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Vertex Energy sells used motor oil refinery in pivot to energy transition

Vertex Energy sold an Ohio used motor oil refinery for $90m, and will invest further in renewable diesel and potential sustainable aviation fuel opportunities.

Vertex Energy, a specialty refiner and marketer of high-quality refined products, has sold its Heartland used motor oil collection and recycling business to a wholly owned subsidiary of GFL Environmental for total cash consideration of $90m.

Under the terms of the transaction, GFL acquired Vertex’s 20 million gallon per year Heartland used motor oil (UMO) refinery in Ohio and the associated Heartland UMO collections business, according to a news release.

After fees, total net cash proceeds from the transaction are approximately $85m. The company may use some of the transaction proceeds to reduce outstanding debt on its balance sheet.

Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisor to Vertex, and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP served as legal counsel to Vertex for the transaction.

The transaction positions Vertex to redeploy capital into energy transition assets of scale. Vertex continues to examine potential investment opportunities across the sustainable fuels sector, including further development of its renewable diesel production business, as well as potential new opportunities in the rapidly growing Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) market. Management believes the transition to the production of lower-carbon, sustainable fuels and products represents an attractive investment opportunity that positions the Company to achieve meaningful growth in Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow long-term.

Vertex believes the resulting streamlined asset footprint will enable further operational focus and enhanced efficiencies throughout the company, according to the press release. The improved operational focus on the Mobile refining facility comes almost concurrently with anticipated mechanical completion and subsequent start-up of initial renewable diesel production which is currently expected to be completed in the second quarter 2023.

“We believe that the divestiture of our used motor oil business at Heartland, while a significant element of our company’s history and roots, will reflect another step forward in the greater transformation of our business into an energy transition story of scale. We expect that this transaction will serve us well by enabling the improvement of our balance sheet health, while adding strategic value through the streamlining of our operations. We remain highly focused on the execution of our conventional fuels refining strategy and the development of a large-scale, sustainable fuels production business longer-term. Make no mistake, we are committed to our remaining legacy business, coupled with our new investments in the Mobile refinery and the Gulf Coast, a key pathway to our greater energy transition strategy,” stated Benjamin P. Cowart, president and CEO of Vertex.

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Oberon Fuels adds executives

The renewable fuels firm has added executives from Key Capture Energy and Chevron.

Oberon Fuels, a renewable fuels firm, has hired its first Chief Financial Officer Ann Anthony and new Chief Operating Officer Derek Winkel to drive the company’s growth.

Both Anthony and Winkel will play critical roles in growing the business as it scales up the commercializations of its renewable DME and methanol, the company said in a news release.

Along with additional senior leaders, Anthony and Winkel will help Oberon scale to decarbonize  the propane industry — which emits emissions equivalent to the commercial aviation market — while accelerating hydrogen infrastructure.

“Ann and Derek each bring invaluable experience to support Oberon Fuels on its journey to commercialization and deliver the full impact that renewable fuels can have on reducing carbon emissions,” said Oberon Fuels President & CEO Rebecca Boudreaux.

Anthony brings nearly 30 years of experience helping innovative energy companies scale and successfully introduced OPAL Fuels, a renewable natural gas company, to the public markets. Before OPAL Fuels, Anthony served as the chief financial officer and secretary for Key Capture Energy, a VC-backed start-up focused on stand-alone battery storage in key electricity markets, where she played an instrumental role in the company’s acquisition by SK E&S Co., Ltd. She was also responsible for leading the company’s finance and human resources function, including financial planning and analysis, corporate procurement and capitalization efforts.

Winkel has nearly two decades of experience leading and scaling operations for renewable energy innovators. He most recently served as the vice president of manufacturing development, commercial performance and services for Chevron following the company’s acquisition of Renewable Energy Group (REG) at a $3.15B valuation. Following the acquisition, Winkel played a pivotal role in the improvement and expansion of their renewable diesel production facility, which took total site production capacity from 90M gallons per year to 340M gallons per year.

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Nel to build electrolyzer gigafactory in Michigan

Norwegian electrolyzer manufacturer Nel will construct an electrolyzer plant in Michigan, building on its existing relationship with Detroit-based General Motors.

Norwegian electrolyzer manufacturer Nel will construct an electrolyzer plant in Michigan, building on its existing relationship with Detroit-based General Motors, according to a news release.

CEO Håkon Volldal said the company will make electrolyzers in the Detroit area to supply up to 4 GW worth of electrolyzers each year, making it among the largest such factories in the world.

“We’re thrilled to bring home up to $400 million in investment from Nel Hydrogen creating more than 500 good-paying, clean energy jobs right here in Michigan,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Volldal said earlier this year that the company had narrowed its search to three sites that could support a 2 GW manufacturing plant producing both PEM and alkaline electrolyzers.

Nel executives also said they would spend $25m to expand PEM electrolyzer production capacity at its Wallingford, Connecticut plant to 500 MW, from 50 MW currently. The company has received a $5.6m grant from the US Department of Defense for advanced PEM electrolyzer development. The Connecticut facility is estimated to be at full capacity by 2025.

“The choice of Michigan is based on an overall assessment of what the state can offer in terms of financial incentives, access to a highly skilled workforce, and cooperation with universities, research institutions, and strategic partners. I will also highlight the personal engagement from Governor Whitmer and her competent and service-minded team,” Volldal said.

Volldal emphasized that the short distance to General Motors, headquartered in Detroit, has played a decisive role in the choice of state. The two companies collaborate to develop further and improve Nel’s PEM electrolyser technology.

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Green hydrogen firm adds former Cummins, Rolls-Royce, and bp execs to advisory board

The executives will help guide Avina’s strategic initiatives and advise on the use of hydrogen for decarbonization in hard-to-abate sectors.

Avina Clean Hydrogen, a green hydrogen and green fuels developer, today announced the addition of Tom Linebarger, former CEO of Cummins, Susan Dio, former President & Chairman of BP America, and Warren East, former CEO of Rolls-Royce to the Avina Advisory Board (AAB), according to a news release.

This distinguished group will help shape and guide Avina’s strategic initiatives, as well as advise on how best to leverage hydrogen to address decarbonization challenges of hard-to-abate sectors.

“We are so grateful that a highly esteemed group of leaders have agreed to serve as our inaugural advisory board and have chosen Avina as a platform to drive meaningful decarbonization in hard-to-abate sectors,” said Vishal Shah, Founder & CEO of Avina Clean Hydrogen. “Now, more than ever before, green hydrogen has a meaningful role to play as a climate solution in multiple industries and each leader brings a unique expertise and perspective from their respective backgrounds, which will be crucial in addressing the needs of a diverse portfolio of industries and end customers.”

ReSource reported previously that Avina would seek to raise approximately $1bn for green hydrogen projects this year.

Tom Linebarger is Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of Cummins, a global technology leader in engines, filtration and power generation products, and was the CEO for more than 10 years until he stepped down in August of 2022. As CEO, Tom refocused the company, positioning it to be a leader in zero and low-carbon solutions. Under Tom’s leadership, Cummins developed Destination Zero, the company’s strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, Cummins is offering customers a range of solutions required for the energy transition including advanced diesel, natural gas and fuel agnostic engine platforms. Cummins recently announced a hydrogen internal combustion technology that includes a 15L hydrogen engine, which will go into full production in 2027. The company has also announced several fuel cell partnerships with Daimler Truck North America, Komatsu and Scania as well as converting Air Products’ 2,000-truck delivery fleet to fuel cell electric vehicles. In addition, Cummins is manufacturing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain for use in North America and continues to build a leading presence in the electrolyzer business.

Currently, Tom is the co-chair of The Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led coalition working to accelerate the energy transition through hydrogen. The Hydrogen Council includes CEOs from over 300 companies in sectors including automotive, gas, utility and technology companies.

“There are few executives in the world who share Tom’s wealth of experience in driving legacy sectors to adopt zero and low-carbon solutions,” said Vishal Shah, CEO of Avina. “We are fortunate to have a leader with his background to embrace and champion Avina’s mission to accelerate the energy transition in hard-to-decarbonize sectors by bringing solutions to deploy green hydrogen at scale.”

Susan Dio is a proven executive with 25+ years’ experience in international refining, petrochemicals, and oil and gas. Prior to her retirement in 2020, Susan was Chairman and President of BP America where she had responsibility for all BP businesses in the U.S. In addition, she worked with policymakers, partnerships and trade associations on trade, and energy policy, as well as navigating the energy transition toward a low-carbon future. As Chairman of the BP America Board, she focused on setting strategic direction and oversight of material risk across the 350 US subsidiaries. Between 2015 and 2018, Susan was CEO of BP Shipping, which managed the fleet of BP-operated and chartered vessels that moved over 200 million tons of products around the globe each year. As CEO, she reset the organization’s strategy and operations and modernized the company’s fleet, delivering 26 new, highly efficient tankers. Other roles Susan held at BP include Head of Audit for refining and marketing and Managing Director of a refinery in Australia. She holds a degree in chemical engineering.

“Susan’s leadership and expertise, especially in the oil & gas sector, will be invaluable as we continue our conversations with leading executives who recognize the importance of hydrogen in solving the toughest de-carbonization challenges in the energy sector,” said Vishal Shah, CEO of Avina.

Warren East retired as the CEO of Rolls-Royce in December 2022. Warren initially joined the company as a board member in 2014 after retiring as the CEO of semiconductor company ARM and later, stepped into the CEO role in 2015. Rolls-Royce manufactures aircraft engines as well as engines for boats, trains, large land vehicles and nuclear submarine reactors. As CEO, Warren pushed to modernize the company and to embrace sustainability. He committed to becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2050, and with the future of the business in mind, invested money in R&D around new aero engine design and in nuclear power, and established a sustainable solutions business in the Power Systems division, to develop micro grid solutions including hydrogen electrolyzers and fuel cells. The company created a new business to focus on electrical aviation and broke the world record for the fastest electric flight. Recently Rolls-Royce demonstrated a gas turbine aero engine running on 100% hydrogen and in the meantime, is also enabling all its aero engines to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as well as working across the industry to establish the SAF ecosystem.

“Warren’s extraordinary legacy of trailblazing leadership in technology and aviation sectors will be very valuable to Avina’s continued growth,” said Steven Berkenfeld, Board Member of Avina. “We are excited for Warren to share his unique perspectives with our team as we continue to deploy green hydrogen and ammonia solutions in new sectors.”

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RNG developer selling landfill gas portfolio

A Texas-based renewable natural gas developer has tapped an advisor and is selling a portfolio of waste-to-energy projects.

Morrow Energy, an RNG developer based in Midland, Texas, is working with a financial advisor to sell off a portfolio of waste-to-energy projects.

Sparkstone Capital Advisors, a boutique advisory firm based in Virginia, is the sellside advisor on the sale, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Morrow and Sparkstone did not respond to requests for comment.

The Morrow portfolio in the US consists of 12 projects in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, and Washington, according to its website.

Of note, Morrow has developed the Blue Ridge Landfill High BTU project, which is designed for up to 13,000 SCFM of raw landfill gas and can be expanded to up to 30,000 SCFM. Gas from the facility is sold and delivered to vehicle fuel markets in the US.

The company is led by Paul Morrow, its founder and president, who has worked in the RNG industry for over 20 years. Morrow Energy built its first renewable gas facility in the year 2000.

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Waste-to-hydrogen developer to close $100m capital raise this month

Raven SR’s C-round of financing is being run by two bulge-bracket banks, and the firm has received widespread interest from private equity and corporate strategics.

Raven SR, a US waste-to-hydrogen developer, is working on a $100m capital raise that’s expected to wrap up this month, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

Raven’s C-round of financing is being run by Barclays and Bank of America. The firm has received widespread interest from private equity and corporate strategics.

Raven CEO Matt Murdock said on the sidelines of the Hydrogen Americas event in Washington D.C. that he was hoping to have the raise done by Thanksgiving.

Headquartered in Wyoming with projects in California and Spain, the company uses a steam/CO2 reforming process that transforms municipal solid waste, organic waste and methane into clean fuels.

In August, 2021, Raven closed on a $20m strategic investment from Chevron U.S.A., ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc. and Ascent Hydrogen Fund. Samsung Ventures made a strategic investment earlier this year, allowing the company to expand into the Asia-Pacific market.

The company has partnered with INNIO to use its Jenbacher engines to provide renewable power and heat to Raven SR’s first waste-to-hydrogen production facility at the Republic Services West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill in Richmond, California.

Raven SR plans to bring the plant online in the first quarter of 2023, initially processing up to 99.9 tons of organic waste per day and producing up to 2,000 metric tons per year of hydrogen.

In Aragón, Spain, Raven SR is aiming to bring a second project online in 2023 that will produce 1,600 metric tons per year of renewable hydrogen from approximately 75 tons of organic solid waste per day.

Raven SR recently announced the election of Mark Gordon of Ascent Fund and Michael Hoban of Chevron New Energies to its Board of Directors.

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Waste-to-hydrogen developer hires advisor for equity raise

A California developer of waste-to-hydrogen projects has mandated a boutique advisor to raise equity for early-stage project development and is planning a larger funding round in early 2024.

Clean Energy Enterprises, the holding company of awaste-to-hydrogen project developer based in Long beach, California, hasmandated a financial advisor to raise equity for early-stage development, CEO Jean-LouisKindler said in an interview.

Costigan Capital Partners, of Vancouver, Canada, has beenretained to raise an early round of $5m, Kindler said. That liquidity, split evenlybetween a demonstration project in California and operations, will last aboutone year.

Clean Energy is the holding company of WaysH2, which is thecompany developing the projects.

Next year Clean Energy will conduct a raise of equity anddebt between $30m and $50m, Kindler said.

Clean Energy, which is owned by five founding partners and earlyfriends-and-family backers, is also narrowing options for the first WaysH2 commercialproject in the US, Kindler said. The company has a client that will use hydrogenfor municipal transportation in the southwest.

The group has a relationship with Spanish EPC firm TechnicasReunidas and plans to pursue another demonstration project in either Spain or Portugal.

The technology play is waste-to-hydrogen at landfillprojects to serve end users in local mobility and waste processing energyrequirements.

He pointed to California’s SB 1383 regulations, which mandatesa reduction of organic waste disposal by 75% by 2025.

“It will be used locally,” Kindler said of the hydrogen. Thecompany is also in discussions with foreign ammonia producers. “We want to beclose to our clients.”

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