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.

Oxy, which broke ground on its DAC project Stratos earlier this year, has secured a $550 million commitment from a financial partner. Photo via 1pointfive.com

Oxy subsidiary gets $550M boost to form new CCUS joint venture

howdy, partner

Occidental Petroleum’s direct air capture (DAC) initiative just got a more than half-a-billion-dollar investment from Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management company.

Houston-based Occidental announced November 7 that on behalf of its investment clients, BlackRock has agreed to pump $550 million into the DAC facility, called Stratos, that Oxy is building in the Midland-Odessa area. The investment will be carried out through a joint venture between BlackRock and Oxy subsidiary 1PointFive, which specializes in carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS).

A groundbreaking ceremony for Stratos — being billed as the world’s largest DAC operation — was held in April 2023. Construction is scheduled to be completed in mid-2025. The facility is expected to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Among the organizations that have agreed to buy carbon removal credits from 1Point5 are Amazon, Airbus, All Nippon Airways, TD Bank, the Houston Astros, and the Houston Texans.

Occidental says 1PointFive plans to set up more than 100 DAC facilities worldwide by 2035.

Vicki Hollub, president and CEO of Oxy, says the joint venture with BlackRock demonstrates that DAC is “becoming an investable technology.”

“We believe that BlackRock’s expertise across global markets and industries makes them the ideal partner to help further industrial-scale [DAC],” she says.

DAC removes CO2 from the atmosphere then stores it in underground geological formations.

“Occidental’s technical expertise brings unprecedented scale to this cutting-edge decarbonization technology,” says Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock.

He adds that Stratos “represents an incredible investment opportunity for BlackRock’s clients to invest in this unique energy infrastructure project and underscores the critical role of American energy companies in climate technology innovation.”

1PointFive, Oxy's CCUS subsidiary, has secured a deal that's being billed as among the largest carbon removal credit deals. Photo via oxy.com

Oxy's CCUS subsidiary inks massive carbon removal credit deal

making moves

Canada’s TD Securities investment bank has agreed to buy 27,500 metric tons of carbon removal credits from the 1PointFive subsidiary of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum.

The four-year deal involves 1PointFive’s first direct air capture (DAC) plant, called Stratos, which is under construction in the Midland-Odessa area. The Occidental Petroleum subsidiary specializes in carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS). Under this agreement, the captured CO2 underlying the carbon credits will be stored through geologic sequestration.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Stratos will be capable of capturing and removing up to 500,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere per year, 1PointFive says.

Michael Avery, president and general manager of 1PointFive, says in a November 1 news release that TD Securities’ purchase of carbon removal credits demonstrates how DAC “can become a vital tool in an organization’s sustainability strategy and help further net-zero goals.”

“Carbon removal credits from [DAC] will be measurable, transparent, and durable, with the goal of providing a solution for organizations to address their emissions,” Avery adds.

The 1PointFive deal is part of TD Securities’ broader decarbonization initiative.

“As the need to move from climate commitments to action intensifies, corporations across all sectors are looking for tangible ways to achieve their net-zero goals,” says Amy West, global head of ESG solutions at TD Securities.

In September, 1PointFive announced a 10-year deal with e-commerce giant Amazon to purchase 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide removal credits via Stratos.

Milestone Carbon has leased more that 22,000 acres of land in the Permian Basin for the permanent geologic sequestration of CO2. Photo via milestone-es.com

Innovative Houston-based CO2 capture company gets acquired

M&A moves

Houston-based Milestone Environmental Services announced this month that it has been acquired by affiliates of SK Capital Partners for an undisclosed amount.

The New York-based private investment firm, which specializes in the materials, ingredients, and life sciences sectors, now has a controlling stake of Milestone, which will continue to be led by its president and CEO Gabriel Rio.

Rio founded Milestone in 2014. The company is one of the largest independent providers of waste management services for the U.S. energy and industrial sectors. It focuses on permanent carbon sequestration services through its proprietary slurry injection process, which stores hydrocarbon waste over a mile underground.

The company's subsidiary, Milestone Carbon, is developing injection sites that permanently and securely sequester CO2. Earlier this month, Milestone Carbon announced that it has leased more that 22,000 acres of land in the Permian Basin for the permanent geologic sequestration of CO2 as part of the "sequestration hub" it is developing.

According to the company, once operating, the hub will help reduce emission related to natural gas processing, electricity generation and other industries. It's slated to be one of the first sequestration hubs in the basin.

"We founded Milestone to boldly advance sustainability in the energy industry and beyond," Rios says in a statement. "Our offerings enable companies to reduce their carbon footprint and enhance their ability to meet sustainability goals. Permanent, safe sequestration of carbon is an essential part of combating climate change, and Milestone has the strategy and capabilities to play a leading role in delivering solutions to multiple industries.”

According to a statement, Milestone has sequestered more than 2 million tons of CO2e through its injection process. The company has stated that it believes its sequestration hub will help attract new industries and technologies, hydrogen, low-carbon ammonia, and low-carbon power, to West Texas.

"We are highly impressed with the market-leading, sustainability-driven business that Gabriel and the Milestone management team have built," Jack Norris, a managing director of SK Capital, said in a statement. "It is well-positioned to further grow its core business in difficult-to-abate industries as environmental regulations become more stringent and Milestone’s customers are increasingly focused on meeting ambitious decarbonization targets. We are excited to partner with management to capture this growth opportunity as well as support its further progress towards becoming a leader in CCS and other related markets.”

Earlier this summer, Houston-based Occidental also got in on a carbon capture acquisition. Occidental says its all-cash acquisition of Carbon Engineering is set to close by the end of 2023. The Canada-based company focuses on direct carbon capture (DAC), which vacuums about 50 percent to 60 percent of the carbon dioxide from the air that passes through the system’s fans.

Oxy was granted $600 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop South Texas Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub earlier this year. 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.

The U.S. Department of Energy also recently invested more than $10 million in funding for four DAC projects with Houston ties.

The first phase of the Pelican Gulf Coast Carbon Removal project recently received nearly $4.9 million in grants. Photo via Getty Images

Louisiana DAC project supported by UH, Shell gets $4.9M in funding

closer look

The University of Houston is spilling details about its role in a potential direct air capture, or DAC, hub in Louisiana.

The first phase of the Pelican Gulf Coast Carbon Removal project recently received nearly $4.9 million in grants, including almost $3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. Led by Louisiana State University, the Pelican consortium includes UH and Shell, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston.

The funding will go toward studying the feasibility of a DAC hub that would pull carbon dioxide from the air and either store it in deep geological formations or use it to manufacture various products, such as concrete.

“This support of development and deployment of direct air capture technologies is a vital part of carbon management and allows us to explore sustainable technological and commercial opportunities,” Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president for energy and innovation at UH, says in a news release.

Chemical engineer Joseph Powell, founding executive director of the university’s Energy Transition Institute, will be the primary leader of UH’s work on the Pelican project.

“DAC can be an important technology for addressing difficult-to-decarbonize sectors such as aviation and marine transport as well as chemicals, or to achieve negative emissions goals,” Powell says.

Powell, a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, was Shell’s first-ever chief scientist for chemical engineering from 2006 until his retirement in 2020. He joined Shell in 1988.

Shell is the Pelican project’s “technical delivery partner.”

“Advancing carbon management technologies is a critical part of the energy transition, and effectively scaling this technology will require continued collaboration, discipline, and innovation,” says Adam Prince, general manager of carbon capture storage strategy and growth at Shell.

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Houston organization celebrates zero waste goal

earth day win

Discovery Green celebrated Earth Day with a major milestone this year — achieving it’s Zero Waste goal.

The nonprofit, along with Citizens’ Environmental Coalition and Houston Public Works, are announced that the 2024 Green Mountain Energy Earth Day, which generated more than 3,800 pounds of garbage, diverted the majority of that waste from landfills. "Zero Waste," as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, is successfully diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill.

On Earth Day, Discovery Green composted 2,200 pounds of waste and recycled 1,300 pounds of trash.

“Part of Discovery Green Conservancy’s mission is to serve as a village green for our city and be a source of health and happiness for all. Our goal is to sustain an exceptional environment for nature and people,” Discover Green President Kathryn Lott says in a news release. “We are beyond thrilled to have achieved Zero Waste certification.”

The achievement was made possible by volunteers from the University of Houston – Downtown.

Steve Stelzer, president of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition’s board of directors, acknowledged how rare the achievement is in a public space in a major city like Houston.

“Discovery Green Conservancy stepped up and made a commitment to weigh, measure and record everything. They should be congratulated to have done this at this scale,” Stelzer adds. “The Conservancy said they were going to do it and they did. It’s an amazing accomplishment.”

The 2024 event included:

  • 31,000 visitors in attendance
  • 60 + exhibitors
  • 100 + volunteers
  • 12 artists
    • 9 chalk artists
    • Donkeeboy and Donkeemom
    • Mark Bradford
  • 25 Mark Bradford artworks made of scrap presented in partnership with Houston First
  • 4 short films shown
  • 3,836.7 pounds of waste collected during Green Mountain Energy Earth Day

Texas hydrogen research hub opens to support statewide, DOE-backed initiative

hi to hydrogen

A Texas school has cut the ribbon on a new hydrogen-focused research facility that will play a role in a statewide, Department of Energy-funded energy transition initiative.

The Center for Electromechanics at The University of Texas, Frontier Energy, Inc., and GTI Energy celebrated the grand opening of a hydrogen research and demonstration facility in Austin as part of the “Demonstration and Framework for H2@Scale in Texas and Beyond” project, which is supported by the DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office.

The hydrogen proto-hub is first-of-its-kind and part of Texas-wide initiative for a cleaner hydrogen economy and will feature contributions from organizations throughout the state. The facility will generate zero-carbon hydrogen by using water electrolysis powered by solar and wind energy, and steam methane reformation of renewable natural gas from a Texas landfill.

The hydrogen will be used to power a stationary fuel cell for power for the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and it will also supply zero-emission fuel to cell drones and a fleet of Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles. This method will mark the first time that multiple renewable hydrogen supplies and uses have been networked at one location to show an economical hydrogen ecosystem that is scalable.

“The H2@Scale in Texas project builds on nearly two decades of UT leadership in hydrogen research and development” Michael Lewis, Research Scientist, UT Austin Center for Electromechanics, say in a news release. “With this facility, we aim to provide the educated workforce and the engineering data needed for success. Beyond the current project, the hydrogen research facility is well-positioned for growth and impact in the emerging clean hydrogen industry.”

Over 20 sponsors and industry stakeholders are involved and include Houston-based partners in Center for Houston’s Future and Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy. Industry heavyweights like Chevron, Toyota, ConocoPhillips, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are also part of the effort.

Texas hydrogen infrastructure and wind and solar resources position the state for clean hydrogen production, as evident in the recently released study, “A Framework for Hydrogen in Texas.” The study was part of a larger effort that started in 2020 with the H2@Scale project, which aims to develop clearer paths to renewable hydrogen as a “clean and cost-effective fuel” according to a news release. The facility will serve as an academic research center, and a model for future large-scale hydrogen deployments.

Participants in the DOE-funded HyVelocity Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub will aim to gain insights from the H2@Scale project at UT Austin. The project will build towards a development of a comprehensive hydrogen network across the region. HyVelocity is a hub that includes AES Corporation, Air Liquide, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Mitsubishi Power Americas, Orsted, and Sempra Infrastructure. The GTI Energy administered HyVelocity involves The University of Texas at Austin, the Center for Houston’s Future, and Houston Advanced Research Center.

“H2@Scale isn't just about producing low-carbon energy, it's about creating clean energy growth opportunities for communities throughout Texas and the nation,” Adam Walburger, president of Frontier Energy, says in a news release. “By harnessing renewable energy resources to create zero-carbon hydrogen, we can power homes, businesses, transportation, and agriculture – all while creating jobs and reducing emissions.”

Houston organization rolls out new accelerator to support companies tackling 'pressing global challenges'

CALLING FOR APPLICANTS

A Houston organization — freshly funded by a $700,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration’s “Build to Scale” grant — is seeking its first accelerator cohort of industrial biology startups.

Founded by Houston-based First Bight Ventures, the BioWell has launched a virtual accelerator program that will provide programming, networking, mentorship, and financial resources to its inaugural cohort of 10 bioindustrial startups. The selected companies will also have access to specialized pilot bioproduction infrastructure throughout the nine-month program.

“BioWell equips startups with more than just capital. We provide a foundation for breakthrough innovations by combining access to cutting-edge bioproduction facilities with expertise that nurtures scalability. This comprehensive support is crucial for transforming pioneering ideas into market-ready solutions that can address pressing global challenges,” Carlos Estrada, head of venture acceleration at BioWell, says in a news release.

Applications for the program are open until May 15, and the cohort will be announced in June. Specifically, BioWell is seeking seed or pre-seed startup applicants that have a technology readiness level of 3 to 5, focusing on areas including low-cost and sustainable feedstocks, commercially viable yields, and purpose fit microbes.

“During our selection process, we'll prioritize startups that demonstrate a commitment to not only hitting milestones but also to building sustainable revenue streams for long-term survival. This phase necessitates keen awareness of market dynamics, customer demands, and sound financial management,” adds First Bight Ventures and BioWell Founder Veronica Wu.

In December, BioWell secured $741,925 of the $53 million doled out as a part of the "Build to Scale" Grant program that the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has established. First Bight was one of 60 organizations to receive funding.

Ex-Apple exec Wu founded First Bight Ventures in Houston in 2022 after relocating from Silicon Valley and seeing the region's potential for biotech.

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.