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Friday, June 8, 2012
Energy From Thorium – An ICOSA Interview with Kirk Sorensen and Member of the House of Lords, Baroness Worthington
What is the potential for the
use of thorium as an energy resource? I just traveled to Huntsville, Alabama
with Jan Mazotti for ICOSA magazine to find out directly from Flibe Energy.
Liquid fluoride thorium reactors or LFTR (pronounced "lifter"), have
the potential to revolutionize the energy industry by providing clean,
reliable, and continuous power generation while using a fuel that we have in
abundance. Remarkably, however, it's not just about power. It's also about
creating a reliable supply of isotopes for medical treatment, rocket fuel, and
other useful by-products. In short, LFTR is about taking a fresh look at a
proven technology so that we can move securely into the future.
In our interview with Flibe,
we discuss how it works, the state of the technology, what needs to happen to
integrate LFTR into America's energy generation portfolio and more specifically,
what that might look like. What struck me, however, is the similarity of
Flibe's story to some of America's greatest success stories and greatest
"To alter the course of
an industry requires a very special and rare partnership between one who knows
why and those who know how," says Simon Sinek in his book entitled,
"Start With Why."Why is the
vision and the how is the processes and systems that make the vision a reality.
"In nearly every case of a person or an organization that has gone on to
inspire people to do great things, there exists a special partnership between
why and how . . . Bill Gates, for example, may have been a visionary who
imagined a world with a PC on every desk, but Paul Allen built the
company," observes Sinek. According to Sinek, "the why types are the
visionaries, the ones with the overactive imagination, whereas how types live
more in the here and now." They build the structures and processes needed
to get things done. Success requires both.
Flibe Energy was co-founded
by Kirk Sorensen and Kirk Dorius, former college roommates.Both were students in mechanical engineering.
Sorensen went on to study aerospace engineering and Dorius went to law school.
The match pairs Sorensen's infectious enthusiasm, charisma and vision with
Dorius' tenacious determination and practicality needed to lay to the
foundation to turn vision into reality. According to Sinek, this is the
beginning of a recipe for success. "A shared upbringing and life
experience increases the probability of a shared set of values and
beliefs." Sinek provides several examples of why/how partnerships.Walt Disney and Roy Disney were brothers. Bill
Gates and Paul Allen went to high school together. Herb Kelleher was Rollin
King's divorce attorney and friend (Southwest Airlines). Martin Luther King Jr.
and Abernathy both preached in Birmingham.Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were best friends in high school. Kirk
Sorensen and Kirk Dorius were college roommates. If history is any indication,
Flibe is on solid footing.
Pessimists are often right,
but it's the optimists that change the world, says Thomas Friedman, author of "The
World is Flat." In his book, Sinek demonstrates that American's have had
great success in making a vision a reality when we understand why. The process
starts with the vision and charisma of the leader - something Sorensen clearly
demonstrates. Each tangible demonstration of success that the vision became a
reality strengthens the foothold and encourages acceptance. The energy
landscape is transitioning. With LFTR technology and Flibe Energy, we may very
well be at the beginning of another great American success story.
New technology, diverse energy resources and grid solutions can help redefine our energy landscape. Kelly de la Torre’s practice focuses on getting client's results by: finding solutions to market and regulatory barriers to energy development and for emerging technologies, by working with her client's to identify market opportunities and bring together the right parties and legal support to take advantage of those market opportunities.
By understanding the energy landscape and understanding the client's objectives, Kelly can help companies design strategies to achieve their objectives within the existing statutory and regulatory framework and advocate for changes if necessary.
Kelly has a B.S. in biochemistry and an M.S. in chemistry both from the University of New Mexico and a J.D. from the Rutgers-Camden School of Law in New Jersey. She is licensed to practice in New Mexico and Colorado and is a member of the U.S. Patent Bar.
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