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Energy & Environmental Challenges

Energy innovation refers to the introduction of new ideas, technologies, methods or processes in the field of energy production, distribution, storage and use. This innovation can aim to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energies, increase energy security, or meet the growing energy needs of the population. It can be achieved at different levels, from technological innovation to organizational and social innovation, and is essential to ensure a successful energy transition to a more sustainable, equitable and resilient system.
In this context, the term “cleantech” refers to a range of technologies, products and services designed to meet today’s environmental and energy challenges in the fields of water and waste management, agriculture, mobility, construction and industry. According to the International Energy Agency, the worldwide investment in cleantech exceeded $1.2T in 2021.


With 43% of the nation’s crude oil production, Texas is traditionally the U.S. energy leader for fossil fuels, but also for wind-generated electricity, with 26% of total national production Houston is home to major energy companies such as Schlumberger, CenterPoint Energy, Halliburton, Shell and ExxonMobil with a strong emphasis on research and development.

The region’s universities actively support the diversification of the energy sector for the ecological transition. For example, the University of Houston, which collaborates with the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and the Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) to promote the energy industry, also has a program geared towards sustainable development, the Sustainable Energy Development Program.

To support energy innovations, the Texas ecosystem also boasts incubators, accelerators and investors, including Halliburton Labs, Greentown Labs, Eunike Ventures and Energy Transition Ventures, all of which back innovations related to traditional or renewable energy sources. In addition, associations and events bringing together Texas energy players enrich this ecosystem, such as the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance (TREIA) and the Texas Clean Energy Coalition. This has led to a number of entrepreneurial successes, particularly in the cleantech sector. These include Ionada, a Dutch startup incubated at Halliburton Labs, which develops, manufactures and markets carbon capture devices for exhaust gas purification, and Fysikes Biosolutions , which produces “green” hydrogen by capturing the CO2 emitted during the process and compacting it into solid biomaterials used as fertilizers, animal feed supplements or water purification.

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles ecosystem develops and implements innovative technologies and solutions to meet environmental challenges. The city is committed to ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions and has adopted regulations favorable to renewable energies, spearheaded by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The ecosystem is also supported by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC).

Incubators and accelerators dedicated to technologies in the field of sustainability and the environment are multiplying, such as LA Cleantech Incubator andAltaSea, as are specialized investment funds, such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures andCongruent Ventures, or Elevation Ventures. This concentration of players has enabled cleantech startups in Los Angeles to raise considerable amounts of capital, such as Xos Trucks ($20M pre-IPO, $345M post-IPO), which develops industrial solutions for the manufacture of electric vehicles, and EV Connect (53 M$), which develops software solutions for the conversion of combustion engines into electric vehicles.

San Francisco

he San Francisco Bay Area’s technology ecosystem has rapidly seized on environmental and ecological issues, becoming a world leader in cleantech through a combination of technical expertise and investment. Universities are driving innovation in this sector. Stanford University for example, created the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability in 2022, with the aim of catalyzing interdisciplinary efforts to tackle climate challenges, and also has a specialized accelerator in this field, the Sustainability Accelerator.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the cleantech field brings together large companies, such as Sunrun, Aurora Solar, EDF Innovation Lab, and Alphabet (Google) through the Tidal project, specialized incubators, such as Prospect Silicon Valley (PSV), associations, Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), and large venture capital funds known in Silicon Valley, such as Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures. The US Department of Energy (DOE) also supports cleantech development. It has awarded a $300M grant to Kairos Power, a startup working on a new nuclear reactor technology to provide “green” and sustainable energy, with a near-zero carbon footprint, low water consumption and enhanced safety.

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