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The EERC is pleased to welcome Neil Wildgust as a Principal CCS Scientist. In this position, he leads projects and risk assessment activities related to CO2 storage and enhanced oil recovery (EOR), working with team members to prepare and lead proposals and develop and manage project scopes of work, objectives, personnel, and budgets. His areas of interest and expertise include carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCS); EOR; and project management. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Applied Environmental Geology from Cardiff University, Wales, and a B.Sc. degree in Geology from the University of Southampton, England.

Prior to joining the EERC, Neil was the Manager for Geological Storage with the Global CCS Institute, responsible for leading the storage advisory team across the institute and managing relationships with Canadian members. He has also worked for the IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG) and for the Petroleum Technology Research Centre, managing the IEAGHG Weyburn–Midale research project.

In addition to Neil’s experience with CCS projects and research across the world, he is a chartered geologist (United Kingdom) and has 25 years of industrial experience in mining, land contamination, and hydrogeology. He has also recently been appointed an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control.

Neil’s interest in CCS came about almost by chance. In the mid-2000s, he was working as a hydrogeologist for power utility EON in the UK. His supervisor was an air quality scientist responsible for tracking developments in CCS technology.

“He sent me to the 2006 GHGT conference in Trondheim, Norway, to learn about CO2 geologic storage. The sheer scale of ambitions for CCS—the challenge of isolating huge quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere over a small number of decades to mitigate impacts on the climate—had me hooked very quickly,” Neil said.

“My bias has inevitably been toward the storage side of CCS over the last decade. If capture is the expensive part of most CCS projects, storage is usually the uncertain part, and there are a great range of technical advances being researched to better manage and reduce these uncertainties. EOR remains the predominant form of storage and a key driver for the wider deployment of CCS,” he added.

“The PCOR Partnership has an outstanding reputation well beyond the United States and Canada, and Bell Creek has provided the EERC and the PCOR Partnership with a world-class storage research project, so I’m excited to have the chance to get involved in those efforts,” said Neil.

“The location of the EERC at the heart of a resource-rich region, together with expertise and facilities covering so many aspects of applied energy research, is a powerful combination. The EERC has a reputation of working closely with industry clients and striving to exceed expectations. My first weeks here have impressed on me how deeply ingrained this culture is within the organization,” he remarked.

Neil and his wife have four grown children and two granddaughters who all live in the UK. Holidays and time together on either side of the Atlantic are precious, he said, and “usually crammed with as much fun as possible to keep everyone happy.” Neil spent “vast swaths” of spare time playing cricket and “real football” (soccer) in the past but declared he has retired from both.