Partnership Members Making News - April 2023
The Greater Houston Partnership celebrates our members making important announcements and sharing news about their operations and impact in our community. Learn more about some of those announcements over the last month below.
As a result of its $1.5 billion fund to invest in technology that supports the ongoing energy transition, Aramco has joined climatetech incubator Greentown Labs as a top-tier partner.
Aurora Innovations’s autonomous Aurora Driver product is officially "feature complete" and its self-driving abilities are now capable of being carried out on public roads. Aurora's team is working on refining its technology before commercial deployment in 2024.
A new Baylor College of Medicine study found that electrical stimulation as a treatment could benefit people who show minimal atrophy, weakness, pain, fatigue, and whose respiratory systems were affected by long COVID.
NASA awarded a $719 million Omnibus Multidiscipline Engineering Services (OMES) III contract to Space Networks Solutions LLC, a joint venture led by Intuitive Machines and KBR. The contract will allow Intuitive Machines to support NASA in designing, developing, and demonstrating critical technology required to support the emerging orbital servicing market.
NASA awarded Prairie View A&M University with $1.5 million to create a system that uses artificial intelligence to share interactive, instantaneous and user-relevant information in a manner that is easily accessible and discoverable for an audience beyond engineers and scientists. In collaboration with Texas Southern University and Texas A&M University-College Station, PVAMU will offer many learning opportunities for students through hiring them as research assistants and summer programs and internships. Additionally, PVAMU will establish a NASA Data Science Equity, Access, and Priority in Research and Education (DEAP) Institute to accelerate innovation.
Five startups founded by Rice University students pitched their companies recently at the annual H. Albert Napier Rice Launch Challenge competition and walked away with more than $100,000 in prizes. Winning startups include Goldie at first place, earning a $50,000 investment prize, Tierra Climate in second with a $25,000 prize, Separion in third with a $15,000 prize, Sygne Solutions, who won the Audience Choice Award and $1,500 and Tidepay, who took home the Outstanding Undergraduate Award and $5,000.
Through its first comprehensive fundraising campaign, Many Faces One Mission, UTHealth raised $534.4 million, making it the largest gift of its kind in Houston history. These donations will be dedicated to the campaign’s three points of impact: training the next generation of physicians and nurses, improve access to health care in Houston and advancing brain and behavioral health.
As a key component in its $9 billion Mad Dog 2 project, BP has started oil production at its Argos offshore platform. Argos has a gross production capacity of up to 140,000 barrels of oil per day and is expected to increase BP's gross operated production capacity in the Gulf of Mexico by 20%.
Calpine is planning new natural gas power plants in Texas, beginning with a 425-megawatt gas unit next to an existing facility in Freestone County. Other projects include additional gas plants and installing equipment to capture carbon dioxide emissions at some facilities.
Chevron plans to showcase “renewable gasoline," saying that it will eventually offer similar emissions savings to electric cars. According to Chevron, tests show that the fuel, partly made from renewable feedstocks like used cooking oil, produces 40 percent fewer greenhouse gases than regular gasoline.
As part of its $1 billion initiative Project UP, Comcast will commit more than $1 million to shrink the local digital divide this year by supporting more than 60 organizations and programs that help people connect to the Internet, learn digital skills, and climb the economic ladder.
Halliburton Labs added FuelX, LiNa Energy and Solaires Entreprises to its clean energy accelerator. These companies will receive support from mentors from within Halliburton's workforce and network, as well as go through the accelerator's programming.
Sempra Infrastructure reached a positive final investment decision (FID) for its Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 project in Jefferson County, Texas. The Port Arthur LNG Phase 1 project is designed to include two natural gas liquefaction trains, two liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage tanks and associated facilities with a nameplate capacity of approximately 13 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). The project's total capital expenditures are estimated at $13 billion.
Houston Community College will launch two bachelor’s degree programs for the first time in the system's history this fall. The new majors include health care management and artificial intelligence and robotics, which build off existing technology and medical offerings at HCC.
San Jacinto College was one of the top 10 finalists in the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, one of the country’s most premier awards for two-year colleges.
Texas Southern University and PNC Bank are collaborating to launch the PNC Regional Center for Entrepreneurship, an initiative aimed at expanding opportunities for Black businesses. PNC has committed a total of $2.5 million to the TSU center, which will help build Black-owned small business capacity through partnerships, mentorships and networking opportunities.
The University of Houston-Downtown is asking the Texas Legislature for a total of $67 million for transformative programs and constructions. Through this funding, UHD hopes to provide more basic needs for students by hiring mental health counselors, providing financial literacy training, redesigning courses to eliminate learning gaps and increasing academic advising/peer monitoring support. Additionally, UHD would like to build an entrepreneurship center and Public Safety and Emergency Operation Command Center.
In effort to increase access to both undergraduate and graduate-level programs, the University of Houston’s College of Technology is merging with the College of Engineering and will move to the Sugar Land campus. The four departments under the College of Technology will now be housed within the College of Engineering. The merged Cullen College of Engineering will serve 11,000 students, making it the third-largest engineering/technology college in the state and one of the largest ones in the nation.
Hines purchased 954 acres of undeveloped land outside Iowa Colony with plans to develop its largest master-planned community - Sandy Point, which is slated to have 2,100 single-family homes at buildout. Hines expects to start construction in the second quarter and deliver the first phase, consisting of about 400 homesites, late next year.
Construction has started for Memorial Hermann's $167 million expansion that will add a third medical plaza, a parking garage and a larger emergency center with more operating rooms. This expansion project is expected to wrap up in 2024. Additionally, the hospital opened a new 40-bed medical and surgical acute-care unit that will bring the hospital’s total bed count to 254 and will serve a variety of patients, including those who are recovering from surgery or have an acute illness.
The Ion is expanding quickly and is close to reaching a 100% leased status. With ten new tenants, The Ion is now at 86% leased. Additionally, a new lab at The Ion is currently under construction and will house Rice University’s Nexus Lab, which will be designed for prototyping and scaling technologies.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is set to build a $668 million laboratory expansion in the heart of the Texas Medical Center. Spanning 600,000 square feet and seven stories tall, the space will be designed to increase collaboration among researchers across MD Anderson facilities with its centralized location.
If you are a member and want us to help communicate news about your organization, please send a press release or information about the announcement to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share it with our content team for possible inclusion in an upcoming roundup. Learn more about Partnership membership.