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One woman’s engineering journey into the cleantech revolution

Sofia Korniliou, one woman's journey to cleantech revolution

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Many pursuing a career in engineering find themselves motivated by a desire to tackle real-world challenges. Sofia Korniliou, Instrumentation Engineer at Bramble Energy, is no exception. Driven by a passion for making a positive impact on the environment, Sofia shares her journey into the cleantech revolution.

Sofia is an Instrumentation Engineer and is currently part of Bramble Energy‘s Test Team.

Originally from Greece – where she studied Chemical Engineering – her expertise extends to control processes, thermometry, and heat transfer. Alongside a PhD in two-phase flow in microchannels, Sofia’s commitment to continuous learning led her to complete a postdoctoral research position in the same field.

Her experience extends beyond academia, having gained valuable insights into non-contact thermometry solutions for harsh environments and the development of defect detection methods for PEM fuel cell membranes during her time at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Inspired by her work in the fuel cell industry, Sofia sought to make a tangible impact on the environment and society by leveraging her expertise in innovative technologies and heat transfer.

As a woman in tech, I’m always open to sharing my career experiences and insights, not only to showcase that there’s more to my role than meets the eye, but also to inspire more women to embark on their own careers in technology and engineering.

For me, my journey started with a genuine fascination in science; an academic curiosity and a very creative mindset – all from an early age. I also had a real interest in what can be done to address real-world challenges, such as climate change.

Engineering, I found, provides the perfect platform to apply all these interests in a practical and impactful way. In fact, contrary to stereotypes, as well as being a very creative field, often involving designing, building and bringing imaginative ideas to life, engineering also offers a pathway for people like me, who are passionate about creating a more sustainable and resilient future. I also found pursuing a career in a predominantly male-dominated field  empowered me to challenge conventions and stereotypes.

Where it all started

Originally from Greece, my academic journey started in chemical engineering, specialising in control processes, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. Exploring the diverse applications of chemical engineering, spanning biotechnology, energy, and the environment, I found both captivating and challenging.

Following a Ph.D. in two-phase flow heat transfer in microchannels, I furthered my knowledge through a postdoctoral research position in the same field. Beyond academia, I investigated non-contact thermometry solutions for harsh environments and developed defect detection methods for PEM fuel cell membranes at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL), one of the world’s oldest metrology institutes.

While immersed in thermal engineering research, I felt a calling to the cleantech industry. Motivated to translate my engineering expertise into something that could help the environment and society, I found myself drawn to cleantech; I wanted to directly contribute to innovative technologies that could drive a cleantech revolution. And this is how I found myself where I am now, at a company whose vision is to accelerate global decarbonisation and make clean energy technology accessible.

Where I am now

Currently, I’m working as part of Bramble Energy’s Test Team as an instrumentation engineer. It involves building instrumentation and software controls, ensuring reliable performance for hydrogen production and fuel cell testing systems, developing cost-effective solutions, and making meaningful contributions to various research and development projects.

On a daily basis, I develop innovative solutions, engage in problem-solving, and collaborate with experienced individuals. It’s a very rewarding, challenging and exciting role that requires dedication, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to making a positive impact.

Advice for aspiring engineers

For any readers keen to follow in my footsteps, and to get a starting-success in engineering, to:

  • Never stop pursuing knowledge and experience.
  • Focus on subjects that ignite your passion.
  • Ensure you keep up to date with what’s going on in your specialised, as well as the industry as a whole.
  • If you’re keen to grow professionally, don’t shy away from leadership roles; they’ll not only help you develop sound judgement and decision-making capabilities, but will open doors to further opportunities in the future.
  • Embrace your achievements and learn from mistakes.
  • Remember that each of us has a unique perspective – whether it’s being a woman in engineering, an expat in the UK or something else – and that unique perspective is your strength.
  • Surround yourself with mentors and peers who uplift and guide you.
  • Shape the transformative impact you’ll have on our world as you navigate your path.
  • Share your journey with others – you never know what spark you may ignite in someone.
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