new deal

Oxy's sustainability subsidiary announces DAC agreement with commodities group

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

Oxy's carbon capture, utilization and sequestration company announced it's latest carbon dioxide removal credits purchasing agreement with a global commodities group.

Trafigura has agreed to purchase carbon dioxide removal credits to be produced from 1PointFive’s first industrial-scale Direct Air Capture facility, Stratos, that is being built in Texas.

Stratos, which is expected to be the largest facility of its kind in the world, will be configured to be able to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of CO2 annually when fully operational. The captured CO2 underlying Trafigura’s removal credits plan to be stored through durable subsurface saline sequestration.

The advance purchase of DAC credits from 1PointFive will support early-stage technologies to enable high-quality carbon removal credits. The deal can lead to broader adoption of 1PointFive’s CDR credits to help hard-to-abate industries address their emissions.

“We are delighted to collaborate with 1PointFive as we expand our global customer offering for hard-to-abate sectors,” Hannah Hauman, global head of Carbon Trading for Trafigura, says in a news release. “Supporting the development of large-scale removals projects demonstrates our commitment to advancing carbon sequestration technologies, underpinning demand today to enable the scaling of production for tomorrow.”

1PointFive is working to help curb global temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2050 through the deployment of decarbonization solutions, which includes Carbon Engineering's Direct Air Capture and AIR TO FUELS solutions alongside geologic sequestration hubs.

Last November, Canada’s TD Securities investment bank agreed to buy 27,500 metric tons of carbon removal credits from 1PointFive's Stratos, news that followed Amazon's commitment to purchase 250,000 metric tons of carbon removal credits. BlackRock has agreed to pump $550 million into the project, the company reported last fall.

Trafigura continues to invest in renewable energy projects and technologies to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. The company works through joint ventures including H2Energy Europe and Nala Renewables. The deal is Trafigura’s first transaction towards meeting its 2023 goal, as is its commitment as a Founding Member of the First Movers Coalition to purchase at least 50,000 tons of durable and scalable net carbon dioxide removal credits generated through advanced CDR technologies.

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A View From HETI

IBM and Boxes recently partnered to integrate the IBM watsonx Assistant into Boxes devices, providing a way for consumer packaged brands to find out more than ever about what its customers like and want. Photo courtesy of Boxes

With the help of a new conversational artificial intelligence platform, a Houston startup is ready to let brands get up close and personal with consumers while minimizing waste.

IBM and Boxes recently partnered to integrate the IBM watsonx Assistant into Boxes devices, providing a way for consumer packaged brands to find out more than ever about what its customers like and want.

The Boxes device, about the size of a 40-inch television screen, dispenses products to consumers in a modern and sustainable spin on the old-fashioned large vending machine.

CEO Fernando Machin Gojdycz learned that business from his entrepreneur father, Carlos Daniel Machin, while growing up in Uruguay.

“That’s where my passion comes from — him,” Gojdycz says of his father. In 2016, Gojdycz founded Boxes in Uruguay with some engineer friends

Funded by a $2,000 grant from the University of Uruguay, the company's mission was “to democratize and economize affordable and sustainable shopping,” in part by eliminating wasteful single-use plastic packaging.

“I worked for one year from my bedroom,” he tells InnovationMap.

Fernando Machin Gojdycz founded Boxes in Uruguay before relocating the company to Greentown Houston. Photo courtesy of Boxes

The device, attached to a wall, offers free samples, or purchased products, in areas of high foot traffic, with a touch-screen interface. Powered by watsonx Assistant, the device asks survey questions of the customer, who can answer or not, on their mobile devices, via a QR code.

In return for completing a survey, customers can get a digital coupon, potentially generating future sales. The software and AI tech tracks sales and consumer preferences, giving valuable real-time market insight.

“This is very powerful,” he says.

Boxes partnered in Uruguay with major consumer brands like Kimberly-Clark, SC Johnson and Unilever, and during COVID, pivoted and offered PPE products. Then, with plans of an expansion into the United States, Boxes in 2021 landed its first U.S. backer, with $120,000 in funding from startup accelerator Techstars.

This led to a partnership with the Minnesota Twins, where Boxes devices at Target Field dispensed brand merchandise like keychains and bottles of field dirt.

Gojdycz says while a company in the Northeast is developing a product similar in size, Boxes is not “targeting traditional spaces.” Its software and integration with AI allows Boxes to seamlessly change the device screen and interface, remotely, as well.

Boxes aims to provide the devices in smaller spaces, like restrooms, where they have a device at the company's headquarters at climate tech incubator Greentown Labs. Boxes also recently added a device at Hewlett Packard Enterprise headquarters in Spring, as part of HPE’s diversity startup program.

Boxes hopes to launch another sustainable innovation later this year, in universities and supermarkets. The company is also developing a device that would offer refillable detergent and personal cleaning products like shampoo and conditioner with a reusable container.

Since plastic packaging accounts for 40 percent of retail price, consumers would pay far less, making a huge difference, particularly for lower-income families, he says.

“We are working to make things happen, because we have tried to pitch this idea,” he says.

Some supermarket retailers worry they may lose money or market share, and that shoppers may forget to bring the refill bottles with them to the store, for example.

“It’s about..the U.S. customer,” he says, “….but we think that sooner or later, it will come.”

Boxes has gotten funding from the accelerator startup branch of Houston-based software company Softeq, as well as Mission Driven Finance, Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund, and Right Side Capital, among others.

“Our primary challenges are scaling effectively with a small, yet compact team and maintaining control over our financial runway,” Gojdycz says.

The company has seven employees, including two on its management team.

Gojdycz says they are actively hiring, particularly in software and hardware engineering, but also in business development.

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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