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Google expands Fervo Energy partnership, alternative materials co. wins DOE prize, and trending Houston news

Fervo Energy expanded its partnership with Google — and more top news from the week. Photo via fervoenergy.com

Editor'snote: From a Houston company winning a big DOE prize to Google expanding its relationship with Fervo Energy, these are the top headlines that resonated with EnergyCapital readers on social media and daily newsletter this week.

Houston-area energy tech startup wins DOE competition's $100,000 prize

Hertha Metals, based in Conroe, won first place at the 2024 Summer Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Startup Pitch Competition. Photo via DOE

Four startups from across the country won over $160,000 in cash prizes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions earlier this month, and a Houston-area company claimed the top prize.

Hertha Metals, based in Conroe, won first place at the 2024 Summer Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Startup Pitch Competition. The program honors and supports clean energy innovators nominated by clean technology business incubators.

“The EPIC Pitch Competition is a unique opportunity for start ups to highlight their technology, get on the main stage, and receive direct funding,” DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of OTT Vanessa Chan says in a news release. “The startup pitch winners have honed their entrepreneurial skills and demonstrated a critical understanding of their technological impacts, targeted markets, and scalable strategies.” Continue reading.

Oxy announces partnership to explore fusion technology in direct air capture facilities

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures says fusion technology holds the potential to supply emissions-free, continuous, on-demand energy to bolster power and heating requirements for Occidental’s large-scale DAC facilities. Photo via 1pointfive.com

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy giant Occidental, is teaming up with TAE Technologies to explore the use of TAE’s fusion technology at Occidental’s direct air capture (DAC) facilities.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures says fusion technology holds the potential to supply emissions-free, continuous, on-demand energy to bolster power and heating requirements for Occidental’s large-scale DAC facilities.

“Collaborating with TAE Technologies is an opportunity to build on Occidental’s portfolio of clean power sources that can provide our [DAC] facilities with reliable, emissions-free energy,” Frank Koller, vice president for power development at Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, says. Continue reading.

Houston geothermal company grows relationship with Google to provide power to Nevada

Through a first-of-its-kind proposal, Las Vegas-based public utility NV Energy would supply geothermal power generated by Fervo Energy for Google’s two data centers in Nevada. Screenshot via Google

Houston-based Fervo Energy’s geothermal energy soon will help power the world’s most popular website.

Through a first-of-its-kind proposal, Las Vegas-based public utility NV Energy would supply 115 megawatts of geothermal power generated by Fervo for Google’s two data centers in Nevada. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

In 2021, Google teamed up with Fervo to develop a pilot project for geothermal power in Nevada. Two years later, electricity from this project started flowing into the Nevada grid serving the two Google data centers. Google spent $600 million to build each of the centers, which are in Henderson, a Las Vegas suburb, and Storey County, which is east of Reno. Continue reading.

Houston solar energy company names new C-level leadership

Eric Williams has been appointed executive vice president and CFO of Sunnova. Photo via sunnova.com/

Houston’s Sunnova Energy has named a new member to its C suite.

Eric Williams has been appointed executive vice president and CFO of Sunnova, an industry-leading adaptive energy services company. He brings 20 years of experience with 13 years in the energy industry to the company.

Williams replaces Robert Lane. Lane served as Sunnova's executive vice president and CFO from May 2019 to June 2024.

“I was drawn to Sunnova by its commitment to power energy independence and make clean energy more accessible, reliable, and affordable for homeowners and businesses,” Williams says. Continue reading.

Houston SaaS startup on a mission of decarbonizing public transportation secures SBIR grant

ReVolt Battery Technology Corp. is based out of the University of Houston Innovation Center. Photo via revoltbatterytechnology.com

A Houston company that's electrifying public transportation secured a SBIR Phase 1 award from the Department of Transportation.

ReVolt Battery Technology Corp., software-as-a-service company based out of the University of Houston Innovation Center, received the award. The company did not disclose the monetary value of the funding, but indicated that the grant will support ReVolt's "research on reducing auxiliary power consumption in battery electric buses," according to a statement from the company. Continue reading.

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A View From HETI

Here's 1PoinFive's newest customer on its Texas CCUS project. Photo via 1pointfive.com

Occidental Petroleum’s Houston-based carbon capture, utilization and, sequestration (CCUS) subsidiary, 1PointFive, has inked a six-year deal to sell 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide removal credits to software giant Microsoft.

In a news release, 1Point5 says this agreement represents the largest-ever single purchase of carbon credits enabled by direct air capture (DAC). DAC technology pulls CO2 from the air at any location, not just where carbon dioxide is emitted.

Under the agreement, the carbon dioxide that underlies the credits will be stored in a below-the-surface saline aquifer and won’t be used to produce oil or gas.

“A commitment of this magnitude further demonstrates how one of the world’s largest corporations is integrating scalable [DAC] into its net-zero strategy,” says Michael Avery, president and general manager of 1PointFive. “Energy demand across the technology industry is increasing, and we believe [DAC] is uniquely suited to remove residual emissions and further climate goals.”

Brian Marrs, senior director for carbon removal and energy at Microsoft, says DAC plays a key role in Microsoft’s effort to become carbon-negative by 2030.

The carbon dioxide will be stored at 1PointFive’s first industrial-scale DAC plant, being built near Odessa. The $1.3 billion Stratos project, which 1Point5 is developing through a joint venture with investment manager BlackRock, is designed to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

The facility is scheduled to open in mid-2025.

Aside from Microsoft, organizations that have agreed to buy carbon removal credits from 1Point5 include Amazon, Airbus, All Nippon Airways, the Houston Astros, the Houston Texans, and TD Bank.

Occidental says 1PointFive plans to set up more than 100 DAC facilities worldwide by 2035.

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