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New Houston energy tech showroom, a deadline not to forget, and more to know this week

The Baker Hughes Technology Showcase opens — and more things to know this week. Photo courtesy of Baker Hughes

Editor's note: It's a new week — start it strong with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: looking back on top news from 2023, a deadline not to miss, and more.

New Baker Hughes Technology Showcase

The Baker Hughes Technology Showcase exists permanently at the company's Western Hemisphere Education Center in Tomball just outside of Houston to display the company's technologies.

There are more than 30 physical displays — some scaled down and 3D printed while others are exact replicas of the technology out in the field. In addition to these tangible pieces, hundreds are available to peruse on the touch-screen displays.

While there's the full technology spectrum represented, there's a particular focus on clean energy technologies — ones that aren't just future facing but are actually being used in the field today. Read more about the new showcase.

Upcoming deadline: The DOE's EnergyTech University Prize

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship will host the regional qualifier for a Department of Energy-backed student competition, and the application deadline to participate is coming up.

The DOE's EnergyTech University Prize, or EnergyTech UP, a virtual regional qualifier hosted by the Rice Alliance will take place in February, and applications for students and faculty are now open. A $400,000 collegiate competition, the program challenges student teams to develop a business plan based off of National Laboratory-developed or other emerging energy technology.

The application deadline is February 1 for students. This year there's a new track for faculty that has a prize of $100,000 on the line. Faculty have until January 5 to apply. Learn more.

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A View From HETI

Black Bayou Energy Hub is developing an underground energy storage facility near the Louisiana/Texas border on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Photo courtesy of Mercuria

A global independent energy and commodities group with its United States office in Houston has announced an investment in a Gulf Coast salt dome energy storage project.

Mercuria did not disclose its financial contribution into Lafayette, Louisiana-based Black Bayou Energy Hub LLC, but the company's support will go toward the development of the energy infrastructure of the large-scale, underground energy storage facility in Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes in Louisiana, which is alongside the Texas border.

"Mercuria's investment in Black Bayou Energy Hub represents a significant step towards enhancing the resilience and flexibility of our energy infrastructure. This partnership leverages Mercuria's robust financial capabilities and extensive expertise in commodity markets, aligning with Black Bayou's strategic location and development potential," Boris Bystrov, managing director of investments at Mercuria, says in a news release.

"We are committed to supporting innovative projects like Black Bayou essential for transitioning to a sustainable global energy future," he continues. "Together, we aim to create a storage solution that addresses the dynamic needs of the energy sector, fostering stability and growth in the U.S. Gulf Coast region and beyond."

Located in Southwest Louisiana near what is called "LNG Alley," the Black Bayou Energy Hub will initially store FERC-regulated natural gas energy in its salt dome storage capacity, as well as develop wide range of energy products to meet growing customer need, per the release.

The strategic location of the facility — 25 miles on either side of growing cities Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas — is just seven miles east of the Louisiana/Texas border and 18 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico coastline.

"Mercuria's investment in the Black Bayou Energy Hub creates an ideal partnership that combines Mercuria's financial strength, extensive commodity experience, and global reach with Black Bayou's unique project attributes and the team's deep expertise developing, owning, and operating underground salt dome storage projects," adds Tad Lalande, Black Bayou's CEO. "We're thrilled to add Mercuria to our roster of existing sponsors, including Charlestown Energy Partners and Cameron Prairie Sporting Club, as we progress our development and bring this project to life."

With its local office in Houston's Greenway Plaza, Mercuria, founded in 2004, has pledged that over half of its new investments will go toward renewables and transitional energy.

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