ALSTOM (a French engineering company)
I improve the combustion of biomass and coal in the e.on power stations in France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain….
As a combustion engineer it is my responsibility to generate electricity from coal & biomass more efficiently.
Everybody needs electricity… Think of a world without electricity??
Working as a combustion engineer, I help to improve the performance of coal-fired electricity (the power stations have big boilers and the steam that cannot be condensed is released from the big egg-cup like structures that have steam coming out of them making clouds!).
A key part of the process is the combustion of coal (or biomass) to make huge flames that emit radiation to heat steam to very high temperatures and pressures, that drive a steam turbine. The combustion process is very complicated as it occurs in milliseconds at very high temperatures (>1200 deg C). The more efficient the combustion process is, the less coal is required to generate the same amount of electricity.
So everytime you switch on a light, the carbon footprint of that electricity is less if the combustion process is more efficient!
My Typical Day
One day I am flying on a plane to a meeting in Paris, the next I am making calculations on my laptop, or conducting tests at the power station.
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What I'd do with the money
I would like to produce an ‘Electricity Awareness Film’ that could be presented by teachers in schools, that would also include other visual/physical aids, and a problem-solving quiz. This would assist in ‘engineering our future’ and help to make children more aware of the consequences of their electricity usage.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, Creative, Inspired.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to ”save the world” and reduce all the pollution and deforestation of the rainforests
Were you ever in trouble at school?
On one occasion (I was walking with a dictionary on my head and the Supply teacher gave me a detention!!)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Climbed to the top of a Volcanoe in Argentina (South America), over snow, ice, giant lava rocks…