A Better Tomorrow is Made Here Featuring Hertha Metals

A Better Tomorrow is Made Here Featuring Hertha Metals Main Photo

28 Mar 2024

Area Companies, Conroe Park North, More Is Made Here, Deison Technology Park, Newsletter

Celebrating March as Women’s History Month, the Conroe Economic Development Council (CEDC) proudly puts the spotlight on female leaders who are creating a better tomorrow. Hertha Metals Inc., a cutting-edge, woman-owned company, is delivering on a mission to create a healthier environment and more sustainable future for the steel industry. The start-up company’s fascinating approach to steelmaking is driving change in the industry and bringing new opportunities to Conroe. Hertha Metals shows that, in Conroe, A Better Tomorrow is Made Here.

Dr. Laureen Meroueh founded Hertha Metals in 2022, launching their headquarters in Conroe in 2023, when her experience in hydrogen production led to her discovery of a cleaner steelmaking process. The MIT-educated engineer understands the importance of steel, for today and tomorrow, and believes the technology she has created will deliver generational results. According to Meroueh, Hertha Metals’ technology will cut steel production emissions by a whopping 99 percent.

“Hertha Metals is decarbonizing the backbone to modern industry, which is steel production. Steel is a critical material used in our everyday life,” offered Meroueh “It is all around us. It’s a material that we’re never going to replace. Steel is so fundamental to infrastructure, technology, and the sustained growth of humanity.”

“With [steel] responsible for eight percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, there is a massive push to decarbonize the trillion dollar steel industry,” added Meroueh. “Today, 75% of the world’s steel is made by processing iron ore and coal, resulting in 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions for every 1 tonne of steel produced. Hertha Metals’ technology can take any grade of iron ore, process it without use of coal, and what comes out is the same steel that everyone is used to. It’s the same material, same product. The only thing that changed was how we got from the iron ore to the steel.”

Hertha Metals’ promise of a better tomorrow for the steelmaking industry is profound, but so is its impact on Conroe. Backed by some of the most prominent venture capitalists in the world, Hertha Metals has been conducting groundbreaking research and production from its Conroe headquarters since August 2023. The plant is already producing green iron and steel.

Drawn to Texas for its strong hydrogen presence, breadth of local talent, and burgeoning ecosystem for climate technologies, Meroueh discovered Conroe’s business-friendly atmosphere and available land. She sees several ways that Conroe will benefit from the company’s existence.

“We create a better tomorrow by creating a healthier environment for our local community. We’re generating economic enhancement in Conroe, without polluting our air as conventional steel mills. We’re also creating sustainable jobs that will endure as increasing governmental policy comes into play on reducing emissions,” offered Meroueh, noting the increasing cost of steel in other countries due to penalties on carbon emissions.

Speaking of cost, Hertha Metals believes their edge on the industry will come from an ability to produce a cleaner product at an equal price, if not cheaper.

“We have the potential to produce steel at the same cost as today’s steel. We’re not forcing customers to make a choice between paying more or buying something better for the environment. We want to clean up the industry, without it being a cost decision,” said Meroueh.

As Hertha Metals grows, Meroueh fosters a culture that the company’s namesake, Hertha Ayrton, would be proud of. An engineer, inventor, and suffragette, Ayrton’s work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries inspires Meroueh to hire people who showcase traits Ayrton embodied.

“We’re pioneers, innovators, and risk-takers, who are mission driven toward changing the world. You build that culture by being very thoughtful in who you hire, making sure that candidates fit the criteria of being committed, ambitious, efficient, and inquisitive,” stated Meroueh. “I am amazed by how many people locally fit our company culture.”

“I have an amazing team of experienced individuals from inside and outside the steel industry, all of whom I am incredibly proud of. We are all very curious individuals. We ask why all the time and question the status quo in terms of technology and process development, while also understanding that you need to stand on the shoulders of giants. There’s a reason why things were done this way before. The people before us were also intelligent, so let’s understand why they did it that way,” she added.

As Ayrton did 100+ years ago, Meroueh continues to be a trailblazer in male dominated fields. She is active in promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to local students, including at the CEDC-sponsored Youth to Career Fair in October 2023. Her advice to all is to chase big dreams.

“Gender, race, and age should never limit your ambitions. Persevere through challenges, prioritize education, and strive for excellence in all of your endeavors. Never settle for mediocrity and always aim for greatness. The results will follow if you are patient,” offered Meroueh.

“Anything he can do, I can do better,” Meroueh playfully added to encourage females chasing opportunities in male-dominated fields.

The bold, progressive, and shrewd traits of Hertha Metals are mirrored by those of its founder. As the company utilizes those characteristics to change steelmaking, Meroueh hopes to inspire and empower the next generation of women. Together, company and leader, are proving that A Better Tomorrow is Made Here.