Alexandra Ferreira, Offshore junior engineer, EDP Renewables, Master’s in Energy Technologies
Alexandra Ferreira, Offshore junior engineer, EDP Renewables
Name of Programme:
Master’s in Energy Technologies
KIT: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
MSc graduate Alexandra Ferreira energetically shares her fond memories of InnoEnergy Master’s School. The time spent here was full of intellectual and personal growth, and the intangible skills she gained in the programme are already helping her career with a leading global renewable energy company.
Why did you choose the MSc ENTECH programme?
I was doing an integrated master programme (5 year bachelor plus master in Biological Engineering) at IST and in my last year of the bachelor, I wasn’t happy with the master programme I was about to start. Then random chance introduced me to the students of ENTECH 2013, who were presenting their masters at my university. I was really interested when I heard the concepts behind these programmes and the possibility of doing the master totally abroad. The decision was clear – I only applied to InnoEnergy Master’s School.
Do you have any particular passion in the sustainable energy field?
I’ve always been interested in learning how to make current processes more efficient; being able to use available resources in the most efficient way in order to avoid waste, reduce costs and guarantee we keep the world as it is for future generations. Back in 2014, I was applying this to bioprocesses – but the same applies to energy. ENTECH allowed me to connect my passion about bioprocesses to energy, as there are already bioprocesses in commercialisation to produce energy in a sustainable way – and more under development. I was actually able to write my thesis about a novel process of bioenergy production from sewage sludge (avoiding landfill and water/soil pollution).
What is your best memory from your time at InnoEnergy Master’s School?
Career-wise: Kick-off 2015. I had no professional experience during my bachelor and this always concerned me – as I wanted to complement my academic background with industrial experience. During the event, I had the opportunity to connect with a process engineer at Outotec, which led to me doing my thesis in the field I wanted and with this well-known company specialising in this area. A perfect example of the valuable interactions we students get with industry partners!
Personally: When I close my eyes, tons of memories come to my mind: from 8am lectures at KIT, where we didn’t see the sun for two months (I am from Portugal!), to my dorm in the Grenoble mountain, to watching snow in Schmidt during the Open Space studio, to travelling to Zurich during a weekend with ENTECH friends, to participating as a catalyst in the Kick-off 2015 and meeting dozens of people, to spending Christmas at home with now one of my best friends, Rani (from Indonesia)… I could just keep writing and writing!
How did your programme help to prepare you for what you’re doing today?
At EDP I work on projects that seek to develop renewable energy while avoiding the use of resources such as oil and coal. The programme gave me knowledge not only on the technical specifics of wind energy, hydropower and bioenergy, but also knowledge on the renewable energy market. I learned profitability measurements, as all projects are associated with a certain investment, cost, debt, revenue. You can’t make any progress in technology without the solid business backing to make it economically feasible. On top of this knowledge, the intangibles – such as the ability to adapt quickly to change, the international experience and the extensive InnoEnergy network, which is so important. The programmes are also designed to encourage thinking “outside the box” using hands-on experience. These things would not have been possible in a conventional master programme. I’m really happy I did this!