Nuclear could be a powerful tool to address rising greenhouse-gas emissions. But to get there, the industry needs to raise its game. Photo via Pexels

I argued previously that nuclear power can help the world deal with two related challenges: energy security and climate change. I still think that is the case.

McKinsey & Company, where I worked for more than 30 years, also recently turned to the topic. The authors agreed that nuclear can play a significant role in decarbonization, and noted that there were some encouraging trends, even in markets, such as the United States, where new plants are thin on the ground. And then the authors asked a critical question: “Can the industry reverse the trend of exceeding budgets and timelines while scaling up fast enough to rise to the climate challenge?”

That query got me thinking. To me, the case for nuclear is clear and compelling. Given that electricity demand could triple by 2050, the need for low-emission and constant power is acute. Nuclear fits that bill. Other sources either emit much more (coal, gas, oil) or are intermittent (wind, solar). Little new hydro is being built. Nothing else is at anything like scale.

But clearly, nuclear has not carried the day, particularly in Europe, Japan, and the United States. These markets are, at best, wary of nuclear power. They are willing to invest some money in next-generation technologies or maybe to extend an operating license. But they are not doing much about the conditions that make new construction so costly and difficult.

For that to happen, I think we need to go deeper—to change mindsets among two very different sets of players.

Anti-nuclear green activists. As the Rolling Stones wisely noted, “You can’t always get what you want.” To deal with something as complicated and wide-ranging as climate change, there will be trade-offs. But if you want reliable power and lower emissions and if you don’t want thousands of square miles of land coated with wind and solar farms, something has to give.

Consider France. It gets more than two-thirds of its power from nuclear, which is a huge part of the reason it ranks 60th in the world in per capita carbon-dioxide emissions (4.46 tons), a much better performance than global peers like Japan (8.5), Belgium (8.1), Germany (7.9), and Austria (7.3). Those four countries have all dialed back on nuclear. Here is the Austrian energy minister, Leonore Gewessler: “The attempt to declare nuclear energy as sustainable and renewable must be resolutely opposed.”

If the goal is to reduce emissions, though, why should that be the case? Well, one response is that championing nuclear power could reduce investment in renewables. But again, if the goal is to reduce emissions, then why not embrace technologies that do exactly that? Whether nuclear can be considered “renewable” seems to me to be almost a theological question, not a technical one. And certainly not a useful one. The goal should not be X or Y percent of renewables, but how to promote an energy transition that delivers reliable, low-emission power. Somehow that point is lost, or dismissed. Instead, major environmental groups such as the Sierra Club (“unequivocally opposed”), Greenpeace (“say no to new nukes”), the Climate Action Network Europe, the European Environmental Bureau (“We advocate for an exit from nuclear energy”) and so on don’t see a place for nuclear.

The mindset shift needed among these and other green groups is to see nuclear as one component of a diversified energy system that can be part of the climate solution, and then to turn their considerable power and creativity toward convincing the public. I just don’t see how shutting down nuclear plants before their time, and replacing them with higher-emissions sources, as is often the case, helps to reduce emissions.

I am not holding my breath on this, but stranger things have happened. Heck, nuclear has found an unlikely advocate in film-maker Oliver Stone. His new documentary, “Nuclear,” argues that the public “has been trained, from the very beginning, to fear nuclear power. The very thing that we fear is what may save us.”

Nuclear could be a powerful tool to address rising greenhouse-gas emissions. But to get there, the industry needs to raise its game. Stone’s nuclear-could-save-us scenario would be likelier if the industry made a better case for itself. Not in safety or reliability, where its record is remarkably good, but in frustration and economics. The stereotype of huge delays and budget over-runs is no myth. Georgia is the only US state building plants, and they are both running years and billions beyond the initial projections.

Granted, some things are beyond the industry’s control: legal challenges plus complex and shifting regulation add up. Some countries clearly do better than others on this. South Korea, for example, gets a third of its power from nuclear, is building three more plants, and is expanding its export market. It will be interesting to see if it could develop something like a nuclear assembly line that drives down its costs, which are already much lower than in the United States.

Like any other sector, nuclear needs to excel at competitiveness, cost control, and innovation—and it hasn’t. In the United States, the typical template has been to build really big plants, each unique, and each very expensive because of the size. The McKinsey report noted a number of things that the industry itself could do better, such as learning and applying best practices for large-scale projects; establishing standard designs; and using modular construction techniques. US construction productivity has stagnated for decades; the use of digitization and automation could help.

There are reasons to believe that the industry is improving. A cluster of companies is developing smaller, salt-cooled reactors; these are cheaper and safer. In January 2023, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified NuScale’s small modular reactor that uses natural water circulation, obviating the need for pumps and thus lowering capital costs. Compared to the 1,000 MW Georgia plants, NuScale’s are about 77MW, but can be added onto. No such plants have been built yet in the United States, though; advanced fission and fusion are even further away. So at the moment, this is all about potential. As one Department of Energy official put it, “It becomes truly real when electrons go on the grid.”

McKinsey concluded: “We believe a nuclear scale-up is achievable. It’s time for the industry to meet the challenge.” I agree,

Nuclear could be a powerful tool to address rising greenhouse-gas emissions. But to get there, the industry needs to raise its game. And it could use a little help from its enemies.


Scott Nyquist is a senior advisor at McKinsey & Company and vice chairman, Houston Energy Transition Initiative of the Greater Houston Partnership. The views expressed herein are Nyquist's own and not those of McKinsey & Company or of the Greater Houston Partnership. This article originally ran on LinkedIn.

The world can't keep on with what it's doing and expect to reach its goals when it comes to climate change. Radical innovations are needed at this point, writes Scott Nyquist. Photo via Getty Images

Only radical innovation can get the world to its climate goals, says this Houston expert

guest column

Almost 3 years ago, McKinsey published a report arguing that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was “technically achievable,” but that the “math is daunting.” Indeed, when the 1.5°C figure was agreed to at the 2015 Paris climate conference, the assumption was that emissions would peak before 2025, and then fall 43 percent by 2030.

Given that 2022 saw the highest emissions ever—36.8 gigatons—the math is now more daunting still: cuts would need to be greater, and faster, than envisioned in Paris. Perhaps that is why the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted March 20 (with “high confidence”) that it was “likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century.”

I agree with that gloomy assessment. Given the rate of progress so far, 1.5°C looks all but impossible. That puts me in the company of people like Bill Gates; the Economist; the Australian Academy of Science, and apparently many IPCC scientists. McKinsey has estimated that even if all countries deliver on their net zero commitments, temperatures will likely be 1.7°C higher in 2100.

In October, the UN Environment Program argued that there was “no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place” and called for “an urgent system-wide transformation” to change the trajectory. Among the changes it considers necessary: carbon taxes, land use reform, dietary changes in which individuals “consume food for environmental sustainability and carbon reduction,” investment of $4 trillion to $6 trillion a year; applying current technology to all new buildings; no new fossil fuel infrastructure. And so on.

Let’s assume that the UNEP is right. What are the chances of all this happening in the next few years? Or, indeed, any of it? President Obama’s former science adviser, Daniel Schrag, put it this way: “ Who believes that we can halve global emissions by 2030?... It’s so far from reality that it’s kind of absurd.”

Having a goal is useful, concentrating minds and organizing effort. And I think that has been the case with 1.5°C, or recent commitments to get to net zero. Targets create a sense of urgency that has led to real progress on decarbonization.

The 2020 McKinsey report set out how to get on the 1.5°C pathway, and was careful to note that this was not a description of probability or reality but “a picture of a world that could be.” Three years later, that “world that could be” looks even more remote.

Consider the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter. In 2021, 79 percent of primary energy demand (see chart) was met by fossil fuels, about the same as a decade before. Globally, the figures are similar, with renewables accounting for just 12.5 percent of consumption and low-emissions nuclear another 4 percent. Those numbers would have to basically reverse in the next decade or so to get on track. I don’t see how that can happen.

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Credit: Energy Information Administration

But even if 1.5°C is improbable in the short term, that doesn’t mean that missing the target won’t have consequences. And it certainly doesn’t mean giving up on addressing climate change. And in fact, there are some positive trends. Many companies are developing comprehensive plans for achieving net-zero emissions and are making those plans part of their long-term strategy. Moreover, while global emissions grew 0.9 percent in 2022, that was much less than GDP growth (3.2 percent). It’s worth noting, too, that much of the increase came from switching from gas to coal in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine; that is the kind of supply shock that can be reversed. The point is that growth and emissions no longer move in lockstep; rather the opposite. That is critical because poorer countries are never going to take serious climate action if they believe it threatens their future prosperity.

Another implication is that limiting emissions means addressing the use of fossil fuels. As noted, even with the substantial rise in the use of renewables, coal, gas, and oil are still the core of the global energy system. They cannot be wished away. Perhaps it is time to think differently—that is, making fossil fuels more emissions efficient, by using carbon capture or other technologies; cutting methane emissions; and electrifying oil and gas operations. This is not popular among many climate advocates, who would prefer to see fossil fuels “stay in the ground.” That just isn’t happening. The much likelier scenario is that they are gradually displaced. McKinsey projects peak oil demand later this decade, for example, and for gas, maybe sometime in the late 2030s. Even after the peak, though, oil and gas will still be important for decades.

Second, in the longer term, it may be possible to get back onto 1.5°C if, in addition to reducing emissions, we actually remove them from the atmosphere, in the form of “negative emissions,” such as direct air capture and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage in power and heavy industry. The IPCC itself assumed negative emissions would play a major role in reaching the 1.5°C target; in fact, because of cost and deployment problems, it’s been tiny.

Finally, as I have argued before, it’s hard to see how we limit warming even to 2°C without more nuclear power, which can provide low-emissions energy 24/7, and is the largest single source of such power right now.

None of these things is particularly popular; none get the publicity of things like a cool new electric truck or an offshore wind farm (of which two are operating now in the United States, generating enough power for about 20,000 homes; another 40 are in development). And we cannot assume fast development of offshore wind. NIMBY concerns have already derailed some high-profile projects, and are also emerging in regard to land-based wind farms.

Carbon capture, negative emissions, and nuclear will have to face NIMBY, too. But they all have the potential to move the needle on emissions. Think of the potential if fast-growing India and China, for example, were to develop an assembly line of small nuclear reactors. Of course, the economics have to make sense—something that is true for all climate-change technologies.

And as the UN points out, there needs to be progress on other issues, such as food, buildings, and finance. I don’t think we can assume that such progress will happen on a massive scale in the next few years; the actual record since Paris demonstrates the opposite. That is troubling: the IPCC notes that the risks of abrupt and damaging impacts, such as flooding and crop yields, rise “with every increment of global warming.” But it is the reality.

There is one way to get us to 1.5°C, although not in the Paris timeframe: a radical acceleration of innovation. The approaches being scaled now, such as wind, solar, and batteries, are the same ideas that were being discussed 30 years ago. We are benefiting from long-term, incremental improvements, not disruptive innovation. To move the ball down the field quickly, though, we need to complete a Hail Mary pass.

It’s a long shot. But we’re entering an era of accelerated innovation, driven by advanced computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning that could narrow the odds. For example, could carbon nanotubes displace demand for high-emissions steel? Might it be possible to store carbon deep in the ocean? Could geo-engineering bend the curve?

I believe that, on the whole, the world is serious about climate change. I am certain that the energy transition is happening. But I don’t think we are anywhere near to being on track to hit the 1.5°C target. And I don’t see how doing more of the same will get us there.


Scott Nyquist is a senior advisor at McKinsey & Company and vice chairman, Houston Energy Transition Initiative of the Greater Houston Partnership. The views expressed herein are Nyquist's own and not those of McKinsey & Company or of the Greater Houston Partnership. This article originally ran on LinkedIn.

"The world has two complementary challenges: decarbonization to deal with climate change and ensuring that there is a steady, safe, and reliable supply of energy. Nuclear can help with both." Photo via Getty Images

Houston expert: Why we need to talk about nuclear power

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A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated Japan’s Fukushima province in 2011 and flooded the nearby nuclear power plant. This damaged the reactor cores and released radiation. How many people died as a result of radiation exposure?

A. More than 10,000

B. More than 5,000

C. More than 1,000

D. More than 100

E. 1

The correct answer: E.

Yes, I was surprised, too.

No question: Fukushima was a tragedy. The earthquake and tsunami; about 18,000 people died. The evacuation of 150,000 people due to fears about possible radiation was traumatic and cost lives due to stress and interrupted medical care, particularly among the elderly. Fukushima a disaster — but it was a natural disaster, not a nuclear one.

In 2018, Japan confirmed the first death of a worker at the plant as a result of radiation exposure, and there has been none since. But surely, this is just a matter of time; there will be more cancers and premature deaths. Not so, according to the UN’s Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. In 2021, it found that “no adverse health effects among Fukushima residents have been documented that could be directly attributed to radiation exposure from the accident, nor are expected to be detectable in the future.” The World Health Organization came to a similar conclusion, as did the US Centers for Disease Control.

Fukushima is widely regarded as the second-worst nuclear-power accident in history (after Chernobyl which was much, much worse). As a result of it, Japan shut down or suspended all of its nuclear operations, which generated about 30 percent of its power at the time. Many have stayed shut. Germany pledged to phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022, and Spain, Belgium and Switzerland announced the same, but a bit more slowly.

And so, to my point: While I know there are difficulties, I think more countries, particularly in the West, need to get serious about nuclear. Even though people with impeccable green and/or progressive credentials like George Monbiot of The Guardian, James Hansen (sometimes known as the “father of global warming”), Stewart Brand (of Whole Earth Catalog fame), Steven Pinker, and yes, Sting believe that nuclear must play a bigger role in order to achieve deep and last decarbonization, I get the impression that the topic is often seen not fit for discussion in polite green society. It’s striking how few of the country submissions about meeting their climate goals under the Paris accords mention nuclear.

There are two major objections.

It’s dangerous. No, it’s not, and nuclear plants are not run by legions of Homer Simpsons. In fact, nuclear has proved incredibly safe over its 60-plus year history. Here is the OECD in 2010: “Even though nuclear power is perceived as a high risk, comparison with other energy sources shows far fewer fatalities.” Since releases of radioactivity were so rare — and none in OECD countries prior to Fukushima — the OECD noted that “reliance on statistics of events is not possible.” Instead, it had to do a theoretical exercise. An analysis of deaths per terawatt-hour (TWh) of electricity estimated nuclear’s toll at 0.03 per TWh. That figure includes Chernobyl as well as things like workplace accidents. That is less than wind (0.04), and a bit more than solar (0.02).

And of course, since we live in the real world, it’s important to remember that any particular source is part of a larger system. Nuclear power is markedly less dangerous than fossil fuels, which are deadlier in terms of production, and also carry risks in the form of respiratory disease and other problems related to air pollution. James Hansen estimated in 2013 that, by displacing fossil fuels, nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatons of GHG emissions.

It’s expensive. Upfront costs are high, and operating a plant isn’t cheap. By any measure, renewables, gas, and coal are all cheaper and that will probably be the case for the foreseeable future. In addition, renewables and gas can continue to innovate and their costs could continue to fall without the big capital expenditures that nuclear requires. It’s fair to say that under today’s conditions, the economics of nuclear are against it.

But, what if conditions change? For one thing, a big chunk of the expense comes in the form of time. In places where it takes a decade or more just to get through the regulations and litigation — and the United States is one — that drives up costs enormously. McKinsey has estimated that If nuclear costs could be lowered 20 to 40 percent, it would be competitive with other forms of generation. (It’s worth noting that in the years when renewables were very expensive, there were still many voices in support of them, for reasons of health, energy security, and diversity of supply. All these apply to nuclear.) To be clear: I am not against nuclear regulation: safety first and last. But it is possible to foster both safety and efficiency, and to drive down costs in the process.

Moreover, renewables are dependent on the weather; they cannot keep the lights on 24/7 without storage, which at the moment is both limited and expensive. The relative economics compared to nuclear change a lot if storage is added to the equation.

As for the positive case for nuclear, there are several elements. One has to do with innovation. A new generation of advanced water-cooled and small modular reactors (SMRs) are even safer than existing ones and generate less waste. (The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified NuScale’s SMR design in July.) These new designs might also change the economics. The capital and construction costs of SMRs are much less, although still big, an estimated $3 billion for NuScale, for example. The idea is that they could be mass-manufactured, generating economies of scale, then shipped to markets that could never afford the kind of massive plants that are the norm now. But that can only happen if it is allowed to happen, which is a kind of Catch-22. As an MIT study noted: “Policies that foreclose a role for nuclear energy discourage investment in nuclear technology.” And that guarantees that costs will stay high.

An important advantage of nuclear is that, acre for acre, it produces more power than solar or wind. Indeed, it’s not even close. The late British physicist and climate scientist David Mackay estimated that wind has a power density — power per unit of land area—of two watts per square meter (2W/m2); for solar farms, the figure is 10W/m2 — and for nuclear 1,000W/m2. To visualize what that means, to deliver the same amount of power, wind would require 500 acres, or almost three-fifths of New York’s Central Park, or all of Disneyland; nuclear would need less than a football field. And Earth is not growing massive amounts of new land.

Finally, it is hard to see how the world gets to deep decarbonization without it. Right now, nuclear provides more than half of all carbon-free US emissions and 30 percent globally. That cannot be replaced quickly or cost-effectively, particularly given that demand will continue to rise. It’s interesting, too, that to some extent, nuclear is assumed to be part of the climate solution. Indeed, in all three of the pathways it describes that limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (see page 28) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sees substantial increases in nuclear power.

There are itty-bitty signs that the mood may be changing, even in democratic places with active anti-nuclear campaigns. With Europe’s energy system struggling, Germany is slowing down its nuclear phase-out, by extending the life of two of its reactors. Japan, which has to import almost all its energy, is considering investing in a new generation of nuclear power plants. Britain is building its first new plant in decades — although the process has been troubled with delays and cost overruns. France is accelerating deployment and President Macron has said the country could build as many as 14 more — a reversal of the country’s previous plan to reduce its reliance on nuclear, which generates more than two-thirds of its power.

Closer to home, in September, California decided to extend the life of its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which is the state’s largest single source of electricity (see image). The Biden Administration has allocated $2.5 billion for research into new nuclear technologies, and supported existing ones to stay open.

But the fact remains that the United States has just two plants under construction, both in Georgia, and costs are ballooning. Only one nuclear plant has started up since 1996, while almost a dozen have been retired. And it’s not just the US: there are only two under construction in the EU. Most new plants are rising in Asia, particularly China, India, and Korea.

Here’s the thing: I have been what passes for a nuclear optimist for decades — and been wrong for that long. I am tempted, yet again, to say that nuclear is having its moment. I won’t go that far, because in the West, I don’t think it is.

But I think that, just maybe, that moment is edging closer, out of necessity. The world has two complementary challenges: decarbonization to deal with climate change and ensuring that there is a steady, safe, and reliable supply of energy. Nuclear can help with both.


Scott Nyquist is a senior advisor at McKinsey & Company and vice chairman, Houston Energy Transition Initiative of the Greater Houston Partnership. The views expressed herein are Nyquist's own and not those of McKinsey & Company or of the Greater Houston Partnership. This article originally ran on LinkedIn.

Blue, green, gold — what do all the colors of hydrogen even mean? Photo via Getty Images

Hydrogen's many colors, Houston companies that are focused on it, and more

Guest column

Repeated association of specific colors in defined contexts deeply reinforces themes in the human brain. It’s why most students and alumni of Texas A&M University scoff at the sight of burnt orange, and you’d be hard-pressed to find the home of a Longhorn adorned in shades of crimson or maroon.

The color-coding of hydrogen energy production exemplifies one such ambiguous classification methodology, as the seemingly innocuous labeling of hydrogen as green (for hydrogen produced from renewable sources) and black (for hydrogen produced from coal) initially helped to quickly discern which sources of hydrogen are environmentally friendly or not.

But the coding system quickly became more complicated, as the realization that hydrogen extracted from natural gas (aka grey hydrogen) or coal (again, black hydrogen, or sometimes, brown hydrogen, depending on the carbon content and energy density of the source coal) could be extracted in a less harmful way, by introducing methods of carbon capture and storage.

These cleaner methods for hydrogen extraction earned the lofty color coding of blue, just one shade away from green in the rainbow spectrum and a safe distance from the less delightful and inspiring colors grey, brown, and black.

Then along came pyrolysis — a method for producing hydrogen through methane cracking, plainly, the decomposition of methane, CH4, into solid carbon and hydrogen gas, without the introduction of oxygen. This method results in significantly less (if any) creation of carbon dioxide as a by-product. Logic would lead one to categorize this process with a color that lies further away from black than exalted cousin, green hydrogen.

However, the solid carbon that remains after pyrolysis retains over one-third of the original energy available from methane and could tip the GHG scales negatively if not utilized in an environmentally responsible manner, so it’s not a clear-cut winner in the game of lower-carbon energy production. Thus, it is nestled between green and blue and often referred to as “turquoise hydrogen” production.

Other hydrogen production methods — pink, purple, and red — defy rainbow logic as they have all proven to result in higher GHG emissions than the original “clean” queen, green hydrogen, despite following a similar electrolysis process to separate hydrogen and oxygen from one another in its original composition as water. The source of electricity used in the electrolysis process determines the color-code here, as pink hydrogen is generated from nuclear power, red hydrogen is generated from nuclear thermal power, and purple hydrogen is generated from a combination of nuclear power and nuclear thermal power.

Yellow hydrogen seems to not yet have found a clear definition. Some argue it refers to green hydrogen produced exclusively from solar-powered electrolysis, while others claim it to be the child of mixed green/gray hydrogen. Artists should probably keep a far distance from this conversation, unless the energy produced from the steam coming out of their ears could perform electrolysis more cleanly than any of the green hydrogen solutions.

Finally, we have white hydrogen, the naturally occurring, zero-carbon emitting, plentiful element found in the earth’s crust – which is also the least understood of all the hydrogen extraction methodologies.

Remember, hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table, meaning it’s density is very low. Hydrogen knows no bounds, and once it escapes from its natural home, it either floats off into outer space or attaches itself to another element to form a more containable compound, like water.

Many believe white hydrogen to be the unquestionable solution to a lower-carbon energy future but there is still much to be understood. Capturing, storing, and transporting white hydrogen remain mostly theoretical, despite recent progress, which includes one recently announced Houston lab dedicated to hydrogen transport. Another Houston company, Syzygy has raised millions with its light-based catalyst for hydrogen production.

For example, Cemvita, a local Houston chemical manufacturing company, predicts a future powered by gold hydrogen: white hydrogen sourced from depleted oil and gas wells. Many wildcatters believe strongly in a new era of exploration for white hydrogen using techniques refined in oil and gas exploration, including reservoir analysis, drilling, and fracking.

Without a doubt, investigating further the various hydrogen extraction theories is surely a craveable new challenge for the sciences. But perhaps the current color-coding nomenclature for hydrogen needs refinement, as well.

Unless used in the scientific context of wavelength, color-based labels represent an ambiguous classification tool, as the psychology of color depends on modern societal norms. The association of colors with the various hydrogen production methodologies does very little to distinguish the climate impact each method produces. Additionally, the existing categorizations do not consider any further distribution or processing of the produced hydrogen — a simple fact that could easily negate any amount of cleanliness implied by the various production methods — and a topic for a future article.

For now, hydrogen represents one of the front-running sources for a lower-carbon energy future, but it’s up to you if that’s best represented by a blue ribbon, gold medal, white star, or cold-hard greenbacks.


Lindsey Ferrell is a contributing writer to EnergyCapitalHTX and founder of Guerrella & Co.

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Chevron, TotalEnergies back energy storage startup's $15.8M series A

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A California startup that's revolutionizing polymer cathode battery technology has announced its series A round of funding with support from Houston-based energy transition leaders.

LiNova Energy Inc. closed a $15.8 million series A round led by Catalus Capital. Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, which has its US HQ in Houston, and Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures, also participated in the round with a coalition of other investors.

LiNova will use the funds with its polymer cathode battery to advance the energy storage landscape, according to the company. The company uses a high-energy polymer battery technology that is designed to allow material replacement of the traditional cathode that is made up of cobalt, nickel, and other materials.

The joint development agreement with Saft will have them collaborate to develop the battery technology for commercialization in Saft's key markets.

“We are proud to collaborate with LiNova in scaling up its technology, leveraging the extensive experience of Saft's research teams, our newest prototype lines, and our industrial expertise in battery cell production," Cedric Duclos, CEO of Saft, says in a news release.

CTV recently announced its $500 million Future Energy Fund III, which aims to lead on emerging mobility, energy decentralization, industrial decarbonization, and the growing circular economy. Chevron has promised to spend $10 billion on lower carbon energy investments and projects by 2028.

Houston innovation leaders secure SBA funding to start equitability-focused energy lab

trying for DEI

A group of Houston's innovation and energy leaders teamed up to establish an initiative supporting equitability in the energy transition.

Impact Hub Houston, a nonprofit incubator and ecosystem builder, partnered with Energy Tech Nexus to establish the Equitable Energy Transition Alliance and Lab to accelerate startup pilots for underserved communities. The initiative announced that it's won the 2024 U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, or GAFC, Stage One award.

"We are incredibly honored to be recognized by the SBA alongside our esteemed partners at Energy Tech Nexus," Grace Rodriguez, co-founder and executive director of Impact Hub Houston, says in a news release. "This award validates our shared commitment to building a robust innovation ecosystem in Houston, especially for solutions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the critical intersections of industry, innovation, sustainability, and reducing inequality."

The GAFC award, which honors and supports small business research and development, provides $50,000 prize to its winners. The Houston collaboration aligns with the program's theme area of Sustainability and Biotechnology.

“This award offers us a great opportunity to amplify the innovations of Houston’s clean energy and decarbonization pioneers,” adds Juliana Garaizar, founding partner of the Energy Tech Nexus. “By combining Impact Hub Houston’s entrepreneurial resources with Energy Tech Nexus’ deep industry expertise, we can create a truly transformative force for positive change.”

Per the release, Impact Hub Houston and Energy Tech Nexus will use the funding to recruit new partners, strengthen existing alliances, and host impactful events and programs to help sustainable startups access pilots, contracts, and capital to grow.

"SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One winners join the SBA’s incredible network of entrepreneurial support organizations contributing to America’s innovative startup ecosystem, ensuring the next generation of science and technology-based innovations scale into thriving businesses," says U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman.


This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

Texas-based Tesla gets China's initial approval of self-driving software

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Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”