Shell commits $10M to UH for new Energy Transition Institute
A new clean energy-focused institute emerging on the University of Houston campus has been buoyed by funding from an energy behemoth.
Shell USA Inc. and Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc. has granted UH a $10 million gift to establish the Energy Transition Institute. According to a news release, the institute — focused on three core areas: hydrogen, carbon management, and circular plastics — is expected to receive financial support that will likely exceed $52 million across donations from all parties.
With UH as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the country and its founding partner Shell, the initiative will focus on serving vulnerable communities and leading the energy transition in an equitable way.
“Houston is poised, like no other city, to lead the energy transition and the Energy Transition Institute will be essential in pursuit of that goal,” says UH Chancellor and President Renu Khator in the release. “Along with advancing energy equity and social impacts in our communities, Shell’s generous gift will help UH maintain its leadership role in the energy transition.”
Khator says this initiative will work in collaboration with Houston's energy industry and welcomes more partners like Shell to join in on the project.
“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime — and it’s partnerships like this, along with other key drivers such as policy and technology, that together can help the US make progress on its net-zero goals,” says Shell USA President Gretchen Watkins in the release. “When you put brilliant minds together with the resources they need to do the work, amazing things can happen.”
Within the three clean tech verticals, the new institute will target four disciplines, according to the university:
- Science, engineering, and technology: Recruit faculty energy transition research and technology expertise and drive new on-campus collaborations.
- Policy and regulation: Develop new public-private partnerships and infrastructure for measuring success, as well as recruit new faculty in policy and regulation.
- Equity, diversity, and justice: Drive stakeholder engagement across communities, including minority serving institutions universities, as well as research programs across disciplines focused on energy equity and environmental justice.
- Workforce and talent: Upskill the existing workforce on topics related to sustainable energy development and work closely with Shell and other industrial partners
Shell is no stranger to UH and is founding member of the University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy, which is expected to collaborate with the new Energy Transition Institute to innovate all things carbon capture, storage, and utilization — as well as hydrogen commercialization and circular plastics.
“These are important building blocks to transition society to a net zero future while still providing the products and services that people have come to expect and demand in their daily lives,” says Selda Gunsel, president of Shell Global Solutions, in the release. “The Shell technology community looks forward to working with the institute to co-develop crucial technology in these areas, as well as nurturing the diverse talent needed to drive the energy transition into the future.”