hydropower

Houston energy storage company secures another $2M in federal funding

Houston-based Quidnet Energy has again secured funding from the DOE. Image via quidnetenergy.com

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced another $13 million in funding to seven projects that are developing hydropower as a clean energy source. A Houston startup made the list of recipients.

“For more than a century, Americans have harnessed the power of water to electrify our communities, and it’s a critical renewable energy source that will help us reach our climate goals,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm says in a news release. “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will help to expand the use of hydropower, increasing access to affordable, clean power and creating good-paying jobs.”

Houston-based Quidnet Energy Inc. received a little over $2 million for its project, entitled "Energy Storage Systems for Overpressure Environments," which is taking place in East Texas. The company, founded in 2013, is using water storage to power carbon-free electric grid approach to energy. As the DOE notes, the "low-cost form of long-duration electricity storage uses existing wellbores, which offers an opportunity to repurpose legacy oil and gas assets," per the release.

It's not the first Quidnet has secured funding from the DOE. Last fall, the company earned a $10 million grant from the organization's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, program. Quidnet is also venture backed, with its most recent raise, a $10 million series B round, closing in 2020 and including participation from Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Canada-based Evok Innovations.

The DOE's other PSH, or pumped storage hydropower, grants were announced as follows.

  • The Electric Power Research Institute, based in Palo Alto, California, secured $2.3 million to test "a turbine/generator system designed to add power-generating infrastructure to non-powered dams" in Iowa, per the release.
  • Atlanta-based Emrgy received $1.6 million to "develop a turbine to generate hydropower at non-powered dams where the water drop is less than 30 feet or in low-flow conduits, such as existing irrigation canals," in Washington.
  • Another Atlanta company, Georgia Power Co. is getting just under $2.9 million to develop and deploy PSH facilities across the country with its utility-scale solution to retrofit traditional hydropower facilities to serve as PSH facilities. The site the company will demonstrate it's tech is in Salem, Alabama.
  • RCAM Technologies, based in Boulder, Colorado, will work on offshore PSH technology in San Pedro, California, with its $4 million grant.
  • Drops for Watts received $243,540 to "develop a low-impact, modular system to generate hydropower from existing irrigation infrastructure" in Sagle, Idaho.
  • In Atlanta, Turbine Logic will use its nearly $200,000 in funding to utilize digital twin technology "to better predict common maintenance needs in hydropower turbines."

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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