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Wyoming CCS research projects get DOE funding

Several carbon capture projects that will run tests at a Wyoming coal plant have received funding from the DOE.

Several carbon capture and storage research projects hosted at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center at Basin Electric’s Dry Fork Station near Gillette have earned funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED).

Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) Carbon Capture announced Mar. 28 that it received $4.6m to develop a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study for an integrated carbon capture and storage project at Dry Fork Station. Wyoming CarbonSAFE, led by the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER), is a partner for sequestering the captured carbon dioxide and is a co-recipient of the award.

The project includes a FEED study for a proposed capture plant featuring MTR Carbon Capture’s second-generation PolarisTM membrane. The project aims to capture, compress, and store onsite 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, achieving at least a 90% carbon capture rate, according to a news release.

This FEED study funding is part of OCED’s Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program, which advances carbon management technologies. The goal of the program is to accelerate the demonstration and deployment of integrated carbon capture, transport, and storage technologies.

“Basin Electric congratulates MTR Carbon Capture on an important next step in further evaluating carbon capture at our Dry Fork Station,” said Todd Brickhouse, CEO and general manager of Basin Electric. “The investment required to bring carbon capture and storage technology from study to pilot to full-scale production is substantial, and successful deployment will require partnerships at many different levels. Dispatchable generation facilities such as Dry Fork Station are integral to Basin Electric providing reliable and affordable electricity to our membership, and the work MTR Carbon Capture is doing today is important to keeping electricity reliable across our nation.”

This project is the second DOE award for MTR Carbon Capture at Dry Fork Station. In 2023, the company began construction on a large-scale pilot plant at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center to capture carbon dioxide from flue gas produced at Dry Fork Station. When operational later this year, it will be the world’s largest membrane-based carbon capture pilot project.

Sorbent-based post-combustion capture system

In February, OCED announced the selection of TDA Research Inc. (TDA) to negotiate an award of up to $49m to test a carbon capture system at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center.

Led by TDA in collaboration with global energy technology company SLB as the technology development and deployment partner, the project is a large-scale pilot with the aim of testing a sorbent based post-combustion carbon capture system capable of capturing 158,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year — an amount equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 35,000 gasoline-powered cars.

TDA began testing several carbon capture technologies based on novel sorbents and sorbent/membrane hybrids to remove carbon dioxide from flue gas in Fall 2019. Supported by DOE funding from the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, the testing was successfully completed in Fall 2023.

Algae-based carbon technology

In January, a $2.5m project was announced with Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, and Living Ink Technologies to convert an industrial source of carbon dioxide into high-value materials through an algae-based carbon transfer process.

The Wyoming Integrated Test Center project, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, began its initial phase in 2023. The research will run for three years, with about six months of testing at the facility.

University of Wyoming’s team will convert the liquid from algae pyrolysis into advanced energy materials such as carbon nanofiber supercapacitor electrodes, under the direction of University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources.

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EPCC contract awarded for Australia green hydrogen plant

A consortium consisting Technip Energies and Monford Group has been awarded an EPCC contract to develop Project Yuri.

A consortium consisting Technip Energies and Monford Group has been awarded an Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) contract by Yuri Operations Pty Ltd, to develop Project Yuri Phase 0 – a green hydrogen plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Project Yuri, developed in partnership with Yara Clean Ammonia and ENGIE, includes a 10 MW electrolysis plant and an 18 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) farm with its 8 MW Battery Energy System (BESS) providing the necessary energy for the electrolysis. It will produce up to 640 tonnes of green hydrogen per annum for use in the existing Yara Pilbara Ammonia Plant to produce green ammonia.

Technip Energies is responsible for the overall project management and the electrolysis plant engineering, procurement, commissioning and start up, according to a news release. Monford Group is responsible for the overall project construction and the PV farm engineering, procurement, commissioning and start up.

The project has received grant funding from the Federal Government via ARENA, as part of the Advancing Renewables Program and from Western Australia State Government as a part of Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Fund.

Mitsui & Co. Ltd. has agreed to acquire a 28% stake in Yuri Operations Pty Ltd subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions under its investment agreement.

The Yuri project plan has a multi-phase (Phase 0-I-II-III) roadmap, which aims to establish a new industry value chain, harvesting the abundant renewable power in Western Australia, to make renewable hydrogen and ammonia as feedstock for renewable chemical production, as well as renewable fuel for power generation and shipping, serving local and export markets (Asia and beyond).

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Plug Power raises $150m in equity, in talks for debt deal

Plug Power raised $150m in at-the-market equity transactions during 1Q24, and is in conversations with two potential providers of debt for a transaction that would shore up its liquidity.

New York-based Plug Power raised approximately $150m in at-the-market equity funding in the first quarter of 2024 in an effort to shore up its liquidity.

The cash-burning green hydrogen firm is also in talks with two potential providers of debt that would help extend its runway amid a broader focus on cost reduction.

Plug previously said it would tap the at-the-market equity program to avoid having to issue going concern language, and CFO Paul Middleton said today that they have issued $150m through the program.

But the company’s primary focus is on debt solutions, he said.

“We’ve got a couple parties that we’re closer to that than we’ve ever been under terms that are things that, you know, our biggest challenge today has just been in finding terms that we feel like are meaningful and helpful for us and where we’re going,” Middleton said.

“But these are two parties that we feel extremely well about and have done a lot of diligence to know them very well,” he added, “and we’ll see whether that manifests into conclusion.”

ReSource reported last year that Plug is working with Goldman Sachs to raise debt financing.

Executives said that the company is still awaiting a conditional commitment from the DOE for a project loan, though did not provide additional color on timing.

“This program is expected to bolster the buildout of Plug’s liquid hydrogen facilities throughout the United States,” President and CEO Andrew Marsh said on the call.

Marsh added that the company is working with advisors to raise debt and equity that will complement the DOE funding for certain projects.

Plug is reviewing six projects in addition to plants in Georgia, New York, and Texas that are further advanced. The Georgia plant began operations earlier this year, and should help to alleviate Plug’s dependence on more expensive third-party hydrogen sourcing provided to customers.

The company is evaluating locations on the West Coast where it could source hydro power; the middle of the country where it could access low-cost nuclear power; a site further West with solar and wind development; and potentially two more sites in Texas.

“We can obviously always expand our existing footprint and the presence in Georgia as well,” Plug’s Sanjay Shrestha said on the call.

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Gulf Coast ammonia plant transacts

CF Industries purchased the Waggaman ammonia plant in Louisiana from Incitec Pivot for $1.675bn.

CF Industries Holdings, Inc., a global manufacturer of hydrogen and nitrogen products, has signed a definitive purchase agreement with Incitec Pivot Limited for IPL’s ammonia production complex located in Waggaman, Louisiana, according to a news release.

The facility has a nameplate capacity of 880,000 tons of ammonia annually.

Under the terms of the agreement, CF Industries will purchase the Waggaman ammonia plant and related assets for $1.675bn. The companies will allocate approximately $425m of the purchase price to a long-term ammonia offtake agreement under which CF Industries will supply up to 200,000 tons of ammonia per year to IPL’s Dyno Nobel subsidiary. CF Industries expects to fund the remaining $1.25bn of the purchase price with cash on hand.

“We are pleased to reach this agreement with Incitec Pivot Limited that benefits from our industry-leading ammonia production capabilities, deploys our capital efficiently and provides long-term value for both companies’ shareholders,” said Tony Will, president and chief executive officer, CF Industries Holdings, Inc. “We believe the Waggaman facility will fit seamlessly into our network, as well as our strategic focus on ammonia as a clean energy source, given its proximity and pipeline connection to our Donaldsonville, Louisiana, Complex, its distribution and logistics flexibility, and its favorable characteristics for the addition of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies to enable low-carbon ammonia production.”

Ammonia produced at the Waggaman facility today is distributed ratably to three customers, including Dyno Nobel, with approximately 75% used in industrial applications. Based on the nature of the medium- to long-term offtake agreements in place with these customers, CF Industries estimates that the plant will generate gross margin per ton commensurate with its existing ammonia segment prior to synergies, which the company expects to capture through greater capacity utilization and operational and logistics optimization. Over the last five years, CF Industries’ operational capabilities have resulted in ammonia asset utilization that is approximately 10% higher than the average utilization rate of the company’s North American peers.

Additionally, CF Industries anticipates implementing CCS at the site on an accelerated timeline, increasing its network’s low-carbon ammonia production capability, supporting Louisiana’s and the country’s climate goals, and earning 45Q tax credits for sequestered carbon dioxide.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is subject to receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as the financial advisor to CF Industries on the transaction. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is acting as its legal advisor. Latham & Watkins served as legal advisor to the seller while JP Morgan was financial advisor.

About the Waggaman Ammonia Production Complex

The Waggaman, Louisiana, ammonia production complex is situated on an integrated chemicals complex owned by Cornerstone Chemical Company.

  • Commissioned October 2016
  • Nameplate capacity: 880,000 tons of ammonia per year
  • Approximately 90 employees
  • 38,500-ton ammonia storage tank onsite
  • Ability to load and transport ammonia by NuStar Pipeline, barge, truck and rail
  • Located in Jefferson Parish on the Mississippi River with potential for vessel loading capabilities for low-carbon ammonia exports
  • Site is 60 miles southeast of CF Industries’ Donaldsonville Complex, facilitating resource and best practice sharing between the complexes

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Denbury to transport CO2 for Louisiana blue methanol project

A subsidiary of Denbury Inc. will transport and store CO2 for a planned blue methanol plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Denbury Carbon Solutions has executed a 20-year definitive agreement to provide CO2 transportation and storage services to Lake Charles Methanol in association with that company’s planned 3.6 MMPTA blue methanol project, according to a press release.

LCM’s facility will be located along the Calcasieu River near Lake Charles, Louisiana, approximately 10 miles from Denbury’s Green Pipeline.

The facility is designed to utilize Topsoe’s SynCORTM technology to convert natural gas into hydrogen which will be synthesized into methanol while incorporating carbon capture and sequestration.

The process is anticipated to deliver more than 500 million kilograms of hydrogen per year as a feedstock to produce the 3.6 MMTPA of blue methanol.

LCM is finalizing its major permits to begin construction. The project is expected to reach a Final Investment Decision in 2023 with first production anticipated in 2027.

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3Q deals in focus: Macquarie’s investment in Atlas Agro

In one of the largest and most compelling clean fuels deals of 3Q23, Macquarie made a $325m investment into Americas-focused Atlas Agro, a developer of industrial-scale green nitrogen fertilizer plants that utilize green hydrogen as a feedstock. William Demas, head of Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments in the Americas, provides a closer look.

Macquarie Asset Management’s investment into green nitrogen developer Atlas Agro gives the manager a stake in the company along with the ability to invest in the developer’s projects.

The $325m investment, made via the Macquarie GIG Energy Transition Solutions fund, will benefit Atlas Agro’s previously announced fertilizer plant project in Richland, WA, and will also support the company’s global pipeline of green fertilizer facilities, according to William Demas, head of Macquarie Asset Management Green Investments in the Americas.

In addition to the 700,000 tons-per-year Richland project, Atlas Agro is pursuing a project in Minas Gerais, Brazil that will produce 500,000 tons per year. Both projects would make nitrate fertilizer and are estimated to cost $1bn. An additional facility is planned for the US Midwest.

In the production process, the plants utilize air, water, and renewable electricity as the only raw materials.

“There are a number of things that attracted us to Atlas Agro,” Demas said in response to written questions. “They have a strong management team with an established track record managing established companies and delivering projects in the fertilizer space.”

The GIG Energy Transition Solutions fund has a target size of approximately $1.9bn, which to date is just over 50% committed, according to a source familiar with the fund.

Next phase

Equally important for the Atlas investment, Demas added, is that the company is aligned with Macquarie’s next phase energy transition thesis in the US – in this case hydrogen. 

“In this application, green hydrogen will be used as a feedstock rather than as an energy carrier, and the end-product of green fertilizer will attract customers looking to enter into long-term offtake contracts,” he said.

Through the development of plants in Washington state and the US Midwest, Atlas Agro is seeking to take advantage of favorable logistics to displace the need for imported fossil-fuel based fertilizer. Brazil also imports around 95% of its nitrogen fertilizers, according to Atlas.

“An important benefit of Atlas Agro’s model is the availability of locally produced, high-quality fertilizer, eliminating many of the issues associated with international supply chains,” Demas said, noting that offtakers are local to Atlas Agro’s operations.

Further, Macquarie and Atlas plan to pursue a project finance model for funding the projects under development.

“As an infrastructure investor, we focus on opportunities that are bankable, which means, ultimately project financeable,” Demas said. “We backed Atlas Agro because we believe their approach to project development, commercialization, construction and operations aligns with our views on how to underwrite infrastructure investments.”

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Air Products CEO discusses mega-scale green hydrogen project with AES

Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi further discussed its JV with AES Corporation to develop a $4bn green hydrogen project in Texas, noting that roughly half the price tag would come from developing 1.4 GW of renewables to feed the electrolyzers.

Air Products and AES Corporation will form a JV to develop a $4bn integrated green hydrogen facility in Texas, with roughly half of the cost coming from development of 900 MW of wind and 500 MW of solar generation, and the other half for the hydrogen build-out, Air Products CEO Seifi Ghasemi said on an investor call today.

Similar to his company’s JV in Saudi Arabia, the 50/50 JV will develop, build, own and operate a facility in Wilbarger County, at the site of a decommissioned coal-fired plant, Ghasemi said on the call.

Air Products has an exclusive global agreement with thyssenkrupp for electrolyzers, and could include battery storage at the Texas site to help power the electrolyzers, he added.

A separate entity owned 100% by Air Products will be the sole offtaker from the facility, Ghasemi said, which will produce more than 100 mtpd for use in transportation and industrial markets.

The relationship between AES and Air Products is not exclusive, he said.

Air Products expects a minimum internal rate of return of 10%, Ghasemi said. The company is hoping the tax benefits of the project will result in a lower hydrogen price from the JV.

The amount of capital invested by Air Products will be determined by downstream uses, Ghasemi said. The company has yet to decide if it will build a liquefaction plant, transport gaseous hydrogen by pipeline, or convert the hydrogen to ammonia and ship it by rail.

When it was noted that there is not an existing pipeline connecting Wilbarger County to Air Product’s Gulf Coast pipeline, Ghasemi said he was being pressured to get more deeply in the topic than he wanted, but that the company was confident emerging industry in the area would provide the necessary offtake.

“We don’t have to send it all the way down 250 miles to our existing pipeline,” Ghasemi said. “There’s a lot of different options.”

Air Products will not issue new stock to dilute shareholders or jeopardize its A-rating, Ghasemi said.

The labor cost is “very low on these projects,” Ghasemi said. And customers are attracted to getting 30-year contracts not associated with the price of oil, natural gas or geopolitics.

Air Products is investing approximately $500m for a 35 metric ton per day facility to produce green liquid hydrogen at a greenfield site in Massena, New York, as well as liquid hydrogen distribution and dispensing operations.

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