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Oxy's new federal funds, experts weigh in on communities in energy transition, and more trending news

Occidental subsidiary 1PointFive received federal funding — and more trending Houston energy transition news. Photo via 1pointfive.com

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 Oxy receiving funding for carbon capture development, experts weigh in on involving communities in the energy transition, and more.

Houston-based Oxy subsidiary receives $600M in federal funding for carbon capture project

Occidental subsidiary 1PointFive received federal funding to go toward building the South Texas Direct Air Capture Hub. Photo via 1pointfive.com

A subsidiary of Houston-based energy company Occidental has snagged a roughly $600 million federal grant to establish a hub south of Corpus Christi that’ll remove carbon emissions from the air.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations grant, awarded to Occidental subsidiary 1PointFive, will go toward building the South Texas Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub. It’ll be located on about 106,000 leased acres within a Kleberg County site at the iconic King Ranch. The hub will comprise 30 individual DAC projects.

In a news release, Occidental says the facility will be able to pull at least 1 million metric tons of carbon from the air each year. The hub eventually might remove and store up to 30 million metric tons of CO2 per year, the company says. Read more.

Houston company to build renewable gasoline production facility in California

The facility is expected to produce approximately 7 million gallons of renewable gasoline and sequester over 100,000 metric tons of CO2 a year by 2027. Photo via verdecleanfuels.com

A Houston company has announced a new agreement to construct a renewable gasoline production facility on the West Coast. Once up and running, the site is expected to produce approximately 7 million gallons of renewable gasoline and sequester over 100,000 metric tons of CO2 a year by 2027.

Houston-based Verde Clean Fuels (Nasdaq: VGAS), which specializes in fuel production from renewable feedstocks or natural gas, shared earlier this month that it has entered into an agreement to build a gasoline production facility that will use sequestered carbon dioxide to produce about 21,000 gallons per day of renewable gasoline, according to a news release. Read more.

Why it would be 'potentially catastrophic' not to include communities in the energy transition

How can Houston's energy transition be built with the city's communities in mind? Through trust, public education, and intention, according to a panel of experts. Photo via Getty Images

As the energy sector transitions toward a more sustainable future, a Houston organization is driving forward the idea to do so with a community-based approach, as some experts discussed at a recent breakfast panel.

The Center for Houston's Future hosted a breakfast discussion on August 10, entitled "Building a Community-Based Approach to the Energy Transition," sponsored by BP Energy. The conversation covered various ways corporations, organizations, and individuals could work together to build this approach, including through education, upskilling, collaborations, and more. Read more.

Report: College enrollment in petroleum programs — including in Texas — sees historic drop

The future of the oil and gas workforce isn't looking too bright when it comes to recruiting, the Wall Street Journal reports. Photo via Getty Images

Student enrollment in petroleum engineering programs at universities — including Texas schools — has dropped significantly, according to a recent report.

This prospective energy workforce is concerned about job security as the industry moves forward in the energy transition, reports the Wall Street Journal. The number of students enrolled in petroleum engineering programs has decreased to its lowest point in a decade, the WSJ found, breaking the typical cycle, which "ebbed and flowed" alongside the price of oil. Read more.

How this European company is reducing food waste in Houston and Texas

This innovative European company has already saved nearly 30,000 meals from being wasted in Houston. Photo via toogoodtogo.com

Since expanding into Houston just over two months ago, an app that combats food waste has saved over 28,000 meals.

By partnering with locally owned vendors like the Village Bakery, as well as larger chains like Tiff’s Treats, Too Good To Go offers Houstonians a variety of discounted goodies. Users can browse a range of stores and sign up for a “surprise bag,” an assemblage of surplus food that typically costs $5.

The free mobile app now connects savvy shoppers to 130 Houston area stores, allowing them to enjoy food that would otherwise be thrown away. Based in Denmark, Too Good To Go previously launched in Texas in Austin in 2021, before its statewide expansion into Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio in July. Read more.

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A View From HETI

A Houston-based initiative has been selected by the DOE to receive funding to develop clean energy innovation programming for startups and entrepreneurs. Photo via Getty Images

Houston has been selected as one of the hubs backed by a new program from the United States Department of Energy that's developing communities for clean energy innovation.

The DOE's Office of Technology Transitions announced the the first phase of winners of the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters, or EPIC, Round 3. The local initiative is one of 23 incubators and accelerators that was awarded $150,000 to support programming for energy startups and entrepreneurs.

The Houston-based participant is called "Texas Innovates: Carbon and Hydrogen Innovation and Learning Incubator," or CHILI, and it's a program meant to feed startups into the DOE recognized HyVelocity program and other regional decarbonization efforts.

EPIC was launched to drive innovation at a local level and to inspire commercial success of energy startups. It's the third year of the competition that wraps up with a winning participant negotiating a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT worth up to $1 million.

“Incubators and Accelerators are uniquely positioned to provide startups things they can't get anywhere else -- mentorship, technology validation, and other critical business development support," DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of OTT Vanessa Z. Chan says in a news release. “The EPIC program allows us to provide consistent funding to organizations who are developing robust programming, resources, and support for innovative energy startups and entrepreneurs.”

CHILI, the only participant in Texas, now moves on to the second phase of the competition, where they will design a project continuation plan and programming for the next seven months to be submitted in September.

where they’ll implement their programming and design a project continuation plan over the next 7 months. In September they will submit their plans with the hope of being selected to negotiate a three-year cooperative agreement with OTT, worth up to $1 million each.

Phase 2 also includes two national pitch competitions with a total of $165,000 in cash prizes up for grabs for startups. The first EPIC pitch event for 2024 will be in June at the 2024 Small Business Forum & Expo in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Last fall, the DOE selected the Gulf Coast's project, HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub, as one of the seven regions to receive a part of the $7 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The hub was announced to receive up to $1.2 billion — the most any hub will get.


The DOE's OTT selections are nationwide. Photo via energy.gov

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