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West Virginia advances legislation supporting hydrogen project

West Virginia legislators today advanced two bills that would allow for the sale of state-owned property for underground storage of emissions from a possible hydrogen hub project

West Virginia legislators today advanced two bills that would allow for the sale of property owned by the state’s Division of Natural Resources for underground storage of emissions from a possible hydrogen hub project, according to a news report.

The West Virginia House Judiciary Committee recommended Senate bills 161 and 162 for passage Monday afternoon after the state Senate passed both bills on Thursday.

According to the WVNews report, SB 161 would allow the Division of Natural Resources within the Department of Commerce to sell, lease, or dispose of property under its control. SB 162 would allow DNR to lease state-owned pore spaces beneath state forests, wildlife management areas, and other lands under DNR’s jurisdiction for use in carbon sequestration.

The report cites an unnamed source who says the legislation is targeted at a company with a carbon sequestration plan in order to secure their investment in West Virginia.

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NextEra leads Series B for hydrogen firm

Modern Hydrogen, previously known as Modern Electron, has completed an oversubscribed $32.8m Series B-2 funding round led by NextEra Energy.

Modern Hydrogen has completed an oversubscribed $32.8m Series B-2 funding round led by NextEra Energy, with strategic investors & partners Miura and National Grid Partners also participating, according to a news release.

Existing investors Gates Frontier, IRONGREY, Starlight Ventures, Valo Ventures and Metaplanet continued their participation and expanded their investments as part of the funding round.

Modern Hydrogen will leverage the investment to scale-up the capacity of its hydrogen production units. This will further accelerate decarbonization of gas networks and support distributed production of hydrogen, all without a reliance on new hydrogen pipelines or massive infrastructure upgrades. The capital will also be utilized to expand the company’s clean carbon material offerings and boost its global market presence via the partnership with Miura in Japan.

The company also announced the move away from its previous name, Modern Electron, to shape the new brand of Modern Hydrogen. This new identity reflects its commitment to innovation in the clean hydrogen economy. As Modern Hydrogen, the company will continue to provide the exceptional technology and products its customers have come to expect and will continue expanding offerings of clean energy and materials under the “Modern” umbrella.

The participation of NextEra Energy, Miura, and National Grid Partners in this funding round highlights their confidence in Modern Hydrogen’s vision and potential to clean up one of the largest sources of energy in human civilization today: Natural gas. These strategic investors bring a wealth of expertise in the energy, technology, and industrial equipment market, which will be invaluable as the company continues to scale and innovate.

“As a leading manufacturer of industrial boilers, our mission is to make it ‘actionable’ for our customers to decarbonize the heat. Among the various hydrogen production and transportation pathways, the clean hydrogen production at point of use from natural gas is unique, and bundled with our hydrogen-fired boiler, it will be a great solution to the customers who have limited access to clean hydrogen in the other pathways. Participating in the COP27 last year, I strongly felt the need for immediate climate action. Together with Modern Hydrogen, we will work toward hydrogen deployment as early as possible,” said Daisuke Miyauchi, president & CEO MIURA Co., Ltd.

“National Grid is mobilizing to help our customers reach net zero, and hydrogen plus renewable natural gas are key pillars of our strategy,” said Lisa Lambert, chief technology & innovation officer of National Grid and founder & president of National Grid Partners. “Modern’s technology could help our gas customers adopt clean hydrogen sooner by making low-CO2 hydrogen affordable onsite. Moreover, by pairing Modern’s pyrolysis technology with renewable natural gas in National Grid’s network, we have the potential to achieve negative emissions without the high cost of CO2 capture.”

“NextEra Energy Resources sees Modern Hydrogen’s potential to support the emerging hydrogen economy using technology that can provide clean hydrogen on-site, without liquefaction, transport or storage,” said Elena Bueno-Gonzalez, vice president, Clean Energy Solutions, NextEra Energy Resources. “In addition to our industry-leading wind, solar and battery energy storage portfolio, NextEra Energy Resources offers comprehensive decarbonization solutions, such as renewable natural gas and green mobility. NextEra Energy Resources believes that Modern Hydrogen will enable yet another exciting clean, cost-effective option for commercial and industrial customers.”

“There are 3 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the USA alone. And the delivered price of natural gas is much cheaper than that of delivered electricity, typically by a factor of 3 to 5 times,” explained Tony Pan, co-founder and CEO of Modern Hydrogen. “By stripping out the offending carbon atom from gas at the end of the pipe, before it has a chance to become CO2, Modern’s technology can deliver decarbonized gas – aka clean hydrogen – on location. Thus, Modern can deliver this hydrogen to the end consumer, without the decades and billions of dollars it would take to build out hydrogen infrastructure. Sidestepping the need for new pipes and transmission permits will be invaluable in achieving speed & scale in realizing the clean hydrogen economy.”

“Negative emissions technologies are required to meet humanity’s climate goals,” notes Modern Hydrogen Co-founder and CTO Max Mankin. “We can generate net negative emissions by applying our pyrolysis technology on carbon-neutral gases such as biogas. The solid carbon we pull out from the gas is directly weighed, so every ton of solid carbon we put into products and building materials are verifiable emissions captured, avoided, and utilized.”

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EU-backed Neev Fund invests in India-based hydrogen developer

Green hydrogen developer Hygenco aims to deploy over $300m in green hydrogen projects across India in the next three years.

Hygenco Green Energies Pvt. Ltd (Hygenco), a green hydrogen developer, has received a GBP 22m investment from the Neev II Fund, a climate and sustainability focused fund backed by the UK and EU governments, according to a news release.

The investment will enable Hygenco to commercialize its early pipeline, as it aims to deploy over $300m in green hydrogen projects across India in the next three years.

Hygenco, which deploys scaled-up commercially attractive green hydrogen solutions, will build-own-operate multiple green hydrogen facilities across the country. Founded by professionals having decades of experience in renewable energy, project development and consulting, the investment by Neev will give an impetus to large-scale Green Hydrogen deployment in India.

Neev II Fund along with its predecessor Neev I Fund are managed by SBICAP Ventures, which has backing from the UK government through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). It is also backed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Neev I Fund, launched in 2015, has invested into 10 companies in diverse clean energy, Agri supply chain and social infrastructure sectors. Neev II Fund is the successor fund launched in June 2021 that seeks to provide growth and expansion capital to companies offering solutions for clean energy, electric vehicles, efficient use of raw materials, and water and circular economy projects in the country.

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Nutrien evaluating $2bn blue ammonia project in Louisiana

Nutrien, a publicly traded company based in Canada, is evaluating Geismar, Louisiana as the site to build a clean ammonia facility.

Nutrien, a publicly traded company based in Canada, is evaluating Geismar, Louisiana as the site to build a clean ammonia facility, according to a news release.

Building on the company’s expertise in low-carbon ammonia production, the project will proceed to the front-end engineering design phase with a final investment decision expected in 2023.

If approved, construction of the approximately $2bn project would begin in 2024 with full production expected by 2027.

The new clean ammonia plant would use natural gas and high-quality carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure at its existing Geismar facility to serve agriculture, industrial and emerging energy markets.

The plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million metric tonnes of clean ammonia and capture at least 90 percent of CO2 emissions, permanently sequestering more than 1.8 million metric tonnes of CO2 in dedicated geological storage per annum.

Nutrien has signed a term sheet with Denbury Inc. that would allow for expansion of the existing volume of carbon sequestration capability in its Geismar facility, if selected as the final site of construction.

The company has also signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate with Mitsubishi Corporation for offtake of up to 40 percent of expected production from the plant to deliver to the Asian fuel market, including Japan, once construction is complete.

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California renewables developer taps advisor for capital raise

Utility-scale solar and storage developer RAI Energy has tapped an advisor for a capital raise. The company is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at projects in Arizona and California.

RAI Energy, the utility-scale solar and storage developer, has hired an advisor as it pursues a capital raise.

The company is working with Keybanc Capital Markets in a process to raise up to $25m, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

In an interview, RAI Energy CEO and owner Mohammed S. Alrai said the company “is excited about having [Keybanc] act as our financial advisors on this fundraising round.” He noted that RAI is first a solar-plus-storage developer and is approaching investors as such.

However, RAI is evaluating co-development conversion for green ammonia production at two of its project sites in Arizona and California, he said.

“Hydrogen is a natural next step,” Alrai said of his company, adding that the end-product would be green ammonia for use in fertilizer production and industrial sectors. Pure hydrogen could also be kept for use in transportation.

A variety of partnerships would be required to develop hydrogen at RAI’s solar sites, Alrai said. The company could need advisory services to structure those partnerships.

RAI is working with engineers on the hydrogen question now and is open to additional technology and finance advisory relationships, he said. The company is also evaluating several electrolyzer manufacturers.

“It’s an open book for us right now,” Alrai said of hydrogen production. “We’re always open to talking to people who can help us.”

For hydrogen project development, RAI would seek project level debt and equity similar to its solar developments, Alrai said. Early-stage project sites in Colorado and New Mexico could also be candidates for hydrogen co-development.

Keybanc delined to comment for this story.

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Exclusive: Appalachian biogas firm seeking project debt

An RNG developer based in Appalachia with projects across the US is seeking project debt financing.

Northern Biogas, the West Virginia-based developer and operator of anaerobic digester and RNG facilities, is independently seeking debt for its project pipeline, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Backed by HIG Capital, Northern Biogas serves diary, landfill, food waste and municipal projects. The company has raised some $200m in debt with assistance from alternative energy finance provider Pathward National Association, one source said. Project debt has typically been raised in tranches of $20m to $30m for individual projects.

Northern Biogas’ portfolio includes five dairy farm projects under construction in Wisconsin and one in Michigan, according to the company’s website. The company has a presence in Texas and Colorado as well.

Representatives of the company did not respond to requests for comment.
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Exclusive: Northeastern offshore wind sale kicks off

A major European energy firm has retained a banker and launched a process to sell a large portfolio of offshore wind developments in the northeastern US.

Ocean Wind I & II, Orsted’s offshore wind developments in New Jersey amounting to 2.5 GW of capacity, are for sale via an auction, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Jefferies is the exclusive financial advisor on the sale, which is codenamed Project Hummer, the sources said. The process launched this month.

Denmark-based Orsted had previously halted development of Ocean Wind I and II as impairments on the projects climbed above $5bn. And the sale process comes amid the firm’s broader pullback from the offshore wind sector.

In an earnings call this month, Orsted CEO Mads Nipper said the company had plans to sell up to DKK 115bn (USD 16.6bn) in assets by 2030 as it accelerates divestments to boost its balance sheet.

Orsted also said it would withdraw from offshore wind markets in Norway, Spain and Portugal and cut its target for 2030 installed renewable capacity from 50 GW to 35 – 38 GW.

The company has a preference for a new owner acquiring 100% of both Ocean Wind leases and all associated development assets, the sources said.

Targeted COD for the two developments is 2029 and 2031, while estimated capex for each is USD 7.1bn (98 turbines) and USD 7.7bn (82 turbines), respectively.

New Jersey has accelerated offshore wind solicitation schedules and has recently awarded two contracts for 2.4 GW at $112.50/MWh and 1.3 GW at $131.00/MWh compared to the $98.10/MWh for Ocean Wind I and $84.03/MWh for Ocean Wind II awarded back in 2019 and 2021.

Orsted and Jefferies did not respond to requests for comment.

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