The week, which will be hosted at the Ion and around Houston, will gather investors, industry leaders, and startups from across the energy industry to showcase Houston's growing sustainability community. Photo via the Ion

Three organizations are teaming up to put on a week of programming and events focused on energy and climate startups.

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.

The initiative is in collaboration with the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, or HETI, an initiative of the Greater Houston Partnership, as well as Activate, Digital Wildcatters, Renewable Energy Alliance Houston, and TEX-E.

“As the energy capital and one of the most diverse cities in the world, Houston stands as a center point for these solutions. The region is welcoming, diverse and has the know-how to play a critical role in building an energy abundant, low-carbon future," Jane Stricker, executive director of HETI and senior vice president at GHP, says in the release. "We welcome all who want to be part of the solution to join for this exciting, inaugural week of events.”

Attendees can expect tech and startup showcases, panels, pitches, discussions, and networking events to be hosted across Houston and at the Ion, Rice's innovation hub in Midtown. More details on the events will be added to the Ion's website as they become available.

“We look forward to the opportunity to highlight talented founders and connect them with investors, industry practitioners and university resources to help accelerate energy innovation,” Dale Winger, managing director of Halliburton Labs, says in the release. “The collaboration to launch Energy and Climate Startup Week reflects how Houston works together to scale solutions."

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

The future energy system will be made up of countless new technologies that are actively being developed and scaled by climate and energy startups around the world. Photo via Getty Images

Houston experts: Amplifying startup success is key in the energy transition era

Guest column

The global energy landscape is undergoing unprecedented challenges, influenced by post-pandemic work trends, geopolitical events like the Ukraine crisis, and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions.

To achieve net-zero goals by 2050 and address climate change, a significant investment of $5 trillion by 2030 to USD $4.5 trillion by 2050 is required, necessitating a rapid transformation in traditional energy production, distribution, storage, and consumption methods.

High-tech energy and climate startups are pivotal for a robust economy, driving innovation, economic growth, and enhanced productivity. These startups foster healthy competition, attract crucial investments, and contribute significantly to job creation, outpacing larger companies in terms of employment generation. The U.S., a startup leader, generated over 3.7 million new jobs in 2022, showcasing the adaptability of startups to market trends. Globally, India, with the third-largest startup ecosystem, has contributed to the creation of 860,000 jobs since the stand-up of Startup India, emphasizing the importance of nurturing startups for sustained economic dynamism and innovation.

The future energy system will be made up of countless new technologies that are actively being developed and scaled by climate and energy startups around the world. These founding teams require access to scaling resources to accelerate and amplify their impact. Human talent, financial investment, demonstration opportunities and physical facilities are scaling resources that often require significant time and capital to build from scratch. This inefficient resource deployment can be particularly pronounced for hard-tech entrepreneurs. Startup community participants are organized around providing entrepreneurs with the needed access to these resources.

"Our mission is to enable hydrogen adoption by solving the key challenges in hydrogen storage and transportation," says Ayrton CEO, Natasha Kostenuk. "With Halliburton's strategic engineering and manufacturing support, we can scale our technology, execute pilot demonstrations and accelerate towards commercialization."

Halliburton Labs, is highlighted for its diverse team and the support it provides to global entrepreneurs in sustainable ventures. The future energy system is envisioned to be composed of numerous new technologies developed and scaled by climate and energy startups worldwide. These startups require access to scaling resources mentioned above, where Halliburton Labs serves as a conduit between established practitioners and startup entrepreneurs, accelerating the latter's impact by providing access to these critical resources.

Infosys launched the Infosys Innovation Fund to invest in entrepreneurial ventures around the world. Their investment philosophy is geared toward supporting innovation and purposeful solutions that are relevant to the strategic priorities of their clients. This differentiates the Infosys Innovation Fund from most other venture capital institutions, in that they have a strong motivation to create long term value for the end users of the technology and to the companies building these solutions.

Infosys actively collaborates with emerging technology startups through its Infosys Innovation Fund. Employing a Desirability, Feasibility, Viability (DFV) framework, Infosys strategically selects startups and offers advantages such as market, financial and technical scale. The Infosys Innovation Fund stands out for its motivation to create long-term value for end users and the companies building innovative solutions. Infosys also operates an incubation center called ‘Infosys Center for Emerging Technology Solutions’ (iCETS), focusing on NextGen services and offerings through collaboration with clients, startup partnerships, university collaborations, and more.

Startups working with Infosys benefit from accessing the company's know-how, market knowledge, and strategic advisors from the consulting arm of business, Infosys Consulting, who are focused on creating business value through technology innovation. The combined expertise guides entrepreneurs from idea to qualification, proof-of-concept, prototype, minimum viable product (MVP), scale, and continuous discovery and delivery.

Open innovation and trusted partnerships in the energy transition era

In the energy transition era, open innovation and trusted partnerships are becoming essential components of amplifying success for startups. Collaborative cultures and trusted partnerships with companies like Infosys and Halliburton Labs are crucial for supporting and scaling startups in this rapidly evolving energy landscape. This shift towards ‘open innovation’ reflects a broader trend in the industry toward collaboration and shared expertise as key drivers for success to accelerate and achieve global energy transition aspirations.

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Scott Gale is the executive director of Halliburton Labs. Jason Till is partner of Experience Transformation & Innovation at Infosys Consulting. Rima Thakkar is principal - Americas Energy Transition at Infosys Consulting. Laura Sacchi, Mandar Joshi, and Sonali Sakhare of Infosys Consulting contributed to this article.

Halliburton has named its latest cohort. Photo courtesy of Halliburton

Halliburton names 7 energy startups to latest incubator cohort

onboarding

Seven companies from around the world have been invited to join Halliburton Labs, the company announced today.

Halliburton Labs is an incubator program that helps early-stage energy tech companies through connections, access to facilities, and more.

"We are pleased to welcome these promising energy startups and provide customized support to help them achieve their specific priorities, accelerate commercialization, and increase valuation," says Dale Winger, managing director of the program, in a news release. "Our experienced practitioners and network will help these companies use their time and capital efficiently."

The next Halliburton Labs Finalists Pitch Day, which will feature the ongoing cohort, is planned for Thursday, March 14, in New Orleans in coordination with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and 3rd Coast Venture Summit. Applications for the program are open until Friday, February 9.

The newest additions to Halliburton Labs are as follows.

One of three Israel-based companies in the cohort, Airovation Technologiesis advancing carbon capture and utilization solutions through helping hard-to-abate industries that achieve emissions reduction targets through its proprietary carbon mineralization technology. Through transforming point-source CO2 emissions into circular chemicals and building materials, Airovation is developing a scalable pathway for industrial emitters to decarbonize with multiple revenue streams.

“Industrial emitters are seeking economic ways to decarbonize,” Marat Maayan, founder and CEO at Airovation Technologies, says. “We are excited to accelerate our commercialization in the United States with Halliburton Labs, leveraging their expertise, capabilities and network."

Ayrton Energy, based in Calgary, is developing liquid organic hydrogen carrier storage technology to enable the large-scale, efficient transportation of hydrogen over extended distances without hydrogen loss and pipeline corrosion. This storage technology provides a high-density hydrogen storage medium without the need for cryogenics or high-pressure systems, which differs from the existing technology out there. This improves the safety and efficiency of hydrogen storage while enabling the use of existing fuel infrastructure for transportation, including tanks, transport trucks, and pipelines.

“Our mission is to enable hydrogen adoption by solving the key challenges in hydrogen storage and transportation,” Ayrton CEO Natasha Kostenuk says.

Cache Energy, based out of the University of Illinois Research Park, is developing a new long duration energy storage solution, which scales to interseasonal durations, through a low-cost solid fuel. Once charged, the storage material stores energy at room temperature, with near zero loss in time and can be safely stored and transported anywhere energy is needed.

“We are strong believers of leveraging existing infrastructure and expertise to fast track decarbonization goals,” Arpit Dwivedi, founder and, says CEO of Cache Energy. “We look forward to this collaboration and learning from Halliburton's manufacturing and operational expertise, as we scale our technology.”

From Be'er Sheva City in Israel, CENS develops enhanced dry dispersion technology based on dry-treated carbon nanotubes that enable high energy density, high power, and outstanding cycle performance in Li-ion batteries. The technology is differentiated because it can be applied to any type of lithim-ion battery and its implementation can be seamlessly integrated into the production line.

“Our goal is to develop ground-breaking technologies that will become disruptive technologies to market at a massive scale,” says CEO Moshe Johary. “With the help and vast experience of Halliburton Labs' team, we could achieve advancements in production capabilities while extending our footprint in the market.”

Casper, Wyoming-based Disa Technologiesprovides solutions to the mining and remediation industries. Disa utilizes patented minerals liberation technology to more efficiently isolate target minerals and mitigate environmental impacts to its users. Disa platforms treat a wide array of critical minerals that are essential to the economy and our way of life.

“We are excited to have Halliburton's support as we scale-up our technology and deliver innovative minerals processing solutions that disrupt industry best practices, enhance global resource utilization, and benefit the environment and the communities we serve," Greyson Buckingham, Disa's CEO and president, says.

Marel Power Solutions, headquartered from Michigan, is innovating electrification through its novel powerstack technology. These materials-efficient, quickly deployable, and scalable power-stacks, encapsulating advanced cooling technology, redefine power conversion in mobility, industrial, and renewables spaces.

“We're thrilled to contribute to global climate sustainability. Our collaboration with Halliburton will accelerate the electrification transition across industries. Marel's technology not only maximizes heat evacuation from densely packed power semiconductors but, more importantly, offers substantial savings in cost, weight, size, and time, making it transformative in the evolving landscape of electrification,” Marel CEO Amrit Vivekanand says.

And lastly, XtraLit is an Israeli company that develops a technology for direct lithium extraction from brines. The technology enables efficient and economically justified processing of brines even with relatively low lithium concentrations. Application of the extraction technology will allow mineral providers to unlock new significant sources of lithium that are critical to meet growing demand.

“Oil and gas industry produced waters might become a substantial resource for lithium production,” says XtraLit CEO, Simon Litsyn. “XtraLit will cooperate with Halliburton on optimization of produced water treatment for further increasing the efficiency of the lithium extraction process.”

ALLY Energy celebrated over 50 honorees at its annual awards event. Photo via LinkedIn

Top Houston energy teams, individuals, and companies honored at annual awards

meet the winnenrs

The brightest stars in Houston's energy community celebrated wins at an annual awards event this week.

ALLY Energy, a company that works with its clients to make the energy industry more equitable, hosted its seventh annual GRIT Awards and Best Energy Workplaces on October 26 — and named its prestigious winners. EnergyCapitalHTX, as well as its sister site InnovationMap, was a media partner for the event.

“Every year, we are astounded at how many impressive, committed people are demonstrating leadership and grit in their work to advance the energy transition and build more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces,” ALLY Energy CEO Katie Mehnert says in a news release naming the finalists. “This year is no exception. This is the time to celebrate so many crucial achievements that may otherwise go overlooked in the energy sector and in broader society.”

In addition to naming its winners, ALLY celebrated three Lifetime Achievement Award honorees who have distinguished careers championing change in energy and climate in the private or public sector in the areas of technology, policy, and workforce: John Berger, CEO of Sunnova Energy; Rhonda Morris, vice president and chief human resources officer of Chevron; and Amy Chronis, vice chair, US energy and chemicals leader, and Houston managing partner at Deloitte.

The big winners of 2023 are as follows.

The Professional Award

  • Alex Loureiro, Scientific Director at EnerGeo Alliance
  • Crystal McNack, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor at Enbridge Inc.
  • Dani Milling, Gulf of Mexico Environmental Engineer & Mexico HSE Coordinator at Chevron
  • Katie Zimmerman, Decarbonization Director, Americas at Wood
  • Mark Klapatch-Mathias, Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
  • Natalie Valentine, Director - Business Performance at Worley
  • Syed Fahim, Global ESG Lead at SLB
  • Tane Bates, Regional Operations Manager at Certarus LTD
  • Ujunwa Ojemeni, Senior Policy Advisor - Energy Transition & Technical Assistance Delivery at E3G - Third Generation Environmentalism

The Executive Award

  • Cara Hair, SVP of Corporate Services, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Helmerich & Payne
  • Emma Lewis, Senior Vice President USGC Chemicals & Products at Shell
  • Jeremy Campbell-Wray, Strategic Accounts and Enterprise Growth Market Executive at Baker Hughes
  • Maggie Seeliger, SVP & Global Head of Strategy, Energy & Resources at Sodexo
  • Max Chan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development Officer at Enbridge
  • Megan Beauregard, Chief Legal Officer, Secretary, and Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Enel North America, Inc.
  • Sarah Delille, Vice President of US Country Management at Equinor
  • Whitney Eaton, EVP, People & Sustainability at TGS Energy

The JEDI Award

  • Jason Limerick, Sustainability Strategy Lead at Woodside Energy
  • Melina Acevedo, Associate & Partnerships Lead at DE Shaw Renewable Investments

The Entrepreneur Award

  • Charli Matthews, CEO at Empowering Women in Industry
  • Mike Francis, Co-Founder and CEO at NanoTech

The ESG & Climate Champion Award

  • Andrea Hepp, Deal Lead at Shell
  • Brittney Marshall, Senior Advisor, Climate Strategy and Policy at Woodside Energy
  • Gabriel Rolland, Vice President, Corporate QHSE at TGS Energy
  • Sandhya Ganapathy, Chief Executive Officer at EDP Renewables North America

Gritty Girl Award

  • Deepasha Baral, Student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies

Best Affinity Group, Employee Resource Group Award, sponsored by ChampionX

  • Baker Hughes
  • ChampionX
  • Shell
  • TPI Composites
  • Women's Energy Network Houston
  • Wood Mackenzie
  • Worley

Best Energy Team Award, sponsored by Ovintiv

  • Advisian Material Handling
  • Halliburton Labs
  • NOV Marketing
  • Syzygy Plasmonics, Rigel Manufacturing & Launch Team

Best Energy Workplaces Award

  • Aera Energy LLC
  • Baker Hughes
  • ChampionX
  • EDP Renewables North America
  • Enel
  • Global Edge Group
  • Shell
  • Southwestern Energy
  • Sunnova Energy International
  • TGS Energy
  • Wood
  • Woodside Energy
NanoTech — with it's innovative and energy-saving roof coating material — closed an oversubscribed round of funding, the company announced this week. Photo via thenanoshield.com

Growing Houston startup announces latest funding to support national expansion

cool coating

A Houston startup that has developed an innovative coating material that can reduce energy consumption has raised fresh funding for its cross-country expansion.

NanoTech Inc. announced its latest funding news — an oversubscribed funding round that brings onboard a handful of new investors. The details of the round were not disclosed, but NanoTech did release that the round included participation from three institutional investors, two corporate-strategic investors, and seven family offices. These entities join initial investor, Austin-based Ecliptic Capital.

NanoTech's flagship product is a waterproof thermal coating, called the Nano Shield Cool Roof Coat, which began rolling out across the country this year. Not only does the product reduce energy costs for the building owner, but it reduces emissions as well.

"It's crucial to recalibrate the sustainability narrative – environmental responsibility and financial return can go hand in hand," says Mike Francis, CEO and co-founder of NanoTech, in a news release. “We’ve transformed the roof from a cost center to a savings source by reducing energy expenditures while also significantly shrinking the building's carbon footprint.”"The substantial decline in CO2 emissions and energy costs resulting from reduced reliance on HVAC systems is far more than a fringe benefit — it forms the cornerstone of our long-term strategy to lead the climate-resilient materials market. Beyond corporate objectives, it's a personal source of immense pride to foster a healthier planet for generations to come," Francis continues.

As the first selected company in Houston-based Halliburton Labs, NanoTech continues to benefit from the incubator's industrial scaling resources. Francis and Chief Commercial Officer Carrie Horazeck recently joined the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the impact their product is making as they roll out nationwide.

"It's just a coating that can go on top of existing structure — any type of commercial roof," Horazeck says on the show. "We have a pretty good amount of data from 2022 showcasing that we can reduce HVAC consumption within the building by about 30 to 40 percent.

"Our clients really see a immediate benefit in their energy bill, and, of course, if you reduce the HVAC consumption, that automatically translates to a decrease in your scope one emissions," she continues.

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

The latest energy tech startup to join Halliburton Labs is developing AI and deep learning technology. Photo courtesy of Halliburton

Finnish AI solutions co. joins Houston-based clean energy accelerator

saying hello to HAL

Finnish clean-tech company Rocsole is the latest company to join Houston-based Halliburton Labs, according to a statement the energy giant made this month.

Rocsole, which has its U.S. office in Houston, is known for its proprietary smart process imaging solutions and AI/deep learning rendered predictions that create "safer, cleaner, and more efficient operations," according to its website. The company services offshore wells and onshore tanks, pipelines and separators to reduce costs, avoid shutdowns and monitor product quality.

"With the help of Halliburton's global reach, we plan to accelerate our commercialization in major international markets," Pekka Kaunisto, CEO of Rocsole, said in a statement.

Kaunisto was named CEO of the company in April, succeeding Mika Tienhaara, who served as CEO since early 2020.

Rocsole joins several other clean energy companies to go through the Halliburton Labs accelerator, which launched in 2020 to help early-stage companies achieve commercialization milestones. The accelerator is a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton and provides participants with access to technical expertise, mentorships and programming.

Fellow Finnish company A-W Energy, whose technology converts ocean waves into energy, was part of a 2022 cohort.

Houston-based FuelX, England-based LiNa Energy, and Canadian company Solaires Entreprises were the most recent companies to be added to the accelerator in April 2023. Other companies to be added this year include Matrix Sensors, Renew Power Systems and SunGreenH2. The program is going on the road to host its next Halliburton Labs Finalists Pitch Day on Thursday, September 21, in Denver as a part of Denver Startup Week.

Halliburton Labs is closing applications for its next cohort on August 18. Applications are open online.
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Houston energy co. secures $118.5M for battery energy storage project in south Texas

renewables coming soon

Houston-based Tokyo Gas America has received $118.5 million in investment tax credits for its battery energy storage system in Brazoria County. The system will supply power for the Houston-area territory served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

San Francisco-based institutional fund sponsor Foss & Co. provided the tax equity for the Longbow BESS project, being developed by New York City-based Clean Capital Partners. Construction on the 174-megawatt battery energy storage system began earlier this year, and the project is expected to come online this summer.

“Longbow BESS represents a significant step forward in our commitment to providing clean and reliable energy solutions,” Ken Kiriishi, senior vice president of Tokyo Gas America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo Gas Co., says in a news release.

Earlier this year, Tokyo Gas America completed its $216 million purchase of Longbow BESS from Clean Capital Partners.

With the goal of owning and operating more than five gigawatts of renewable generation projects by 2030, Tokyo Gas America entered the U.S. renewables market in 2020 through its acquisition of the Aktina Solar Project. Tokyo Gas America bought the project from Chicago-based Hecate Energy, which develops, owns, and operates renewable energy projects in the U.S.

Aktina is the largest solar project in Texas, encompassing 1.4 million solar modules across 4,000 acres in Wharton County. The project, capable of generating as much as 500 megawatts of renewable energy, can power as many as 100,000 homes.

Aktina, which came online in 2021, supplies power to the ERCOT wholesale market. Construction of the roughly $3.2 million project recently wrapped up.

In February, Tokyo Gas America announced it had set up two subsidiaries to promote it gas marketing and trading operations in North America. As part of this venture, Tokyo Gas bought a 49 percent stake in ARM Energy Trading. Houston-based ARM Energy Holdings is the majority owner of ARM Energy Trading.

Renewable energy company names two C-level execs to its Houston HQ

growing the team

An independent power producer based in Houston and focused on renewable energy projects has named two new C-level executives.

Urban Grid added two business leaders to its senior management team: Eivind Osterhus as CFO and Erica Engle as chief commercial officer. They will be based out of Urban Grid’s headquarters in Houston.

Osterhus has 20 previous years of experience including leadership roles at energy technology company Baker Hughes. Engle recently served as Head of Structured Origination at AES Clean Energy.

“Urban Grid remains committed to driving economic growth and sustainability across the local communities served by our portfolio,” CEO Pete Candelaria says in a news release. “Eivind and Erica exemplify the leadership, passion, and shared values necessary to continue delivering on this commitment. It is my great pleasure to welcome them both to Urban Grid.”

Headquartered in Houston with teams throughout the United States, Urban Grid is actively developing a growing portfolio of more than 12,000 megawatts of solar PV and 7,000 megawatts of co-located and stand-alone energy storage.economy. The company also has 940 megawatts currently contracted and under construction.

“This is an exciting time to join Urban Grid as they expand their presence as an owner-operator of renewable assets,” Engle says in the release. “I look forward to working with the team to commercialize the solar and storage portfolio, closely partnering with our customers to continue accelerating towards a carbon-free future.”

Houston geothermal startup reports 'dramatic acceleration' of drilling operations at Utah project

optimization station

Early drilling results indicate a geothermal energy project operated in Utah by Houston-based startup Fervo Energy is performing better than expected.

Fervo says its drilling operations Utah’s Cape Station show a 70 percent reduction in drilling times, paving the way for advancement of its geothermal energy system. Fervo began construction last year on Cape Station, which is set to deliver clean power to the grid in 2026 and be fully operating by 2028.

The company recently published early drilling results from Cape Station that it says exceed the U.S. Department of Energy’s expectations for enhanced geothermal systems. Fervo says these results “substantiate the rapid learning underway in the geothermal industry and signal readiness for continued commercialization.”

Founded in 2017, Fervo provides carbon-free energy through development of next-generation geothermal power.

Fervo began drilling at Cape Station, a 400-megawatt project in southwest Utah, in June 2023. Over the past six months, the company has drilled one vertical well and six horizontal wells there. The company reports that costs for the first four horizontal wells at Cape Station fell from $9.4 million to $4.8 million per well.

“Since its inception, Fervo has looked to bring a manufacturing mentality to enhanced geothermal development, building a highly repeatable drilling process that allows for continuous improvement and, as a result, lower costs,” Tim Latimer, Fervo’s co-founder and CEO, says in a news release. “In just six months, we have proven that our technology solutions have led to a dramatic acceleration in forecasted drilling performance.”

Trey Lowe, chief technology officer of Oklahoma City-based oil and gas producer Devon Energy, likens Fervo’s drilling results to “the early days of the shale revolution.” Last year, Devon invested $10 million in Fervo.

“When you operate continually and understand the resource, you dramatically streamline operations. That’s the unique value of Fervo’s approach to enhanced geothermal,” says Lowe.

Last summer, Fervo reported the results of another one of its projects, Project Red, which is in northern Nevada and made possible through a 2021 partnership with Google. That site officially went online for the tech company in December.