The pitch day will feature more than 40 energy ventures driving efficiency and advancements toward the energy transition showcasing their companies. Photo via htxenergytransition.org

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) and TEX-E have opened applications for their Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition at CERAWeek, set to take place in the Agora program on March 20.

The pitch day will feature more than 40 energy ventures driving efficiency and advancements toward the energy transition showcasing their companies. The fast-paced competition is designed to connect energy startups with venture capitalists, corporate innovation groups, industry leaders, academics and service providers.

Ventures will be showcased across three industry tracks, spanning materials to clean energy. Industry experts and investors will judge the pitches, and the top three ventures from each track will be named at the conclusion of the event. The pitches from energy ventures will include a university track, the TEX-E Prize, highlighting the innovation of five Texas student-led energy startups. With mentorship leading up to the competition, these student startups will compete for $50,000 in cash prizes.

“The goal of the TEX-E Prize is to support, encourage and inspire students across the state of Texas to pursue entrepreneurship as a means of reducing emissions and building a healthier, more resilient society,” said David Pruner, executive director at TEX-E.

Energy ventures for all tracks of the competition are asked to apply by Feb. 9. More details about eligibility can be found at alliance.rice.edu/EVD.

“The Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition at CERAWeek bring together key members of the energy ecosystem, investors and startups to showcase innovations and emerging technologies that create value from the world’s transition to low-carbon energy systems,” said Jane Stricker, senior vice president at the Greater Houston Partnership and executive director of HETI. “We are thrilled to partner with our ecosystem partner, Rice Alliance, on this exciting event at CERAWeek and build on the momentum of the last few years.”

“In addition to the access to investors and awareness at CERAWeek, this is an invaluable opportunity to pitch in front of active investors, corporates and key players in the energy industry,” said Brad Burke, executive director of the Rice Alliance and vice president for industry and new ventures in Rice’s Office of Innovation. “The Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition at CERAWeek is a platform designed to foster innovation, collaboration and investment in the ever-evolving energy landscape.”

Learn more about this year’s pitch day here.

The Houston Energy Transition Initiative has added six new members. Photo via htxenergytransition.org

Houston organization names 6 new members working toward a low-carbon future

the view from heti

The Greater Houston Partnership’s The Houston Energy Transition Initiative welcomes six new member companies including, one executive level and five investor level. HETI members are champions in their fields, each creating innovative solutions for a sustainable and low-carbon future. Our members are critical to continue to position our region to lead the global energy transition.

Executive Member

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is one of the world’s leading industrial groups, spanning energy, smart infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace, and defense. MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with deep experience to deliver innovative, integrated solutions that help to realize a carbon neutral world, improve the quality of life and ensure a safer world.

Investor Level Members

Eni Next LLC is a corporate venture capital company, created to integrate corporate research, with open innovation, enhancing the value of dynamic and innovative start-ups through early-stage financing and successive capital increases. Eni Next evaluates and invests in companies developing technologies with a lower carbon footprint for energy production, improved efficiency for our industrial operations and digital solutions.

Honeywell International Inc. invents and commercializes technologies that address some of the world’s most critical challenges around energy, safety, security, air travel, productivity, and global urbanization. They are a leading software-industrial company committed to introducing state of the art technology solutions to improve efficiency, productivity, sustainability, and safety in high growth businesses in broad-based, attractive industrial end markets.

Natixis Investment Managers is a global asset management company. Ranked among the world’s largest asset managers, Natixis delivers a diverse range of solutions across asset classes, styles, and vehicles. The company is dedicated to advancing sustainable finance and developing innovative ESG products.

Stantec is a global design and delivery leader in sustainable engineering, architectural planning, and environmental services. Stantec’s multidisciplinary teams address climate change, urbanization, and infrastructure resiliency. The company is at the forefront of innovations to enhance environmental and social opportunities. The Stantec community unites more than 26,000 employees working in over 400 locations across six continents.

Vopak North America is an independent infrastructure provider with an unrivaled network of 78 terminals in 23 countries and 25+ joint venture partners, connecting the supply and demand for products that are essential to the economy and the daily lives of people around the world. Vopak takes pride in improving access to cleaner energy and feedstocks for a growing world population, ensuring safe, clean and efficient storage and handling of bulk liquid products and gases.

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This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.

"In reflecting upon my journey through Houston’s energy landscape, it’s evident that the city stands on the cusp of a transformative era." Photo via Getty Images

Houston’s revolutionary energy shift: A personal journey of discovery

the view from heti

The following was written by Pavan Kumar Medepalli, MBA candidate at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

As I reflect on my past visit to Houston, it’s not the usual sights or activities that linger but the pulse of a city redefining its energy narrative. The vibrant energy, the breakthroughs in innovation, and the spirited conversations with passionate individuals left an indelible mark. To my LinkedIn community, I invite you to join me on this journey into the heart of Houston’s transformative landscape.

Houston, traditionally known as the “Energy Capital of the World,” is now pioneering a new path. My recent trip provided a deep dive into its evolution from a primary energy hub to a beacon of global energy transition. At the forefront of this change are entities like HETI, Ion, Renewable Energy Alliance Houston, and Greentown Labs, each shaping a vibrant ecosystem of innovation.

During my recent three-day trip to Houston, I had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in some of the city’s most groundbreaking and influential spaces dedicated to energy innovation and sustainability. The experience was nothing short of transformative, and I’m eager to share some of the highlights and personal takeaways from this journey.

Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI):

HETI, with its compelling mission to revolutionize the energy landscape, stands out as a beacon of Houston’s dedication to sustainable change. This initiative capitalizes on Houston’s rich energy heritage, tapping into its vast infrastructure, expertise, and financial prowess, aiming to facilitate the global transition towards a cleaner, sustainable energy future.

One of the highlights of my trip was the privilege of interacting with Jane Stricker, Vice President of HETI. Her insights were invaluable. As the VP elaborated, HETI’s goal is not just about innovating for cleaner energy but establishing a framework where the transition is inclusive, impactful, and resilient. The organization aims to bring together diverse stakeholders, from industry stalwarts to budding researchers, forging a collective vision for the energy future.

It was quite interesting to know that HETI is backed by its member companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, SABIC and their strategy is to:

  • Jumpstart efforts in the sectors where Houston has a strategic advantage, Like CCUS, Clean Hydrogen, Circular Economy, and Energy Storage Solutions.
  • Attract and support companies in established new energy industries like Wind, Solar, RNG, Low-carbon LNG, and biofuels.

I truly appreciate the efforts of HETI and Greater Houston Partnership for their continuous efforts to be at the forefront of Energy Transition.

Ion

The Ion has provided a perfect ecosystem for founders, researchers, innovators, investors and corporate leaders to build scalable enterprises.

Navigating the vibrant ecosystem of the Ion innovation hub in downtown Houston, I quickly realized its uniqueness. This hub isn’t just about co-working spaces or networking events; it offers a dynamic platform where founders and innovators come to life with their ideas. I sensed the entrepreneurial spirit in every corner, every discussion, and every presentation.

In my exploration, I discovered that startups, both budding and established, frequently have opportunities to pitch their ideas. This isn’t just a standard pitch session; it’s a transformative experience. Founders present their innovations and visions to an audience that’s a blend of seasoned professionals, industry experts, and potential investors. Each pitch session felt like a grand performance, filled with passion, determination, and vision.

What’s even more impressive is how these sessions cater to investors. For them, the Ion hub becomes a treasure trove of opportunities. As an investor, sifting through numerous pitches can be a daunting task. But here, the environment ensures they witness only the most promising and aligned pitches, allowing them to identify the right investment opportunities that match their portfolios and interests.

The frequency of these pitches ensures a continuous flow of fresh ideas, and as a founder, you’re always in front of an audience that matters. It’s a win-win: founders get regular feedback and potentially find the right partners, while investors stay updated with the latest innovations and can quickly spot the next big thing.

Immersing myself in this environment, I felt the palpable excitement. Founders eagerly prepping for their pitches, investors actively engaged in discussions, and the continuous buzz of potential collaborations. The Ion hub has successfully created a space where ideas meet capital, where dreams meet reality, and where every pitch could be the beginning of the next big success story.

Greentown Labs

As I delved deeper into the ecosystem of Greentown Labs after my engagement with The Ion, I was struck by the holistic approach this hub takes toward nurturing innovation. Beyond being a space for clean tech and sustainable ventures, Greentown Labs offers a myriad of resources tailored for startups.

One of the standout features is their state-of-the-art prototyping labs. Founders have access to cutting-edge equipment, enabling them to transform their visionary ideas into tangible prototypes, fast-tracking the path from concept to realization.

But it’s not just about physical resources. Greentown Labs champions a collaborative ethos. Shared resources mean startups can lean on each other, pooling knowledge and skills and fostering an environment of mutual growth. This spirit of collaboration extends to their mentorship programs. New ventures can tap into a wealth of experience, gaining insights and guidance from seasoned professionals who’ve walked the path before.

Engaging with founders from CLS Wind and Mars Materials, it became evident how such an integrated support system propels their ambitions. Greentown Labs, in essence, is more than just a hub; it’s a community. A community where sustainability meets innovation, where ideas are nurtured with the right tools and mentorship, and where the future of clean tech is being crafted.

A special thank you to Jane Stricker from Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI), whose passion and vision for a sustainable energy future left a profound impact on me; Kay McCall from Renewable Energy Alliance – Houston, whose leadership and insights were truly enlightening; Barbara Burger, whose innovative approach to bridging traditional energy with emerging technologies is commendable; and Joey Sanchez from Ion Houston, whose deep understanding of Houston’s business ecosystem and dedication to fostering change enriched my perspective immensely. Each of you played a pivotal role in making my experience memorable and filled with invaluable learnings. Thank you for your time, willingness to share, and for being such inspiring figures in this transformative journey Houston is undertaking.

In reflecting upon my journey through Houston’s energy landscape, it’s evident that the city stands on the cusp of a transformative era. The concerted efforts of organizations like HETI, Ion, and Greentown Labs exemplify Houston’s unwavering commitment to reimagining its energy identity. This isn’t just about evolving from its storied past as the “Energy Capital of the World.” It’s about setting the gold standard for what energy transition on a global scale looks like. Houston’s evolution, fueled by innovation, collaboration, and sheer determination, sends a resounding message to the world: the energy transition is not just feasible; it’s already underway. The endeavors and successes in this space are a testament to Houston’s vision and resilience, proving that any city can redefine its narrative with the right framework and community. As I conclude my reflections, I’m filled with a profound sense of optimism. Houston, you’ve not only lived up to your legacy but are also charting a new course that will inspire generations to come.

———

This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.

The Energy Institute High School is uniquely positioned to build a lifelong foundation for those pursuing degrees and careers in the energy industry. Photo via htxenergytransition.org

Building the future of STEM leadership at Houston's energy-focused high school

the view from heti

Established in 2013, Houston’s Energy Institute High School is the first of its kind in the United States. Houston Independent School District (HISD), the nation’s seventh-largest school district, opened the innovative, STEM-focused magnet high school to support Houston’s increasing demand for STEM education and align with the city’s status as a major energy hub.

As the Energy Capital of the World, Houston is the leading domestic and international center for virtually every segment of the energy industry. It’s home to more than 4,700 energy-related firms, employs nearly a third of the nation’s jobs in oil and gas extraction, and boasts the world’s fourth-largest concentration of engineers. Houston’s economic vitality and growth is inextricably tied to the energy industry and depends on a strong STEM talent pool for the future.

The Energy Institute High School is uniquely positioned to build a lifelong foundation for those pursuing degrees and careers in the energy industry. The specialized high school prepares students for careers in the energy sector, as well as related fields such as environmental science and engineering, by providing a specialized learning experience centered around science, technology, engineering, and math. The Energy Institute High School integrates the energy theme into its entire STEM curriculum through a wide array of technology, hands-on projects, and experiential learning designed to inspire students and fuel continued interest in the energy field. And with up to 60% of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the school plays a crucial role in fostering equal education opportunities and breaking down barriers to success that many students face.

“As principal of the first high school devoted to preparing students for careers in the energy field, my goal is to deliver extraordinary firsts in learning,” said Lori Lambropoulos, Principal of Energy Institute High School. “I am thrilled to be the leader of a school that is participating in a thematic approach to the school experience—mingling the exploration of energy careers with cutting-edge education.”

Over the years, the school has cultivated partnerships with local energy companies, organizations, and institutions—including HETI founding members bp, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and lyondellbasell—to provide students with real-world experiences and coveted industry connections. The Energy Institute High School works closely with an advisory board comprised of energy industry leaders and higher-education professionals to provide programs and enrichment opportunities for students, including:

  • A biweekly guest speaker series
  • University campus tours
  • Field trip sponsorships
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • College scholarships
  • Internships and externships

These partnerships have provided students from Energy Institute High School with invaluable networking opportunities and firsthand insights into the energy industry.

As the energy industry shifts toward a more efficient and sustainable, low-carbon future, graduates from the Energy Institute High School will play a vital role in accelerating the energy transition, not only in Houston, but across the world.

Learn more about Energy Institute High School and how you can support their mission through Friends of Energy Institute.

———

This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.

Jeremy Pitts of Activate joins the Houston Energy Transition Initiative for a Q&A. Photo via LinkedIn

Q&A: Houston organization empowers science entrepreneurs paving the way to a low-carbon future

THE VIEW FROM HETI

Founded in 2015, Activate Global Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that partners with US-based funders and research institutions to support scientists at the outset of their entrepreneurial journey by providing personalized expertise, tools, and resources that may otherwise be inaccessible. The organization recently launched its fifth community in Houston, and just closed the application window for the 2024 Activate Fellowship Cohort.

We recently connected with energy industry veteran and Activate Houston Managing Director Jeremy Pitts to learn more about how Activate is empowering scientists and engineers as they pave the way to a low-carbon future.

HETI: Activate was founded in 2015 and has established fellowship programs in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, and a remote Anywhere Community. Why was Houston the next logical choice for an Activate Community?   

JeremyPitts: There is no doubt that Houston is going to be a major player in the energy transition, so it’s a logical place for Activate to be as we do our part to help bring ground-breaking technology out of the lab and deploy it to solve the world’s biggest challenges.

Houston is already the best place to scale a company working on the types of hard tech solutions that Activate focuses on. Houston has the talent, capital, and resources to build and deploy things at the scale needed to have a global impact. There is a good chance that many of our current Activate companies and alumni will end up in Houston as they pursue their scale-up plans. Activate alum Tim Latimer and Fervo Energy are great examples of this.

Houston is also an interesting fit for Activate as we believe we can fill a gap in the current ecosystem by providing support for entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their journey. By providing funding and support, we can keep those entrepreneurs in Houston as opposed to moving to the coasts. We are hopeful that not only can we directly support a small number of the most promising entrepreneurs, but we can indirectly support many more by creating an ecosystem where early-stage capital starts to find its way to Houston to support these revolutionary and impactful technologies.

HETI: Activate Communities work closely with climate tech programs at leading colleges and universities, including UC Berkeley, U Mass Boston, and Columbia University. What can you tell us about Activate Houston’s plans for collaboration with area colleges and universities?

JP: Activate’s goal is to be as inclusive as possible. One of our main goals is to find fellows who we can have as big of an impact on as possible, potentially being the difference between whether they are successful or not. To that end, we plan to partner and engage with all of the research institutions across Houston and the surrounding areas. In just our first few months of being on the ground in Houston and recruiting for our first cohort, we have already engaged with Rice, UH, Prairie View A&M, TSU, Texas A&M, UT, and the Texas Medical Center. We have also begun outreach and preliminary conversations with institutions outside of the Houston area, like UT Dallas, SMU, Baylor, UTEP, etc. Our goal is to find the most promising entrepreneurs and the most impactful technologies that we can help and support, regardless of where they come from.

We will also be looking to engage with some of these institutions to make resources available to our fellows to support the research they are doing once in the Activate program. These conversations are in the early stages, but the facilities at UH Technology Bridge and TMC’s Innovation Factory are great examples of how the Houston ecosystem can support our fellows.

HETI: How do fellowships like Activate differ from traditional accelerator programs and why are they such an important component of the energy transition?

JP: Accelerators in general are a great resource for entrepreneurs to quickly learn the fundamentals around building a company and gain access to a network of investors, mentors, and partners that they would have trouble accessing on their own.

While Activate has a lot of overlap with accelerators in terms of what we provide, we classify ourselves as a fellowship and not an accelerator. The reasons for this primarily lie in the fact that we are a non-profit. This allows us to do a few things different from traditional accelerators. First, our program does not charge any fees or equity. Because our success is not tied to the financial outcomes of the companies, we are able to take much bigger risks in terms of the technology we support and we are also able to take a fellow first approach, as sometimes the best outcome for the fellow as a person is not the best financial outcome for the company. Second, we are much more patient, offering a full two years of support for our fellows and continuing to support our alumni community after they have left the program.

Activate’s unique fellowship program can play an essential role because many of the technologies and breakthroughs necessary to solve the world’s biggest challenges are really hard. It can take a long time to develop these technologies and often they are too risky and unproven at the early stages to be able to attract the capital they need to turn the technology into a commercial solution. Activate can support these hard technologies and provide a two-year safety net for our fellows as they work through those early challenges and progress their solution to a point that the private markets will support the business coming out of our program. We have been quite successful with this approach thus far, as the 145 companies we have created have raised nearly $1.4B in follow-on funding, representing a 23X multiplier on the funds Activate has directly deployed to support the fellows.

HETI: You’re the co-founder of Greentown Labs, now the nation’s biggest climate tech incubator. How does that experience help in your new role as MD at Activate Houston?

JP: The biggest takeaway for me from my time building Greentown is the power of community. Early-stage deep tech founders face monumental challenges. Having a community of like-minded individuals nearby who are facing their own similar challenges and serve as both a support network and a sounding board to help work through those challenges can be the difference between success and failure. I hope to leverage those learnings to really focus on Activate Houston being an incredibly strong community where the founders can lean on each other, and me, for the support they need.

In addition, Greentown also serves as a gathering place for bringing the larger climate community together, which is so vital in pushing forward the energy transition. In the early days of Greentown, those events happened on an almost ad hoc basis, as there wasn’t previously a place for people interested in climate to gather. Greentown has changed a lot over the years – the facilities are quite a bit nicer than where we started – but it has done an amazing job continuing to fill that role as the center of the climate ecosystem and bringing together a community of like-minded individuals. Anyone who attended the recent Greentown Climatetech Summit and experienced the standing-room-only crowds of passionate people can attest to that. Certainly, Greentown already fills that role for Houston and does it well, but my experience with the power of community will lead me to lean into Houston’s climate community and encourage our fellows to do the same, to be active members in strengthening the entire climate and innovation ecosystem in Houston. All boats rise together in the rising sea that is Houston’s climate and innovation ecosystem.

HETI: What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming launch of Houston’s 2024 Cohort?

JP: I’m looking forward to getting started – welcoming our first cohort into Houston and showing the rest of the country that Houston can hold its own when it comes to hard tech and world-changing innovation.

———

This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.

The Houston energy transition ecosystem is primed for collaborative partnerships – but here's what to keep in mind. Photo courtesy of Digital Wildcatters

Addressing the need for collaboration in Houston's energy transition

Editor's note

When it comes to advancing the energy transition in Houston and beyond, experts seem to agree that collaborations between all major stakeholders is extremely important.

In fact, it was so important that it was the first panel of the second day of FUZE, an energy-focused conference put on by Digital Wildcatters. EnergyCapital HTX and InnovationMap were the event's media partners, and I, as editor of these news outlets, moderated the panel about collaborations.

I wanted to take a second to reflect on the conversation I had with the panelists earlier this week, as I believe their input and expertise — from corporate and nonprofit to startup and investing — was extremely valuable to the greater energy transition community.

Here were my three takeaways from the panel, titled "Collaborative Partnerships: Leveraging synergy in the energy sector."

Early-stage tech startups need bridges to cross their valleys.

The energy transition is a long game — and an expensive one, as Jane Stricker, executive director of the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, explains on the panel. And, just like most startups, the path to commercialization and profitability is long — and definitely not promised.

"When you look at innovation and startups, the multiple valleys of death a startup will go through on their journey, we have to find more ways to bridge those valleys and get more technology to get up that mountain and to a place where it can be scaled," she says.

She explains that corporations aren't always good at innovating, but they are impactful about rolling out de-risked technology at a global scale. But the technology has to get to that point first, so it takes a much earlier intervention for corporates — or another entity, like incubators and accelerators — to help in that developmental process.

"In Houston we have the potential to build out that ecosystem — we already have a lot of pieces in place, so it's about connecting the dots," Stricker says. "It's only by all of the different parts of the ecosystem understanding what each other does and what unique role they play in the process that we can really leverage the strengths of each of them to help create those partnerships and opportunities."

As Amy Henry, CEO of EUNIKE Ventures explains, corporates have their own challenges.

"Energy companies themselves have their own valley of death, and from where they are sitting, that's why they need to collaborate," she says on the panel. "And now we're talking about an unprecedented rate of getting technology commercialized."

EUNIKE works as a go between for corporates — almost as an expansion for them, Henry explains, and they are facing a challenging time too.

"Energy companies are just not early adopters of technology," she says. "But they are also going through their own transformation. At the same time, you've had this huge knowledge leakage in terms of all the workforce reduction."

Startups and corporates speak a different language.

Moji Karimi has had several partnerships with corporations with his biotech startup Cemvita Factory, including a recent offtake agreement with United. For Karimi, it's about learning about your corporate partner.

"In partnerships, especially for startups, you need to understand what is the language of love for the company at time," he says on the panel. "Is it growth, is it perception and PR, is it deployment of capital, or is there a specific bottleneck that we can help remove."

For HETI, Striker says they hope to act as a translator between the two parties.

"How do we enable more connectivity between the companies that have a technology that may be of interest to the larger companies looking for a solution?" Striker explains of HETI's mission. "And how do we make sure industry is communicating opening and broadly?"

Now is the time for action.

For Karimi, the solution is simple: More action is needed.

"Generally, we just need to talk less and do more," he says of what he wants to see from corporates, adding that more checks need to be written.

Based on his own experience, Karimi says some corporates are better to work with than others. He says he prefers working with the companies that don't try to mix in their startup pilots with the "bread and butter" of the business.

"Everyone has so much on their plate," he says, giving the example of Oxy Low Carbon Ventures being an offshoot of Oxy's main business.

Karimi says corporates should think of their startup pilots as an opportunity to try something new and different — something they'd never be able to test internally.

David Maher, business development director of Americas at Linde, says now that there's been regulatory framework, Linde knows what to invest in. The company has a particular interest in hydrogen.

"Another big piece of it is scale," Maher says of what Linde thinks about when considering innovative partnerships. "What's great about Houston is we have density and scale already."

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Houston companies land DOE vouchers for clean tech

money moves

Ten Houston-area companies will receive vouchers from the Department of Energy's latest round of funding to support the adoption of clean energy tech.

The companies are among 111 organizations to receive up to $250,000 in vouchers from the DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, totaling $9.8 million in funding, according to a release from the department.

The voucher program is in collaboration with the Offices of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“It takes a breadth of tools and expertise to bring an innovative technology from research and development to deployment,” Vanessa Z. Chan, DOE Chief Commercialization Officer and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions, says in a statement. “The Voucher Program will pair 111 clean energy solutions with the support they need from expert voucher providers to help usher new technologies to market.”

In addition to the funding, the program seeks to help small businesses and non-traditional organizations gain access to testing facilities and third-party expertise.

The vouchers come in five different opportunities that focus on different areas of business growth and support:

  • Voucher Opportunity 1 (VO1) - Pre-Demonstration Commercialization Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 2 (VO2) - Performance Validation, Modeling, and Certification Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 3 (VO3) - Clean Energy Demonstration Project Siting/Permitting Support
  • Voucher Opportunity 4 (VO4) - Commercialization Support (for companies with a functional technology prototype)
  • Voucher Opportunity 5 (VO5) - Commercialization Support (for developers, including for-profit firms, that are working to commercialize a prototype that fits a specific technology vertical of interest for DOE)

The 10 Houston-area companies to receive funding, their voucher type and projects include:

  • Terradote Inc. with Big Blue Technologies Inc. (VO2): Full ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment for Clean Energy Technologies
  • Solugen Inc. and Encina with ACTion Battery Technologies L.L.C. and Frontline Waste Holding LLC (Vo2): Barracuda Virtual Reactor Simulation, Validation and Testing
  • Flow Safe with Concept Group LLC and Precision Fluid Control (VO2): Durability Testing of Hydrogen Components, Materials, and Storage Systems
  • Percheron Power LLC (VO4): Fundraising Support
  • Capwell Services Inc. with Banyu Carbon Inc. (VO5): Field Testing Support for Validation of Novel Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Syzygy Plasmonics with Ample Carbon PBC, Terraform Industries, Lydian Labs Inc. and Vycarb Inc. (VO5): Rapid Life Cycle Assessment for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Solidec Inc. with GreenFire Energy (VO5): LCA Calculator Tool for Carbon Management or Resource Sustainability Technologies
  • Encino Environmental Services LLC with Wood Cache, Completion Corp and Carbon Lockdown (VO5): Realtime Above/Underground Gas Monitoring Reporting and Verification, Including Cloud Connectivity for Remote Sites
  • Mati Carbon PBC with Ebb Carbon Inc. (VO5): Community Benefits Assessment and Environmental Justice

Other Texas-based companies to receive funding included Molecular Rebar Design LLC and Talus Renewables from Austin, Deep Anchor Solutions from College Station, and ACTion Battery Technologies LLC from Wichita Falls.

Last October, the DOE also awarded the Houston area more than $2 million for projects that improve energy efficiency and infrastructure in the region.

In December, its Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations also selected a Houston power company for a commercial-scale carbon capture and storage project cost-sharing agreement.

New global report names top cleantech startups to keep an eye on

seeing green

Nine Greentown Labs members were recognized on a global list honoring cleantech companies.

Houston-based Fervo Energy was named to Cleantech Group’s Global Cleantech 100 report. Cleantech Group is a research-driven company that aids the public sector, private sector, investors, and also identifies, assesses, and engages with the innovative solutions around climate challenges.

Fervo, a geothermal energy company that specializes in a renewable energy technology that uses hot water to produce electricity, debuted in 2022 on the list, and was honored in the “Energy & Power” category for the second straight year.

The other Greentown Labs, which is dual located in Houston and Somerville, Massachusetts, companies recognized on the list include:

  • Amogy, a New York-based novel carbon-free energy system using ammonia as a renewable fuel
  • Carbon Upcycling Technologies, a Canadian waste and carbon utilization company
  • Dandelion Energy, New York-based company offering ground source heat pumps for most homes
  • Energy Dome, a Milan-based company addressing the problem of long-duration energy storage
  • e-Zinc, a Canadian company with a breakthrough electrochemical technology for energy storage
  • Nth Cycle, a Massachusetts company with sustainable metal refining
  • Raptor Maps, a Massachusetts company with a software platform for solar assets' performance data management
  • Sublime Systems, a Massachusetts companydeveloping a breakthrough process for low-carbon cement
  • WeaveGrid, a California company working with utilities, automakers, EVSEs, and EV owners to enable and accelerate the electrification of transportation

The number of nominations from the public, a panel, i3, awards and Cleantech Group totaled 25,435 from over 65 countries, which is a 61% increase from the 2023 nomination process. Winners were chosen from a short list of 330 companies by a panel of over 80 industry experts.

While not on the list, Beaumont-based Fortress Energy was mentioned for its electrolyzer supply agreement with Cleantech Group 100 winner Electric Hydrogen.

The Cleantech Group 100 was started 15 years ago.

“In 15 more years, we will be at 2039—by which time, a mere decade out from the ‘net-zero’ target of 2050,” Cleantech Group CEO Richard Youngman says in the report. “I would expect the composition of our annual list to have markedly changed again, and the leading upcoming private companies of that time to reflect such.”