Education: Ph.D, Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Bachelor of Science in physics, with an astrophysics option
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Steve Deiker is the kind of visionary thinker who sees the world differently, and he helped launch a company that does the same. The result? A groundbreaking discovery that provides a never-before-seen glimpse at hard data in the real world–and in real time.
“We’re currently conducting the largest survey of methane emissions, covering the entire Permian Basin. We’ve found that the vast majority of equipment is not leaking, but the small number of leaks are significant,” Deiker says. “Using our data to be able to pinpoint exactly where leaks occur allows operators to utilize their maintenance crews in a more efficient manner, increase product retention and reduce overall methane emissions.”
The technology: Deiker is co-founder of Kairos Aerospace, which uses patented processes and innovative technology to conducts aerial surveys and identify the largest methane leaks from oil and gas facilities.
“As methane leaks are strongly skewed–in that the majority of emissions result from a very small number of leaks–finding the largest leaks makes the most impact on product retention and environmental goals,” says Ken Branson, colleague and Kairos Aerospace director of product strategy.
“Approaching the methane emissions issue from this perspective is particularly innovative and groundbreaking, as the traditional method the industry uses is ground-based crews, which is far more time-consuming and expensive.”
Kairos’ technology helps operators significantly reduce methane while spending less on inspections, making it a cost-effective emission reduction strategy.
Career path: Deiker began his career as a post-doctorate fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 2014, he launched his first company, Jambooks Inc.
Before founding Kairos, Deiker was a research manager at the Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory, where he worked on a variety of NASA-funded and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded programs. His projects included cryogenic detector programs, solar physics experiments, and radiation modeling for spacecraft.
Team effort: Deiker launched Kairos with Brian Jones, the company’s COO. Jones previously worked with Deiker at Lockheed Martin as chief scientist on a number of classified and unclassified space projects as well as lead scientist for the Space Environmental Effects Lab.
They make a remarkable team, says Branson.
“Steve and Brian co-founded the company that is paving the way for cost-effective emission reductions using scientific and data-driven results,” he says. “As the topics of methane emissions and regulations dominate industry conferences, trade outlets and c-suite discussions, Steve and Brian have a solution ready to make an even more significant impact at a large scale.”
On innovation: For Deiker, being a good innovator requires being self-critical.
“Be brutal with yourself about your ideas,” he says. “People tend to fall in love with ideas, and most ideas wind up being bad in the end. Be your own worst critic, and you’ll wind up with a strong product."