Environmentally-friendly production practice is becoming increasingly pertinent in the energy industry. Recent survey results indicated that 75% of Americans would pay more for sustainably sourced energy, while 45% of global respondents were willing to do the same. While big oil and gas companies may associate green energy with new operating practices that hurt their bottom line, new technologies and clever minds are proving this not to be the case. Motivated companies pursuing innovations in the oil and gas space are generating solutions that create value instead of raising costs. This article will cover five rising green oil and gas startups making energy greener in 2023.
1. Crusoe Energy
The explosion of cryptocurrency has created an unexpected increase in energy expenditure. Protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum use proof-of-work algorithms, which require computer networks to ‘mine’ or solve complex math problems to validate ledger entries, creating an increasing demand for computational power and energy. Data from the White House 2022 Crypto Assets and Climate Report showed that the US had contributed about 33-55 billion kWh per year to mining just Bitcoin. That’s more power than it took to run ALL home computers in the US in 2021.
The natural gas industry did even worse. In 2021 alone, the US flared around 8.7 billion cubic meters of gas, which would have been equivalent to 91.8 billion kWh of power generated (assuming methane was flared).
Crusoe Energy's solution uses the power that gas companies otherwise would have wasted, uses it to power modular data centers that are used to mine cryptocurrency. By doing this, Crusoe Energy is not only reducing the environmental impact of these gas sites but also generating revenue from crypto mining.
2023 provides a big opportunity for Crusoe. As the crypto market slumps, Crusoe is adding to its mining capacity with acquisitions of peer General American Mining, as well as collaborating with infrastructure company Lancium to develop solutions related to power grid optimization. If Crusoe can continue on this path of growth and innovation, they will certainly reap the rewards once markets turn up in the near future.
2. Xtreme Tank Technologies
Oil and gas production is a notorious contributor to national greenhouse gas emissions, with production in 2021 at almost 165 billion metric tons (CO2 equivalent). As the current administration cracks down on GHG emissions, the oil and gas industry’s ability to access markets, appeal to investors, and avoid costly fees depends on its ability to change with the times.
Of all sources of GHG emissions in oil and gas, fugitive gases from tank farms, oil terminals, and tank batteries are, by far, some of the worst documented and least addressed. Tanks regularly leak large quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which are upwards of 80 times better than CO2 at trapping heat than greenhouse gases.
Xtreme Tank Technologies solves for this problem and a myriad of others with its signature Tank Tool, which floats on the liquid surface of the crude, capturing the full spectrum of liberated vapors. By doing this, XTT gives a cost effective and practical take on methane capture that oil companies can start implementing today.
Additionally, the Tank Tool doubles as a process safety device, serving as an easy way for firefighters to extinguish tank fires at the start of the problem. By spraying fire foam at the surface of the crude, where the fuel interfaces with oxygen, XTT helps prevent costly process disasters from occurring. XTT’s innovation offers huge opportunities for utility, cost savings, and regulatory compliance for tank farm managers from upstream to midstream to downstream.
As 2023 rolls in, Xtreme Tank Technologies is working to scale its pilot projects with supermajor oil companies such as Chevron to more tank batteries across Texas as well as in Canada. With regulatory pressures mounting for big oil and gas to reduce emissions and prevent ‘superemitters’, XTT may be a critical piece in remaining compliant without hurting the bottom line.
3. ZL Innovations
On the same lines as Xtreme Tank Technologies, ZL Innovations also tackles the problem of fugitive emissions. However, ZL works to solve leaky valves, the source of 60% of fugitive emissions in a refinery outside of the smokestack. With their patented magnetic technology, ZL Innovations promise zero maintenance and zero leaks on their valves.
Because of their unique technology, ZL Innovations is able to disrupt the process control industry. Their design includes magnets located on the exterior of the valve used to actuate the valve body, allowing the valve to be completely sealed to eliminate potential leakages.
Headquartered in Hawaii, the team lead by mechanical engineering PhD Dr. Edward "Ned" Davis is looking to expand its implementation of its technologies in 2023. The initial target markets at conception were the oil and gas, and chemical industries, with broader horizons later down the line. With the new year, ZL Innovations will continue to target valve leaks in refineries, chemical plants, and others, reducing fugitive emissions one site at a time.
4. Fuel Gems
Fuel Gems develops fuel additives using nanotechnology that aim to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions for the oil and gas industry. According to their claims, the Fuel Gems technology can increase fuel efficiency by up to 10%, reduce harmful emissions, and improve engine performance. They also state that their technology can extend the lifespan of engines, reducing maintenance costs for oil and gas companies.
Fuel Gems technology is unique in that it does not rely on traditional fuel additives, such as ethanol or methanol, which can be costly and can have negative impacts on engine performance. Instead, their technology uses a proprietary blend of nanomaterials that are designed to modify the molecular structure of fossil fuels.
If Fuel Gems technology proves to be effective, it could have a significant impact on the oil and gas industry. According to their site, they have already seen 30% fuel savings with Toyota engines and Shell's fuels. Furthermore, in a field trial running a Mercedes C-Class with Shell FuelSave Diesel, a reduction of 50% in pollutant emissions were observed. If Fuel Gems can continue to execute on its claims and generate results to scale, it will certainly be one to watch for 2023.
Last but not least on this list is CleanConnect.ai. A software company with the mission of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving operational efficiency in oil and gas, CleanConnect.ai is bringing cutting edge digital technologies to the energy industry. The company's platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze data from oil and gas operations, identify inefficiencies, and recommend solutions that can reduce emissions and improve performance.
One of the key ways that CleanConnect.ai is making a difference in the oil and gas industry is by helping companies analyze and reduce their carbon footprint. The platform can analyze data from various sources, including sensors, production records, and maintenance logs, to identify areas where emissions can be reduced. For example, the platform can recommend changes to drilling or production processes that can reduce emissions, or suggest equipment upgrades that can improve energy efficiency.
Certainly a focal point of the business is the AI-enhanced VOC monitoring as shown on their website. Leveraging powerful infrared imaging combined with trained machine learning models, CleanConnect.ai can calculate and track real-time emissions and generate publicly traded energy certificates.
Overall, CleanConnect.ai is making big moves in 2023, leveraging its digital marketing strategy to reach more customers and providing value with its suite of tools. As the demand for improved emissions tracking increases, CleanConnect.ai is faced with an enormous opportunity to capitalize in the market.