Key takeaways from 20th Annual Rice University Energy Tech Venture Forum
Last week our Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer Connor Lynn and our Director of Business Development Francesco Scarpetta presented at the 20th Annual Rice University Energy Tech Venture Forum. We were fortunate to be selected as one of the “10 most promising companies” out of 90+ presenting teams – earning an exclusive spot next to other impressive startups, including (Polystyvert, Mirico, Ayrton Energy, Carbon Loop Earth, Mobilus Labs, 1s1 Energy, Numat, Mantel and Mars Materials).
We left Houston feeling motivated by the discussions, technologies, and exchange of ideas between innovators and global petrochemical companies that are all working in the same direction. The industry is actively investing in new technologies for lower-carbon manufacturing and energy production, signaling a true commitment towards decarbonization.
Change is never easy. It’s going to take companies, brands, policymakers and consumers alike to work together to implement these initiatives – and there is still plenty of work to do. Here are some of our key takeaways from the conference:
The petrochemicals industry is taking meaningful action towards a lower-carbon future, with the largest companies dedicating significant resources and talent towards reducing global emissions. This is great, and we are moving in the right direction, but – it’s not enough. Disruptive technologies (like Protein Evolution’s biological recycling platform) are essential to propel efforts forward, and those technologies require significant investment. Billions of dollars have already been committed to address climate change, but innovative solutions require enduring capital, not just upfront dollars. These technologies need to scale, commercialize, and deploy globally because emissions, warming, and waste are all global problems.
Collaboration between investors and corporate partners is crucial to accelerate the transition from lab-scale progress through commercialization. It’s equally important that a company’s business model aligns economic incentives with environmental and social incentives.
Lastly, we need multiple solutions. There is no ‘silver bullet’ that can solve the climate crisis. Decades of industrialization across multiple sectors have contributed to a rise in global emissions, and because of this, everyone needs to do their part. While Protein Evolution is focused on decarbonizing plastic production, other companies – many of which participated in the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship Energy Tech Venture Forum – are focused on direct air capture, renewable energy and energy storage, grid transformation, and other important areas of innovation.
It will take unprecedented investment plus coordination between companies and governments to bring all of these initiatives to life, but the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship’s Energy Tech Venture Forum proved yet again to be an important stage to showcase what the future can hold.