HOUSTON – (November 16, 2022) – Syzygy Plasmonics, a Houston-based startup powered by technology developed at Rice University, has raised $76 million in Series C funding led by Carbon Direct Capital announced one of the largest rounds of funding for a company spun out of a rice lab.
Syzygy is focused on commercializing the deep decarbonization of chemical manufacturing processes. The company’s efforts combine a new photocatalyst technology – the result of decades of research by Syzygy co-founders and technology consultants Naomi Halas and Peter Nordlander of Rice’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics – with a novel reactor that uses common, low-cost materials to produce hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and others chemicals rather than relying on thermal energy. The result is a scalable, renewable, general-purpose platform that uses disparate feedstocks to power basic chemical reactions while reducing resource waste and producing fewer emissions.
“Syzygy has a strong focus on balancing energy, technology and sustainability,” said Suman Khatiwada, Syzygy’s chief technology officer and co-founder, who received his PhD in materials science and nanotechnology from Rice. “The projects we deliver target zero-emission hydrogen from green ammonia, low-emission hydrogen from combustion-free steam methane reforming, and sustainable fuels from carbon dioxide and methane. This technology is the future of chemical manufacturing.”
Khatiwada has been active in the Rice entrepreneurship ecosystem and participated in the Rice Alliance Ignite Entrepreneurship Trek to Silicon Valley. He co-founded Big Delta Systems (now EnPower) with two other Rice graduate students, Charudatta Galande and Neelam Singh, based on technology from the lab of Rice Professor Pulickel Ajayan. Big Delta Systems is a Class 2 graduate of Rice Alliance’s OwlSpark Tech Accelerator.
Syzygy’s investors are active participants in Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Forums where Syzygy has represented, including Aramco Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Equinor Ventures, EVOK Innovations, GOOSE Capital, Sumitomo Corporation and Toyota Ventures. Selected Series C participants have entered into commercial agreements with Syzygy to support their decarbonization goals.
“Forward-thinking companies have gone beyond setting decarbonization goals and are implementing them,” said Trevor Best, CEO and co-founder of Syzygy. “Syzygy is unique in that our technology can offer low-carbon solutions for both the hydrogen and the broader chemical manufacturing markets.”