seeing green

Houston cleantech company receives grant to harvest waste pressure in the U.K.

Revolution's tech produces green power for digital oilfield and pipeline initiatives through the recovery of excess natural gas pressure. Photo by Anton Petrus/Getty

The United Kingdom subsidiary of Houston-based cleantech startup Revolution Turbine Technologies has received a $200,000 grant from the U.K.’s Strategic Innovation Fund to help produce zero-emission electricity.

The project, led by Revolution Turbine Technologies (RTT) in tandem with regional utility Northern Gas Networks and British government agency Digital Catapult, will explore installation of RTT’s proprietary micro-turbines within the Northern Gas Networks’ natural gas distribution network. It’ll be the first time RTT’s technology has been introduced into the global market for natural gas distribution.

RTT’s U.K. subsidiary received the grant from the U.K.’s £450 million Strategic Innovation Fund. The fund backs projects that are designed to help U.K. energy systems reach net-zero targets.

RTT’s co-founder and CEO, Christopher Bean, says in a news release that the grant “will accelerate our development efforts and be instrumental in advancing commercialization of our technology.”

The RTT technology set to be added in the U.K. holds the potential to be rolled out in the U.S. and elsewhere in Europe in the effort to combat carbon dioxide emissions, Bean says.

“Launching 40 projects in parallel, involving 100 percent of the UK energy networks, shows we can embrace new approaches, move quickly, and take more calculated risks," says Matt Hastings, deputy director of the Ofgem SIF program at Innovate UK, in the release." We strongly believe we can make the UK the best place in the world to be an energy consumer, and the best place in the world to be an energy entrepreneur. Working together, we can use the Strategic Innovation Fund to help turn the UK into the ‘Silicon Valley’ of energy.

RTT’s cleantech harvests excess pressure in flows of natural gas to generate zero-emission, off-grid electricity for energy pipelines, energy facilities, and gas distribution networks.

RTT was accepted into Greentown Labs Houston’s first group of cleantech startups in 2020. The startup relocated its headquarters from Asheville, North Carolina, to Greentown Labs Houston last year. Also in 2021, John Jeffers and Tim Moor came aboard as co-founders. Jeffers is RTT’s chief marketing officer, and Moor is its chief technology officer.

According to Crunchbase, RTT raised $1.6 million in seed funding in 2015 and an undisclosed amount of seed funding in 2021.

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Building Houston

 
 

Nancy and Rich Kinder gifted $50M to their eponymous center. Photo courtesy

Houston’s most generous couple has once again gifted a massive sum to a local institution. Rich and Nancy Kinder’s Kinder Foundation has donated $50 million to Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, the organization announced.

The Kinder's generous grant will assist the institute’s focus on what it dubs “inclusive prosperity” — that is, “ensuring that everyone can contribute to Houston's success and share in its opportunities.”

This new grant follows the approximately $30 million he Kinder Foundation previously gifted Rice’s Kinder Institute and its affiliates to facilitate its headquarters.

“Over the past decade, the Kinder Institute has played an integral role in shaping Houston,” said Rich Kinder, chairman of the Kinder Foundation. “However, we can do more to inform and more directly address the challenges our communities face, particularly in the areas of housing, education, economic mobility, health and population research.”

To that end, the Kinders’ funds will ensure the institute can assist its partners regardless of their ability to pay for research. Funds will also help the institute respond to community research needs quickly during times of crisis — such as a catastrophic storm or pandemic — when funds aren’t readily available.

Kinder Institute director Ruth López Turley calls the grant “a gift to all of Houston,” speaking to the institute’s work to improve lives through data, research, engagement and action.

“Inclusive prosperity doesn’t just happen spontaneously,” she noted in a statement. “It requires an explicit effort informed by research. Lots of organizations are working hard to make things better, but most of them have very limited research capacity, and that’s what the Kinder Institute is primed to do.”

Founded in 2010, the institute has evolved into a leader in research, data, and policy analysis of critical issues such as housing, transportation, and education. The institute also releases the familiar Kinder Houston Area Survey, which charts significant changes in the way area residents perceive and understand Houston’s ongoing challenges and opportunities.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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