Meet the Boston Metal Team: Guillaume Lambotte

Features Published: October 7, 2022

The mission to tackle 10% of the world’s carbon emissions takes a passionate, multi-disciplinary team. We sat down with one of the earliest members of our team, Guillaume Lambotte, chief scientist, to discuss his experience in the green steel industry.

Guillaume has been with Boston Metal since the beginning, as he was one of the MIT researchers who worked on molten oxide electrolysis. Nowadays, he’s our chief scientist and is focused on the fundamentals of what’s happening within the reactors – the inert anode and electrolysis. His teams’ work of testing and validating the pilot scale systems is critical as we progress towards commercialization.

Guillaume was born in France and made his way to four different European countries while getting his undergraduate university education. He first moved to America to conduct his post-doc research at MIT 10 years ago and has since called Boston home.

Guillaume has an adventurous spirit and manages to find time to train for and compete in marathons and triathlons. Like many of his environmentally-minded colleagues at Boston Metal, he also loves to get outdoors to ski, hike, bike, and climb.

As one of our first employees and leading innovators, Guillaume’s important contributions to Boston Metal has enabled us to advance our mission to decarbonize the steel industry, and we look forward to seeing his hard work come to fruition when we bring our green steel solution to market in 2026.

What did you do before Boston Metal? How did you come to get involved in green steel technology?

I began my career as an assistant production manager for a company in Germany that was doing aluminum extrusion for multiple types of industries. After this experience in industry, I decided to pursue a PhD in metallurgical engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. It was there that I started studying the use of electrolysis for large-scale industrial manufacturing of metals. I then moved on to MIT as a postdoctoral associate focused on electrolysis and got involved in developing what would become Boston Metal’s molten oxide electrolysis technology. When the project was spun out into a company, the opportunity to be a part of it was too exciting to pass up.

Why did you make the decision to leave academia? When starting as an undergraduate, did you know you wanted to join a company in the private sector?

In academia, you can either become a professor or do research, and the research rarely transforms into something that is used afterwards. My real interest in science is when it’s tied to the larger goal of an end product. Because of this, Boston Metal was a natural fit for me. I like to tinker with things, to experiment, and to see tangible results from my work. You can’t do that as much in academic research like you can while working for a company.

How has Boston Metal evolved over the course of your time at the company?

I love where Boston Metal is right now. I joined the company at a stage when we only had four people, when everything you did is 25% of what the company does. Through hiring well and acquiring significant investment quickly, we have multiplied our possibilities. We have reached the point where the company has the resources to develop a real-world reactor and make more tangible progress. Seeing how the company evolved is all the more exciting because we did it in a smart way with great people, and with goals that were aspirational but realistic.

What’s your perspective on how the market environment for sustainable steel has changed since you started working on the technology?

Every industry and company now have emission reduction goals. The steel industry was beginning to position itself as a partner in the energy transition. However, steelmakers have been getting squeezed from two sides: regulation and down-stream users. That drive comes from the consumers who are more aware of their emissions footprint and that impacts the whole supply chain. So now every company needs to know how much CO2 is released from the steel they purchase. Combined with climate laws becoming more stringent, steelmakers have no choice but to make efforts to decarbonize.

The most surprising aspect of this change is how quickly the industry has responded and adapted to the call for decarbonization. We knew it was coming, but it’s a little surprising how front and center it’s become in such a relatively short time, because most of us thought we wouldn’t see this level of progress until the late 2020s. We are about 10 years away from deadlines to meet climate goals, but demand is already high, and companies are making enormous progress in getting us there.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned in your career so far?

First, I am fortunate enough to have been given different opportunities that have led me to where I am today. I have always believed in taking risks and that opportunities arise in the right moment when you are putting your energy towards something you believe in.

People say that you create your own luck, and maybe that’s what happened with me. But I learned to find the right balance between being a “doer” and also approaching an opportunity with a scientific method. When forming a decision, I’ve found it’s beneficial to take risks and to flirt with the line between thinking things through and acting with urgency and being decisive.

The view from the top. Guillaume summited 14,259-foot Longs Peak in Colorado.

About Boston Metal

Boston Metal is commercializing Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE), a tonnage metals technology platform powered by electricity, to decarbonize steelmaking and transform how metals are made. MOE provides the metals industry with a scalable, cost-competitive and green solution for the production of steel and high-value metals from a variety of feedstocks and iron ore grades. Backed by visionary investors and led by a world-class team, Boston Metal is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts and has a wholly owned subsidiary in Brazil.

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