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Woodside’s H2OK green hydrogen project on hold for final 45V rules

Australia-based Woodside’s Oklahoma green hydrogen project has been unable to secure offtake and is on hold until final rules are issued on 45V tax credits.

Woodside is engaging with the US federal government in an effort to make 45V tax credit rules for green hydrogen more accessible.

The Australian energy company’s green hydrogen project in Oklahoma, known as H2OK, is fully permitted and technically ready for a final investment decision, amounting to Woodside’s most advanced project currently in its development pipeline.

“H2OK is the most advanced project, and we’re technically ready to take an investment decision, but because we were unable to secure sufficient customer offtake, we paused that decision,” CEO Meg O’Neill said in a presentation this week.

H2OK is a liquid hydrogen production facility proposed for the Westport Industrial Park in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Phase 1 involves the construction of a 290 MW facility, producing up to 60 tonnes per day of liquid hydrogen through electrolysis, targeting the heavy transport sector.

“The reason we weren’t able to secure offtake was because of some complexities around how the IRA is being implemented and we’re engaged in conversations with the US government on levers they can pull to make those tax credits more accessible, which will bring prices down, which will bring customers to the table,” said O’Neill.

Woodside has already made financial commitments for critical path activities and electrolyzers are being manufactured for the project, she added.

In early 2024, Woodside reached a water deal with the city of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Subject to Woodside taking a final investment decision on the project, Ardmore would construct a transmission line to Woodside’s delivery location by January 1, 2026.

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Fortescue hires from Riverstone for investment arm

Fortescue is looking to bring in equity investors for its projects as part of the formation of a New York-based investment arm.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd has formed Fortescue Capital, headquartered in New York City, and named Robert Tichio as CEO and managing partner. 

Fortescue Capital is a new green energy investment accelerator platform, and an integral next step in Fortescue’s commitment to deliver green energy projects and decarbonization investments, according to a news release.

Fortescue Energy CEO, Mark Hutchinson, said “Fortescue is taking its global pipeline of green hydrogen and green ammonia projects to Final Investment Decision, and in doing so has communicated our intention and desire to bring additional equity investors onboard. Further, Fortescue has previously communicated its planned investment to decarbonize its Pilbara operations, and we see Fortescue Capital as an essential tool of engagement as we embark on both missions.” 

Before joining Fortescue, Tichio spent over 17 years at Riverstone Holdings, a New York based private equity firm, that has seen total capital raised across a variety of private equity and related products exceed $42bn. 

Tichio will be joined by a senior leadership team with a global background across sustainable infrastructure, climate technology, energy and private markets, which includes Nathan Craig, Rael McNally and Jennifer Zarrilli. 

Each will serve as Managing Directors and be based in New York. 

Tichio reports to Mark Hutchinson, CEO of Fortescue Energy, and the Operating Board of Fortescue Capital, which will initially include Robert Tichio, Jean Baderschneider, Mark Hutchinson and Mark Barnaba. Fortescue Capital is being developed as a fiduciary for third-party capital, which will complement the Energy and Metals internal corporate finance teams that already exist and work collaboratively to serve the shareholders of Fortescue. 

Funding models will differ on a project-by-project basis as projects are formally approved by the Fortescue Board. The Company expects to hold equity stakes between 25 per cent and 50 per cent in each project, with third-party investors. 

These potential capital partners include sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments, insurance companies and ultra-high net worth family offices.

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Iwatani acquires Aspen Air

The acquisition marks Japany-based Iwatani’s entrance into US industrial gases.

Iwatani Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Japan’s Iwatani Corporation, has acquired Aspen Air, based in Billings, Montana, according to a press release.

Aspen Air is a manufacturer and distributor of bulk liquid industrial gases in Montana and surrounding states. It supports industrial and medical customers including those in the energy and chemicals sectors, hospitals, and packaged gases and independent distributor networks.

This acquisition marks Iwatani’s entrance into US industrial gasses.

Tom Harrison, Iwatani Corporation of America’s Vice President of Industrial Gases, will lead the Aspen Air Team. He has been leading Iwatani Corporation of America’s Specialty Gases business and Hydrogen Sourcing activities for the past 2 years and prior to that spent 32 years with Linde.

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Hydrogen tech start-up commissions onsite H2 production unit

Calgary-based Azolla Hydrogen has commissioned technology that produces fuel-cell spec hydrogen onsite.

Azolla Hydrogen has commissioned technology that produces fuel-cell spec hydrogen onsite.

The AZ225 Biodrome unit will be capable of producing 225kg of hydrogen per day utilizing a footprint of 424sq.ft, according to a news release.

The unit combines Azolla Hydrogen’s Biodrome technology with a 400 Bar Neuman & Esser compressor creating a seamless and efficient system, the release says.

“This is in alignment with our 2023 commercialization plan to offer additional production capacity and pressures to meet customer demand,” said Jared Sayers, CEO of Azolla Hydrogen. “The AZ225 Biodrome unit represents a major step forward in producing and delivering low-carbon hydrogen fuel. We look forward to working with our customers to bring this innovative solution to their businesses.”

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Pennsylvania blue hydrogen DevCo planning project equity raise

A natural gas company has tapped an advisor and is planning to launch a process to raise project equity in the fall for a blue hydrogen production facility with contracted offtake in Pennsylvania.

KeyState Energy, a Pennsylvania-based development company, has engaged a financial advisor to launch a $60m equity process in September, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Young America Capital is advising on the forthcoming process, the sources said.

The capital raise is for the company’s marquee Natural Gas Synthesis blue hydrogen project in Clinton County, one of the sources said. CapEx for the project is estimated at $1.5bn. OCGI is a pre-FEED investor in the project and the coming equity raise is meant to attract a FEED investor.

The 200 mtpd project has contracted offtake with Nikola Corporation, one of the sources said. In October it was reported that Nikola and KeyState were working towards a definitive agreement to expand the hydrogen supply for Nikola’s zero-emissions heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles.

The 7,000-acre natural gas and geologic storage site was formerly known for coal, iron and rail, according to the company’s website.

KeyState Energy did not respond to a request for comment. YAC declined to comment.

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Pharma and fuels tech provider could be ready for public listing

International biotechnology firm Insilico Medicine is applying the algorithms that produce novel drugs to synthesizing more sustainable petrochemical fuels and materials.

Insilico Medicine, a global biotechnology firm serving the pharmaceutical and carbon-based energy industries, could be ready for a public listing in the next phase of its corporate evolution.

Insilico, founded in Baltimore and now based in Hong Kong, has raised about $400m in private capital to date and is in the position of a company that would be exploring a public listing in the US and Hong Kong, CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said in an interview. He declined to say if he has hired a financial advisor to run such a process but said a similar company in his position would have.

The generative AI platform that the company uses to produce novel drugs can be applied to produce more sustainable carbon-based fuels, Zhavoronkov said. The objective is to maximize btu and minimize CO2, making the fuels burn longer and cleaner.

Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco is a user of the technology and participated in Insilico’s $95m Series D (oversubscribed and split between two sub-rounds) last year through its investment arm Prosperity7.

Petrochemistry is going to be needed well into the future, Zhavoronkov said. In addition to renewable energy and other ESG efforts, the efficiency of petrochemicals should be a top priority.

“If you burn certain petrochemicals in certain combinations, you can achieve a reasonably clean burn and an energy efficient burn,” he said. For specific tasks like space travel or Formula 1 racing, combined fuels produce the necessary torque, and generative chemistry can achieve those objectives in a more sustainable way. “I think that we can make the world significantly cleaner just by modifying petrochemical products.”

The technology can also be used to make organic matter in petrochemical products degrade more quickly, which is useful in the case of plastics, Zhavoronkov said.

The company’s AI is primarily based in Montreal and in the drug discovery business in China, but fuel research takes place in Abu Dhabi. Zhavoronkov said he has hired a lot of “AI refugees” from Russia and Ukraine to work at the latter location. The company has 40 employees in the UAE and will likely scale to 70.

Insilico is capitalized for the next two years or so, he said. That doesn’t account for revenue, which closed at just under $30m in 2022. The petrochemical and materials business is under the AI research arm of the business, which is covered by funds raised to date.

“Our board would probably not allow me to reinvent myself as an energy play,” Zhavoronkov said. But the board does not object to applying resources to petrochemical products.

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Ammonia-to-power company planning up to $500m Series C

Ammonia-to-power start-up Amogy will launch a final equity raise once it establishes revenue milestones in 2023 and 2024

Amogy, an ammonia-to-power technology start-up, will likely launch a $400m to $500m Series C late next year, CEO Seonghoon Woo said in an interview.

The company should achieve its first revenues this year and grow those revenues in 2024 to reach a target valuation, Woo said. The company to date has not used a financial advisor.

Amogy is planning to use proceeds from a recent Series B-1 capital raise to expand into a Houston manufacturing facility as it seeks to bring its product to the market.

After demonstrating its technology on a drone, a tractor, and a semi truck, the company is currently working to install its ammonia-cracking technology on a tugboat, and plans to advance a commercialization strategy starting in 2024, Woo said.

The proceeds of the $139m capital raise announced last week will allow Amogy to expand into an already-built facility in Houston, Woo said. The company also plans to roughly double its workforce from 110 employees currently as it boosts capacity in R&D, manufacturing, and commercialization.

CEO Seonghoon Woo

Amogy was founded in 2020 by four MIT PhD alumni, including Woo, and is based in Brooklyn, New York.

Ammonia vs hydrogen

Woo believes using ammonia as a fuel and cracking it into hydrogen solves the transportation issues facing hydrogen, as ammonia is already a widely traded global commodity.

Similarly, at room temperature, ammonia can be stored as a liquid with only mild pressure (~8 bar), compared to the cryogenic requirements for liquid hydrogen.

And, according to a white paper commissioned by Amogy, the volumetric energy density of liquid ammonia is 12.7 megajoules per liter, which is higher than for liquid hydrogen at 8.5 MJ/L and compressed hydrogen at 4.7 MJ/L (at a pressure of 69 MPa in ambient temperature conditions), but lower than for diesel or gasoline.

“Over an equivalent distance, fueling a vehicle solely using ammonia would require approximately three times the internal tank volume needed for conventional diesel fuel but three times less than the volume required for compressed hydrogen,” the paper reads.

While Amogy’s technology is compatible with any color ammonia, Woo said regulations in Scandinavia and Europe give confidence that the global market for clean ammonia will become competitive with fossil-based fuels.

Scaling up

The recent capital raise gives Amogy roughly two years of runway before additional fundraising might be needed, at which point the company will have more visibility into revenue growth, Woo added.

The latest funding round was led by SK Innovation, joined by other global investors including Temasek, Korea Zinc, Aramco Ventures, AP Ventures, MOL PLUS, Yanmar Ventures, Zeon Ventures and DCVC.

The company previously raised roughly $70m in three separate funding rounds, with proceeds allowing it to demonstrate the drone, heavy-duty tractor, and semi truck. Woo said the tractor project drew interest from John Deere, which sent representatives to observe and offer some assistance on the retrofit.

In previous capital raises, Woo said Amogy has encountered investor reluctance to enter what is considered an early market with regulatory and economic risk, with some investors wanting to wait as much as another two years before gaining exposure to the market. The strongest interest has come from upstream producers.

Amogy plans to continue scaling up its technology in the maritime industry to cargo and container ships as well as offshore supply vessels, Woo said.

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