Attention, innovators: A new initiative in Houston is searching for startups whose offerings can help reduce global carbon emissions.
The Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator is a partnership involving Greentown Labs, the Electric Power Research Institute, Shell Oil, the City of Houston, and New York University's Urban Future Lab. The accelerator is seeking applications from startups that are advancing low-carbon hydrogen production, enhancing hydrogen storage and distribution, or providing business models for management of hydrogen supply chains. Applications are due February 9, 2022.
"If we can improve the devices and processes that will be used to make, transport, and store clean hydrogen in the future, it can become a cost-competitive fuel. At the same time, these advances can improve the capacity factor of renewable generation, producing multiple economic and climate benefits," Pat Sapinsley, managing director of cleantech initiatives at the Urban Future Lab, says in a news release.
The six-month accelerator will enable startups to collaborate with the Electric Power Research Institute, utilities, and Shell on tech development, feasibility studies, pilot projects, and other low-carbon efforts.
The institute and Shell will provide startups two routes within the accelerate: a path for validation of their technology and a path for demonstration of their technology.
"Accelerating low-carbon hydrogen technologies is essential to achieving global net-zero targets by 2050," says Neva Espinoza, the institute's vice president of energy supply and low-carbon resources.
Shell foresees hydrogen playing a bigger role in hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as heavy-duty trucking, marine, aviation, chemicals, steel, and cement. Julie Ferland, vice president of innovation excellence at Houston-based Shell Oil, says programs such as the new accelerator will be critical to fostering low-carbon energy.
Earlier this year, after visiting Greentown Labs' Houston location, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Hydrogen Energy Earthshot to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80 percent to $1 per kilogram by 2030.
"As the Energy Capital of the World, I believe it is our responsibility to continue Houston's legacy of energy innovation and develop the technologies and practices needed to decarbonize the global energy sector," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says. "Houston has the skilled workforce and infrastructure to develop clean hydrogen at scale, and Greentown Labs' Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator is a great example of the kind of partnerships we need to make it happen."
Greentown Labs is the largest climatech startup incubator in North America. The Somerville, Massachusetts-based incubator recently opened its Houston location.