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Yara and Navigator invest in ammonia bunkering start-up

The investment is expected to enable the start-up, Azane, to begin construction of its first bunkering unit for ammonia supply in Norway.

Yara Growth Ventures AS, the venture investment arm of Yara International ASA, and Navigator Holdings Ltd. have each acquired a 14.5% interest in the Norwegian startup Azane Fuel Solutions AS, according to a news release.

Azane, a joint venture between ECONNECT Energy AS and Amon Maritime AS , both of Norway, was founded in Norway in 2020 as a company that develops proprietary technology and services for ammonia fuel handling, to facilitate the transition to green fuels for shipping.

Subject to customary conditions, Azane intends to build the world’s first ammonia bunkering network, with Yara Clean Ammonia already pre-ordering 15 units from Azane. The investment made by Yara and Navigator is expected to enable Azane to begin construction of its first bunkering unit for ammonia supply in Norway, aiming to kickstart the transition to zero-carbon fuels for maritime transportation. Future value creation for Azane is expected to come through international expansion with its bunkering solutions and broadening of its offerings in ammonia fuel handling technology.

The parties anticipate that the commencement of operations of the bunkering units will begin in Scandinavia in 2025. The total addressable market for ammonia powered ships is estimated to equal to the entire deep sea shipping fleet of 100,000 vessels worldwide, which over time is expected to transition to zero-carbon fuels. Currently, the world of ocean shipping accounts for approximately 3% of global emissions.

Azane is a commercial partner of Yara Clean Ammonia, who expects to provide clean ammonia to be stored in Azane’s bunkering units once operational.

“Currently ammonia fuel bunkering does not exist,” Stian Nygaard, Investment Director, Yara Growth Ventures, said. “With this investment it is expected to become a reality in a year, starting in Scandinavia. This is anticipated to be a huge milestone for reducing emissions from the shipping industry. By enabling Azane to be the first mover on providing this key part of the infrastructure, our goal is to fill a gap in the ammonia chain needed for fueling ships.”

Stian Nygaard is also joining the board to help build the company as a strategic investor.

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GIC and Carlyle invest in green ammonia developer Eneus

Global investment firm Carlyle and GIC have invested in green ammonia developer Eneus Energy Limited

Global investment firm Carlyle and GIC have invested in green ammonia developer Eneus Energy Limited to support the development of a more than 14 GW pipeline, , according to a news release.

Founded in 2013, Eneus has industrial scale production plants in a global market for green ammonia and green hydrogen in the US ad the UK.

The comapny was advised by A. Brown + Company Ltd. and Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati. Carlyle and GIC were advised by Allen & Overy and Ashurst.

The capital will finance Eneus’s development of a portfolio of green ammonia projects globally.

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Developer planning $3.2bn methanol plant in Louisiana

Morgan Stanley is advising a developer expecting to take a final investment decision on a methanol plant with carbon capture by the middle of this year.

Lake Charles Methanol II, LLC (LCM) announced plans to invest $3.24 billion to construct a new manufacturing plant that will produce low-carbon intensity methanol and other chemicals at the Port of Lake Charles.

The company plans to use advanced auto thermal gas reforming technology and employ carbon capture and secure geologic storage to produce low-carbon hydrogen for conversion to methanol, according to a news release.

The project, which was first proposed in 2015, was originally going to gasify petroleum coke and convert it to methanol. It pivoted in 2022, and it submitted a new application to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in October 2023.

The developer previously said it has a long-term agreement to sequester its captured CO2 with Denbury Resources.

According to its website, LCM is being advised by Morgan Stanley on the process to raise equity for the project, and has a commitment to carry the project to FID, expected in mid-2024. It is also negotiating with the DOE for debt financing.

The proposed facility would reform natural gas and renewable gas feedstocks into hydrogen, while capturing carbon dioxide, which would then be used to produce about 3.6 million tons per year of methanol. Lake Charles Methanol plans to work with a third party to capture and sequester about 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which would reduce the carbon intensity of the hydrogen for synthesis into low carbon intensity methanol.

“The project will deliver substantial tangible economic benefits to local communities while providing an environmentally beneficial blue methanol product to facilitate the transition to low-carbon chemicals and fuels,” LCM President Don Maley said. “With the strong support of state and local officials and the local community, we believe that Lake Charles is a fantastic location for this project and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to bring it to fruition.”

The project is currently undergoing a FEED study and regulatory permitting. Construction and commissioning of the facility are expected to take about three-and-a-half years, which would allow commercial operations to begin in late 2027.

To secure the project in Louisiana, LED offered a competitive incentives package that includes the comprehensive workforce development solutions of LED FastStart. It also includes a Performance-Based Grant of $5 million to be used for reimbursement of company expenditures for infrastructure needs. The company is also expected to participate in Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.

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Ohmium inks 120 MW electrolyzer deal with NovoHydrogen

The electrolyzers will provide 120 MW of green hydrogen capacity to an IPP to run through a natural gas plant in New Jersey.

California-based Ohmium International has finalized an agreement to provide Colorado-based NovoHydrogen with PEM Electrolyzers, according to a press release.

The electrolyzers will be used to provide 120 MW of green hydrogen capacity to an independent power producer to run at a natural gas peaking power plant in New Jersey.

Ohmium manufactures standardized interlocking modular PEM electrolyzers that produce pressurized high-purity hydrogen.

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Renewables developer exploring move into green hydrogen

North Carolina-based Strata Clean Energy is engaged with engineers and consultants in preparations for a potential move into the production of green hydrogen.

Strata Clean Energy, the North Carolina-based utility-scale renewables developer, is researching locations in the U.S. where it could potentially build a green hydrogen production plant, executives said in an interview.

“We’ve been doing some hydrogen work for the past few years,” said Tiago Sabino Dias, former CEO of Crossover Energy, which was acquired by Strata in a deal announced this week. That forward momentum on green hydrogen and other areas of the energy transition was part of the reason the deal with Strata was made, he said.

Sabino Dias is now the senior vice president of origination at Strata following the takeover.

“We’ve done a lot of work thinking about where the high-value locations are,” Strata’s Chief Development Officer Josh Rogol said in a separate interview.

Hydrogen is adjacent to Strata’s core competencies in energy storage, Rogol said. The company is confident it could supply the green kilowatt hours for hydrogen production and is researching offtake scenarios in transportation and industrial uses.

Strata has a 13 GW project pipeline of standalone and combined solar and storage, according to its website, with 4 GW under management.

The company’s IPP has about 1 GW with ambitions to grow, Rogol said. It’s go-forward pipeline comprises more than 100 projects across 26 states.

Strata is now engaged with several consultants and engineers to explore green hydrogen opportunities, Rogol said. The company is open to new advisory relationships across verticals.

“We think we are really well positioned to be both the energy supplier, as well as the molecule producer,” Rogol said. The capabilities and intellectual property acquired through Crossover put the firm six to 18 months ahead of other nascent developers.

Early-stage development in green hydrogen can be funded with Strata’s balance sheet, similar to Strata’s bilateral takeover of Crossover, Rogol said. Later stage development and EPC will require “an ecosystem of partners” potentially both financial and strategic, he added.

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Exclusive: Methanol electrolyzer start-up gearing up for seed capital raise

An early-stage technology company seeking to commercialize an electrolyzer that produces methanol from CO2 at ambient temperature and pressure is preparing its first capital raise.

Oxylus Energy, a methanol technology and project development start-up, is preparing to kick off its first capital raise later this month.

The Yale-based firm is seeking to raise $4m in seed funding, with proceeds funding the advancement of a production-scale CO2-to-methanol electrolyzer cell and its first commercial agreements for offtake, CEO Perry Bakas said in an interview.

Oxylus aims to commercialize an electrolyzer that creates methanol from CO2 at room temperature and pressure, and also plans to develop and operate its own methanol production plants, he said.

The technology, which will scale to larger versions in coming years, recently hit a key milestone with the validation of a 5cm2 platform.

The seed capital raise would provide approximately 26 months of runway, according to Bakas. The company would then raise between $20 – $30m in a follow-on Series A in late 2026.

“What we’re gonna do with the Series A is put that first electrolyzer into the ground,” he said. “It’ll be our first revenue-producing methanol.”

Oxylus is currently owned by Bakas and his fellow co-founders. The company has been entirely grant funded to this point. DLA Piper is advising as the law firm on the seed capital raise.

“I think the most important thing about the technology is it’s the most energy-efficient pathway to making renewable methanol,” he said. “At the right energy prices, you’re below cost parity with fossil-derived methanol. When that happens, I think it’ll become a very interesting development scenario.”

Oxylus is focused on bringing the so-called green premium down to zero, Bakas said, noting that it requires achieving scale in electrolyzer production or partnering with established electrolyzer manufacturers.

Methanol for shipping

Oxylus will seek to introduce its technology into target markets that are already using methanol as a feedstock, like high-value petrochemicals. In the longer term, shipping and aviation are likely to become attractive markets. Taken together, the company believes methanol has the potential to decarbonize 11% of global emissions.

Methanol will compete with ammonia for primacy as a shipping fuel in the future, but Bakas believes methanol is the better option.

“These are massive markets – they need a lot of solutions, and quickly,” he said. “But ammonia is not energy dense, and it doesn’t integrate with existing infrastructure.”

The International Energy Agency recently projected that while ammonia will be cheaper to make, methanol is easier to handle, resulting in roughly similar cost profiles for e-methanol and green ammonia. The added cost for methanol production, the report found, is likely to come from a scarcity of biogenic CO2.

On that topic, Bakas acknowledged that the methanol pathway still requires combustion of carbon, but emphasized his technology’s ability to displace existing fossil fuel-based methanol production.

“The distinction we need to make is: are these virgin hydrocarbons or are they recycled hydrocarbons? If you’re just continuously pumping new CO2 out of the ground into the atmosphere, you’re gonna continue to cause climate change,” he said.

“The technologies that we are building in this suite of technologies that cover direct air capture, point source capture, carbon conversion, that whole CCUS world,” he added, “are really working to monitor and create a homeostasis in the atmospheric balance of CO2.”

Oxylus recently completed a lifecycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions, Bakas said, finding that its fuels are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 95% at optimal voltage compared to natural gas steam methane reforming.

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EnergyTag and the hourly matching ideal

The London-based non-profit EnergyTag has come to the forefront with its framework for global renewable energy hourly matching standards – what it views as a crucial substructure underpinning the future of green product commerce.

When Killian Daly was working for Air Liquide in Paris, sourcing renewable power for the industrial gas producer’s enormous energy needs, he noticed a mismatch in the way power is purchased and the way its green credentials are counted.

“When you buy power, you do hourly batching – you have to respect that electricity can’t just fly across the country,” he said. “And then you look at green power accounting and it’s detached, it’s completely different,” he said, referring to the practice of issuing renewable energy credits for grid power on an annual basis. This allows power consumers to claim they are using clean power produced any time of the year. 

“You can be 100% solar powered all night long, or 100% renewable using Texas wind, even if you’re located in the Northeast,” said Daly, a native of Ireland who is now based out of Brussels as EnergyTag’s executive director. “So for me it was inevitable that someone was going to sort of raise their hand and say, ‘What’s going on here?’”

EnergyTag, a London-based non-profit, was founded in 2020 to address this issue: to make electricity carbon accounting more granular and tied to the reality of the power system. While the organization does not issue or sell renewable energy credits – or even offer its own software – its set of voluntary standards known as Granular Certificates (GCs) have become a leading framework for more systematic carbon accounting across the globe.

The GC scheme has been employed by projects and system-level REC providers internationally, amounting to 5 million MWh of tracking, which, according to Energy Tag, shows that hourly tracking is already a technical reality. In the U.S., it is the basis of the Granular Certificate Trading Alliance, which is led by LevelTen Energy and includes major partners AES, Constellation, Google, and Microsoft. And it underpins systems employed by U.S.-based REC providers like M-RETS and others.

Global hourly matching case studies: EnergyTag

By most accounts, the small-budget outfit has achieved outsize success in its stance on a niche issue that has had a cross-cutting, global impact. Its advisory committee consists of multi-national representation from other non-profits, governmental agencies, and corporates that are aligned on the hourly matching problem. “It’s a global topic and I suppose it gives us a global voice,” said Daly, adding that Energy Tag’s independence allows it to be more to the point than other organizations.

Its chairman, Phil Moody, helped write the rules of energy tracking in Europe, “the only standardized system in the world for certificates,” according to Daly. “That’s a pretty unique set of skills that I suppose we bring to the table that is not really coming from another organization on this specific topic.” When it comes to policy, the organization has homed in on areas like green hydrogen, “where there’s a clear need for proper electricity accounting to avoid massive consequences and massive waste of taxpayer funding,” Daly said.

Time matching for renewable energy tied to green hydrogen production has become an existential issue for many proposed projects and their developers, particularly in the U.S. Under guidance issued by the IRS, project developers would be required to match renewable generation to green hydrogen production on an hourly basis starting in 2028, a requirement that has divided the green hydrogen sector into opposing camps and has been called, by those opposed to it, the death knell of the nascent industry.

More to do

The majority of U.S. renewable energy credit (REC) tracking systems can implement hourly matching akin to the standards put forth by EnergyTag in just a few years, according to a report from the Center for Resource Solutions issued last year. WREGIS, the system covering the western U.S., estimated it would take between three and five years but could cut it closer to three with state and federal support.

“A lot of the foundational aspects of how you set up a tracking system – they’re already there,” Daly said. EnergyTag’s granular certificate standards are focused on building systems as an extension of existing programs. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Daly said. “We’re taking standard definition television and making it HD.”

Although many of the U.S. registries are well on their way to being ready for hourly matching by 2028, Daly said there’s some work to be done in the phase-in period “to have a standardized approach across the REC registries, just so they can talk to each other, so that they can be audited.”

Even so, the implementation of a federal standard through 45V – even if it is an energy policy administered through tax authorities – is the only comprehensive federal policy that “can help move the environmental attribute markets to where they want to go,” M-RETS CEO Ben Gerber said during a panel discussion at Clean Power in Minneapolis on May 7.

Gerber said that some concessions might need to be made to appease industry concerns. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved the [hourly matching implementation] date back to 2030” from 2028, he said.

In an interview, Gerber added that he would like to see the establishment of a more robust market for trade in RECs, such as a platform advanced by Incubex, allowing developers to buy credits when they are short and sell when they are long.

EnergyTag itself also notes that the ideal of reaching 100% hourly matching might not be possible, at least not in the near term. “If you’re a hydrogen producer and you are hourly matching at a high level, but then you do not match hour by hour for 2% of your hours right now, under the current proposed rules it would look like you would then be bumped out of that top tier threshold” for tax credits, Alex Piper, EnergyTag’s head of U.S. policy, said.

This functional issue has been flagged by many in the pro-hourly matching camp, Piper said, “as a risk that is pretty existential and should be reevaluated by Treasury to determine if there are different flexibility mechanisms that can be included that would allow a project to miss a number of hours without being on that brink of in and out of the money, which could absolutely undermine the entire project.”

Devraj Banerjee of Ambient Fuels, a green hydrogen developer that has been vocal about the need to modify the proposed guidance, said that, while he agrees that a more granular matching scheme makes sense once renewable portfolios and banking systems are more advanced, allowing for flexibility now would help the industry get off the ground.

“What would be a significant fix in the [45V] policy would be allowing early mover projects to have either complete annual matching for the life of the tax credit, or barring that, some kind of pro rata share of annual matching in tandem with hourly matching to not only reduce overall economics but mitigate the need to over procure and provide the ability to be a bit more flexible with renewable generation to avoid falling out of 45V compliance if there’s performance issues, etc,” he said on the Clean Power green hydrogen panel earlier this month. “So some kind of annual carve out for early movers for the life of the tax credit would be a big change, and very helpful.”

In spite of the policy progress and advancements in hourly matching certification schemes, Daly said it’s still early days for accounting standards for global green commerce. “I fundamentally do believe what we’re seeing here on hydrogen in Europe and also now in the U.S. is only the beginning of a much broader discussion and framework around creating clean trade, marketplaces that are trading clean products, because that’s rule number one: is it clean, and that’s where we need to get into these details around accounting and three pillars,” he said.

“So I think it’s just a microcosm of actually a much broader set of discussions and actions over the coming years as we look to set up Transatlantic clean trade and in other parts of the world as well.”

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