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Alain Castro

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Alain Castro is spearheading an effort to make industries eager to embrace renewable energy. After more than two decades in the industry, he may just be the person to pull it off. Castro began his career in energy in 1993, just after graduating from the University of Texas with a BS in Industrial and Mechanical Engineering. During his four years as Country Director for IBM Global Services, Castro led teams of professional business consultants serving the oil and gas industries in Mexico and Argentina. Later, he became a Partner at Ernst & Young Consulting, in charge of the consulting practice’s engagements with the South American oil and gas industry.

After earning his Executive Masters Degree through the London Business School’s Sloan Fellowship in 2002, Castro slightly shifted his focus. While still in the energy business, Castro opted to move away from the oil and gas industry towards more renewable energy sources. In 2002, he founded International Energy Ventures, an investment firm directed at fostering companies within the alternative energy sector. Over his decade as a Partner with the renewable energy capital firm, Castro backed companies working on developing and expanding fuel cells, batteries, wind energy and biofuels.

In 2007, Castro began a four-year stint as leading international renewable energy developer and operator Akuo Energy’s President for the Americas Region. He began serving as Ener-Core Power’s CEO in 2013. The company has developed a gradual oxidation process that transforms low-quality waste gasses into usable energy. Originally developed for methane-producing landfills, breweries, and refineries, Ener-Core is continuously developing its technology to become applicable to almost any waste-gas-producing industrial process. The technology appeals to companies not just because of its environmental impact, but also for its money saving potential, boosting profits by re-purposing waste and reducing energy costs. Ener-Core installed its first plant in 2014, for the largest waste management company in the Netherlands, and has since installed several others in Europe and the US.

In addition to his work at Ener-Core, Castro supports energy infrastructure projects as a partner at Luxembourg-based asset management firm AIM. He also serves as an executive advisor to Goldwind Science and Technology Co, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of utility-scale wind turbines.

(Sources used to write this profile include a 2014 Houston Chronicle article, a 2014 interview with Holland Renewable Energy Technologies, a 2013 Press Release, the Ener-Core Power website, and the entrepreneur’s LinkedIn profile)

Companies and Investments

Ener-Core Power (CEO), Goldwind Science and Technology Co. (Executive Advisor), AIM Luxembourg (Partner), Akuo Energy (President-Americas Region), International Energy Ventures (Founder, Partner), Ernst & Young Consulting, IBM Global Services (Country Director)

Lessons Learned

I have often said that we need to learn from nature in everything, in medicine, industrial processes, capitalism needs to learn from nature. I don’t think that capitalism is wrong, I support capitalism, but I think capitalism is an evolving system. Nature has already evolved, it has already balanced itself out. So we can wait for capitalism to balance itself out, or we can look to more evolved systems like nature with its zero-waste system, and try to figure out how to give capitalism a nudge so that it can stop being so wasteful which is ultimately a detriment to all of us who are trying to raise children and prosper. (Alain Castro on learning from nature to find healthier, less wasteful, more balanced systems, in an interview with Edward Dodge) That’s right, so I am proud that here is a company, an ethanol plant, that has already pulled the trigger to spend $11.5 or $12 million to install a system that is going to be fueled by waste gas and they have already publicized that they expect to save $4 million per year in energy costs. Which means they get a full payback in less than 3 years, and once it’s paid off they will have an operating cost lower than any other ethanol plant in America. This gives them an undeniable competitive advantage because they will be a low cost producer. Their competitors will still be spending $3 or $4 million to buy power while these guys will be producing their own by using a waste gas that until now had been costing them money in terms of environmental compliance. And when it is all said and done they may prove to be the cleanest ethanol plant in America, not guaranteed but certainly possible. Once that got announced we started getting calls from all their competitors to find out how they can get these systems for themselves. (Alain Castro on making environmentally responsible business economically attractive, in an interview with Edward Dodge) In my background, and I know a lot of the backgrounds of my colleagues that are director-level people, a lot of them I know, like me, come from families that had a well-meaning father and mother, they couldn’t provide me much in terms of financial comforts. They couldn’t shield me from the difficulties of the world. And that in itself, my full exposure to the difficulties of the world and dealing with the world, is what allowed me to develop that thick skin. It also allowed me to fall on my face and make mistakes and get hurt. And had I not fallen on my face and learned those lessons and gotten hurt and learned to deal with all the difficulties, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that have been important, if not critical, to being a successful leader. (Alain Castro on the value of making mistakes and enduring failures, in an interview on Inc. Radio’s Non-Traditional Business)

Inspiring Quotes

Alain Castro's Quotes

Air pollution is a symptom of industrial inefficiency. If an industry is 100% efficient it will waste nothing.

Alain Castro

We need to learn from nature in everything.

Alain Castro

It’s great to have a technology that can change the world, as we say, but it needs to be reliable.

Alain Castro

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