Meet the Honorees: Naeem Farooqi, Global Tech Director for Zero Emission Mobility, Wood

by | Mar 9, 2022

The Environment+Energy Leader honoree program is an annual list that recognizes the environment and energy “doers” who break trail in creating new solutions, programs, platforms, best practices and products to help their companies – or other companies – achieve greater success in commercial and industrial environment and energy management. Meet the Honorees… is an ongoing series that will feature one E+E Honoree from 2022 each week. See the complete list of 2022 Honorees here.

Meet Naeem Farooqi, who leads Wood’s zero-emission mobility team that focuses on solving challenges and delivering roadmaps for fleet electrification. “As more countries set ambitious decarbonization targets, we are seeing an increase in interest  from fleet managers to review their options to transition their transport fleets to electric vehicles,” he says.

Naeem’s team concentrates on creating a center of excellence in support of zero-emission mobility, including fleet electrification, asset management, economic analysis, and charging and fueling infrastructure for both electric and hydrogen vehicle adoption.

Naeem has travelled the globe speaking about zero-emission mobility and our crucial role as global citizens in this transition to net-zero, advising governments, private fleet owners and financial institutions on our collective journey to reach net-zero. Recently at COP26, Naeem hosted multiple sessions during transport day, contributing and facilitating this very important conversation on the future of our industry.

Naeem in his personal time gives back through Humanity First ShelterBus, the first re-purposed bus to serve the homeless population of Toronto in Canada.

Can you tell us about the biggest industry challenges when it comes to transitioning to zero-emission vehicles? How do you hope to solve them?

Naeem Farooqi: There are five main challenges faced here: facility requirements, infrastructure needs, fleet specification, benchmarking emissions, and bridging personnel skills gaps. Inspired by these challenges, we’ve developed our own proprietary digital tool ZeroEmissionSim, a software that models various scenarios using municipal data and industry knowledge to allow fleet managers to transition with confidence.

With this tool, we perform triple bottom line analysis to map out transition capital. Our transport experts share recommendations and options on current and emerging technology, facility, fleet and infrastructure options.

What trends do you expect to see in the market in the next few years? What challenges will the industry face and what technologies or organizational changes will overcome them?

NF: The electric vehicle market will expand, complemented by President Biden’s infrastructure bill supporting the procurement and installation of 500,000 charging stations across America, allowing more people to easily transition to electric vehicles. Battery technology will become more efficient, less costly and longer lasting with the latest technical applications.

We will see hydrogen vehicles and technology continue to grow and become more readily available to consumers. This trend of hydrogen is emerging with long-haul trucking and heavy duty class vehicles; hydrogen has similar operating performance as traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

Electric vehicles will continue to advance in density and reduced price for batteries. The support or infrastructure behind this technology will lead to advancements in microgrid and energy storage systems. A return to base fleets will result in huge energy demands — looking at solutions for generation and storage of energy will be critical to the transition.

The industry is also planning a second and third life for EV batteries; batteries will be used for storage in commercial, residential, and industrial applications to provide backup energy at a lower cost and environmental impact. Once the asset is depleted, it will be recycled responsibly.

What tips would you share with organizations hoping to transition their fleets?

NF: Our main recommendation is to work in partnership with your zero-emission mobility partner to develop a roadmap based on scenarios and outcomes that meet the their specific needs. We can support benchmarking current emissions, work with current personnel on bridging the skills gap, and provide financial and operational analysis of updating fleets, facilities, and infrastructure.

Is there a passion in your life that has had an impact on you and your work?

NF: I like working with my community on youth engagement and professional development. I am currently working with a small group of two to three recent high school graduates to help them understand the transition to university and trade life.


Editor’s note: nominations are now open for this year’s E+E Honorees. Nominate a colleague — or yourself — for the 2022 E+E honoree program today.

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