I have worked for a couple of years in the oil & gas industry before coming back to university to do research.
PhD student (or researcher) at the University of Leeds
My research is paid for by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
I’m researching sustainable hydrogen production, because we use 50 million tonnes of hydrogen per year for lots of different things like refining crude oil, margarine and fertilizers.
I am a chemical engineer, and at the moment I am completing my PhD in Bioenergy. I am looking at the types of energy and chemical products which can be made from biological sources (such as wood, waste, and crops).
Bioenergy is a great source of energy as it can provide renewable electricity, but also heat and chemical products too. For instance, we can take waste from sewage plants and turn it into methane to power our buses. Bioenergy will be more and more important as we learn to rely less on fossil fuels.
I love working in the energy sector, because energy is so vital to our daily lives. It is affected by not only technical things but all sorts of social, political and financial factors too. That’s what makes it tricky to get right, but also what makes it really interesting to learn about.
My Typical Day
Doing labs, solving problems, and communicating ideas in lots of different ways.
I am very lucky – I am doing research in a university so I basically get paid to learn! This means my days can vary a lot. Sometimes I will sit at my desk and work through a problem, or spend my time writing reports. Other times I will be meeting other researchers to get help and ideas, or presenting what I have found to different audiences– communication is so important for sharing ideas, or all this research would be for nothing! Soon, I will be in laboratories too, running tests on reactors to help us understand the chemical reactions which are occurring.
What I'd do with the money
Develop a great outreach activity for me and colleagues to teach people about climate change.
I’d work with my colleagues to develop activities to teach local school students about the environment, climate change and why what we do is so important. We might spend it on materials to make resources, and all the things it takes to run an event, like transport, prizes and a venue.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly, adventurous, engineer
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Being responsible for a small project within only a few months of graduating – scary but exciting!
What did you want to be after you left school?
A writer, a ballerina, an archaeologist, a pharmacist….
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No I was a goody-two-shoes. I was the kid who cried when the whole class got told off!
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Hmm, perhaps I would be a teacher. I love working with people and helping them to understand new things.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love Ben Howard – it brings back some great memories of travelling.
What's your favourite food?
Roast dinner, always!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
White water rafting in New Zealand.
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a dinosaur with no eyes? Do-you-think-he-saurus.