dac powered

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 in a news release.

Occidental is diving headfirst into the DAC sector. The primary example of its DAC commitment is construction in West Texas of the world’s largest DAC plant through a joint venture between Occidental subsidiary 1PointFive and investment giant BlackRock. BlackRock is investing $550 million in the facility.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-2025. The facility is eventually supposed to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

DAC technology pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere so it can be stored permanently or converted into products. While the carbon removal process sounds simple, it requires a tremendous amount of energy. That’s where fusion technology like TAE’s comes into play.

TAE’s fusion technology works by combining (or fusing) the light nuclei of elements such as hydrogen to produce energy. The energy release is managed by producing steam, which spins a turbine that drives an electric generator producing clean energy or clean heat.

Founded in 1998, Foothill Ranch, California-based TAE develops commercial fusion power for generation of clean energy.

“Oxy Low Carbon Venture’s desire for emissions-free energy makes this the perfect moment to explore the deployment of our commercial-ready power management products, while the growing demand for large-scale power generation can be served by our future fusion offerings,” says Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE.

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A View From HETI

Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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