lynch started his career as a civil & structural engineer and moved into capital equipment manufacturing and leasing for oil & gas, and also industrial gasses –things like cryoge

nic handling equipment for liquid nitrogen. He started the London office of an Aberdeen, U.K.-based M&A firm, before repeating that effort in New York.

Founding EIAP, Lynch and his business partner Sean Shafer have turned toward the energy transition and away from conventional energy. The firm works on the whole of decarbonization but has found the most success in the hydrogen space.

Earlier lifecycle, better valuations

Hydrogen intersects with oil& gas, nuclear, chemicals, midstream companies, and major manufacturing.

Large private equity funds that want to get into the space are realizing that if they don’t want to pay “ridiculous valuations for hydrogen companies” they must take on earlier-stage risk, Lynch said.

Interest from big private equity is therefore comparatively high for early-stage capital raising in the hydrogen sector, Lynch said, particularly where funds have the option to deploy more capital in the future, Lynch said.

“They’re willing to take that step down to what would normally be below their investment threshold.”

Lynch, who expects to launch several transactions in the coming months with EIAP, has a strong background in oil & gas, and views hydrogen valuations as a compelling opportunity now.

“It’s very refreshing to be working on stuff that’s attracting these superb valuations,” Lynch said.

There’s a lot of non-dilutive money in the market and the Inflation Reduction Act has been a major boon to investors, Lynch said. For small companies, getting a slice of the pie is potentially life changing.

Sean Shafer

The hydrogen space is not immune to the macroeconomic challenges that renewables have faced in recent months and years, Lynch said. But as those same challenges have accelerated the move toward energy security, hydrogen stands to benefit.

Supply chain issues post-COVID pose a potential long-term concern in the industry, and equity and debt providers question the availability of compressors and lead times.

“I would say that’s one of the key issues out there,” Lynch said. There’s also the question of available infrastructure and the extent to which new infrastructure will be built out for hydrogen.

EIAP sees the most convincing uses for hydrogen near term in light-weight mobility and aerospace, Lynch said. The molecule also has a strong use case in back-up generation.

Hydrogen additionally presents companies in traditional fossil fuel verticals the opportunity to modernize, Lynch said, citing a secondary trade EIAP completed earlier this year

California’s Suburban Propane Partners acquired a roughly 25% equity stake in Ashburn, Virginia-based Independence Hydrogen, Inc. The deal involved the creation of a new subsidiary, Suburban Renewable Energy, as part of its long-term strategic goal of building out a renewable energy platform.

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Exclusive: Green hydrogen developer planning capital raises for distributed portfolio

A developer of US green hydrogen projects will need to access the project equity, debt and tax equity markets in the near term for a pipeline of distributed assets nationwide.

NovoHydrogen, the Colorado-based renewable hydrogen developer, will be in the market for project financing for a portfolio of distributed green hydrogen projects in 2024, CEO Matt McMonagle said.

The company, which recently agreed to a $20m capital raise with Modern Energy, is aiming to attract additional private equity and infrastructure investors for the projects it is developing, the executive said.

“The opportunity is really there for attractive risk-adjusted returns at the project level based on how we’re structuring these projects with long-term contracted revenue,” he said.

The company plans to bring its first projects online in late 2024 or 2025.

“We don’t have the project financing set at the point that we can announce, but that’s something myself and my team have done in our careers,” McMonagle said, adding that he’s focused on bankability since founding the company. “We wanted to be as easy for the lenders to underwrite as possible.”

No financial advisors have been attached to the project financings, McMonagle said. A recently announced Series A, first reported by ReSource in February, gave the company exposure to investors that want to participate in project financings, he said.

“We’ll really be ramping that process up, likely after the new year,” McMonagle added, declining to say how much the company would need to raise in 2024.

NovoHydrogen doesn’t have a timeline on a Series B, he said.

Distributed pipeline

The company looks to do onsite projects adjacent to consumption, McMonagle said. The first projects that will go online will be 10 MW and smaller.

“Typically the permitting is straightforward in that we’re adding equipment to an already impacted industrial site,” McMonagle said. He declined to elaborate on where these projects are located or what customers they will serve.

The company also has off-site, or near-site projects, where production is decoupled from consumption. But the company still calls those distributed because they are being developed with a targeted customer in mind.

“We want to be as close as possible to that customer,” he said. Those off-site projects typically are larger and will begin coming online in 2026 and 2027.  

In Texas NovoHydrogen has two large-scale green hydrogen developments in production, co-located with greenfield renewables projects, McMonagle said. Partners, including EPC, are in place for those efforts. The company also has projects in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and along the west coast.

“Where can we add the most value and have the biggest competitive advantage?” McMonagle said of the company’s geographic strategy. “We have very specific go-to-markets in each of those regions which we feel play to our strengths.”

NovoHydrogen is a member of the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub and is involved with the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2), though not in line to receive DOE funding through that hub.

Post-IRA, green hydrogen projects will look much like renewables deals from the equity, tax equity and debt perspectives, he said.

“We’re structuring and setting up our projects to take advantage of that existing infrastructure and knowledge base of how to finance deals,” he said. New options on transferability will enable additional financing options as well.

No flipping

NovoHydrogen does not plan to flip projects before COD, McMonagle said.

“We are planning to deploy hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in capex for these projects, and we’ll certainly need to partner with folks to deploy that capital,” McMonagle said. “But we will remain in deals with our customers because that relationship is really the fundamental value that we bring in our business.”

Hydrogen projects are different from renewables in that the customers need greater assurances of resiliency, security of supply and performance, than in a space like solar, he said.

Flipping projects before COD would be inconsistent with the trust required to attract offtakers.

“We don’t believe doing a flip reflects that level of importance and support and, frankly, incentive, behavioral incentive, that we have to show to our customers,” he said.

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