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EPRI, Shell, City of Houston Partner with Greentown Labs and NYU Urban Future Lab to Launch the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator

By November 14, 2021 6   min read  (1160 words)

November 14, 2021 |

Fuel Cells Works, EPRI, Shell, City of Houston Partner with Greentown Labs and NYU Urban Future Lab to Launch the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator

Somerville, Mass. and Houston, Texas— Large-scale commercialization of low-carbon hydrogen will play an essential role in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Because of its versatility, hydrogen is uniquely positioned for deployment across numerous applications, including many hard-to-decarbonize sectors. That’s why today, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Shell, and the City of Houston in partnership with Greentown Labs and the Urban Future Lab (UFL) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering are announcing the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator (LCHA).

LCHA isseeking applications from startups that are advancing low-carbon hydrogen production, enhancing hydrogen storage and distribution, or providing business model innovations for the management of hydrogen supply chains. More details on the specific technology areas of interest can be found in the request for proposals.

LCHA is the latest program in the Greentown Launch family of programs, Greentown’s flagship corporate partnerships accelerator program and third program with UFL. This six-month, highly structured accelerator program offers startup participants collaboration and engagement opportunities with EPRI, its member utilities, and Shell on technology validation, feasibility studies, paid pilot demonstrations, and other development and commercial partnerships.

EPRI and Shell will provide startup participants with two main pathways for engagement:

  • The technology validation track, which is an appropriate program for startups with a technology readiness level (TRL) between three and five; and
  • The technology demonstration track, which is appropriate for startups with a TRL between five and seven.

Both tracks offer exclusive access to EPRI’s breadth of testing facilities, demonstration sites, and technical experts, as well as experts from across Shell’s technology organization and hydrogen business and, when appropriate, access to the Shell GameChanger and Shell Ventures teams.

As an industry-leading research, development, and demonstration organization EPRI can support startups in their technology development and deployment efforts. This program builds on EPRI’s low-carbon efforts. Last year, EPRI and the Gas Technology Institute launched the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative, a five-year effort targeting advances in low-carbon electric generation technologies and low-carbon energy carriers, providing scientific credibility and objectivity to the global decarbonization effort.

“Accelerating low-carbon, hydrogen technologies is essential to achieving global net-zero targets by 2050,” said Neva Espinoza, EPRI Vice President of Energy Supply and Low-carbon Resources. “EPRI looks forward to sharing our expertise in the energy industry with early-stage companies to advance innovations that could become gamechangers for economy-wide decarbonization. We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Greentown Labs in supporting the startup community.”

As an energy company, Shell understands how to commercialize and safely manage a high-energy-density commodity. Furthermore, Shell sees a future where hydrogen fuel plays an important role in mobility and hard-to-decarbonize transport sectors such as heavy-duty trucking, marine and aviation as well as heavy industry such as cement, steel, and chemicals.

“At Shell, we believe in the power of collaboration, especially for uncovering new, exciting and disruptive technologies,” said Julie Ferland, Vice President of Innovation Excellence at Shell. Identifying and scaling solutions through open innovation vehicles such as the LCHA will be critical in the delivery of a low carbon energy future, and I am excited to see what novel technologies arise from the innovative startups that participate in the LCHA program.”

Earlier this year, after visiting Greentown Houston, Secretary Granholm and the Department of Energy launched the “Hydrogen Energy Earthshot” to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80 percent to $1 per kilogram by 2030. Accelerating innovation and spurring demand for clean hydrogen will help decarbonize high-polluting, heavy-duty and industrial sectors, while delivering good-paying clean energy jobs.

“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,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “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.”

“We know startups working in hard-to-decarbonize sectors of our economy need collaborative partnerships to scale their technologies and impact, which is why we’re so proud to partner with EPRI, Shell, NYU’s Urban Future Lab, and the City of Houston on the Low-Carbon Hydrogen Accelerator,” said Dr. Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “Low-carbon hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in our economy-wide decarbonization efforts, and EPRI and Shell bring complementary areas of expertise to help make this vision a reality. We, alongside our friends at UFL and with the support of the City of Houston, are eager to work with them to accelerate the success of innovative hydrogen startups!”

Greentown is the largest startup incubator in North America, headquartered in Somerville, Mass., with a recently opened location in Houston, Texas; and the Urban Future Lab is New York City’s longest running cleantech startup incubator. The two incubators have a proven track record of jointly curating, fostering, and deploying successful climate solutions into the marketplace. The combination of their industry expertise, incubation space, networks of experts, and decades of experience supporting climatetech startups provides a strong foundation and best-in-class experience for the LCHA participants. This is the second program Greentown and UFL have run together exclusively focused on hydrogen innovation—the third program currently underway is the C2V Initiative that’s focused on carbon to value innovations.

“We are delighted to work together once again with the team at Greentown Labs on our second clean hydrogen program. With EPRI and Shell and the City of Houston our teams are well positioned to have a significant impact on bringing real expertise and business connections to the young companies working on innovations in hydrogen,” said Pat Sapinsley, Managing Director of Cleantech Initiatives at NYU Tandon’s Urban Future Lab. “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.”

LCHA applications are due by Feb. 9, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Applicants may apply from anywhere. To learn more and apply, visit the LCHA website.

About Greentown Labs
As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With its headquarters in Somerville, Mass. and a recently opened incubator in Houston, Texas, Greentown Labs is home to more than 180 startups and has supported more than 400 startups since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 8,400 direct jobs and have raised more than $2.2 billion in funding. For more information, visit www.greentownlabs.com

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