If you love Bill Gates clean energy drive, start loving Big Oil’s too

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The year 2016 was a big one in the fight against climate change. That year, two highly influential groups each launched a $1 billion fund to accelerate our transition to clean energy.

The first, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), united 10 oil companies from around the world with the goal of investing $1 billion in “innovative low-emissions technologies” over the next 10 years. The second, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), was created by Bill Gates with support from a billionaires’ club including Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Virgin’s Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son.

Two years on, Gates’s initiative has been widely celebrated. The oil companies’ group, by contrast, is primarily criticized or ignored altogether. That makes some level of intuitive sense: Why should we believe the oil companies, which denied climate change for decades, really want to do good?

But if we’re going to beat climate change, we need to learn to question our instinctive reactions—and maybe even learn to look beyond Big Oil’s sordid past.


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“It is empowering to know, given my Alberta heritage, our technology can change the climate impacts of the Alberta oil sands regions and generate significant additional economic benefits.”

Brett Henkel

Co-Founder and Vice President Strategic Accounts & Government Affairs

Brett Henkel’s unabashed optimism tempered by his mechanical engineering background and gas separation experience combine to bring a rare perspective to his position on Svante’s executive team.

Transferring the company’s breakthrough CO2 capture technology to customers’ sites will rely heavily on Brett’s strengths for identifying and understanding the technical and business details and relating those details to partners’ teams, approving agencies, and stakeholders.

As co-founder, he was instrumental in creating the process and the hardware used to prove the technology’s effectiveness as well as mobilizing external support throughout the path to becoming a successful innovation. These experiences strengthened his knowledge of business development and program management priorities.

Prior to launching Svante, Mr. Henkel was the program manager for QuestAir Technologies’ compact hydrogen production system with its partner, ExxonMobil. He is credited with designing the world’s first solenoid-driven rapid pressure swing adsorption test station.

Brett received his Bachelor of Science in Physics, with distinction, and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Victoria.

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