A Master thesis at Fortum Heat

"What do you know that a student in mechanical engineering doesn’t know?” Fortum Värme offered an amazing summer job, we were only three candidates left and this was the first question on my final interview (questioner obviously a mechanical engineer).

Studying chemical engineering a common perception was that my knowledge was limited to molecules. I don’t remember my answer but it was convincing enough to get me the job as an analyst at the division of district heating distribution optimization. The summer job was extended and became a part time job during my last year as a student at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

The time for thesis work was approaching and I had a couple of ideas to what I wanted to do. My manager at the time suggested an appropriate supervisor who he knew always had many interesting projects imminent. A phone call and a coffee later, I had everything I could wish for, a supervisor which seemed (later proved) to be very engaged and a thesis topic which I found fascinating.

The topic was torrefaction, a not yet commercial thermal pre treatment technique for biomass, and my assignment was to evaluate the opportunities with torrefied fuels in the combined heat and power plants at Värtaverket. A state of the art technique implicates both creative problem-solving as well as a high interest among Fortum employees. My work included gathering and compiling information from experts in nearby areas and practical experiments utilizing torrefied fuels at for Fortum specific condition to assess the application.

Today, I’m doing a PhD in energy system analysis within Program Energisystem, an initiative by the Swedish Energy Agency. To fearless establish contact with different partners is a valuable competence that I improved during my thesis work which is useful on daily basis.

3/18/2011