taking the stage

Houston orgs name student, industry teams for CERAWeek pitch competition

Nearly 40 climatetech startups will pitch at this upcoming CERAWeek event from HETI, the Rice Alliance, and TEX-E. Photo by Natalie Harms

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the Houston Energy Transition Initiative and the Texas Entrepreneurship Exchange for Energy announced the 39 energy ventures that will pitch at 2024 Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition during this month's CERAWeek.

The ventures are focused on driving efficiency and advancements toward the energy transition and will each present a 3.5-minute pitch before venture capitalists, corporate innovation groups, industry leaders, academics, and service providers during CERAWeek's Agora program.

The pitch competition is divided up into the TEX-E university track, in which Texas student-led energy startups compete for $50,000 in cash prizes, and the industry ventures track.

Teams competing in the TEX-E Prize track, many of which come from Houston universities, include:

  • AirMax, University of Texas at Austin
  • BeadBlocker, University of Houston
  • Carvis Energy Solutions, Texas A&M University
  • Coflux Purification, Rice University
  • Solidec, Rice University

Thirty-four companies will present within the industry ventures track, which is further subdivided into three industry tracks, spanning materials to clean energy. The top three companies from each industry track will be named. Click here to see the full list of companies and which investor groups will participate.

The pitch competition will be held Wednesday, March 20, at CERAWeek from 1-5 pm. An Agora pass is required to attend.

For those without passes, a pitch preview will be introduced to the programming for the first time this year. The preview will be held Tuesday, March 19, from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm at the Ion. It's free to attend, but registration is required. Click here to register.

Last year, Houston-based Helix Earth Technologies took home the top TEX-E price and $25,000 cash awards. The venture, founded by Rawand Rasheed and Brad Husick from Rice University, developed high-speed, high-efficiency filter systems derived from technology originating at NASA.

David Pruner, the executive director of TEX-E joined the Houston Innovators Podcast last month. He discussed how the nonprofit is expanding opportunities for students at its five university partners—Rice University, Texas A&M University, Prairie View A&M University, University of Houston, and The University of Texas at Austin. Listen to the episode below.

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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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