My purpose is to help end our dependence on fossil fuels and usher in a sustainable future powered by abundant, carbon free energy for everyone.
Erik Eide Pettersen, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Seaborg Technologies, Master’s in Nuclear Energy
Erik Eide Pettersen, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Seaborg Technologies
Name of Programme:
Master’s in Nuclear Energy
KTH: Royal Institute of Technology
Master’s School graduate Eirik Eide Pettersen helped found Seaborg Technologies, which develops next generation nuclear reactors. He will continue to provide technical & strategic insights to help steer the ambitious effort to create his vision of the ‘sustainable energy future’.
Tell us a little about what you are doing now, and how the skills and knowledge gained at InnoEnergy Master’s School prepared you for this work:
Today, I am the co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Seaborg Technologies, a clean-tech start-up developing next-generation nuclear reactors called molten salt reactors (MSRs). MSRs use liquid fuel, the molten salt, which also acts as the reactor coolant. This advanced technology maintains all the benefits traditionally attributed to nuclear energy, while improving most of the problems plaguing conventional nuclear reactors.
The EMINE programme has provided me with several key competences that I use daily. Such as the international mindset that comes from the high mobility – essential to orchestrate the next clean-energy revolution. The analytical approach towards tasks and project management also come in very handy. Overall, the education lays the foundation for a thorough understanding of the conventional nuclear industry, which is obviously a good starting point for the next generation.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your company, and what will be your future role in helping to solve it?
Tomorrow, I will provide both the technical and strategic insights to help overcome the technical, regulatory, and financial challenges my company faces. I see myself obtaining a broader view and a more comprehensive skill set in the future to tackle the challenges presented by molten salt reactors. In particular, I hope to learn much more about chemistry and corrosion – key topics for a technology that is equal parts a chemical process plant and nuclear reactor – and I would like to master the business and management skills honed in the programme (and particularly in the Summer School session at Grenoble) to successfully steer the undeniably ambitious effort to create the ‘sustainable energy of the future’.
Where does your passion for renewable energy come from? And what’s your vision for the future?
My purpose is to help end our dependence on fossil fuels and usher in a sustainable future powered by abundant, carbon-free energy for everyone. The way my colleagues and I see it, global warming and the associated climate change represent our single greatest threat. To avoid crossing the 2-degree limit, we need to curtail greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors… sooner rather than later. However, we mustn’t forget that innumerable people are without the abundant and affordable energy that the developed world prospers from. We need a carbon-free, reliable, and safe source of energy that is cheaper than the cheapest fossil fuels available. Then we can compete with coal and natural gas on their own terms – and be able to kill coal with capitalism, to create the sustainable future that we depend on.