April 23, 2012 — Author and energy pioneer Robert A. Hefner III previewed his latest documentary film and spoke before approximately 125 University of Virginia faculty, students and friends Friday in the Darden School of Business' Abbott Auditorium.
Hefner is the author of "The Grand Energy Transition," a book focused on the past, present and future of energy development. In his book, and during the documentary preview, he discussed his vision of a movement toward gas-based energy sources like natural gas, as well as solar wind and hydrogen.
Hefner is the founder and owner of The GHK Companies, where he pioneered ultra-deep natural gas exploration, influencing the development of technology required to produce many of the world's deepest and highest-pressure natural gas wells. He was instrumental in the industry's efforts to deregulate natural gas prices in the 1970s and in the development of new domestic natural gas resources.
Hefner is a member of the International Council at the Belfer Center at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, a member of Singapore's International Advisory Panel on Energy and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Following the preview of his documentary, Hefner participated in a panel discussion with U.Va. Associate Vice President for Research Phillip Parrish, a materials science and engineering professor; and U.Va. chemistry professor T. Brent Gunnoe, director of the Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization. The panel was moderated by Cheryl Gomez, director of energy and utilities in U.Va.'s Department of Facilities Management.