Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips Company is an American-based multinational energy corporation that has their headquarters in Houston, Texas. It is the fifth largest private sector energy corporation around the globe. ConocoPhillips is found in over 40 countries and employs over 25,000 people worldwide. In 2007, ConocoPhillips was the first major United States oil company to join the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. Also in 2007, ConocoPhillips stated that it would spend $150 on research and development for new energy sources and technologies. Since then, ConocoPhillips has been doing a lot within the clean technology sector, especially when it comes to renewable energy and future environmental sustainability.

1 ) ConocoPhillips Increases Spending on New Energy Technologies. ConocoPhillips is looking to make itself more than just an oil company by increasing their overall technology budget that will go toward innovations in the clean energy technology sector. In 2008, ConocoPhillips expanded their budget to $500 million which would be used toward a number of new technologies, such as new exploration technologies used for the detection of undersea oil and gas deposits while minimizing environmental impact, new breakthroughs in lithium-ion battery technologies, carbon capture and storage technologies, and coal-to-gas technologies. Stephen Brand, the senior vice president for technology said, “With our emphasis on research and development, alternatives like solar, geothermal, clean coal and battery technology are where we put our efforts, in addition to moving forward on renewable like biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.”

2 ) ConocoPhillips Joins GE and NRG in 2011 for $300 Million Alternative Energy Alliance. In the early months of 2011, ConocoPhillips partnered with GE and NRG to invest over $300 million into a number of alternative energy emerging technologies. Known as Energy Technology Ventures, this investment will fund around 30 growth-stage and venture businesses throughout the next four years. A number of investments include non-food based biofuels and solar photovoltaic technologies. Aside from investing in these companies, Energy Technology Ventures will offer opportunities for commercial collaboration in a number of sectors across North America, Europe, as well as Israel, including biofuels, water, emissions control, energy efficient, renewable power generation, and smart grid technology.

3 ) Partner with Virginia Tech to Have Town Hall Meeting. In July of 1007, ConocoPhillips and Virginia Tech got together to host a town hall meeting in Richmond, Virginia to discuss growing energy needs. ConocoPhillips was there to provide views on a number of topics that could help the area, including alternative energy sources, renewable fuels, energy conservation, and energy efficiency.

4 ) ConocoPhillips Builds Global Research and Development and Training Center. In February of 2008, ConocoPhillips announced plans that it would be building a Global Technology and Corporate Learning Center in Louisville, Colorado. Upon establishment, the center was designed to become a central location for the research and development of creating liquid fuels from sources of renewable energy. The adjacent learning center will be a location where thousands of employees can get together and be trained on new energy technology applications. The campus is said to be completed by 2012.

5 ) ConocoPhillips and NEED Create Renewable Energy Workshops. In February of 2008, ConocoPhillips and the National Energy Education Develop (NEED) planned to host together 26 energy education workshops over an 11 month time span. The goal is to help school teachers in American become much more aware of energy efficiency and conservation. Teachers that attend the workshops will then share the knowledge gained with their students. In the last few years, these two companies have offered training and resources to around 3,000 teachers.

6 ) ConocoPhillips Works with Tyson Foods to Produce Next Generation Renewable Diesel. In April of 2007, ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods, Inc. created a strategic alliance to produce as well as market the next generation in renewable diesel fuel. In the partnership, they plan to utilize poultry, pork, and beef by-product fat to create a new form of transportation fuel that could increase America’s energy security and address concerns regarding climate change. Animal fats are to be processed with hydrocarbon feedstocks to produce diesel fuel that will meet federal standards. The animal fat will also improve ignition properties of fuel.

7 ) ConocoPhillips, NREL, and Iowa State University Partner for Biofuels Research. In April of 2008, ConocoPhillips joined a memorandum of understanding with Iowa State University and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to look for cellulosic biomass conversion technologies for short and long term capabilities. Through this collaboration, the goal is to look for cost-effective and efficient techniques to create liquid transportation fuels from plants. “ConocoPhillips is committed to the development of technologies that will convert sustainable non-food feedstocks into transportation fuels that will be critical to the nation’s energy security,” said Stephen Brand, ConocoPhillips senior vice president, Technology. “We are hopeful that this collaboration will expand the knowledge base and speed the development of these environmental technologies.”

8 ) ConocoPhillips Signs on to Algae Research Agreement. ConocoPhillips signed a $5 million multi-year research agreement with C2B2 – the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels – a joint venture with the NREL, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado and Boulder. This project looks to locate new ways to convert biomass into low-carbon transportation fuels. The first part of this project focuses on creating renewable fuel from sources of algae.

9 ) ConocoPhillips Gives $3.5 million to University of Colorado’s Biotech Building. ConocoPhillips recently gifted the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building at the University of Colorado at Boulder with $3.5 million to assist in bringing together top class scientists as well as engineers to create new viable solutions using biotechnology. “The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building creates a Front Range anchor for the biosciences with the help of partners like ConocoPhillips,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “With interdisciplinary research, the possibilities for energy innovation are limitless, and ConocoPhillips is providing the foundation for this vital work.”

10 ) ConocoPhillips Invests in Israeli Wastewater Startup. In June of 2011, ConocoPhillips made an investment into Emefcy, an Israeli start-up company specializing in the generation of electricity from wastewater treatment. This was the first investment outside the United States and the money will be used to assist the company in scaling its technology for industrial and municipal applications.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at

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