Houston’s Energy Transition Ecosystem Convenes for Climatetech Summit 2021

This November, we were proud to bring Greentown Labs’ signature event—our annual Climatetech Summit—to the City of Houston for the first time! Five months after Houston’s climatetech ecosystem gathered to celebrate the Grand Opening of Greentown Houston, it reconvened for a deep dive into empowering the technologies of tomorrow that are being developed right at the incubator.

Climatetech entrepreneurs are innovating on solutions that are the core of global decarbonization, yet they need support, cooperation, and collaboration from investors, policymakers, and the growing climatetech workforce in order to scale their critical technologies. 

The Climatetech Summit put those entrepreneurs front and center to share the solutions they’re developing and what they need to bring them to market; presented key technology areas that are driving momentum to equitably tackle the climate crisis; and explored the plentiful opportunities for everyone to be a part of the energy transition that’s already unfolding.

Happening simultaneously at Greentown Houston, Greentown HQ, and via livestream on Nov. 4, 2021, the second annual Climatetech Summit—and celebration of Greentown’s 10-year anniversary—was a day of collaboration, celebration, and of course, climatetech!

Check out the day at Greentown Houston:

The Climatetech Summit at Greentown Houston kicked off with a reflection from Greentown’s Head of Houston Incubator + VP of Innovation Juliana Garaizar about the energy transition in the energy capital of the world.

From there, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner teed up the first panel of the day: “Commercializing Energy Transition Technologies: Partnerships Perspective.” 

The panel featured a variety of voices who partner with climatetech startups—through joint development agreements, investments, and more—exploring how to get hard, deep tech climate solutions to market, alongside a Greentown Houston entrepreneur who added in his own crucial perspective. The conversation touched on hydrogen and other examples of these solutions that are tough to commercialize yet critical to climate action.

Speakers included: 

  • EPRI Vice President, Energy Supply and Low-Carbon Resources Neva Espinoza
  • Shell GM, Commercial Innovation Partnerships Akilah LeBlanc
  • Center for Houston’s Future Vice Chair/Chair-elect of the Board Andy Steinhubl
  • Syzygy Plasmonics CEO Trevor Best (moderator and a Greentown member company)

Next up was “Deploying Energy-transition Technologies: The Startup’s Perspective,” featuring Greentown startup leaders across sectors and at different stages of growth who shared successful examples of deployment, spoke to the many challenges and barriers they’ve overcome along the way, and identified the partners needed to commercialize climatetech innovations.

The panel featured: 

Then, we saw pitches from the following Greentown members:

  • Excipio Energy, which is integrating wind, wave, currents, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), and power-to-fuel in a single floating platform.
  • Moonflower Technologies, which uses space-age technology to solve real-world problems to provide our communities year-round access to safe, high-quality produce with as little environmental impact as possible.
  • Massachusetts Materials Technologies (MMT), which provides patented technologies for pipeline companies to nondestructively assess the safety, performance, and regulatory compliance of vintage pipelines used for the transmission of natural gas and liquids.
  • Renu Energy Services, which focuses on renewable energy technologies to create efficiency and economic advantages with a responsible and accountable future, specializing in the recycling industries, water filtration, and wind energies.
  • Veloce Energy, whose Veloce FastGrid™ system uniquely combines energy storage, intelligence, a streamlined installation system, and a unique charging-infrastructure-as-a-service model to maximize and deliver customer value. 

With a lead-in from HARC President + CEO John Hall, the next panel dug into “Demystifying Careers in the Energy Transition to Activate the Climatetech Workforce.” The session provided a wide-ranging look at the career opportunities presented by the energy transition, how those who are eager to dive into the field can do so, and ways to make the transition just and equitable.

“Demystifying Careers in the Energy Transition to Activate the Climatetech Workforce” featured:

  • Quantum New Energy CEO Patricia Vega, a Greentown alumni company 
  • Greater Houston Partnership Chief Strategy Officer Jenny Philip
  • Applied Bioplastics Operations Manager Danielle Nasser, a Greentown member company
  • ALLY Energy Founder + CEO Katie Mehnert (moderator and Greentown member company)

The panel was presented by Climatetech Summit Builder The Consulate General of Canada in Boston.

Next up was a second round of pitches, this time from our members:

  • Acoustic Wells, which is developing an IoT solution for traditional energy by using novel sensors that will cut methane emissions and make field-wide production optimization a reality.
  • BOxES, which is combining physical and digital technology to democratize space-efficient, convenient, affordable, and sustainable retail.
  •, which has developed an AI-based predictive maintenance platform that reduces the percent of the total hydrocarbon production losses suffered by upstream oil and gas operations.
  • Micronic Technologies, which is commercializing an advanced, state-of-the-art water treatment system that removes virtually all contaminants from any source water.
  • REI, a C-corp in the business of converting waste into clean, sustainable energy.
  • Syzygy Plasmonics, which is developing a new type of photocatalytic chemical reactor to revolutionize the industrial gas, chemical, and energy industries.

The last panel of the day—introduced by our media partner Canary Media’s Editor-in-Chief Jeff St. John—was “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure for Our Resilient Future.” The conversation explored how we can harness the incredible opportunities presented by renewable energy, grid modernization, and infrastructure improvements to build the economy of tomorrow.

Speakers included:

The panel was presented by Climatetech Summit Builder Enel.

The final round of startup pitches highlighted our members:

  • ALLY Energy, an energy tech and human capital services company that offers packaged services and bespoke offerings such as talent engagement, culture development and design, recruitment training and coaching, and consulting.
  • CLS Wind, whose self-erecting wind turbine system allows for multiple turbine installations without the need for large, heavy, and expensive cranes, reducing both the time and cost to install them and allowing wind companies to produce energy in a shorter time frame.
  • Ennuity Holdings, which is creating a brand new asset class that allows retirees to buy out their electric utility bill, thereby funding construction of clean energy infrastructure while receiving an in-kind return that substantially beats other types of fixed-income investments.
  • Global ROC, whose innovative technology solution for cooling tower systems reduces chemical consumption, saves water, and decreases energy costs.
  • SeebeckCell Technologies, which develops and manufactures liquid-based thermoelectric modules, power generators, and waste-heat recovery systems that convert heat waste into electrical energy—and store that energy for later use. 
  • Wootz, which recycles raw carbon nanotubes bought from suppliers, aligning them into high-performance materials such as films and fibers that have a unique combination of properties.

Mid-afternoon brought one of our favorite parts of the Climatetech Summit: the Startup Showcase, an opportunity for attendees to speak directly with our climatetech entrepreneurs and make valuable connections. Learn about our startups innovating across the key greenhouse-gas-emitting sectors—electricity, agriculture, buildings, manufacturing, and transportation—and on resiliency and adaptation.

From there, we concluded the speaking session with a Keynote from Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Chairman and Founder Bobby Tudor. “In one, two, or three decades, we’ll be proud to still call Houston the energy capital of the world!” Tudor told the audience.

The Climatetech Summit wrapped up with networking and a #Greentown10 anniversary party! We were amazed and inspired by the collaborative climate action that took place at the summit—and know this is just the beginning of new, valuable connections across the climatetech ecosystem. We’d like to send a huge thank you to the speakers, startups, corporate leaders, investors, and other climate champions who joined us!