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DOE names Houston energy transition leader to advisory committee

Joe Powell has been named to a committee for the United States Department of Energy. Photo courtesy of UH

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm appointed a Houston leader to a prestigious committee.

Joe Powell, founding executive director of the Energy Transition Institute at the University of Houston, has been named to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technology Innovation Advisory Committee (ITIAC), which consists of 18 members of “diverse stakeholders” according to a news release from the university.

“The collaborative work of the ITIAC aligns seamlessly with the mission of the Energy Transition Institute at the University of Houston," Powell says in a news release. “Together, we will endeavor to drive impactful change in the realm of industrial decarbonization and pave the way for a sustainable future.”

Powell brings 36 years of industry experience to the committee, as he is a distinguished member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and former chief scientist at Shell. He was recruited by the University of Houston in 2022 through a matching grant from the Texas Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI).

The Energy Transition Institute at UH focuses on hydrogen, carbon management, and circular plastics and collaborates closely with the University's Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute and researchers from various disciplines, and other partners in academia and various industries.

Also named to the committee is Chevron Technology Venture's general manager of strategy and technology, Akshay Sahni.

The committee’s mandate includes identifying potential investment opportunities and technical assistance programs. They also assist in helping to bring decarbonization technologies into the marketplace. Committee members will evaluate DOE’s department-wide decarbonization efforts, which includes initiatives that advance the two Energy Earthshots related to industrial decarbonization in the Clean Fuels & Products Shot and the Industrial Heat Shot.

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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