Talos Energy announced that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary Talos Low Carbon Solutions to TotalEnergies. Photo via Getty Images

A Houston-based company is divesting its low-carbon subsidiary to TotalEnergies, which has its United States headquarters in Houston.

Talos Energy announced that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary Talos Low Carbon Solutions LLC to TotalEnergies. The deal is for a purchase price of $125 million plus customary reimbursements, adjustments and retention of cash, which totals approximately $148 million.

According to a news release, Talos plans to use the proceeds from the sale to repay borrowings under its credit facility and for general corporate purposes. The sale includes Talos's entire carbon capture and sequestration business, which includes its three projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast with Bayou Bend CCS, Harvest Bend CCS, and Coastal Bend CCS.

There is an opportunity for additional future cash payments upon achievement of certain milestones at the Harvest Bend or Coastal Bend projects for Talos. More payments can be obtained also upon a sale of the aforementioned projects by TotalEnergies.

"Since TLCS's inception, we have successfully applied our energy expertise as an early mover aimed at developing decarbonization solutions along the U.S. Gulf Coast,” Talos President and CEO Timothy S. Duncan says in a news release. ”Strong market interest during our capital raise provided the strategic option to fully monetize the business to TotalEnergies, an established global leader in CCS development."

Talos Executive Vice President, Low Carbon Strategy and Chief Sustainability Officer Robin Fielder will continue to serve in her role for a transition period before leaving Talos.

"Robin and our entire CCS team did an outstanding job crystallizing value for Talos shareholders for a strong financial return," Duncan continues. "The transaction will further enable Talos to prioritize cash flow generation and optimal capital allocation in our core Upstream business. We are also continuing to explore business development and strategic M&A opportunities."

TotalEnergies is active in the Houston energy transition ecosystem and recently signed on as a partner at Greentown Houston. Last fall, the company also started commercial operations of its new solar farm, Myrtle Solar, just south of Houston.

The seven selected startups will have year-long curated curriculum, incubation at Greentown's two locations, a non-dilutive $25,000 grant, and access to mentors, corporates, and more from both Greentown and BGS's networks. Photo via browningthegreenspace.org

Greentown Labs names latest cohort of BIPOC-led climatetech startups

browning the green space

Two organizations have named the seven startup participants for their accelerator that works to advance BIPOC-led startups in the climatetech space.

Greentown Labs and Browning the Green Space named the newest accelerator for the Advancing Climatetech and Clean Energy Leaders Program, or ACCEL. The seven selected startups will have year-long curated curriculum, incubation at Greentown's two locations, a non-dilutive $25,000 grant, and access to mentors, corporates, and more from both Greentown and BGS's networks.

"Building on the momentum and success of our inaugural year, Greentown Labs is proud to welcome this incredible cohort of BIPOC-led startups to Year 2 of ACCEL," Greentown Labs CEO and President Kevin Knobloch says in a news release. "These founders and their teams are developing a dynamic array of much-needed climatetech solutions, and we're privileged to support them on their startup journeys as they advance their technologies and grow their teams."

The 2024 cohort includes:

  • AtmoSpark Technologies, based in Houston, is an atmospheric water generation company with a patented electro-condensation technology, which has a lower energy footprint than that of current water-generation methods.
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Aquasaic is harnessing biology to clean water for planetary and human health.
  • Houston-based Axis Sky Renewablescreates innovative wind solutions, specializing in vertical-axis wind turbines that are less expensive to produce, deploy, and maintain than traditional wind turbines.
  • Carbon Negative Solutions, from Rock Hill, New York, is creating smart-city-ready, carbon-negative concrete products.
  • NYC-based Cellsense develops interactive bio-embellishments that create new possibilities for designers while eliminating microplastics and replacing fossil-fuel-based material at scale.
  • EcoForge, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, is a building-material technology company developing affordable, high-performance building materials from local agricultural residues, replacing energy-intensive, fossil-based materials.
  • Boston-based Sankofa Dynamics creates low-cost, eco-friendly solutions for water, air, and energy problems.

The program is supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center,Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund, Equinor, Barr Foundation.

"These BIPOC-led startups are developing climate technologies that will lead us to a more equitable and sustainable future," MassCEC CEO Dr. Emily Reichert, the former CEO of Greentown, says in the release. "We want ALL climatetech innovators and entrepreneurs to thrive here in Massachusetts. We are proud to support the ACCEL accelerator, created and led by Greentown Labs and Browning the Green Space. The ACCEL program is helping us build a more diverse innovation ecosystem by breaking down barriers and expanding opportunities."

ACCEL was announced in 2022, and the first cohort featured six climatetech startups — two based in Houston.

"Our second year of ACCEL brings together an inspirational and diverse cohort of seven BIPOC-led startups developing tech to accelerate the distribution of climate solutions that address community needs," Browning the Green Space President and Executive Director Kerry Bowie adds. "We are thrilled to continue to strengthen our partnership with Greentown Labs and VentureWell and build on the learnings from the pilot cohort to provide critical support infrastructure for entrepreneurs of color."

The ACCEL program kicks off at an event on March 6 at Greentown's Boston location.

The energy transition community needs to step up for the upcoming Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week. Photo via Getty Images

How corporates can tap into Houston's energy tech community at inaugural week of programming

gearing up

Halliburton Labs was founded in 2020 a bit differently from other corporate venture groups, and, as Executive Director Scott Gale describes, the idea was to deeply ingratiate themselves with the startups as well as the innovation community.

While the corporate world always needs eyes on its return on investment, supporting the innovation ecosystem has been a bit of a leap of faith – and it always will be.

"There's always this idea of having a line of sight to the outcomes (of your investment). And when you're interfacing with or investing in the startup community, you don't have the benefit of line of sight. A lot of the things that are being solved for are just too early stage. And that can be really hard for corporates to wrap their heads around," Gale says on the Houston Innovators Podcast.

"One of the things that we got to was this idea that you can invest in the startup community, and you don't know where the returns will come from, but you know they will come," he continues.

In line with this idea, Halliburton Labs — along with the Rice Alliance and Greentown Houston — announced the inaugural Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week 2024 to take place in September, but Gale says he hopes this is just the beginning of Houston organizations coming together to collaborate on the initiative.

"I think we have a really awesome initial coalition. Whether your the fifth company or organization to raise its hand to do something that week or the 50th — it really doesn't matter," Gale says. "It really is an open invitation — and I want to make that super clear."

Gale says that he's looked at some of the successful week-long events — like SXSW and others — and the key factors are calendar coordination and cross promotion. Now that Houston has the week set — September 9 to 13, 2024 — it's time for everyone to fill that week with a density of events anywhere around Houston to showcase the city's innovative energy community.

Those interested can learn more or submit their event information online.

———

This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Houston energy transition folks — here's what to know to start your week. Photo via Getty Images

Rice to open applications for clean energy program, Houston events not to miss and more things to know

take note

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a roundup of events not to miss, a deadline not to miss, and more.

ICYMI: Clean energy networking and showcase coming to Houston in September

Greentown Labs, Halliburton Labs, and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship have announced Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week 2024 taking place September 9 to 13.

“These organizations will execute events that will serve as a launching pad for an Energy and Climate Startup Week in Houston, showcasing the city as a national hub for the energy future,” Brad Burke, executive director of the Rice Alliance, says in the release. “We welcome the community to bring other energy and climate events to the week, which we’ll cross-promote as the dates approach.”

The week will assemble investors, industry leaders, and startups from across the energy industry and from around the world to showcase Houston's growing sustainable, low-carbon energy future. Read more about the inaugural week.

Rice's Clean Energy Accelerator to open applications for its next cohort

The Rice Alliance Clean Energy Accelerator helps seed-stage startups from around the world developing clean energy solutions achieve technical and commercial milestones that accelerate development, establish market adoption, and expand their reach.

Applications for Class Four go live on March 4 and close on March 29. Rice Alliance is hosting an info session on March 5. More details on the program and registration for the session can be found online.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

  • Hydrogen networking at Greentown Labs is Tuesday, February 20, at 4:30 pm at Greentown Houston. Register.
  • The Future of Energy Across the Americas: Helping Lawyers Predict and Adapt — the 2024 Houston Energy Conference — is February 27 to March 1. Register.
  • CERAWeek 2024 is Monday, March 18, to Friday, March 22, in the George R. Brown Convention Center. Register.

Three startups with Houston ties and sustainable solutions were named winners of the Sustainable Aviation Challenge. Photo via Cameron Casey/Pexels

3 Houston climate tech companies win challenge for sustainable aviation

winner, winne

Greentown Houston companies have made the list of companies working toward sustainable aviation technology.

Cemvita and Verne, two Greentown Houston members, and C2V Initiative Year 1 participant Air Company were all named as winners of the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Aviation Challenge, which will net the winners visibility opportunities, curated introductions to industry partners and potential funders, and other event invitations.

“We look forward to start collaborating with fellow winners and challenge partners to support the decarbonization of the aviation sector,” Cemvita writes in a statement on LinkedIn.

The Sustainable Aviation Challenge on UpLink included innovators who accelerate the adoption and development of sustainable aviation fuel and other propulsion solutions. Aviation accounts for 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and air travel is projected to increase over this decade according to the International Energy Agency. The challenge is to reinvent flying and make it compatible with our global net-zero emissions targets. Decarbonizing aviation is one of the goals to help with the goal of global net-zero emissions.

Cemvita’s eCO2™ helped garner the Houston company its spot in the Sustainable Aviation Challenge. The eCO2 takes waste streams and carbon dioxide and uses them to produce valuable materials like plastics,proteins, and fuel feedstock through microbiology. Cemvita also plans to remove 250 million tons per year from the atmosphere by 2050, according to their website.

Last fall, Cemvita Corp. announced a new offtake arrangement with United Airlines. Cemvita's first full-scale sustainable aviation fuel plant will provide up to 1 billion gallons of SAF to United Airlines. The 20-year contract specifies that Cemvita will supply up to 50 million gallons annually to United.

See the full list of World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Aviation Challenge winners here.
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Shell fuels energy transition with roll out of EV charging stations

coming soon

As it downshifts sales of fuel for traditional vehicles, energy giant Shell is stepping up its commitment to public charging stations for electric vehicles.

In a new report on energy transition, Shells lays out an aggressive plan for growing its public network of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). The company plans to boost the global number of public EV charging stations from about 54,000 today to around 70,000 by 2025 and about 200,000 by 2030.

The projected growth from today to 2030 would represent a 270 percent increase in the number of Shell-operated EV charging stations.

“We have a major competitive advantage in terms of locations, as our global network of service stations is one of the largest in the world,” Shell says in the report.

Shell’s global network of service stations is shrinking, though. In the report, the company reveals plans to close a total of 1,000 gas stations in 2024 and 2025. Today, more than 45,000 Shell-branded gas stations are located in over 90 countries.

Aside from Shell gas stations, the company’s Shell Recharge business unit operates public EV charging stations along streets, at grocery stores, and at other locations in 33 countries.

Shell, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, is ramping up its EV charging network amid forecasts of slowing demand for oil and rising demand for EVs. Other than EV charging, Shell is focusing on biofuels and integrated power as components of its revamped product mix.

“Shell is well positioned to become a profitable leader in public charging for electric vehicles, meeting the growing demand from drivers who need to charge on the go,” the report says.

To accelerate its EV charging presence in the U.S., Shell in 2023 purchased Volta, a San Francisco-based operator of EV charging stations. Shell says it now operates one of the largest public EV charging networks in the U.S., with more than 3,000 charging points in 31 states and another 3,400 under development.

“The availability of charging points will be critical for the growth in electric vehicles,” the report says.

Last month, Shell divested from a solar energy subsidiary, before later announcing an exit from a wind energy joint venture.

"In-line with our Powering Progress strategy, Shell continues to hone our portfolio of renewable generation projects in key markets where we have an advantaged position," Glenn Wright, senior vice president at Shell Energy Americas, said in a news release at the time.

Rice names new leader for prestigious nanotechnology, materials science institute

take the lead

A distinguished Rice University professor has assumed the reins of a unique institute that focuses on research within nanoscience, quantum science, and materials science.

Junichiro Kono has assumed leadership of the Smalley-Curl Institute, which houses some of the world’s most accomplished researchers across fields including advanced materials, quantum magnetism, plasmonics and photonics, biophysics and bioengineering, all aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and more.

“With his great track record in fostering international research talent — with student exchange programs between the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, China, Singapore and France that have introduced hundreds of students to new cultures and ways of researching science and engineering — Jun brings a wealth of experience in building cultural and technological ties across the globe,” Ramamoorthy Ramesh, executive vice president for research, says in a news release.

Kono is the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor in Engineering, chair of the Applied Physics Graduate Program and professor of electrical and computer engineering, physics and astronomy and materials science and nanoengineering, and is considered a global leader in studies of nanomaterials and light-matter interactions. He currently leads Rice’s top 10-ranked Applied Physics Graduate Program.

Under his leadership, the program is expected to double in size over. By 2029. The Smalley-Curl Institute will also add additional postdoctoral research fellowships to the current three endowed positions.

The Smalley-Curl Institute is named for Nobel Laureates Richard Smalley and Robert Curl (‘54). Earlier in his career, Kono once worked with Smalley on the physical properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), which led to the experimental discovery of the Aharonov-Bohm effect on the band structure of SWCNTs in high magnetic fields.

“I am deeply honored and excited to lead the Smalley-Curl Institute,” Kono says in a news release. “The opportunity to build upon the incredible legacy of Richard Smalley and Robert Curl is both a privilege and a challenge, which I embrace wholeheartedly. I’m really looking forward to working with the talented researchers and students at Rice University to further advance our understanding and application of nanomaterials and quantum phenomena. Together, we can accomplish great things.”

Kono succeeds Rice professor Naomi Halas as director of the institute. Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the founding director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics.

Houston energy company diverts over 125M pounds of scrap metals from landfills

reduce, reuse, recycle

For three years, Baker Hughes has been working with a full-scale scrap processor partner to divert scrap metal waste from landfills as a part of the company's net-zero commitment by 2050.

In partnership with Venture Metals +, Baker Hughes has saved over 125 million pounds of scrap metals from more than 50 of the company's locations around the world.

Venture Metals + collects, recycles, and manages the full recycling process of scrap materials, providing recycling, reclamation, and investment recovery as a service to industrial, manufacturing, and service facilities.

“The relationship that has been formed between Baker Hughes and Venture Metals is the definition of a true partnership. Over the many years we have collaborated on significant projects and there has been a foundation of trust, transparency and investment on both sides,” Venture Metals’ Vice-Chairman of the Board Mark Chazanow says in a news release. “Together, we have been able to do our part to improve the environment by circular and sustainable recycling while also capturing substantial revenue gain. We look forward to growing the partnership and seeing a bright future ahead together.”

According to the release, Baker Hughes plans to grow the partnership to introduce similar programs at five key locations around the world. Venture Metals+ also set up Baker Hughes with customized containers to help separate titanium, stainless steel, Inconel, and other recyclable metals.

“Reducing our environmental footprint is a critical focus area for our sustainability strategy as we continue to reduce waste, minimize the resources we use and promote circularity,” Allyson Anderson Book, chief sustainability officer at Baker Hughes, adds. “Through partners like Venture Metals +, we are minimizing waste and reusing scrap materials as much as possible for more sustainable operations.”