Q&A

Houston energy tech founder envisions enhanced clean energy marketplace

The conversation with Jason Beck of ZettaWatts offers a glimpse into the exciting world of energy transition.

For Jason Beck, a cleaner future is personal. That's why his company, ZettaWatts, is making clean energy more affordable and available.

In this Energy Tech Startups episode, we dive deep into the world of energy transition technologies with Beck from ZettaWatts. Jason shares his unique perspective on the evolving energy landscape, the importance of climate journeys, and the innovative solutions ZettaWatts is bringing to the table.



The conversation with Beck offers a glimpse into the exciting world of energy transition. As we move towards a more sustainable future, it's essential to stay informed and engaged with the latest developments in the sector.

Energy Tech Startups: What is ZettaWatts' primary mission in the energy transition landscape?

JasonBeck: ZettaWatts is deeply committed to enabling energy transition technologies to reach the market and improve their financial viability. The company's primary goal is to bridge the gap between groundbreaking technologies and the financial structures that support them. By doing so, they hope to accelerate the adoption of sustainable energy solutions.

ETS: You mentioned the importance of individual "climate journeys." Can you elaborate on this concept?

JB: Absolutely. A climate journey refers to an individual's evolving understanding and commitment to sustainability and climate action. It's a personal path that often starts with a growing awareness of environmental issues and culminates in concrete actions to address them. My own journey began with a realization of the pressing need for collective action against climate change. It's essential for everyone to embark on their climate journey, as it fosters a sense of responsibility and drives impactful change.

ETS: Houston is emerging as a hub for energy transition. What makes the city stand out in this regard?

JB: Houston's energy ecosystem is vibrant and diverse. Historically known for its oil and gas industry, the city is now embracing renewable energy and sustainable solutions. This shift is evident in the increasing number of startups, research institutions, and established companies focusing on green energy in the region. The collaborative spirit and wealth of resources make Houston an ideal place for companies like ZettaWatts to thrive.

ETS: How does ZettaWatts differentiate itself as a market maker in the energy sector?

JB: Unlike traditional bilateral markets, ZettaWatts operates as a market maker by aggregating demand and supply. This unique approach allows for instant diversification, reducing risks for both buyers and sellers. By acting as a central hub, ZettaWatts can efficiently match renewable energy projects with interested investors, streamlining the process and ensuring optimal outcomes for all parties involved.

ETS:  Decarbonization by 2050 is a significant goal. How do you see renewable energy playing a role in achieving this target?

JB: Renewable energy is pivotal in addressing the carbon problem. To achieve decarbonization by 2050, we need a comprehensive plan, and renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro play a crucial role in this roadmap. I highly recommend the book "Speed and Scale" as it provides a master plan for this ambitious goal. With the right strategies and collective effort, I believe we can create a sustainable future.

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This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click here to listen to the full episode.

Hosted by Jason Ethier and Nada Ahmed, the Digital Wildcatters’ podcast, Energy Tech Startups, delves into Houston's pivotal role in the energy transition, spotlighting entrepreneurs and industry leaders shaping a low-carbon future. Digital Wildcatters is a Houston-based media platform and podcast network, which is home to the Energy Tech Startups podcast.

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A View From HETI

The DOE program allows graduate students to work on research projects that address national and international energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges. Photo via UH.edu

Three rising stars in the energy sector who are graduate students at the University of Houston have been chosen for a prestigious U.S. Department of Energy research program.

UH doctoral candidates Caleb Broodo, Leonard Jiang, and Farzana Likhi, are among 86 students from 31 states who were selected for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research program, which provides training at Department of Energy (DOE) labs.

“This recognition is a testament to their hard work and dedication to pushing the boundaries of science, and to our commitment to fostering excellence in research and innovation,” Sarah Larsen, vice provost and dean of the UH’s graduate school, says in a news release.

The DOE program allows graduate students to work on research projects that address national and international energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges.

The program “is a unique opportunity for graduate students to complete their Ph.D. training with teams of world-class experts aiming to answer some of the most challenging problems in fundamental science,” says Harriet Kung, acting director of DOE’s Office of Science. “Gaining access to cutting-edge tools for scientific discovery at DOE national laboratories will be instrumental in preparing the next generation of scientific leaders.”

Here’s a rundown of the UH trio’s involvement in the DOE program:

  • Broodo, a second-year Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on heavy ion nuclear physics, will work at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.
  • Jiang, a third-year Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering, will head to Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois to research electrochemistry.
  • Likhi, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the materials science and engineering program, will conduct research on microelectronics at Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee.

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