Houston-headquartered KBR is working on a new alliance for lithium extraction. Photo via kbr.com

A Houston engineering solutions company has teamed up with a company to advance zero-emission lithium extraction technology.

KBR (NYSE: KBR) has signed an alliance agreement with France-based GeoLith SAS to offer its advanced Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology, Li-Capt, which allows for zero-emission lithium extraction from untapped sources like oil well brines and geothermal.

"We are excited to collaborate with GeoLith to pioneer advancements in accessing currently untapped sources of lithium to meet the world's increasing lithium-ion battery demand,” KBR President Jay Ibrahim says in a news release. “This alliance supports the global transition towards electrification and reinforces our commitment to a net-zero carbon future. As a world leader in evaporation and crystallization technologies, KBR is well positioned to provide end-to-end solutions essential to the development of sustainable mobility."

Per the agreement, KBR will serve as the exclusive global licensor of GeoLith's Li-Capt technology. The Li-Capt tech helps produce pure lithium concentrate and is adaptable to brine compositions and extraction sources. KBR already boasts an existing suite of battery material technologies like PureLiSM, which is a high purity lithium production technology. The combination of the two technologies aim to provide clients with solutions to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide monohydrate. Those are key components for advanced batteries in electric vehicles.

“The transition to electrification requires strong partnerships across the value chain, and we are proud to work with KBR to advance and commercialize our technology on a global scale," Jean-Philippe Gibaud, CEO of GeoLith SAS, says in the release. "Our Li-Capt technology ensures zero-emission lithium extraction, enabling the production of lithium concentrates from a process technology that achieves unparalleled levels of extraction efficiency and lithium selectivity."

KBR was recently awarded a contract by First State Hydrogen, which is building an electrolysis-powered green hydrogen production project. The study is part of First State Hydrogen's plan to provide clean energy to Delaware and the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. Additionally, KBR’s K-GreeN technology has been selected by a group of organizations — including Lotte Chemical, KNOC (Korea National Oil Corp), and Samsung Engineering — for the Sarawak, Malaysia-based H2biscus green ammonia project being developed by Lotte Chemical. The K-GreeN is a proprietary green ammonia development process. According to the company, KBR has licensed, engineered, or constructed over 250 ammonia plants since its founding in 1943.

The study is part of First State Hydrogen's plan to provide clean energy to Delaware and the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. Photo via Getty Images

Houston engineering firm tapped as service partner for clean hydrogen production facility

seeing green

A Houston company has scored an engineering services contract on a clean hydrogen production facility in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region.

KBR announced that it has been awarded the contract by First State Hydrogen, which is building an electrolysis-powered green hydrogen production project. The study is part of First State Hydrogen's plan to provide clean energy to Delaware and the U.S. mid-Atlantic region.

"We are excited to be a part of this important project that will contribute toward a cleaner, more sustainable world," KBR Sustainable Technology Solutions President Jay Ibrahim says in a statement. "This award highlights KBR's extensive and innovative clean hydrogen expertise, in providing solutions that matter, and our strategic commitment to the energy transition."

Houston-headquartered KBR has lead the hydrogen market as a technology and service provider.

"This is an important step for First State Hydrogen as we start laying the groundwork for a clean hydrogen facility that will drive our mission to responsibly and safely advance the clean hydrogen economy and create a more sustainable future," Dora Cheatham, vice president of sales and commercialization at First State Hydrogen, says in the release. "We're excited to have the KBR team with us on this journey."

Houston-headquartered KBR's green ammonia tech will be implemented in a project in Malaysia. Photo via kbr.com

KBR zero-carbon ammonia tech tapped for Malaysia project

seeing green

A Houston corporation's green technology has been selected by a chemical consortium of companies for a project in Asia.

KBR (NYSE: KBR), an engineering services company, revealed today that its K-GreeN® technology, a proprietary green ammonia development process, has been tapped by a group of organizations — including Lotte Chemical, KNOC (Korea National Oil Corp), and Samsung Engineering — for the Sarawak, Malaysia-based H2biscus green ammonia project being developed by Lotte Chemical.

"We are pleased to work with Lotte Chemical and support their energy transition objectives with our zero-carbon K-GreeN® technology," Doug Kelly, KBR president, Technology, says in a news release. "KBR is a leader in advancing clean hydrogen technologies and solutions, and green ammonia is a key enabler to achieving global net zero targets. Our green ammonia solutions and complementary technologies such as H2ACT make KBR the preferred technology licensors for major energy transition projects around the world."

Per the agreement, KBR will provide the technology license, as well as the engineering design, for its K-GreeN process. The H2biscus project is expected 800 KTA of green ammonia from hydropower, per the release.

Last summer, KBR Houston-based announced the partnership with Air Liquide on a large-scale low-carbon ammonia partnership that will offer KBR customers a more sustainable option through Autothermal Reforming (ATR) technology.

KBR has licensed, engineered, or constructed over 250 ammonia plants since its founding in 1943, according to the company.

Chevron — as well as nine other Houston energy companies — was named a top company by Newsweek. Photo via chevron.com

10 Houston energy companies recognized as best workplaces on annual list

best of class

Newsweek recently recognized the country's top workplaces, and 10 Houston energy businesses made the cut.

The annual America's Greatest Workplaces 2023 list, which originally published in the fall, gave 10 Houston energy companies four stars or above.

ConocoPhillips is the only Houston-based energy company to receive five out of five stars. Baker Hughes, Exxon, S&B Engineers and Constructors, and KBR all received four-and-a-half stars. Chevron Corp., Halliburton, J-W Power Co., Q'MAX Solutions, and Valerus secured four stars each.

"Our commitment to engaging the full potential of our people to deliver the future of energy is at the core of everything we do," Rhonda Morris, vice president and chief human resources officer at Chevron, says in a news release. "We do this because our business succeeds best when our employees feel engaged and empowered, and we look forward to building on this momentum for years to come.”

The ranking identified the top 1,000 companies in the United States and is based off of a large employer survey, as well as a a sample set of over 61,000 respondents living and working in the U.S. In total, Newsweek factored in 389,000 company reviews across all industry sectors. The report was in partnership with Plant-A.

"In an economic climate where the job market remains competitive despite fears of a recession, employers who stand out as America's Greatest Workplaces may find they have substantial advantages over their competitors," writes Nancy Cooper, editor of Newsweek, about the report.

KBR and Air Liquide are combining their efforts to advance the energy transition. Photo via airliquide.com

2 Houston energy companies team up for low-carbon ammonia initiative

howdy, partner

Two companies with large presences in Houston have partnered to provide low-carbon ammonia to customers.

Houston-based KBR (NYSE: KBR), an engineering services company, and Air Liquide, a have announced a large-scale low-carbon ammonia partnership that will offer KBR customers a more sustainable option through Autothermal Reforming (ATR) technology.

As far as the collaborative partnership goes, KBR brings its ammonia synthesis technology to the table while Air Liquide has significant experience with ATR for large scale syngas production applications.

"Our differentiated ammonia synthesis technology has been the preferred choice for decades, with complete solutions for blue and green ammonia and large-scale capacity ...," says Doug Kelly, KBR president of technology, in a news release. "The addition of ATR technology further complements our clean ammonia offerings as we work to advance technology solutions to decarbonize the world."

Michael J. Graff, executive vice president of Air Liquide Group, which has its United States headquarters in Houston, says in the release that the combined efforts will help move the sector on its its low-carbon transition. When paired with carbon capture, the new partnered solution will result in preventing 99 percent of carbon emissions, per the release.

"This further illustrates Air Liquide's commitment to sustainable development, supporting customers in industry and mobility to decarbonize their products and operations," he says. "This is a core element of our ADVANCE strategic plan, which inseparably links financial and extra financial performance."

According to the company, KBR holds about half of the market share of licensed capacity within ammonia technology, and has "has licensed, engineered, or constructed over 250 grassroot ammonia plants worldwide" since 1943.

In the future, Air Liquide and KBR have plans to contribute development of low-carbon hydrogen as a key enabler of the energy transition.

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ExxonMobil revs up EV pilot in Permian Basin

seeing green

ExxonMobil has upgraded its Permian Basin fleet of trucks with sustainability in mind.

The Houston-headquartered company announced a new pilot program last week, rolling out 10 new all-electric pickup trucks at its Cowboy Central Delivery Point in southeast New Mexico. It's the first time the company has used EVs in any of its upstream sites, including the Permian Basin.

“We expect these EV trucks will require less maintenance, which will help reduce cost, while also contributing to our plan to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions in our Permian operations by 2030," Kartik Garg, ExxonMobil's New Mexico production manager, says in a news release.

ExxonMobil has already deployed EV trucks at its facilities in Baytown, Beaumont, and Baton Rouge, but the Permian Basin, which accounts for about half of ExxonMobil's total U.S. oil production, is a larger site. The company reports that "a typical vehicle there can log 30,000 miles a year."

The EV rollout comes after the company announced last year that it plans to be a major supplier of lithium for EV battery technology.

At the end of last year, ExxonMobil increased its financial commitment to implementing more sustainable solutions. The company reported that it is pursuing more than $20 billion of lower-emissions opportunities through 2027.

Cowboys and the EVs of the Permian Basin | ExxonMobilyoutu.be

Energy industry veteran named CEO of Houston hydrogen co.

GOOD AS GOLD

Cleantech startup Gold H2, a spinout of Houston-based energy biotech company Cemvita, has named oil and gas industry veteran Prabhdeep Singh Sekhon as its CEO.

Sekhon previously held roles at companies such as NextEra Energy Resources and Hess. Most recently, he was a leader on NextEra’s strategy and business development team.

Gold H2 uses microbes to convert oil and gas in old, uneconomical wells into clean hydrogen. The approach to generating clean hydrogen is part of a multibillion-dollar market.

Gold H2 spun out of Cemvita last year with Moji Karimi, co-founder of Cemvita, leading the transition. Gold H2 spun out after successfully piloting its microbial hydrogen technology, producing hydrogen below 80 cents per kilogram.

The Gold H2 venture had been a business unit within Cemvita.

“I was drawn to Gold H2 because of its innovative mission to support the U.S. economy in this historical energy transition,” Sekhon says in a news release. “Over the last few years, my team [at NextEra] was heavily focused on the commercialization of clean hydrogen. When I came across Gold H2, it was clear that it was superior to each of its counterparts in both cost and [carbon intensity].”

Gold H2 explains that oil and gas companies have wrestled for decades with what to do with exhausted oil fields. With Gold H2’s first-of-its-kind biotechnology, these companies can find productive uses for oil wells by producing clean hydrogen at a low cost, the startup says.

“There is so much opportunity ahead of Gold H2 as the first company to use microbes in the subsurface to create a clean energy source,” Sekhon says. “Driving this dynamic industry change to empower clean hydrogen fuel production will be extremely rewarding.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Q&A: CEO of bp-acquired RNG producer on energy sustainability, stability

the view from heti

bp’s Archaea Energy is the largest renewable natural gas (RNG) producer in the U.S., with an industry leading RNG platform and expertise in developing, constructing and operating RNG facilities to capture waste emissions and convert them into low carbon fuel.

Archaea partners with landfill owners, farmers and other facilities to help them transform their feedstock sources into RNG and convert these facilities into renewable energy centers.

Starlee Sykes, Archaea Energy’s CEO, shared more about bp’s acquisition of the company and their vision for the future.

HETI: bp completed its acquisition of Archaea in December 2022. What is the significance of this acquisition for bp, and how does it bolster Archaea’s mission to create sustainability and stability for future generations?  

Starlee Sykes: The acquisition was an important move to accelerate and grow our plans for bp’s bioenergy transition growth engine, one of five strategic transition growth engines. Archaea will not only play a pivotal role in bp’s transition and ambition to reach net zero by 2050 or sooner but is a key part of bp’s plan to increase biogas supply volumes.

HETI: Tell us more about how renewable natural gas is used and why it’s an important component of the energy transition?  

SS: Renewable natural gas (RNG) is a type of biogas generated by decomposing organic material at landfill sites, anaerobic digesters and other waste facilities – and demand for it is growing. Our facilities convert waste emissions into renewable natural gas. RNG is a lower carbon fuel, which according to the EPA can help reduce emissions, improve local air quality, and provide fuel for homes, businesses and transportation. Our process creates a productive use for methane which would otherwise be burned or vented to the atmosphere. And in doing so, we displace traditional fossil fuels from the energy system.

HETI: Archaea recently brought online a first-of-its-kind RNG plant in Medora, Indiana. Can you tell us more about the launch and why it’s such a significant milestone for the company?  

SS:Archaea’s Medora plant came online in October 2023 – it was the first Archaea RNG plant to come online since bp’s acquisition. At Medora, we deployed the Archaea Modular Design (AMD) which streamlines and accelerates the time it takes to build our plants. Traditionally, RNG plants have been custom-built, but AMD allows plants to be built on skids with interchangeable components for faster builds.

HETI: Now that the Medora plant is online, what does the future hold? What are some of Archaea’s priorities over the next 12 months and beyond?  

SS: We plan to bring online around 15 RNG plants in each of 2024 and 2025. Archaea has a development pipeline of more than 80 projects that underpin the potential for around five-fold growth in RNG production by 2030.

We will continue to operate around 50 sites across the US – including RNG plants, digesters and landfill gas-to-electric facilities.

And we are looking to the future. For example, at our Assai plant in Pennsylvania, the largest RNG plant in the US, we are in the planning stages to drill a carbon capture sequestration (CCS) appraisal well to determine if carbon dioxide sequestration could be feasible at this site, really demonstrating our commitment to decarbonization and the optionality in value we have across our portfolio.

HETI: bp has had an office in Washington, DC for many years. Can you tell us more about the role that legislation has to play in the energy transition? 

SS: Policy can play a critical role in advancing the energy transition, providing the necessary support to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We actively advocate for such policies through direct lobbying, formal comments and testimony, communications activities and advertising. We also advocate with regulators to help inform their rulemakings, as with the US Environmental Protection Agency to support the finalization of a well-designed electric Renewable Identification Number (eRIN) program.

HETI: Science and innovation are key drivers of the energy transition. In your view, what are some of most exciting innovations supporting the goal to reach net-zero emissions?  

SS: We don’t just talk about innovation in bp, we do it – and have been for many years. This track record gives us confidence in continuing to transform, change and innovate at pace and scale. The Archaea Modular Design is a great example of the type of innovation that bp supports which enables us to pursue our goal of net-zero emissions.

Beyond Archaea, we have engineers and scientists across bp who are working on innovative solutions with the goal of lowering emissions. We believe that we need to invest in lower carbon energy to meet the world’s climate objectives, but we also need to invest in today’s energy system, which is primarily hydrocarbon focused. It’s an ‘and’ not ‘or’ approach, and we need both to be successful.

Learn more about Archaea and the work they are doing in energy transition.

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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.