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Q&A: Houston engineering, consulting exec on designing a low-carbon future

Ken Gilmartin, CEO of Wood, joins HETI for a Q&A. Photo courtesy of HETI

Global engineering and consulting firm Wood is a pioneering force in the energy transition landscape.

The Houston Energy Transition Initiative recently sat down with Ken Gilmartin, CEO of Wood, to learn more about the company’s strategic mission for the future and their recent wins in the energy space that are driving the energy transition forward.

Houston Energy Transition Institute: Can you give our audience an overview of Wood and your mission to help reach net-zero?

Ken Gilmartin: We are a company of 36,000 remarkable people delivering some of the world’s most complex and transformative projects for our clients. As an engineering and consulting firm, we’re passionate about delivering net-zero solutions across two key markets, energy and materials.

Our passion derives from our people whose curiosity, skills and expertise have always driven the advancement and transformation of industry, pushing the envelope of what is possible. Sustainability is core to us as engineers and consultants and we take our responsibility in delivering the net-zero solutions critical to the world, very seriously.

We live in the future – designing and delivering facilities today that will operate more effectively, efficiently and sustainably tomorrow by integrating technologies to decarbonize and digital solutions that derive data to ensure this.

HETI: Wood was recently selected as an EPCM partner by Canadian battery materials company Euro Manganese Inc. with a mission to design Europe’s largest high-purity manganese processing facility. How critical is this project to the energy transition?  

KG: Hugely critical. As a mineral used in most lithium-ion batteries, it is core to the electric vehicle industry and therefore, the energy transition.

This project is the only significant source of manganese in the European Union today. With mineral reserves of 27 million tonnes, this project could provide up to 20 percent of the projected European demand for high-purity manganese, which will provide battery supply chains with critical raw materials to support the shift to a circular, low carbon economy.

This innovative project holds real significance for Wood as we continue to lead the development of critical mineral projects — with specialist expertise in hydrometallurgy and a passion for designing sustainable energy and materials infrastructure.

HETI: Closer to HETI’s home, what have you got going on in the region in the energy transition space?

KG: As a result of the Inflation Reduction Act and other key government policies and incentives, we’re seeing a significant uptick in the number of decarbonization projects, particularly hydrogen and carbon capture storage (CCS).

Wood is at the forefront of advising our clients on funding opportunities and taking the lead on the development of Department of Energy applications to ensure critical net zero projects go from paper to production. We see ourselves as a collaborator across the entire process, from funding and feasibility to engineering, design, start-up and operations.

Ten years ago, we delivered Century Plant in West Texas, which at the time, was the largest CO2 plant in the world. Our involvement in needle-moving projects in the region hasn’t stopped.

We have near 4000 people in Texas advising and delivering some of the most innovative energy transition projects, including work on the critical CCS and hydrogen hub program proposed right here in Houston and across the U.S. We’re also supporting our clients in the funding and application stages of their direct air capture projects; we’re meeting the demand for low-carbon fuel alternatives in the areas of hydrogen fuel-switching, electrofuels and biofuels; and we’re delivering e-methanol projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast that will target and abate maritime emissions. You name it, we’re doing it.

As the DOE looks to award further funding rounds for hydrogen, carbon capture and industrial decarbonization projects in 2024, we’re excited about the tremendous opportunities this presents for the region and the role we can play in Houston’s future as the world’s energy capital.

Learn more about Wood, and their work in the energy transition.


This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit

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A View From HETI

Four energy companies are putting their money where their mouths are following Hurricane Beryl. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Four major energy companies in the Houston area have chipped in more than $400,000 to support relief efforts for Hurricane Beryl in Southeast Texas. Nationwide, it’s estimated that the storm caused at least $28 billion in damage and economic losses.

Here’s a breakdown of contributions announced by the four energy companies.

Baker Hughes Foundation

The Baker Hughes Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Houston-based energy technology company Baker Hughes, gave a $75,000 grant to the Houston chapter of the American Red Cross for Hurricane Beryl relief efforts.

“We understand recovery and rebuilding can take weeks or months, and we support the American Red Cross’ mission of providing people with clean water, safe shelter, and food when they need them most,” says Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes.

CenterPoint Energy

Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, which at one point had more than 2 million customers without power due to Hurricane Beryl, says its foundation has donated to several disaster relief organizations in the region. These include the American Red Cross of Coastal Bend, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Combined Arms, and the 4B Disaster Response Network in Brazoria and Galveston counties.

As of July 11, the company had also provided:

  • More than 30,000 bottles of water to cooling centers and distribution centers in the Houston area.
  • Meals to local first responders.
  • Mobile power generation at cooling centers, hospitals, senior living centers, and water treatment plants.

CenterPoint didn’t assign a dollar value to its contributions.

“Our first priority is getting the lights back on. At the same time, we have seen firsthand the devastation our neighbors are facing, and our commitment to the community goes beyond restoration efforts,” says Lynnae Wilson, senior vice president of CenterPoint’s electric business.


Houston-based ConocoPhillips contributed $200,000 to relief efforts for Hurricane Beryl. The company also is matching donations from U.S. employees of ConocoPhillips.

The money is being split among the Houston Food Bank, Salvation Army and American Red Cross.

“Houston is our hometown, and many of our employees and neighbors have been impacted by Hurricane Beryl,” says Ryan Lance, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillip.

Entergy Texas

Entergy Texas, based in The Woodlands, donated $125,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Beryl relief efforts. The money will go toward emergency needs such as food, shelter, and medical care.

“Our commitment to helping communities in distress remains unwavering, and we are hopeful that our contribution will offer relief and comfort to those facing hardships in the storm’s aftermath,” says Eliecer Viamontes, president and CEO of Entergy Texas.

Entergy Texas supplies electricity to about 512,000 customers in 27 counties. It’s a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp.

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