Published Aug 24, 2020 by Maggie Martin
From major oil and gas giants to renewable-focused startup companies, Houston is quickly becoming a hub for some of the most exciting Energy 2.0 developments happening today. Energy 2.0 refers to efforts to spur and support the regional growth and development of both new and existing components of the energy industry.
Below are a few of the major announcements so far in 2020.
Earlier this year, the multinational oil and gas giant announced plans to become a net zero emissions company by 2050 or sooner. In August, the company outlined ways it will work towards that goal, including cutting oil and gas production by 40% over the next decade, which means cutting at least one million barrels of oil a day. The company also said it wants to increase its annual low carbon investment 10-fold to about $5 billion a year, which includes renewables, bioenergy and early positions in hydrogen and carbon capture use and storage (CCUS). Houston is home to BP’s U.S. headquarters. Learn more.
In June, North America’s largest “climatetech” incubator announced it’s first national expansion to accelerate the clean energy transition. Boston-based Greentown Labs will open its second location in Houston in spring 2021 with approximately 30,000 square feet of prototyping lab and office space for about 50 startups. Greentown Labs expects the Houston expansion will bring 200 to 300 jobs for the first year once the program is full. The incubator is raising $7.2 million as an initial investment, which Greentown expects should sustain operations for about three years.
“Houston has long been known as the energy capital of the world and we believe it is well positioned to be the energy transition capital of the world," said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. Learn more.
The Houston-based energy services giant announced in late July that it’s launching Halliburton Labs to help foster early-stage cleantech or new energy companies. The new program aims to create a space for people to come together to find solutions for cleaner, affordable energy. The company’s first participant is Nanotech Inc., a materials science innovator that looks to transform the fireproofing and insulation markets, which has already moved into Halliburton Labs and their work is underway. Additional companies can applying to join the program in September. Learn more.
Chevron Technology Ventures
Chevron Technology Ventures became the first official tenant of The Ion at 4201 Main Street, the designated anchor for the 16-acre Innovation District that's set to open in the Spring of 2021. Chevron will lease space to facilitate collaboration between the company's teams, startup companies, and community organizations contributing to Houston's innovation ecosystem. Chevron said it plans to leverage The Ion's community in its efforts to access and support local innovation.
"We are thrilled to support The Ion as a key component of Houston's growing innovation ecosystem," said Barbara Burger, President of Chevron Technology Ventures. "We have a long history in Houston with its role as the global energy capital. We believe The Ion will help to ensure that Houston retains that distinction and plays a leading role in the energy transition through innovation." Learn more.
Founded in 2016, this Houston-based startup aims to decarbonize the chemicals industry by producing environmentally-friendly products. The company’s first product was created using enzymatic technology to convert plant sugars into hydrogen peroxide. Solugen raised $30 million in venture capital funding in April, bringing it’s total VC backing to $68 million. Forbes has predicted it’ll be one of 25 “unicorns” to reach a $1 billion valuation. Learn more.
Broad Reach Power
This storage independent power producer (IPP) announced plans in June to build 15 utility-scale battery storage plant sites near Houston and Odessa by the end of this year. Six sites were expected to be online and operating by this summer. The Houston-based company anticipated other would be under construction this fall. Each site will contain battery systems capable of storing and distributing up to 10 megawatts of power.
“While many parts of the country grapple with economic challenges created by COVID-19, Texas is uniquely poised for continued industrial growth in the near future," said Broad Reach Power Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer Steve Vavrik. "Thanks to the state’s rapidly expanding and affordable clean power resources, reliable grid, deep talent base and business-friendly policies, Texas will be a prime location for data centers, manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies looking to expand their U.S. operations." Learn more.