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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024

Natural Gas Co. Rimere Lands $10M

Rimere has landed a $10 million investment from Clean Energy Fuels Corp. for further development and testing of its climate solutions technology.

Rimere’s two devices, dubbed the Mitigator and the Reformer, aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas operations through a process that produces clean hydrogen for different energy needs.

“With the Clean Energy investment, we’ll be scaling up production and expanding our team of scientists to help us evolve and advance our technologies,” Chief Executive Mitchell Pratt told the Business Journal.

Clean Energy (Nasdaq: CLNE), the largest supplier of renewable natural gas for transportation in the U.S., is a “major investor” in Rimere, according to Pratt. Both firms are based in Newport Beach and work out of the same office building.

In addition to leading Rimere, Pratt currently serves as chief technology development officer at Clean Energy, which currently counts a nearly $700 million valuation, and was chief operating officer prior to that for more than two decades.

Rimere has raised $18.3 million to date since its founding in 2020.

The company said it expects to commercialize the Mitigator by the end of this year after more field demonstrations and durability testing, and complete the prototype for the Reformer at the beginning of the first quarter next year.

Wonder Material

Natural gas accounted for about 33% of U.S. energy consumption in 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

While natural gas is a relatively cleaner burning fossil fuel than coal or oil, it still releases carbon dioxide.

Natural gas is made up of 97% methane, which is the second largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels, Pratt said.

Rimere’s Mitigator, the first of its two devices, reduces the potency of methane into a cleaner product.

It can reduce 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, according to Pratt.

The Mitigator can be connected to leaking points in a natural gas pipeline and capture escaping methane emissions.

Rimere’s other product, the Reformer, then transforms natural gas into clean hydrogen without producing any carbon dioxide.

“By cleaning up the natural gas infrastructure, we remove a lot of the reasons for natural gas being vilified,” Pratt said.

Both devices utilize plasma technology, which Pratt says breaks apart methane molecules and recombines them into a cleaner alternative.

Rimere’s Reformer also co-produces graphene, which Pratt refers to as this century’s “wonder material.”

Graphene, a form of carbon, is the world’s thinnest material and is said to be 200 times stronger than steel.

The potential uses for graphene in medical devices, electronics and concrete are still being explored, but is known to improve batteries for faster charging, more energy storage and lighter weight.

Clean Energy Crossover

What is now Rimere was initially formed by a collaboration between Clean Energy and a company specializing in plasma technology called ThrivalTech in 2020.

“The team was looking for a strategic and capital partner and Clean Energy was a great fit,” Clean Energy Chief Executive Andrew Littlefair told the Business Journal over email.

The recent $10 million investment in Rimere was a “logical extension” for Clean Energy, according to Littlefair.

“We saw the opportunity to direct the development of their technology toward low-carbon energy applications,” Littlefair said.

Littlefair said Pratt was “instrumental” in Rimere’s development.

Pratt has been in the natural gas industry for over 40 years and started his career back in 1983 as general manager of the natural gas vehicle department for the Southern California Gas Company.

Rimere is headquartered in the same building as Clean Energy in Newport Beach, but also has operations in Colorado.

Clean Energy last week reported $106.9 million for fourth-quarter revenue. Shares in the company rose 3% to $3.04 following the announcement.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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