year in review
These were the 5 most-read Houston energy tech stories of 2023
Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. As the energy capital of the world, Houston has its fair share of energy tech stories that trended among readers — including the launch of EnergyCapitalHTX, InnovationMap's sister publication. Be sure to click through to read the full story.
Houston-based Zeta Energy has fresh funding from the government. Image via Zeta Energy
Houston-based Zeta Energy announced this week that it was selected to receive $4 million in federal funding for the development of efficient electric vehicle batteries.
The funds come from the U.S. Department of Energy's ARPA-E Electric Vehicles for American Low-Carbon Living, or EVs4ALL, program, which aims to increase the number of EVs on the roads by boosting the country’s supply chain of affordable, convenient, reliable and safe batteries.
Zeta Energy is one of 12 groups in the U.S. to receive funding from the program, which awarded $42 million in total.
“Electric vehicle sales in America have tripled since the start of this Administration and by addressing battery efficiency, resiliency and affordability, the projects announced today will make EVs attractive to even more drivers,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement released earlier this week. “This is a win-win for our efforts to fight climate change and power America’s clean transportation future with technologies produced by researchers and scientists right here at home.”
Here's what startups took home wins at CERAWeek. Photo by Natalie Harms/InnovationMap
Over 200 startups participated in CERAWeek this year, and 18 of those companies pitched at a Greater Houston Partnership event.
The Houston Energy Transition Initiative, an initiative to promote Houston's work within the energy transition, hosted its second annual HETI Energy Ventures Competition at CERAWeek Innovation Agora. The competition was divided into four categories. The first batch of startups consisted of five companies from the Texas Entrepreneurship Exchange for Energy, or TEX-E, a collaboration with Greentown Labs, MIT’s Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, and universities across Texas.
The winning startups shared $50,000 of prizes, sponsored by TEX-E. Houston-based Helix Earth Technologies — which has developed high-speed, high-efficiency filter systems derived from technology originating at NASA — won both the first place prize and fan favorite for the category. Helix's co-founders, Rawand Rasheed and Brad Husick from Rice University, walked away with $25,000 in prizes
Houston, we have a new energy transition news outlet. Photo via Getty Images
Houston has historically been home to a significant portion of the energy industry. Now, among the energy transition, the city has plans to hold a big role in that sector too, and a news outlet is emerging to cover that journey.
Houston-based Gow Media, a multi-platform media company and the parent company of InnovationMap, CultureMap, SportsMap, and ESPN Radio 97.5FM and 92.5FM, announced its plans to launch energycapitalhtx.com.
“Houston is aligning some of the city’s best and brightest to lead the energy transition,” says David Gow, CEO of Gow Media. “We have been deeply impressed by the efforts of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative and are excited for EnergyCapitalHTX to be the voice of the energy transition.”
According to a new report, the existing energy infrastructure of Texas makes it a great spot to lead the development of the hydrogen economy. Photo via Getty Images
All signs point to Texas leading the development of a hydrogen market, says one new report out of Rice University.
The Baker Institute for Public Policy released a new report this week about the hydrogen economy and the role Texas will play in it. According to the experts, Texas’ legacy energy industry — as well as its geology — makes it an ideal hub for hydrogen as an energy source. Ken Medlock, senior director of the Baker Institute’s Center for Energy Studies, and Shih Yu (Elsie) Hung, research manager at the center, wrote the report.
“Texas is in a very advantageous position to play a leading role in driving hydrogen market growth, but the evolution of policy and market structure will dictate whether or not this comes to pass,” write the co-authors.
The opening of the pilot plant marks the debut of Cemvita’s eCO2 business as a wholly owned subsidiary. Photo courtesy of Cemvita
Cleantech startup Cemvita has set up a pilot plant in its hometown of Houston to develop technology for converting carbon emissions as feedstock to make products like fertilizer, plastics, methane, and fuel.
The opening of the pilot plant marks the debut of Cemvita’s eCO2 business as a wholly owned subsidiary. The term eCO2 refers to equivalent carbon dioxide, or a way to measure a combination of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
With a capacity of more than 14,000 gallons, the plant is producing eCO2 oil, an alternative to soybean oil. The company already is shipping samples of eCO2 products to customers, including renewable-fuel companies and plastics manufacturers.
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