ready to grow

Houston carbon storage solutions company names new energy transition leader at pivotal time of growth

Graham Payne, the new director of energy transition at Caliche Development Partners II, is bullish on Houston. Photo courtesy

Graham Payne sees a bright future for the multibillion-dollar energy transition economy in Houston.

“It’s been said that Houston is poised, like no other city, to lead the energy transition. And I’d have to agree, because we have all the requisite natural resources, industry, and talent,” says Payne, the new director of energy transition at Houston-based carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) company Caliche Development Partners II.

Caliche and other Houston-based energy transition companies secured $6.1 billion in private funding last year, up 62 percent from 2022, according to the Greater Houston Partnership.

“As the region positions itself as the leader in the global energy transition, Houston has seen constant growth in annual energy transition investments over the last five years,” the partnership says.

Payne, a geologist, comes to Caliche after holding roles at Battelle and Schlumberger, among other companies. Houston-based Sudduth Search recruited Payne for the Caliche job.

In his new position, Payne is overseeing permitting and completion of a leased 4,000-acre site in Beaumont for sequestration of carbon dioxide. Payne will also work on current and potential gas storage projects, which he says “will continue to play an important role in the energy mix.”

At previous employers, Payne has tackled various aspects of CCUS.

“The really enticing part about this job is the chance to put it all together, and then operate a full-scale operation,” he says. “I want this technology to move firmly out of the research phase and start making a measurable difference against climate change.”

Payne says Caliche is capable of successfully straddling the worlds of CCUS, natural gas storage, and industrial gas storage. The Beaumont project alone will be able sequester at least 30 million metric tons of carbon, a Caliche estimate indicates.

In November, Caliche announced the acquisition of its first CCUS assets, Golden Triangle Storage and Central Valley Gas Storage, following a $268 million infusion of capital from Orion Infrastructure Capital and GCM Grosvenor. Orion maintains offices in Houston, New York City, and London. GCM is based in Chicago.

The Golden Triangle and Central Valley deals were valued at a combined $186 million.

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A View From HETI

LiNova will use the funds to advance its polymer cathode battery technology. Photo via Getty Images

A California startup that's revolutionizing polymer cathode battery technology has announced its series A round of funding with support from Houston-based energy transition leaders.

LiNova Energy Inc. closed a $15.8 million series A round led by Catalus Capital. Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, which has its US HQ in Houston, and Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures, also participated in the round with a coalition of other investors.

LiNova will use the funds with its polymer cathode battery to advance the energy storage landscape, according to the company. The company uses a high-energy polymer battery technology that is designed to allow material replacement of the traditional cathode that is made up of cobalt, nickel, and other materials.

The joint development agreement with Saft will have them collaborate to develop the battery technology for commercialization in Saft's key markets.

“We are proud to collaborate with LiNova in scaling up its technology, leveraging the extensive experience of Saft's research teams, our newest prototype lines, and our industrial expertise in battery cell production," Cedric Duclos, CEO of Saft, says in a news release.

CTV recently announced its $500 million Future Energy Fund III, which aims to lead on emerging mobility, energy decentralization, industrial decarbonization, and the growing circular economy. Chevron has promised to spend $10 billion on lower carbon energy investments and projects by 2028.

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