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Ken Somers


Brings a wealth of operational expertise to help clients in manufacturing industries decarbonize, increase yields, and achieve greater energy efficiency

Since joining McKinsey in 2004, Ken has helped clients across industries establish more efficient and productive manufacturing operations. He has deep expertise in increasing throughput and quality while also lowering energy demands and CO2 emissions.

Shortly after joining the firm, Ken began focusing on ways to reduce the carbon footprint of industrial assets and processes. He is one of McKinsey’s leaders partnering with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – a global, CEO-led community seeking to accelerate the transformation to a net zero, nature positive, and more equitable future.

Ken is helping to drive the Pathfinder Network, which shares technologies and platforms across industries to support better data measurement and transparency. He is also a member of the Long Duration Energy Storage Council where he focuses on thermal storage.

In his work with clients, Ken pursues opportunities to boost machine productivity, especially for companies that produce metals, paper, pharmaceuticals, food, chemicals, and energy. He and his team of experts apply diagnostics to find opportunities to make operations more energy efficient. They also lead comprehensive programs to capture these opportunities, often pursuing full digital transformations.

Ken has trained the energy efficiency expert groups of more than a dozen large industrial companies. He is developing innovative solutions for clients, such as the digital twin for advanced heat recovery (patent pending) that can boost CO2 performance for clients substantially.

Examples of his recent client work include the following:

  • developing energy efficiency programs and expert groups for several of the largest global steel companies and major European chemicals companies
  • assessing energy savings potential for leading paper, metals, food, and pharmaceuticals companies through quick diagnostics covering all of their global operations
  • supporting heavy industrial enterprises and consumer goods companies as they develop CO2 abatement strategies
  • applying advanced analytics to improve variable profit —including yield, throughput, and quality—for major power generation, refining, and mining companies
  • implementing digital manufacturing transformation programs for leading chemical, petrochemical, and basic materials companies.

Ken publishes frequently to share emerging insights on how manufacturing and industrial operations can be more green and sustainable. He holds several degrees in chemistry from KU Leuven.

Published work

Demand-based pricing stabilizes the electricity market of the future,” McKinsey & Company, February 2024

Waste not: Unlocking the potential of waste heat recovery,” McKinsey & Company, November 2023

Net zero or growth? How Belgium can have both, McKinsey & Company, June 2023

Decarbonizing the chemical industry,” McKinsey & Company, April 2023

Net-zero heat: Long-duration energy storage to accelerate energy system decarbonization, McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Outsprinting the energy crisis,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

Africa’s green manufacturing crossroads: Choices for a low-carbon industrial future,” McKinsey & Company, September 2021

Adopting a smart data mindset in a world of big data,” McKinsey & Company, May 2021

Net zero or bust: Beating the abatement cost curve for growth,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

Plugging in: What electrification can do for industry,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Laying the foundation for zero-carbon cement,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

The case for committing to greener telecom networks,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

Unlocking Industrial Resource Productivity: 5 core beliefs to increase profits through energy, material, and water efficiency, McKinsey & Company, February 2016


KU Leuven
PhD, theoretical chemistry
MS, chemistry
BS, chemistry
Teaching degree