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Thomas Koch Blank

Senior Principal
  • Climate Aligned Industries

Thomas is an engineer by education, trained in operations and drilled in business acumen at McKinsey & Company. He built the very first ‘McKinsey Marginal Abatement Cost Curve’ in 2005 and spent the following 8 years building what would become a full scale Practice (business area) around Sustainability and Resource Productivity. Thomas brings broad cross-sector insight in Energy and Climate related opportunities and extensive experience from on-site work with industrial facilities to improve productivity of energy, carbon and other resources, through 100+ site visits globally.


Prior to joining RMI, Thomas spent the majority of his professional career at McKinsey & Company, where he launched and built up the Sustainability Practice together with a small core leadership team, through entrepreneurial leadership and by spearheading new methodologies and developing expertise. His expertise has been built together with clients, applied to specific industrial facilities. The primary focus of his work has been on energy intensive industry, metal processing and mining in particular.

Examples of relevant projects:
Metal processing clean sheet redesign – Europe
Integrated Energy Strategy program (sourcing, operations, system design) – Europe
Yield optimization of chemical plant – Middle East

Big Data-based optimization of mineral processing plant – Central Africa
Establishment of annual sustainability conference for 10 top global mining companies
Numerous on-site energy efficiency diagnostics of industrial manufacturing sites (e.g., steel, cement, chemicals and pharma, dairy)

Selected roles as senior advisor to large sustainability strategies:
Sustainability Strategy for Kazakhstan
Energy Strategy for Singapore


MSc in Engineering Physics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (2003)

Russian Language and Culture, State University of St Petersburg (2001)

L3 qualifications in Resource Productive Operations at McKinsey & Company


Boulder, CO



Authored Works

COP26 Made Clear That the World Is Ready for Green Hydrogen

After the recent COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, COP26 President Alok Sharma said that “we have kept 1.5°C within reach, but its pulse is weak.” The progress of green hydrogen is one of the developments keeping that pulse alive. Green hydrogen is an innovation that is essential for decarbonization of…


Technology Disruption in the Global Steel Industry

A recent announcement by Europe’s largest iron ore producer, LKAB, may seem like a technical detail only relevant for metallurgists and steel nerds. However, the company’s plan to invest up to 400 billion kronor (US$46 billion) over the next 15–20 years to expand into an emissions-free iron process being piloted…


There Is No Business as Usual: Decarbonizing Industry Must Start Now

We know that a higher-than-1.5°C pathway will result in severe natural disasters, including flooding, rising sea levels, hurricanes, drought, and lethal temperature exposures. The increasing regularity of these extreme climate events will create drastic stresses on food and water supply, with ripple effects including hunger, market disruption, increased migration, and…