If you have had the pleasure to meet Trevor Blench, surely you would agree that the words 'kind' and 'humble' describe him best. He speaks with a calm voice, is very thoughtful, and glows a certain joy for life that is truly extraordinary.
We are trying to make nuclear power clean, safe and sustainable.
Environmentalist who sees the potential in Thorium Energy
Trevor is a keen environmentalist and supports Thorium Energy as the cleanest way to meet our growing energy need, and as a way to balance the fluctuating energy supply from renewables. He believes that burning of billions of tons of fossil fuels, especially coal, every year causes air pollution and millions of premature deaths every year, as well as global warming and environmental degradation and he believes that thorium should replace fossil fuels.
Trevor was first introduced at ThEC12 in Shanghai where we discovered that we shared interests in our concern for the environment and in thorium as a clean, safe and sustainable energy source. We have been working together to promote thorium ever since.
Involved in everything from thorium mining to reactor design
After retiring from a career in financial services in Geneva, Trevor wanted to devote his time to protect the environment and help solve the world’s looming energy crisis. The family moved to South Africa, and Trevor established a company called Steenkampskraal Thorium Ltd. to develop and commercialize the thorium fuel cycle. He picked up on the South African government's pebble bed reactor program (PBMR program) that was built on Germany’s abandoned HTR technology but canceled in 2010 due to financial and technological problems.
Learning from the mistakes of the PBMR program, Steenkampskraal Thorium Limited has designed the HTMR-100 reactor. It is based on the proven pebble bed reactor technology that was licensed in Germany and that is now also licensed in China. A pebble bed reactor is extremely efficient and can achieve a very high burn-up of the thorium fuel. The main differences to conventional reactors is that fuel rods are changed to pebbles, uranium to thorium, and water as coolant to helium gas.
Trevor is also on the Board of Directors of Thor Energy, a Norwegian company that Steenkampskraal partly owns. Thor Energy is carrying out a 5-year trial to qualify thorium fuels in the Halden reactor in Norway, with the aim for the fuel to be licensed for use in existing nuclear reactors.
Trevor believes that thorium may be the only substance on earth that could provide most of the energy that we need almost indefinitely without any harmful impacts on the environment. He says: “We are trying to make nuclear power clean, safe and sustainable. We believe that the development and the commercialization of the thorium fuel cycle, from the mining and the refining of the thorium, to the manufacture and supply of the fuel, could provide a strong foundation for a profitable business.”
Free time is spent in nature
Outside the thorium work, Trevor spends some of his time helping his wife and sons manage the family’s organic farm outside Cape Town, in the beautiful wine area of Stellenbosch. The Blenches bought the Vredenhof Organic Estate in 2002 with the aim to supply good quality, fresh organic produce all year round to people who are concerned about what they eat and their health.
When Trevor is not farming, he is hiking in the beautiful mountains surrounding the farm, or skiing near Geneva, his original home in the Swiss Alps. It’s not many in his age who can beat this man in the mountains!
Respect for nature, sustainability, and health promotion are prevalent in anything Trevor does. As determined as he is to stay healthy through organic nutrition and exercise, he wants to preserve the health of the Earth through a clean and sustainable energy solution.