Changing the Future

Major energy conference returns to Rice University with invaluable networking opportunities

Photo by Natalie Harms

The 20th Annual Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Forum , which unites energy ventures with industry investors, is returning Thursday, September 21, at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

For two decades, the Energy Tech Venture Forum — hosted by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship — has served as the premier conference, bringing together energy industry leaders, venture capital investors, and promising energy and cleantech ventures to propel the future of energy.

Across interactive panels, keynotes speeches, and venture pitches, attendees can explore emerging energy sources, enhancements and efficiencies within existing energy resources, and advances in clean or renewable technologies — and, perhaps most importantly, learn where investors are contributing to the acceleration of these advancements.

More than 90 startup technology ventures commercializing energy transition innovations will participate and meet investors looking for disruptive energy technologies that can accelerate clean and renewable energy.

The full list of both presenting companies and pitching startup can be found here .

Keynote speakers include:

  • Christina Karapataki , partner at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the venture capital fund cofounded by Bill Gates
  • Scott Nyquist , vice chairman at Houston Energy Transition Initiative, founded by the Greater Houston Partnership
  • Jeff Tillery , chief operating officer at Veriten, founded by Rice alumus Maynard Holt, formerly with Tudor Pickering Holt

The event also includes pitches from Rice Alliance’s Clean Energy Accelerator Class 3 Demo Day , plus the announcement of “Most Promising Company” chosen by the energy tech industry experts and participating investors.

You'll want to register now for this invaluable conference, but if you still need some convincing then check out the forum's agenda here .

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A View From HETI

A View From UH

A Rice University professor studied the Earth's carbon cycle in the Rio Madre de Dios to shed light on current climate conditions. Photo courtesy of Mark Torres/Rice University

Carbon cycles through Earth, its inhabitants, and its atmosphere on a regular basis, but not much research has been done on that process and qualifying it — until now.

In a recent study of a river system extending from the Peruvian Andes to the Amazon floodplains, Rice University’s Mark Torres and collaborators from five institutions proved that that high rates of carbon breakdown persist from mountaintop to floodplain.

“The purpose of this research was to quantify the rate at which Earth naturally releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and find out whether this process varies across different geographic locations,” Torres says in a news release .

Torres published his findings in a study published in PNAS , explaining how they used rhenium — a silvery-gray, heavy transition metal — as a proxy for carbon. The research into the Earth’s natural, pre-anthropogenic carbon cycle stands to benefit humanity by providing valuable insight to current climate challenges.

“This research used a newly-developed technique pioneered by Robert Hilton and Mathieu Dellinger that relies on a trace element — rhenium — that’s incorporated in fossil organic matter,” Torres says. “As plankton die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, that dead carbon becomes chemically reactive in a way that adds rhenium to it.”

The research was done in the Rio Madre de Dios basin and supported by funding from a European Research Council Starting Grant, the European Union COFUND/Durham Junior Research Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation.

“I’m very excited about this tool,” Torres said. “Rice students have deployed this same method in our lab here, so now we can make this kind of measurement and apply it at other sites. In fact, as part of current research funded by the National Science Foundation, we are applying this technique in Southern California to learn how tectonics and climate influence the breakdown of fossil carbon.”

Torres also received a three-year grant from the Department of Energy to study soil for carbon storage earlier this year.

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