May 10, 2022 Jess Bukowski

Our Founder and CEO, Dr Francis Wedin has been named WA Business News’ 40under40. The 40under40 awards recognise West Australian entrepreneurs and business leaders under the age of 40.

Reflecting on the win, Francis said, “I am honoured to receive a 40under40 award for the work of Vulcan Energy Resources and our Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project.

“Our climate and energy security challenges require urgent solutions from industry. Winning the 40under40 award is a positive endorsement of what the Vulcan team are trying to achieve: to become the world’s first lithium producer with net zero greenhouse gas emissions. I would like to thank the team for their hard work and commitment to the Zero Carbon Lithium™ Project.

“Congratulations to all the winners. It is a privilege to be recognised among a diverse group of people, who all demonstrate the determination, innovation and drive that sets West Australian entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the world.”

You can read more about the awards and the other winners here.

Here is an extract of Francis’ award submission, where he reflects on Vulcan’s success, and the values and behaviours that guide his work and life.

SUCCESS FACTORS

Vulcan’s success has been driven by being in the right place, at the right time, with the right product; a direct result of research and strategising which led me to start Vulcan with Dr. Horst Kreuter in 2018.

Lithium supply chains are not geared towards low carbon intensity production, leaving a gap in the market for our Zero Carbon Lithium™ business. Vulcan’s process and product could therefore have a significant impact on annual CO2 reduction requirements to achieve net zero by 2050.

We knew that if we established ourselves in Germany, the heart of the fastest growing lithium market in the world, we would be well placed, literally, to capitalise on the electrification of transport in Europe. We marshalled our resources in that direction. We prioritised securing the resource, which is large enough to supply millions of EVs as the market scales up. We also focused on building the right team, with the right skill sets, to execute on this unique project. We then turned the team’s attention to offtakes, knowing these agreements would be critical in securing project finance. In 2021 we signed four binding offtake agreements with Tier One companies in the European market, which are a vindication of our strategy.

VALUES

Environmentalism, progress through science and family. These values are core to me and to the business we have built.

Being a “greenie” at heart is integrated into every aspect of my life, from converting my family to renewables and electric transport, to being an avid supporter of rewilding and biodiversity initiatives.  While many people have reportedly experienced “climate anxiety”, I believe we have a unique opportunity.

What is happening in our lifetimes is a chance to harness science to break free from our attachment to carbon-based energy. To completely re-make the way we heat our water and food, power our homes and businesses, and how we move around. The world will be unrecognisable when my kids are grown up, and if we do this right it will be much, much better. Which is what it all boils down to: making the world better for my family.

We founded Vulcan with environmentalism at its core and have built a team dedicated to this pursuit. We continue to be approached by the world’s best, because of our uncompromising approach to the climate, and this has seen us become one of the most successful companies on the ASX in the last 24 months.