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Clean Energy, Total to grow carbon-negative fuel, infrastructure

Jan. 5, 2021
Through new JV, companies commit up to $145 million for upstream renewable natural gas projects, downstream fueling

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and its largest shareholder, Total S.E., recently agreed to create a 50/50 joint venture to develop carbon-negative renewable natural gas (RNG) production facilities in the United States.

The companies said the memorandum of understanding also includes credit support to build additional downstream RNG fueling infrastructure.

Total will provide $50 million and Clean Energy $30 million for the proposed joint venture, and Total will provide credit support of $65 million to support Clean Energy development in the RNG value chain, including $45 million for contracted RNG fueling infrastructure.

The companies already partnered to expand the use of RNG in the heavy-duty truck market with the Zero Now program, which allows fleets to purchase natural gas trucks for the same price as diesel trucks. The demand for carbon-negative RNG, which is derived from dairies and other agricultural facilities, has rapidly accelerated through the Zero Now program with trucking companies such as Kenan Advantage, KeHE Distributors, Estes Express Lines, Tradelink Transport, among many others, taking advantage of the economic savings while powering their new fleets with the cleanest fuel in the world, the companies said.

Negative-carbon RNG is produced when carbon emissions are captured from dairies and turned into a transportation fuel, reducing the harmful effects on long-term climate change. As a result, the California Air Resources Board gives these carbon-negative RNG projects a carbon intensity score (gCO2e/MJ) of minus 250 (or lower), compared to 97 for diesel and 46 for electric batteries. Clean Energy is the largest provider of RNG as a transportation fuel in the United States and Canada, and the largest RNG fuel provider under the California LCFS program.

“We are very fortunate to have a partner in Total that is so supportive on a number of levels,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, CEO and president of Clean Energy. “Both our companies have recognized the enormous opportunity that a carbon-negative fuel can play in our ambitious efforts to combat climate change.

“This new agreement will allow Clean Energy to increase the flow of low-CI RNG as the demand expands, as well as the capital to build new fueling stations for additional contracted fleets.”

Clean Energy’s goal is to meet the rapidly growing demand by customers for carbon-negative RNG and to deliver 100% Redeem-branded RNG to its entire fueling infrastructure by 2025.

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BT staff