Zodiac Maritime and Fortescue are among investors that have pumped €140m ($150m) into Tree Energy Solutions, a start-up aiming to build green fuel production projects.

Belgium-headquartered TES aims to use some of the new cash to help build its planned electric natural gas production projects.

The fuel, also known as e-NG or e-methane, is produced from green hydrogen made with renewable electricity. For shipping, liquefied e-methane offers a greener alternative that can be dropped into LNG-fuelled ships without technology upgrades.

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The funds, which mark the company’s third fundraising, will also help bankroll a planned import terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

“The fundraising is an important step on our journey to deliver affordable e-NG and hydrogen,” TES chief executive Marco Alvera said.

“This newly raised capital will be used to advance the development of our upstream and downstream e-NG projects internationally. Our sustainable business model has attracted world-class strategic and financial partners to continue executing on our projects.”

Zodiac, the London-based vessel operator controlled by Eyal Ofer, is among returning investors that also include private investment firms AtlasInvest and Reggeborgh, as well as clean energy developer Zhero.

New investors included Australia’s Fortescue, which is best known as a mining giant but which also has a green energy unit, as well as asset manager Azimut Group, utility E.ON and banking giant HSBC.

MW&L Capital Partners acted as financial adviser and placement agent on the TES fundraiser, while Burggraaf & Hoekstra acted as legal adviser.

In a January blog post, TES touted electric natural gas as an alternative fuel that can extend the life of LNG-fuelled vessels.

“As regulations on greenhouse gasses in the maritime and shipping industry tighten, it’s crucial for those in the field to explore alternative fuels,” the company said.

“A high percentage of the companies that are already diversifying their fuel mix are choosing LNG. e-NG is a far more compelling choice, more economic to produce and technologically ready for rollout.”