What does it take to run an international organization with the goal to deliver on meaningful climate action through expanding expertise and sharing knowledge? This question can best be answered by hearing from the dedicated team of experts (from different countries of the world), who together work to advance large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS). The International CCS Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre) is the home to a power team whose cumulative years of CCS experience is close to nine decades, with a unique combination of professional backgrounds in engineering, project management, policy, stakeholder engagement, contracts, communications, and law. The Knowledge Centre’s expertise is deep and multidimensional. This article introduces just some of the key players and their roles at the Knowledge Centre.
Global Partnerships, Alignments and Relationships
A critical pillar of the Knowledge Centre is to guide organizations in enabling strategies for CCS adoption. This service is supported by a group that has a solid understanding of complex climate matters, policies, regulations, and international financing concerns. This work is led by Vice President, Strategy and Stakeholder Relations, Beth (Hardy) Valiaho . “I provide advice and act as a go-to for both direction, facilitation services, spotting and creating opportunities for the Knowledge Centre and our stakeholders,” explains Beth who has a masters in global sustainability and environmental law. She has also worked for SaskPower, the government and industry, as well as with the former National Round Table on the Environment and Economy.
Beth leverages her knowledge of the global CCS space and the opportunities for the technology to support climate action. “The Knowledge Centre places high value on broadly shared information and expertise with multiple parties, an area in which I coordinate through collaborative support with stakeholders.” When not working, Beth loves gardening, knitting, eating local with creative wine pairings, and traveling with her husband. She attributes her success in the environmental field to her traditional upbringings and love of nature gained from her Newfoundland roots.
The Knowledge Centre is convinced that for the world to get to net zero, there is a need for continued collaborations and partnerships. Meet Stacey Rennebohm whose role it is to help Knowledge Centre partners and clients understand and adjust to the changing CCS landscape and find pockets of alignments where the organization can step out and make a difference. “I spent about seven years in intergovernmental relations and what I enjoyed the most was forging relationships with many different people and organizations.”
Stacey holds a recent master’s in business administration with an international distinction and is a proud mom who enjoys baking with her kids.
As CCS continues to gain global attention, the Knowledge Centre has the privilege to continue to share its expertise and learnings globally, and Asia has been a very receptive destination. This aspect of work is led by Zewei Yu, Senior Advisor, Asia Relations. With over a decade of experience working on CCS, Zewei believes it is a key technological solution to mitigate climate change. “At the global level, the technology will only make progress when we are all working together to see that emissions reduction is a reality. He remains optimistic for the future. “Ten years ago, there was no clarity in many countries on how to approach CCS, but today many governments see its importance and are coming up with goals for carbon neutrality.” Zewei is also a proud grandfather and an avid summertime gardener.
The team members listed above are just some of the key players on the dynamic and expansive strategy and stakeholder relations team. Others also support the organization in strengthening its value and depth of experience – leading the Knowledge Centre to be sought for its ability to provide guidance and thought leadership on the applicability of CCS based on unique needs of industries and governments; as well as, for its role in understanding, informing, and using regulatory frameworks, policies, and incentives.
Project Development & Engineering
The other pillar for the Knowledge Centre is its technical, engineering, and innovative powerhouse. Carbon capture technology involves both a comprehensive understanding and an inventive approach to engineering processes and systems. The Knowledge Centre houses many of the experienced and brilliant engineers who were not only part of the original technical team from SaskPower Boundary Dam Unit 3 (BD3) CCS Facility – the world’s first carbon capture plant on a post combustion power station - but are also constantly working to advance the understanding and application of CCS to be more reliable, efficient, and cost effective.
Meet Conway Nelson, Vice-President, Project Development and Advisory Services. With over 20 years of background overseeing capital work at SaskPower, doing design engineering work, project management, and managing a team of engineers, Conway’s experience has been foundational for his role at the Knowledge Centre. “We have a team of brilliant engineering minds, who really understand the technical workings of carbon capture as well as how to transfer that knowledge to different industries.”
He describes how the Knowledge Centre is refining and adapting the understanding of carbon capture technology. “We did the BD3 CCS Facility, then we did the Shand CCS Feasibility Study , and found some things that we could improve. Now we are looking at the cement industry , we are looking at natural gas combustion and will apply these lessons in a way that is more efficient and cost effective.” When not focussed on CCS, Conway enjoys traveling with his family, attending his two teenager’s sporting activities and music concerts, as well as participating in his own sports as a triathlon athlete.
The depth of experience in carbon capture technology is evident by the many members of the project development and advisory team. For instance, meet Engineering Team Leader Brent Jacobs. Brent has been involved with all SaskPower’s carbon capture projects from an early stage. With his fifteen years' experience in carbon capture technology, he could be referred to as an institutional memory for CCS in Saskatchewan. Caring for the environment is a primary motivator for Brent and his carbon capture know-how plays an integral role. “We see what is happening across the world with the current levels of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere and it is going to be very difficult to eliminate a lot of the activities that generate emissions. So, the world needs all solutions possible to mitigate climate change and CCS is a big part of that,” says Brent. An all-around athlete, Brent particularly enjoys paddling and biking.
Another key member of the team is Yuewu Feng who monitors and studies current and developing CCS technology development, as well as ensuring that the Knowledge Centre keeps up with update of CCS technology around the globe. Yuewu is a Senior Engineer with the Knowledge Centre and has ten years experience working on CCS technology specifically from the BD3 CCS Facility.
Yuewu who is very much aware of the challenges of CO2 emissions says, “Since I came to know CCS as a solution to large-scale CO2 emissions reduction, I have become motivated and on a daily basis - I am more motivated knowing that CCS is the way to go.” Yuewu who loves fishing as a hobby says “When fishing, I really don’t care if I catch a fish or not. I just enjoy staying at the lake, relaxing, and using the time to think through on things. This makes me happy.”
One of the main technical achievements for the Knowledge Centre is working to find refinements and adaptations for the integration of carbon capture technology with CO2 emission sources, whether that is on energy or industrial plants. Meet Dr. Wayuta (Tan) Srisang, a Process Systems Engineer with the Knowledge Centre, a developing expert in carbon capture with amine absorption and post combustion integration.
Tan who holds a bachelor’s in chemical engineering with a masters and PhD in Process Systems Engineering explains that “It is clear to us at the Knowledge Centre that it is through capturing large-scale emissions from high emitters that we can reduce CO2 emissions.” In her spare time Tan loves to play lawn tennis, hang out with friends, and cook some of her native Thai food.
The folks listed above are just some of the key players making up the wealth of technical expertise of the project development and advisory services team. The Knowledge Centre relies on many other team members with breadth and depth in mechanical, chemical, procurement, and process engineering who bring substantial know-how and wisdom in CCS technology. The team also leans on the ingenuity of developing engineers as well as mentors for emerging next generation carbon capture experts.
A Team Ready to Deliver
When skills, brilliance, and experience are combined with innovation and dedication to climate action, like they are at the Knowledge Centre, great things happen. As CCS takes its place as a key emissions reduction technology, the all-star team at the Knowledge Centre is a team to seek out and one to watch.
Reach out to us to see how we can support your large-scale CCS project.