top stories

Houston Methodist seeing green, ERCOT's new execs, and more trending Houston energy news

Houston Methodist pulls back the curtain on its sustainability initiatives — and more trending news from the week. Rendering courtesy of Houston Methodist

Editor's note: It's been a busy news week for energy transition in Houston, and some of this week's headlines resonated with EnergyCapital readers on social media and daily newsletter. Trending news included Houston Methodist's green initiatives, an interview with a renewables entrepreneur, and more.


Why this Houston energy innovator created a spin-off company to focus on tire waste

Vibhu Sharma founded InnoVent Renewables to make a sustainable impact on tire waste. Photo courtesy

With over a billion cars. currently on the road — each with four tires that will eventually end up discarded, one Houstonian is hoping to create the infrastructure to sustainably dispose of tire waste now and into the future.

Announced earlier this month, Vibhu Sharma founded InnoVent Renewables to establish production facilities that utilize a proprietary continuous pyrolysis technology that is able to convert waste tires, plastics, and biomass into fuels and chemicals.

In a Q&A with EnergyCapital, Sharma explains his plans to sustainably impact the tire waste space and his vision for his company. Read more.

How this Houston hospital is leading sustainable health care

Houston Methodist has several ongoing and future initiatives dedicated to reducing the hospital system's carbon footprint. Photo via HoustonMethodist.org

The United States health care sector contributes around 8.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and one Houston hospital is committed to doing its part in reducing the industry's carbon footprint.

Houston Methodist, which recently opened a new tech hub in the Ion in midtown, has put in place several initiatives that reflect a more sustainable future for health care. The organization, which has seven hospitals in the Houston area, revealed some of these ongoing and planned projects at a recent event.

"Houston Methodist is always looking ahead on ways — not only of how we are taking care of patients — but what are we doing to create this environment and making the right efforts for sustainability, which we should all be doing," Michelle Stansbury, vice president of innovation and IT applications at Houston Methodist, says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "We have to protect this environment that we have or it may not be the same for our children going forward." Read more.

ERCOT makes major leadership changes, names COO

ERCOT has made four leadership changes. Photo courtesy of ERCOT

Last week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, announced a reorganization amongst its leadership.

“These changes were designed to harness the collaborative talents and strengths of our experienced team in supporting the delivery of reliable and efficient energy to the millions of Texans that we serve,” Pablo Vegas, ERCOT President and CEO, says in a news release.

Effective September 1, four ERCOT leaders have new titles and positions. Read more.

Houston-based, energy-focused digital media company launches networking app

This Houston-based media company launched a networking platform to help solve the energy crisis. Photo via Headway/Unsplash

A Houston-based media organization dedicated to covering the energy industry has officially launched the beta program of their networking app.

After producing zanily named energy podcasts like “Big Digital Energy” and “What the Funk,” Digital WIldcatters is trying to bridge the hiring gap in the energy industry. By providing a platform for individuals to get their questions answered by experts and a space for companies seeking qualified talent, Collide is structured to ignite the next generation of energy innovators. Collide is currently available for users in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Collin McLelland, co-founder and CEO of Digital Wildcatters, says he aims to expand their professional community through this networking platform. Rather than being a transition away from Digital Wildcatters’ roots as a digital media organization McLelland explains Collide is an integration of the community they have built through podcasts and events into an interactive platform.

“If you look at what we’ve done historically with Digital Wildcatters, we’ve built an extremely engaged community of energy professionals — it’s a next generation community, very young forward thinking professionals that are working towards solving the world’s energy crisis,” McLelland shares. Read more.

Houston company gets greenlight for liquid hydrogen storage system

CB&I got the approval it was looking for on its cargo containment system for liquid hydrogen. Photo courtesy

CB&I, the storage business of Houston-based energy contractor McDermott International, has gotten a preliminary green light for its design of a cargo containment system for liquid hydrogen.

DNV, a classification body for the maritime industry, extended the preliminary approval for the system’s design. CB&I is working on the project with Shell International Trading and Shipping, which transports crude oil, gas, carbon dioxide, and other cargo.

The Shell transportation unit operates the Suiso Frontier, the world’s first ship for hauling liquid hydrogen (LH2). The vessel can carry 75 metric tons of LH2. The Suiso Frontier, which completed its maiden voyage between Australia and Japan in 2022, is the key component of a $360 million coal-to-hydrogen venture. Read more.

Trending News

A View From HETI

The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to Rice University. Photo via Rice.edu

A team of Rice University physicists has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Physics for their work in high-energy nuclear physics and research into a new state of matter.

The five-year $15.5 million grant will go towards Rice physics and astronomy professor Wei Li's discoveries focused on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), a large, general-purpose particle physics detector built on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, a European organization for nuclear research in France and Switzerland. The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to a statement from Rice.

Li's team will work to develop an ultra-fast silicon timing detector, known as the endcap timing layer (ETL), that will provide upgrades to the CMS detector. The ETl is expected to have a time resolution of 30 picoseconds per particle, which will allow for more precise time-of-flight particle identification.

This will also help boost the performance of the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), which is scheduled to launch at CERN in 2029, allowing it to operate at about 10 times the luminosity than originally planned. The ETL also has applications for other colliders apart from the LHC, including the DOE’s electron-ion collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.

“The ETL will enable breakthrough science in the area of heavy ion collisions, allowing us to delve into the properties of a remarkable new state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma,” Li explained in a statement. “This, in turn, offers invaluable insights into the strong nuclear force that binds particles at the core of matter.”

The ETL is also expected to aid in other areas of physics, including the search for the Higgs particle and understanding the makeup of dark matter.

Li is joined on this work by co-principal investigator Frank Geurts and researchers Nicole Lewis and Mike Matveev from Rice. The team is collaborating with others from MIT, Oak Ridge National Lab, the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Kansas.

Last year, fellow Rice physicist Qimiao Si, a theoretical quantum physicist, earned the prestigious Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship grant. The five-year fellowship, with up to $3 million in funding, will go towards his work to establish an unconventional approach to create and control topological states of matter, which plays an important role in materials research and quantum computing.

Meanwhile, the DOE recently tapped three Houston universities to compete in its annual startup competition focused on "high-potential energy technologies,” including one team from Rice.

Trending News