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GreenBiz 350 Podcast

Episode 179: Shell's clean energy aspirations, green chemistry's role in a circular economy

Featuring chats with Shell executives Brian Davis and Harry Brekelmans. Also on this episode, we chat about corporate and employee activism.

Week in Review

Tune in around 9:15  for commentary

  1. Salesforce, Microsoft, Apple push Virginia utility to use more renewables, less gas
  2. Ready for the new age of employee activism?
  3. 10 questions for Shell’s New Energies VP


Shell's delicate balancing act (23:10)

The world's second-largest oil company is investing between $1 billion to $2 billion in new technologies for clean energy and transportation, including acquisitions of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, biofuels research and hydrogen innovations. In a highlight from his interview with GreenBiz Senior Writer Katie Fehrenbacher, Brian Davis, vice president of Shell New Energies, discusses one reason he's eager to be on the "right side of history" — the youth climate movement. 

Inside Shell's energy transition strategy (26:51)

Harry Brekelmans, product and technology director for Shell, addresses how the company is reshuffling technology investments and portfolio strategies so that it can evolve with society's expectations. Plus, how Shell is looking to signals from governments, consumers and industry peers for direction on the future role of natural gas and petroleum. "What I would hope for in 2025 is that millions and millions and millions more people around the world are more conscious that they need to make decisions around lower-carbon products," Brekelmans said.

Green chemistry's role in the circular economy (35:52)

How do we make sure that the materials we're recirculating are as safe as possible? John Warner, president and chief technology officer, WarnerBabcock Institute for Green Chemistry, talks about why green chemistry should be a bigger part of the inventive process. Plus, why it's time to make this subject a more explicit part of the curriculum currently in place at most universities. "When someone becomes a chemist, the first thing they should learn is how to anticipate those negative impacts," he said.

* All music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: "4th Ave Walkup," "Arcade Montage," "Thinking It Over," "I'm Going For a Coffee" and "Waiting for the Moment That Never Comes."

What's new at GreenBiz?

Know someone on the cutting edge? ;Nominations are officially open for the second VERGE Vanguard feature. If you know an individual who has demonstrated particular leadership in catalyzing the clean economy or a cleantech sector, nominate them! We're looking for 20 individuals who are: 

  • inspiring an equitable, inclusive transition to a clean power grid;
  • laying the roadmap for a zero-emissions transportation system;
  • enabling communities and companies around the world to draw down levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide; and (of course!)
  • creating the framework for a more circular economy.

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