Introducing: Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week, a collaborative initiative that will showcase Houston's ecosystem of energy tech innovators. Photo via Getty Images

Three organizations are teaming up to put on a week of programming and events focused on energy and climate startups.

Greentown Labs, Halliburton Labs, and the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship have announced Houston Energy and Climate Startup Week 2024 taking place September 9 to 13.

“These organizations will execute events that will serve as a launching pad for an Energy and Climate Startup Week in Houston, showcasing the city as a national hub for the energy future,” Brad Burke, executive director of the Rice Alliance, says in the release. “We welcome the community to bring other energy and climate events to the week, which we’ll cross-promote as the dates approach.”

The week will assemble investors, industry leaders, and startups from across the energy industry and from around the world to showcase Houston's growing sustainable, low-carbon energy future.

The initiative is in collaboration with the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, or HETI, an initiative of the Greater Houston Partnership, as well as Activate, Digital Wildcatters, Renewable Energy Alliance Houston, and TEX-E.

“As the energy capital and one of the most diverse cities in the world, Houston stands as a center point for these solutions. The region is welcoming, diverse and has the know-how to play a critical role in building an energy abundant, low-carbon future," Jane Stricker, executive director of HETI and senior vice president at GHP, says in the release. "We welcome all who want to be part of the solution to join for this exciting, inaugural week of events.”

Attendees can expect tech and startup showcases, panels, pitches, discussions, and networking events to be hosted across Houston and at the Ion, Rice's innovation hub in Midtown. More details on the events will be added to the Ion's website as they become available.

“We look forward to the opportunity to highlight talented founders and connect them with investors, industry practitioners and university resources to help accelerate energy innovation,” Dale Winger, managing director of Halliburton Labs, says in the release. “The collaboration to launch Energy and Climate Startup Week reflects how Houston works together to scale solutions."

Halliburton has named its latest cohort. Photo via Getty Images

7 energy startups tapped for Houston incubator program

ready to grow

Seven companies from around the world have been invited to join Halliburton Labs, the company announced today.

Halliburton Labs is an incubator program that helps early-stage energy tech companies through connections, access to facilities, and more.

"We are pleased to welcome these promising energy startups and provide customized support to help them achieve their specific priorities, accelerate commercialization, and increase valuation," says Dale Winger, managing director of the program, in a news release. "Our experienced practitioners and network will help these companies use their time and capital efficiently."

The next Halliburton Labs Finalists Pitch Day, which will feature the ongoing cohort, is planned for Thursday, March 14, in New Orleans in coordination with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and 3rd Coast Venture Summit. Applications for the program are open until Friday, February 9.

The newest additions to Halliburton Labs are as follows.

One of three Israel-based companies in the cohort, Airovation Technologies is advancing carbon capture and utilization solutions through helping hard-to-abate industries that achieve emissions reduction targets through its proprietary carbon mineralization technology. Through transforming point-source CO2 emissions into circular chemicals and building materials, Airovation is developing a scalable pathway for industrial emitters to decarbonize with multiple revenue streams.

“Industrial emitters are seeking economic ways to decarbonize,” Marat Maayan, founder and CEO at Airovation Technologies, says. “We are excited to accelerate our commercialization in the United States with Halliburton Labs, leveraging their expertise, capabilities and network."

Ayrton Energy, based in Calgary, is developing liquid organic hydrogen carrier storage technology to enable the large-scale, efficient transportation of hydrogen over extended distances without hydrogen loss and pipeline corrosion. This storage technology provides a high-density hydrogen storage medium without the need for cryogenics or high-pressure systems, which differs from the existing technology out there. This improves the safety and efficiency of hydrogen storage while enabling the use of existing fuel infrastructure for transportation, including tanks, transport trucks, and pipelines.

“Our mission is to enable hydrogen adoption by solving the key challenges in hydrogen storage and transportation,” Ayrton CEO Natasha Kostenuk says.

Cache Energy, based out of the University of Illinois Research Park, is developing a new long duration energy storage solution, which scales to interseasonal durations, through a low-cost solid fuel. Once charged, the storage material stores energy at room temperature, with near zero loss in time and can be safely stored and transported anywhere energy is needed.

“We are strong believers of leveraging existing infrastructure and expertise to fast track decarbonization goals,” Arpit Dwivedi, founder and, says CEO of Cache Energy. “We look forward to this collaboration and learning from Halliburton's manufacturing and operational expertise, as we scale our technology.”

From Be'er Sheva City in Israel, CENS develops enhanced dry dispersion technology based on dry-treated carbon nanotubes that enable high energy density, high power, and outstanding cycle performance in Li-ion batteries. The technology is differentiated because it can be applied to any type of lithim-ion battery and its implementation can be seamlessly integrated into the production line.

“Our goal is to develop ground-breaking technologies that will become disruptive technologies to market at a massive scale,” says CEO Moshe Johary. “With the help and vast experience of Halliburton Labs' team, we could achieve advancements in production capabilities while extending our footprint in the market.”

Casper, Wyoming-based Disa Technologiesprovides solutions to the mining and remediation industries. Disa utilizes patented minerals liberation technology to more efficiently isolate target minerals and mitigate environmental impacts to its users. Disa platforms treat a wide array of critical minerals that are essential to the economy and our way of life.

“We are excited to have Halliburton's support as we scale-up our technology and deliver innovative minerals processing solutions that disrupt industry best practices, enhance global resource utilization, and benefit the environment and the communities we serve," Greyson Buckingham, Disa's CEO and president, says.

Marel Power Solutions, headquartered from Michigan, is innovating electrification through its novel powerstack technology. These materials-efficient, quickly deployable, and scalable power-stacks, encapsulating advanced cooling technology, redefine power conversion in mobility, industrial, and renewables spaces.

“We're thrilled to contribute to global climate sustainability. Our collaboration with Halliburton will accelerate the electrification transition across industries. Marel's technology not only maximizes heat evacuation from densely packed power semiconductors but, more importantly, offers substantial savings in cost, weight, size, and time, making it transformative in the evolving landscape of electrification,” Marel CEO Amrit Vivekanand says.

And lastly, XtraLit is an Israeli company that develops a technology for direct lithium extraction from brines. The technology enables efficient and economically justified processing of brines even with relatively low lithium concentrations. Application of the extraction technology will allow mineral providers to unlock new significant sources of lithium that are critical to meet growing demand.

“Oil and gas industry produced waters might become a substantial resource for lithium production,” says XtraLit CEO, Simon Litsyn. “XtraLit will cooperate with Halliburton on optimization of produced water treatment for further increasing the efficiency of the lithium extraction process.”

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This article originally ran on EnergyCapital.

Halliburton Labs has added three energy tech startups to its program. Photo via Getty Images

Houston energy tech accelerator names 3 startups, announces first out-of-state pitch day

onboarding biz

Halliburton Labs has announced its latest cohort — and revealed details about its next pitch day.

The program, housed at Halliburton's facilities in Houston, added FuelX, LiNa Energy, and Solaires Entreprises to the clean energy accelerator. The companies will receive support from mentors from within Halliburton's workforce and network, as well as go through the accelerator's programming.

“We’re excited to support FuelX, LiNa Energy, and Solaires with the tools they need to achieve their goals,” says Halliburton Labs Managing Director Dale Winger in a news release. “Each participant company receives customized support to enable efficient use of their time and capital by engaging Halliburton’s scaling experience and capabilities.”

The next Halliburton Labs will not take place in Houston. The program is going on the road to host its next Halliburton Labs Finalists Pitch Day on Thursday, September 21, in Denver. The event will be a part of the inaugural Energy Tech Day at Denver Startup Week and will include pitches from innovative, early-stage energy tech companies.

FuelX

FuelX, which has a production plant in the Houston area, manufactures hydrogen storage materials and fuel cell power systems with alane solid state hydrogen fuel.

“Participation in the Halliburton Labs program accelerates our ability to scale to meet existing military and commercial project milestones,” says Greg Jarvie, co-founder and CEO of FuelX.

LiNa Energy

Headquartered in Lancaster, England, LiNa Energy develops and provides low-cost, solid-state sodium batteries.

"LiNa is delighted to be selected for Halliburton Labs – the support and investment will accelerate LiNa's growth on a scale found only in the energy industry,” says Chief Commercial Officer Will Tope. “Halliburton Labs is a cornerstone of our strategy, as we scale up manufacturing to deliver bigger energy storage systems to our partners around the world."

Solaires Entreprises

Solaires Entreprises, based in Victoria, British Columbia, is developing lightweight, flexible, efficient, and transparent solar cells.

“Our company is purpose-driven toward what our technology can achieve: a more affordable and reliable alternative within solar energy and photovoltaics and where renewables become a bigger portion of the world power mix,” says Solaires Co-founder and Chief Science Officer Sahar Sam.

Halliburton Labs has announced the addition of three clean energy tech companies. Photo courtesy of Halliburton

Houston energy innovation incubator adds 3 startups to program

new kids on the block

Halliburton has again added a handful of energy tech startups to its Houston-based incubator.

Three companies — Matrix Sensors, Renew Power Systems, and SunGreenH2 — have joined Halliburton Labs as its newest clean energy participants.

“Companies across the energy landscape are interested in scalable innovations that improve the cost, reliability, and sustainability of energy,” says Managing Director Dale Winger in the news release. “Our tailored program combines expert support, access to a global network, and the physical resources for participants to scale. We’re excited to help these companies accelerate their market traction.”

Halliburton, a provider of energy equipment and services, launched Halliburton Labs in 2020. Last September was the incubator's last cohort addition. The next Halliburton Labs Finalists Pitch Day is Friday, January 27, at the Ion. The event will include pitches from 10 innovative, early-stage energy tech companies. Registration is open for the event.

Here are details, according to Halliburton, about the three new startups at the incubator.

Matrix Sensors

Using a new class of gas-adsorbing materials known as metal-organic frameworks to develop the world’s first quantitative gas sensor on a chip, Matrix Sensors has created a touch-free technology that enables advancements in sensor size, power, cost, and performance to address limitations of current gas sensor technologies, which require manual calibration every six months. The company is based in San Diego, California.

“With Halliburton’s global reach, we can apply our technology to some of the biggest problems facing the energy sector today, including CO2 sensors for energy efficient buildings and methane sensors for leak detection,” says Matrix Sensors CEO Steve Yamamoto in the release.

Renew Power Systems

RPSi, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a clean-tech company that develops hardware and software solutions that enable flexible and sustainable grid infrastructure. RPSi uses power electronics to connect renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, with each other and the grid.

“Our mission is to help change the way the world generates and distributes energy,” says CEO Zach Emond in the release. “With RPSi technology, a diverse range of domestic and global communities will benefit from the acceleration of renewable energy resources that work with new and existing grid infrastructure and improve access to affordable, sustainable, and resilient electricity.”

SunGreenH2

Singapore-based SunGreenH2 builds high-performance hardware for electrolyzer cells, stacks, and systems that increase hydrogen production, decrease energy use, and reduce platinum group metals use. The company supplies hardware components for alkaline and proton-exchange membrane electrolyzers. Its modular, high-efficiency anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzer stack, which is being commercialized, uses renewable power to produce low-cost green hydrogen for industries, transport, and energy storage.

“We are excited to unlock the future of green hydrogen production. With the help of Halliburton’s engineering and manufacturing expertise, we plan to commercialize and roll out our product in major international markets,” says Tulika Raj, co-founder and CEO of the company, in the release.

Halliburton Labs has announced its next set of clean energy tech companies. Photo courtesy of Halliburton

Houston cleantech incubator adds 3 startups in its latest cohort

now accelerating

Three climatetech companies will be joining Halliburton Labs, a Houston-based energy transition incubator.

Chemergy, EVA, and Novamera will be joining Halliburton Labs, the company announced last week. The three startups will receive technical support, access to Halliburton's global connections, and more from the program.

“We are excited to help accelerate three innovative companies that emerged from our recent Finalists Pitch Day,” says Dale Winger, managing director of Halliburton Labs, in a news release. “We will work closely with these founders and their teams to achieve strategic, operational, and financial milestones with the most efficient use of their time and capital."

Halliburton Labs launched in the summer of 2020, and now has over a dozen companies working on climatetech solutions in its portfolio. Applications are now open for the next cohort on the Halliburton Labs website and are due by April 22, for the May 20 Finalists Pitch Day.

"In less than two years, we've established productive new relationships with fifteen companies scaling solutions across a breadth of markets to expand our understanding of new value chains,” Winger continues.

Here's a little more about the three new additions to the program.

Chemergy 

Miami-based Chemergy has created a patented HyBrTec process is designed to convert wet organic and plastic wastes into green hydrogen, thereby eliminating the liability and consequences of the wastes by converting them into fuel.

“We see a great opportunity to collaborate with Halliburton Labs' industrial experience to ensure our systems can be installed and operated safely in communities to solve waste disposal issues, improve resiliency and sustainability, and produce cleaner fuel locally,” says Melahn Parker, president of Chemergy.

EVA 

EVA, a New York headquartered company with a presence on four continents, is increasing scalability for the drone industry with its ground infrastructure and operating system solutions that help customers perform inspections, make deliveries, recharge, and monitor remote operations without local manpower.

“The Halliburton Labs ‘scalerator' model comes at the right time for EVA as we accelerate commercialization," says Olivier Le Lann, founder and CEO. "We're excited about the ways Halliburton's global market and industrial expertise will accelerate our trajectory."

Novamera 

Canadian company Novamera has developed proprietary navigation tools and software that enables climate smart, surgical mining and unlocks value in certain mineral deposits found worldwide that are otherwise uneconomic due to their small scale and geometry.

“We are pleased to join Halliburton Labs' accelerator program," says Novamera Co-founder and CEO Dustin Angelo in a news release. "Their engineering expertise and business experience will help us accelerate the development of our technology and scale our business to bring a more sustainable method of mining to the world.”

Here's what you missed at Houston House at SXSW. Photos courtesy

Podcast: Houston innovators discuss energy transition, diversity, and health tech at SXSW

Houston innovators podcast episode 125

SXSW has descended on Austin, and while the two-week conference and festival is still going strong, the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston-focused activation has wrapped for 2022.

Houston House, which first originated last year in digital form in 2021, took place Sunday, March 13, and Monday, March 14. The nine panels and two nights of networking covered topics from energy transition and med tech to diversity in venture capital and innovation in aerospace.

For SXSW badge holders, some of the Houston House discussions are available online. However if you’re not out and about at SX and you missed these incredible panels, I spoke to four Houstonians after their discussions to dig a little deeper into some key points from the panels.

Here are the Houston Innovators I spoke with at SXSW:

  • Denise Hamilton, CEO of WatchHerWork
  • Kevin Coker, president and CEO, Proxima
  • Grace Chan, investment associate at bp Ventures
  • Dale Winger, managing director of Halliburton Labs

Listen to these conversations below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes, which will return to interview-style conversations featuring Houston guests next Wednesday.

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Houston family's $20M donation drives neurodegeneration research

big impact

Neurodegeneration is one of the cruelest ways to age, but one Houston family is sharing its wealth to invigorate research with the goal of eradicating diseases like Alzheimer’s.

This month, Laurence Belfer announced that his family, led by oil tycoon Robert Belfer, had donated an additional $20 million to the Belfer Neurodegeneration Consortium, a multi-institutional initiative that targets the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

This latest sum brings the family’s donations to BNDC to $53.5 million over a little more than a decade. The Belfer family’s recent donation will be matched by institutional philanthropic efforts, meaning BNDC will actually be $40 million richer.

BNDC was formed in 2012 to help scientists gain stronger awareness of neurodegenerative disease biology and its potential treatments. It incorporates not only The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, but also Baylor College of Medicine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

It is the BNDC’s lofty objective to develop five new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders over the next 10 years, with two treatments to demonstrate clinical efficacy.

“Our goal is ambitious, but having access to the vast clinical trial expertise at MD Anderson ensures our therapeutics can improve the lives of patients everywhere,” BNDC Executive Director Jim Ray says in a press release. “The key elements for success are in place: a powerful research model, a winning collaborative team and a robust translational pipeline, all in the right place at the right time.”

It may seem out of place that this research is happening at MD Anderson, but scientists are delving into the intersection between cancer and neurological disease through the hospital’s Cancer Neuroscience Program.

“Since the consortium was formed, we have made tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of neurodegenerative diseases and in translating those findings into effective targeted drugs and diagnostics for patients,” Ray continues. “Yet, we still have more work to do. Alzheimer's disease is already the most expensive disease in the United States. As our population continues to age, addressing quality-of-life issues and other challenges of treating and living with age-associated diseases must become a priority.”

And for the magnanimous Belfer family, it already is.

3 Houston innovators to know this week

who's who

Editor's note: Every week, I introduce you to a handful of Houston innovators to know recently making headlines with news of innovative technology, investment activity, and more. This week's batch includes a podcast with the founder of a new venture firm, a former astronaut and recent award recipient, and a health care innovator with fresh funding.

Zach Ellis, founder and managing partner of South Loop Ventures

Zach Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that South Loop Ventures plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale. Photo via LinkedIn

Houston has a lot of the right ingredients for commercialization and scaling up companies, so when Zach Ellis moved to town to stand up a venture capital firm that made investments in diverse founders, he decided to go about it in an innovative way.

South Loop Ventures, which Ellis launched two years ago, invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups across health care, climatetech, aerospace, sports, and fintech. While the first handful of investments, which have already been made, are into Houston-based companies, Ellis explains on the Houston Innovators Podcast that the firm plans to invest in promising companies from across the country and bring them into Houston's ecosystem to grow and scale.

"Any investor wants to feel like they are looking at the best possible investment opportunities in which to deploy capital," Ellis says on the show. "So that's reason No. 1 to cast your net as widely as possible.

"At the same time, you want to give any investment that you make greatest chances of success," he continues. "The biggest factor of success outside of the team and the capital you give them, is the customers that they can call upon. In bringing targeted companies to Houston or connecting them with Houston, you introduce the opportunity for them to achieve rapid scale and work with world-class partners very efficiently." Read more.


Toby R. Hamilton, founder and CEO of Hamilton Health Box

Dr. Toby Hamilton has secured $10 million to grow his company. Photo via tmc.edu

A Houston company that is working on a value-based model for primary care has fresh funding to support its mission.

Hamilton Health Box announced the completion of a $10 million series A funding round led by 1588 Ventures with participation from Memorial Hermann Health System, Impact Ventures by Johnson & Johnson Foundation, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund, and the Sullivan Brothers.

The company, founded in 2019 by Dr. Toby R. Hamilton, will use the funding to fuel its expansion into rural areas to help assist those living in Health Professional Shortage Areas, or HPSAs. Read more.

Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and center director at the NASA's Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa was recognized for her leadership at NASA Johnson and for being the first Hispanic woman in space. Photo via NASA

Two astronauts recently received Presidential Medals of Freedom from President Joe Biden for their leadership in space.

Ellen Ochoa, the former center director and astronaut at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and Jane Rigby, senior project scientist for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, were honored at the White House on May 3.

Ochoa spent 30 years with NASA, which included being the 11th director of JSC, deputy center director of JSC, and director of Flight Crew Operations. She served on the nine-day STS-56 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993, and became the first Hispanic woman in space. She flew four more times to space with STS-66, STS-96, STS-110, and more.

“I’m so grateful for all my amazing NASA colleagues who shared my career journey with me,” Ochoa says in a NASA news release. Read more.

Houston health care institutions receive $22M to attract top recruits

coming to Hou

Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine has received a total of $12 million in grants from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas to attract two prominent researchers.

The two grants, which are $6 million each, are earmarked for recruitment of Thomas Milner and Radek Skoda. The Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) announced the grants May 14.

Milner, an expert in photomedicine for surgery and diagnostics, is a professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine and the university’s Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

In 2013, Milner was named Inventor of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin. At the time, he was a professor of biomedical engineering at UT. One of his major achievements is co-development of the MasSpec Pen, a handheld device that identifies cancerous tissue within 10 seconds during surgical procedures.

Skoda is a professor of molecular medicine in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel, both in Switzerland. He specializes in developing treatments for myeloproliferative neoplasms, which are a group of blood diseases including leukemia.

Other recruitment grants provided by the institute to Houston-area organizations are:

  • $4 million for recruitment of Susan Bullman to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was an assistant professor at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where she studied the connection between microbes and cancer.
  • $4 million for recruitment of Oren Rom to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rom is an assistant professor of pathology and translational pathobiology at Louisiana State University Shreveport.
  • Nearly $2 million for recruitment of Lauren Hagler to conduct RNA cancer biology at Texas A&M University. She is a postdoctoral scholar in biochemistry at Stanford University.

The institute also awarded grants to five companies in the Houston area:

  • $4.7 million to 7 Hills Pharma for development of immunotherapies to treat cancer and prevent infectious diseases.
  • $4.5 million to Indapta Therapeutics for the Phase 1 trial of a cell therapy for treatment of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • $2.75 million to Bectas Therapeutics for development of antibodies and biomarkers to overcome a type of resistance T-cell checkpoint therapy.
  • $2.69 million to MS Pen Technologies for development of technology that differentiates between normal tissue and cancerous tissue during surgery.
  • $2.58 million to Crossbridge Bio for development of an antibody-drug combination to treat certain solid tumors.