January 28, 2023

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Lincoln clean energy company gets largest-ever investment | Local Business News

Monolith, the Lincoln-based clean energy company, announced this week that it received what is likely the largest single investment in Nebraska history.

The company, which has a plant near Hallam that produces carbon black, a powdery substance that’s used in tires, inks, plastics and other products, said it recently received more than $300 million from a host of big-name investors.

The round of investment was led by TPG Rise Climate, the dedicated climate investing strategy of TPG’s global impact investing platform TPG Rise, and Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek. Additional investment was also received from NextEra Energy Resources, SK, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Azimuth Capital Management. Some of the same companies participated in a $120 million investment round for Monolith last year.

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That $120 million investment had tied a 2020 Hudl investment as the previous largest in state history.

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“Global decarbonization by 2050 will require bold steps and transformational partnerships, which we believe we’ve found in working with TPG Rise Climate and Decarbonization Partners,” Rob Hanson, co-founder and CEO of Monolith, said in a news release. “We’re eager to continue Monolith’s growth trajectory to support a high energy, low emissions future.”

The company is in the process of building a second carbon black plant that will increase its production capacity to nearly 200,000 tons of carbon black per year, as well as an anhydrous ammonia plant that will use the hydrogen produced in the carbon black manufacturing process and combine it with nitrogen to produce the liquid fertilizer that farmers use. That plant will have a capacity of about 275,000 metric tons annually.

In December, Monolith announced that it had received conditional approval for a $1.04 billion loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Title XVII Innovative Energy Loan Guarantee Program. It is expected to start construction on the plant either later this year or early next year, with a planned completion date of 2026.

“Producing sustainable hydrogen and carbon black is crucial to decarbonizing the energy and materials industry,” Dr. Meghan Sharp, global head of Decarbonization Partners, said in the release. We are pleased to support Monolith’s growth and continued expansion.”

Monolith has now raised more equity investment than any startup company in the history of both Lincoln and Nebraska.

Ben Williamson, principal and general counsel of Invest Nebraska, said Monolith is attracting a lot of investment because it has a lot going for it that is attractive to investors.

“Climate/decarbonization tech is very sexy right now,” Williamson said, especially for large private equity and publicly traded firms, and it has become an even more attractive industry because of the war in Ukraine, he said.

In addition, Monolith’s $1.04 billion loan from the federal government also makes it attractive because it means investors know the money they give the company can be used for expansion rather than on capital projects.

In its news release, Monolith said the new investment will go toward “further technological development that will offer next-generation product capabilities and other corporate-level expansion.”

The company also said the capital infusion will enable it to continue development of “a deep backlog of clean hydrogen, ammonia and carbon projects with industry-leading partners.”

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