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Texas initiatives snag solar funding, CTV makes battery investment, and more top energy transition news

Hit the highlights of this week's top trending Houston energy transition news. Photo via Getty Images

Editor'snote: From a new Texas hydrogen R&D lab opening to the newest cleantech investment from Chevron, these are the top headlines that resonated with EnergyCapital readers on social media and daily newsletter this week.

Two Texas coalitions part of $7B solar power federal grant program

Texas Solar For All Coalition and Clean Energy Fund of Texas were two of the 60 recipients of the Solar for All grant competition. Photo via Getty Images

The Biden administration delivered an Earth Day gift with the news that 60 grantees will receive $7 billion in grant awards.

Texas Solar For All Coalition and Clean Energy Fund of Texas were two of the 60 recipients of the Solar for All grant competition. The awardees will provide solar energy to 900,000 low-income households in all 50 states. This is expected to generate an estimated 200,000 jobs as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which includes $405,820,000 in Texas.

“President Biden’s clean energy plan is creating good-paying jobs, reducing emissions, and saving Americans money on their utility bills,” Climate Power Interim States Managing Director André Crombie says. Continue reading.

Texas lands in top 10 states expected to be most financially affected by weather events

Texas is expensive when it comes to weather events, a new report finds. Photo via Getty Images

Texas — home to everything from tornadoes to hurricanes — cracks the top 10 of a new report ranking states based on impact from weather-related events.

SmartAsset's new report factored in a myriad of data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to identify which states face the most financial risk due to various weather events. In the report, the states were ranked by the total expected annual financial losses per person. Texas ranked at No. 10.

"With a variety of environmental events affecting the wide stretch of the United States, each state is subject to its own risks," reads the report. Continue reading.

Eyeing demand growth, ERCOT calls for energy investments across Texas

ERCOT now estimates an extra 40,000 megawatts of growth in demand for electricity by 2030 compared with last year’s outlook. Photo via Getty Images

With the Electric Reliability Council of Texas forecasting a big spike in demand for electricity over the next five to seven years, the operator of Texas’ massive power grid is embracing changes that it says will yield a “tremendous opportunity” for energy investments across the state.

The council, known as ERCOT, now estimates an extra 40,000 megawatts of growth in demand for electricity by 2030 compared with last year’s outlook. According to ERCOT data, 40,000 megawatts of electricity would power roughly 8 million Texas homes during peak demand. Continue reading.

Texas hydrogen research hub opens to support statewide, DOE-backed initiative

The Center for Electromechanics at The University of Texas, Frontier Energy, Inc., and GTI Energy celebrated the grand opening of a hydrogen research and demonstration facility in Austin. Photo via utexas.edu

A Texas school has cut the ribbon on a new hydrogen-focused research facility that will play a role in a statewide, Department of Energy-funded energy transition initiative.

The Center for Electromechanics at The University of Texas, Frontier Energy, Inc., and GTI Energy celebrated the grand opening of a hydrogen research and demonstration facility in Austin as part of the “Demonstration and Framework for H2@Scale in Texas and Beyond” project, which is supported by the DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office. Continue reading.

Chevron, TotalEnergies back energy storage startup's $15.8M series A

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. Continue reading.

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A View From HETI

HEXASpec was founded by Rice Ph.D. candidates Tianshu Zhai and Chen-Yang Lin, who are a part of Lilie’s 2024 Innovation Fellows program. Photo courtesy of Rice

A group of Rice University student-founded companies shared $100,000 of cash prizes at an annual startup competition — and three of those winning companies are focused on sustainable solutions.

Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship's H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge, hosted by Rice earlier this month, named its winners for 2024. HEXASpec, a company that's created a new material to improve heat management for the semiconductor industry, won the top prize and $50,000 cash.

Founded by Rice Ph.D. candidates Tianshu Zhai and Chen-Yang Lin, who are a part of Lilie’s 2024 Innovation Fellows program, HEXASpec is improving efficiency and sustainability within the semiconductor industry, which usually consumes millions of gallons of water used to cool data centers. According to Rice's news release, HEXASpec's "next-generation chip packaging offer 20 times higher thermal conductivity and improved protection performance, cooling the chips faster and reducing the operational surface temperature."

A few other sustainability-focused startups won prizes, too. CoFlux Purification, a company that has a technology that breaks down PFAS using a novel absorbent for chemical-free water, won second place and $25,000, as well as the Audience Choice Award, which came with an additional $2,000.

Solidec, a company that's working on a platform to produce chemicals from captured carbon, and HEXASpec won Outstanding Achievement in Climate Solutions Prizes, which came with $1,000.

The NRLC, open to Rice students, is Lilie's hallmark event. Last year's winner was fashion tech startup, Goldie.

“We are the home of everything entrepreneurship, innovation and research commercialization for the entire Rice student, faculty and alumni communities,” Kyle Judah, executive director at Lilie, says in a news release. “We’re a place for you to immerse yourself in a problem you care about, to experiment, to try and fail and keep trying and trying and trying again amongst a community of fellow rebels, coloring outside the lines of convention."

This year, the competition started with 100 student venture teams before being whittled down to the final five at the championship. The program is supported by Lilie’s mentor team, Frank Liu and the Liu Family Foundation, Rice Business, Rice’s Office of Innovation, and other donors

“The heart and soul of what we’re doing to really take it to the next level with entrepreneurship here at Rice is this fantastic team,” Peter Rodriguez, dean of Rice Business, adds. “And they’re doing an outstanding job every year, reaching further, bringing in more students. My understanding is we had more than 100 teams submit applications. It’s an extraordinarily high number. It tells you a lot about what we have at Rice and what this team has been cooking and making happen here at Rice for a long, long time.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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