Money makers

Chevron Technology Ventures launches $90 million fund

Chevron Technology Ventures' new fund will seek out "high-tech, high-growth startups." Getty Images

Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures announced today that it's launched a new $90 million fund to focus scalable tech companies that could improve and advance Chevron's oil and gas business.

Fund VII, according to a release from CTV, will target early- to mid-stage companies and limited partnership funds.

"CTV serves as an excellent source within Chevron for new business models and novel technologies that can deliver value to the enterprise through their integration," says CTV president, Barbara Burger, in the release. "We are using venture capital as a conduit for early access to innovation and to build a pipeline of innovation for Chevron."

Chevron's last fund was a $100 million fund in June of 2018 called the Future Energy Fund, according to a release. The goals of that fund were to find solutions regarding lower carbon emissions and cleaner energy, the release states.

Chevron's venture arm has made 90 investments over its 20 years of existence and has fostered innovation inside the corporation and within the energy landscape as a whole. The firm boasts of being the longest-running continuously operating oil and gas corporate venture capital group.

According to its website, CTV's portfolio includes projects in both of its upstream and downstream businesses — including startups focusing on communications, information technologies, alternative energy, and more.

In January, CTV entered into a partnership with The Cannon to further develop the entities commitment to Houston innovation and startups.


Barbara Burger is the president of Chevron Technology Ventures.Courtesy of Chevron

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Building Houston

 
 

With this new joint effort, Syzygy is one step closer to commercial scale of its decarbonization technology. Photo courtesy of Syzygy

A Houston tech company has joined forces with a nonprofit to test a new sustainable fuel production process.

The project is a joint effort from Houston-based Syzygy Plasmonics and nonprofit research institute RTI International and sponsored by Equinor Ventures and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas. Based in the RTI facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, the six-month pilot is testing a way to convert two potent greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) — into low-carbon-intensity fuels, which have the potential to replace petroleum-based jet fuel, diesel, and gasoline.

"This demonstration will be the first of its kind and represents a disruptive step in carbon utilization. The sustainable fuels produced are expected to quickly achieve cost parity with today's fossil fuels," says Syzygy CEO Trevor Best in a news release. "Integrating our technology with RTI's Fischer-Tropsch synthesis system has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon intensity of shipping, trucking, and aviation without requiring major fleet modifications."

According to Syzygy, the pilot is a step toward being able to scale the process to a commercial-ready Syzygy e-fuels plant.

"By making minor adjustments in the process, we also expect to produce sustainable methanol using the same technology," Best continues.

An independent research institute, RTI International's focus is on improving the human condition. The multidisciplinary nonprofit seeks to support science-based solutions like Syzygy's technology, which has already proven its scale-up capabilities in earlier testing.

Through the partnership, RTI will assist Syzygy with process design and systems integration for the pilot-scale demonstration. Once it reaches commercial scale, the technology is expected to turn millions of tons of CO2 per year to produce sustainable fuels.

"We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Syzygy to test and assist in the scale-up of this promising technology," says Sameer Parvathikar, Ph.D., the director of the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage program in RTI's Technology Advancement and Commercialization business unit. "This work aligns with our capabilities, our goals of helping de-risk and commercialize novel technologies, and our vision to address the world's most critical problems with science-based solutions."

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