Rice student startups take top prizes at the 2024 Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition

The Ion

HOUSTON – (March 25, 2024) – Two student startups from Rice University won cash prizes for their energy companies at the Energy Venture Day and Pitch Competition at CERAWeek March 20 — an annual event to showcase energy ventures driving efficiency and advancements toward the energy transition through fields such as renewables, hydrogen solutions and carbon storage.

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) and TEX-E hosted the competition where selected ventures pitched their innovative companies in front of a judging panel with industry experts and investors. Three tracks featured 39 industry startups and one track, the TEX-E Prize, featured five university startups. The fast-paced competition is designed to connect energy startups with venture capitalists, corporate innovation groups, industry leaders, academics and service providers.

The Ion crowd
Photo courtesy of Rice Alliance.

The TEX-E Prize highlighted the innovation of five Texas student-led energy startups that competed for $50,000 in cash prizes where the top three were selected by the judges.

First place, $25,000:

  • Solidec – Rice: extracts the most sought-after molecules from the most sustainable sources.

Second place, $15,000:

  • Coflux Purification – Rice: uses an in-stream module to break down PFAS using a novel foam for chemical-free water.

Third place, $10,000:

  • Airmax – The University of Texas at Austin: an HVAC retrofit system designed to materially increase efficiency of existing commercial air conditioning equipment.

The showcase included three industry tracks, spanning oilfield solutions to grid technologies. The startups represented five countries and 15 states and have collectively raised $265,800,000 in funding. The industry experts and investors judged the pitches and named the top three ventures from each track.

Track A: Carbon capture, utilization and storage; oilfield solutions; analytics; minerals

  1. Ardent
  2. Vaulted Deep
  3. Mitico

Track B: Batteries; renewables; water; grid technologies

  1. SunGreenH2
  2. FeX Energy
  3. Mercurius Biorefining

Track C: Mobility; materials; hydrogen solutions

People’s Choice: Decimetrix

For more information, visit alliance.rice.edu/EVD.