Recently, two HETI members announced acquisition and investment into carbon capture businesses. Photo via htxenergytransition.org

CCUS will play a pivotal role in the global energy transition by decarbonizing carbon-intensive industries, including energy, chemicals, cement, and steel. CCUS is one of the few proven technologies to significantly lower net emissions. However, the unique nature of decarbonization presents many complex challenges. With greater funding and growing policy support, the widespread adoption of CCUS technologies is becoming more technically feasible and economically viable than ever before.

Houston, with its existing CCUS infrastructure, large concentration of CCUS expertise, and high storage capacity, is the ideal location to deploy and derisk CCUS projects at unprecedented speed and scale. Recently, two HETI members announced acquisition and investment into carbon capture businesses.

SLB + Aker Carbon Capture (ACC)

SLB, a pioneer in carbon capture technologies, announced an agreement to acquire major ownership in Aker Carbon Capture (ACC), a pure-play carbon capture company. The move combines SLB’s established CCUS business with ACC’s innovative CCUS technology to support accelerated industrial decarbonization at scale.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” said Olivier Le Peuch, chief executive officer, SLB. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project. We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors.”

Chevron New Energies + ION Clean Energy

Chevron New Energies, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., announced a lead investment in ION Clean Energy (ION), which provides post-combustion point-source capture technology through its third-generation ICE-31 liquid amine system. This investment expands and complements Chevron’s growing portfolio of CCUS technologies.

“ION’s solvent technology, combined with Chevron’s assets and capabilities, has the potential to reach numerous emitters and support our ambitions of a lower carbon future,” said Chris Powers, vice president of CCUS & Emerging, Chevron New Energies. “We believe collaborations like this are essential to our efforts to grow carbon capture on a global scale.”

“This investment from Chevron is a huge testament to the hard work of our team and the potential of our technology,” said ION founder and executive chairman Buz Brown. “We appreciate their collaboration and with their investment we expect to accelerate commercial deployment of our technology so that we can realize the kind of wide-ranging commercial and environmental impact we’ve long envisioned.”

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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.

Energy Transition and Digital Transformation collide at next week's Can't Miss energy event. Image via Shutterstock.

Can't Miss: Reuter's Data-Driven Oil and Gas Conference

DIGITAL SUSTAINABILITY

June 20-21 | Reuter’s Data-Driven Oil and Gas Conference

Energy Transition and Digital Transformation collide at next week’s Data-Driven Oil and Gas USA 2023 conference from Reuter’s Events. Join leaders in technology as they discuss digital best practices in upstream energy and how to balance going beyond Industry 4.0 with goals for energy sustainability.

“Reuters Events: Data Driven Oil & Gas 2023 will be the space for decision makers to get together to take their business to the next level by overcoming cultural blockers, breaking down silos and exploring innovative technologies to improve the bottom line and maximize output,” says Lee Cibis, global project director for oil and gas at Reuters Events.

With a robust speaker lineup, attendees can expect to hear insightful case studies, lessons learned, and visions for a lower-carbon energy future enabled by digitalization and innovative technologies. Be sure to catch a multi-operator perspective at the Tuesday panel, “One Common Goal,” which appears to echo sentiments from OTC about the importance of partnering, with emphasis on the data interoperability needed from and between vendors and operators alike.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston's energy industry deemed both a strength and weakness on global cities report

mixed reviews

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

New collaboration to build data center microgrid in Houston

coming soon

Two companies are teaming up to build a natural gas microgrid in Houston that will reduce emissions by 98 percent.

Provider of prime and backup power solutions RPower has teamed up with Houston’s ViVaVerse Solutions to build a 17-megawatt (MW) microgrid at the ViVa Center campus in Houston, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

The microgrid plans to employ ultra-low emissions and natural gas generators to deliver Resiliency-as-a-Service (RaaS), and this will connect to ViVaVerse's colocation data center operations during utility outages.

RPower will also deploy the microgrid across different ERCOT market programs, which will contribute to assist with essential capacity and ancillary services for the local grid. ERCOT has increased its use of renewable energy in recent years, but still has faced criticism for unstable conditions. The microgrids can potentially assist ERCOT, and also help cut back on emissions.

“RPower's pioneering microgrid will not only deliver essential N+1 resiliency to our data center operations but will also contribute to the local community by supplying necessary capacity during peak demand periods when the electric grid is strained,” Eduardo Morales, CEO of ViVaVerse Solutions and Morales Capital Group, says in a news release.

ViVaVerse Solutions will be converting the former Compaq Computer/HPE headquarters Campus into an innovative technology hub called the ViVa Center, which will host the High-Performance Computing Data Center, and spaces dedicated to mission critical infrastructure and technical facilities . The hub will host 200 data labs.

“We are thrilled to partner with ViVaVerse to deploy this `first of its kind' microgrid solution in the data center space,” Jeff Starcher, CEO of RPower, adds. “Our natural gas backup generation system delivers the same reliability and performance as traditional diesel systems, but with a 98 percent reduction in emissions. Further, the RPower system provides critical grid services and will respond to the volatility of renewable generation, further enabling the energy transition to a carbon free future.”