seeing gold

Sustainable biotech company to test hydrogen production technology with global chemicals leader

Two Houston companies have partnered up to explore gold hydrogen technology. Photo via cemvita.com

Two Houston-area companies have announced a strategic partnership to test a unique hydrogen production technology.

The Woodlands-based ChampionX Corporation (NASDAQ: CHX) and Gold H2 Inc. entered into the partnership on November 9. GH2, a subsidiary of Houston-based Cemvita, provides tailored subsurface microbiology solutions by harnessing the power of microorganisms to enable in-situ hydrogen production from depleted oil and gas wells.

Created with carbon neutrality, the gold hydrogen costs less to create and is more sustainable than its alternatives. Cemvita, a sustainability-focused biotech company, has already seen success from its technology. After successfully completing a pilot test of gold hydrogen in the oil-rich Permian Basin of West Texas, Cemvita raised an undisclosed amount of funding through its Gold H2 spin-out.

ChampionX, a global equipment and services provider for the oil and gas industry, has a suite of services and chemical technologies for optimizing production for reservoirs.

"Could not have asked for a better partner than ChampionX, Victor Keasler and Deric Bryant to helps us bring the Gold H2 technology to life. They are the industry leader in oilfield chemistry and microbiology and we are beyond excited to have them as a collaborator," Cemvita Co-founder and CEO Moji Karimi writes in a LinkedIn post. "I talk about creating a natural resource company of the future and our work at Gold H2 is a perfect example. To learn from subsurface biology and effectively turn the reservoir into a natural bioreactor and proactively biomanufacture end products of interest, integrating upstream with downstream."

Cemvita has had a flurry of corporate partnership announcements this year. In September, the company announced a 20-year off-take agreement with United to provide up to 50 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year across 20 years.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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