Canadian Biomass Magazine

Active Energy appoints Barron Hewetson as chief technology officer

June 20, 2023
By Active Energy Group

Active Energy has appointed Barron Hewetson, Ph.D. as chief technology officer. Hewetson has a proven history of using innovation to create award-winning products and drive business results in large-scale biomass manufacturing settings. He will lead all aspects of technology and product development for Active Energy and its CoalSwitch product.

Active Energy has developed a proprietary technology which transforms waste biomass material into high-value renewable pellets. Its patented CoalSwitch product can be blended and co-fired with coal at any ratio to reduce emissions without requiring significant plant modification. The first production plant for CoalSwitch is expected to come online in summer, 2023.

Hewetson joins Active Energy from Enviva Biomass Inc. where he most recently served as director of innovation and product management. Among his many accomplishments was the diversification of Enviva’s production portfolio by negotiating contracts in eight new industry sectors, totalling nearly $12.5 billion in new revenues.

In a previous role at one of Enviva’s subsidiaries, Sampson Wood Pellets in Faison, N.C., Hewetson served as both operations manager and quality manager. With the operational team, he successfully increased plant production from below budget to above target and, using both collaboration and process redesign, improved Sampson Wood’s existing biomass program, earning Sampson Wood pellets recognition from its international customers for producing the “World’s Best Wood Pellets.”

“Barron has a unique – and brilliant – combination of skills, experience and intellect that make him the perfect fit for Active Energy at this time in the company’s history,” said Michael Rowan, chief executive officer of Active Energy. “With tightening emissions standards in the U.S., increasing concerns about the sustainability of white pellet for energy across Europe and continuous commitments from brands and countries to voluntarily decarbonize, we are seeing significant demand for CoalSwitch. Barron’s proven ability to scale biomass production as well as invent new processes and technologies will only hasten our ability to produce more fuel, quicker as well as innovate new products to meet our customers’ needs.”

In addition to Hewetson’s experience in large-scale manufacturing, he is also an accomplished entrepreneur and scientist. He co-founded Spero Energy, where he led development of high-value chemicals for the food industry in part by securing federal grants from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy. Earlier in his career Hewetson was a research scientist at Perdue University and a scale-up engineer at the U.S Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.

“I firmly believe that the Active Energy technology has already set a new standard for performance and sustainability in the traditional pellet energy industry,” said Hewetson. “But there is more to be done. I look forward to working with the team to further innovate the core technology and make CoalSwitch the industry standard for clean energy.”

Hewetson holds both a Ph.D. and a master of science in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University as well as a bachelor of arts from Wabash College.

Print this page


Stories continue below