Leigh Hackett

Chairman & CCO

You might meet Leigh on one of his jogs around his Zurich home. Chances are, it’s on one of these runs that he’ll have his next breakthrough idea before rushing home to bring it to life. There is, he says, nothing more exciting than a blank piece of paper and a pencil. A chemical engineer with over 30 years of experience in the energy sector (in oil and gas, hydrocarbon processing and thermal power generation industries), Leigh fully understands the complexity of the decarbonisation challenge.

Nowhere is that challenge more pronounced than in aviation – but great challenges present great opportunities. The Metafuels team, with a little help from Leigh’s son Tom (a materials scientist himself), set about brainstorming methods to meet the demand for sustainable fuel. Now, with a proven, practical solution in place, Leigh and the team are determined to take MetajetTM to the next level.

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” – Terry Pratchett

Saurabh Kapoor

Chief Executive Officer

When Saurabh’s first son was born, his perspective changed. It sparked a new way of thinking about the future of the planet. Decarbonisation was already a subject of professional interest, but now it had become a deeply personal goal. That epiphany encouraged Saurabh to explore new ways of making clean energy an affordable reality and, leaning on 20 years of commercial and project management experience in the power generation sector, he refocused his efforts on decarbonising the energy sector.

Now, his mechanical engineering expertise and knack of problem-solving help to align Metafuels with its long-term commercial objectives and drive the business forwards.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci

Ulrich Koss

Chief Technologist

Ulrich (Uli) is a technological dynamo, drawing almost 30 years of experience in the energy sector to make innovative ideas a reality. He is the inventor or co-inventor of more than 40 patents in gas, petrochemical and carbon capture technology. For the last two decades, Uli has been a passionate advocate for carbon reduction and sustainable fuels and that he brings that insight, scientific experiences, and hands-on experience of the design, start-up and operation of process plants to the Metafuels team.

Away from the office, Uli is equally keen to take on new challenges. He is working on mastering the guitar and continues to be active on the local tennis scene where he ranks highly in singles tournaments.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.” – Stephen Hawking

Nihad Kasraoui

Head of Process Engineering

Nihad says that her young son inspires her with his endless curiosity for the world. The apple, it seems, does not fall far from the tree. She joined the Metafuels team in 2023 from a multinational oil and gas organisation in Spain precisely because of the exciting challenge found in our startup environment.

A new role and a new country can be daunting for some – but those changes only fuel her adventurous mind. She relishes the opportunity to enact positive, swift changes in an agile business and never turns down the chance for greater learning. Indeed, she’s concurrently undertaking a PhD with the University of Antwerp on the emerging risks related to energy transition and changing technologies. Why? Because the industry is moving at pace – and there’s so much to explore.

“Scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for mankind.” ― Marie Curie

Nina Bukreieva

Assistant and Office Manager

Having graduated in Law from the Kyiv Mohyla National University in 2022, Nina intends to continue practising law while providing the Metafuels team with valuable legal insight and supporting the organisation with its day-to-day operations. With a particular interest in environmental law and contract law, Nina believes she’s in the best place to get hands-on experience in a growing business.

Currently, Nina also keeps the office running smoothly, assisting the team with administrative duties, implementing efficient processes and taking care of GDPR practices. She’s proud to be part of a mission-led company that is committed to contributing to the decarbonisation of global aviation and promoting environmental sustainability for generations to come.

“In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best, we shall succeed in our aims: the improvement of mankind.” – Rosalind Franklin

Pedro Álvarez

Head of R&D

When Pedro commits to something, he really does commit to it. Away from the office you might encounter that spirit on the squash court, at CrossFit, or on a run. At Metafuels, he uses that relentless drive, alongside his knowledge and know-how, to help make our technology a success. 

Pedro is key in enabling our scale-up from the lab to industry, gathering information from our experiments and refining our technology accordingly. He enjoys being at the cutting edge of innovation – noting how few companies in the world have a process in the same mould as aerobrew. The extraordinary potential of our technology is just one of the reasons he was so keen to join the team. 

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela 

Matthias Schnellmann

Senior Project Development Manager

Matthias likes to be at the forefront of change. He’s attracted to sizeable and complex tasks – such as helping the aviation sector to become more sustainable and to reach climate targets – precisely because they pose the greatest challenge. He also cites the opportunity to enact swift, meaningful change as a driving force behind his work.

Matthias joined the team in 2023, bringing a wealth of technical expertise and industry knowledge. His PhD studies at the University of Cambridge, that saw him develop a new approach to the holistic analysis of energy technologies (from the fundamental science underpinning them to the industrial scale), as well as his postdoctoral research, provided the launchpad for his move into industry. First, at INEOS where he oversaw a number of key decarbonisation projects, and now with Metafuels where he plays a catalysing role in putting our strategic objectives into action.

Away from the office, he enjoys getting to explore with his young family and hiking, running and cycling his way around the Swiss outdoors.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Alan Kay

Staffan Joensson

Project Director

Having more than 30 years of Project Management experience, Staffan has managed everything from small pilot plants to large EPC projects. A chemical engineer by training, he has worked internationally within the fields of chemical engineering and power, both with R&D (Carbon Capture & Storage) and plant execution projects.

When growing up in Sweden, he spent his spare time outdoors and still does that, on a bike or on skis, and sometimes on the golf course. Seeing how climate change impacts nature was the trigger for him to change career and start working on CCS in 2009. Since then he has done projects in many other fields like solar panels and circular economy.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” – Mark Twain

Fabian Dhont

Plant Design Engineer

Fabian loves nothing more than being at the top of a mountain. He often embarks on multi-day hikes from peak to peak, escaping into nature. That desire to seek out and conquer new challenges makes him the ideal person to help Metafuels meet our lofty ambitions.

A true team player (he played handball for almost 20 years with the his hometown team), Fabian brings a passion for sustainability and cites the fast-paced environment of a start-up company as precisely the sort of challenge he looks for. He brings an expertise in electromechanical and piping engineering, from his home studying at KU Leuven and working for Worley. He’ll be spearheading the design of our plants and creating models for our future developments.

He and his partner moved to Switzerland from his native Belgium in early 2024, as they had always hoped to work and live abroad. As always, he’s looking for new adventures. His skiing, he says, is ‘improving’.

“Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.” – Mary Schmich

Dr. Jorge A. González

Senior Chemist

‘I really enjoy the power of prediction’, says Jorge. It’s one of the reasons he says he’s so passionate about chemistry, and why he looks to take on new projects at the cutting edge of science.

Having worked in academia for many years, in the UK and then at the University of Zurich, Jorge started to look elsewhere. Though he loved the research and teaching, he sought a role with a greater emphasis on application – particularly where applied chemistry could be beneficial to peoples’ lives. That’s where Metafuels comes into the story. Jorge was drawn to the vision of sustainable aviation fuel, and a chance to improve the technology and make our process more efficient and optimised for scale-up.

Jorge feels very much at home in Zurich and the Swiss terrain, having been born in the mountains of Mexico. Away from the office he enjoys getting out for a run in the forests, but you might also spot him bringing his Salsa moves to the nearest dancefloor.

“Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.” – Bertrand Russell

Victoria Genissel

Senior Process Engineer

There was a time when Victoria dreamed of being a pilot. That particular career path may not have taken off but it worked out for the best, as she brings her expertise in process engineering to Metafuels to help shape the future of aviation.

After early roles at ExxonMobil and TechnipFMC, Victoria specialised as a process engineer at Axens, managing a small team who sought to understand the different technologies available and how best to deploy them. She joined Metafuels to be part of an ambitious organisation looking to make a difference through sustainable technology. She’ll help us to optimise the industrialisation of our processes and increase our capacity – taking our lab-based technology to the next level.

Having always studied in international environments, she jumped at the chance to move to Zurich and take her next career step outside of France. She loves to host friends and cook – but, ever the engineer, she’s always keen to find the most efficient way of creating a meal!

“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed” – Antoine Lavoisier