io empowering the next generation to solve the energy trilemma, an intern’s perspective
Having completed three of four years of a Chemical Engineering MEng at the University of Manchester, I decided to spend a year in industry to put my studies into practice and gain first-hand insights in the energy industry to begin determining a career path. My name is Nikhil Mistry, I’ve spent six months with io and would like to share my experience, from an intern’s perspective, with a unique development consultancy.
As an individual with no prior professional experience, the transition from coursework at university to performing paid technical work for clients was especially daunting, however the friendly faces of my new io colleagues supported me throughout. The io team has always made time to teach and explain things to me, hence I have felt very confident taking responsibility for work packages, technical reports and presenting the results to clients.
One of the most interesting types of work has been within the carbon capture and storage (CCS) area. I have gained significant technical experience modelling pipelines to transport dense phase CO2; analysing the various capture technologies; and more recently, exploring abstract transport methods via railcars. Such projects are at the forefront of decarbonising the energy industry. Working in the CCS space has improved my understanding of fluid characteristics, building upon the thermodynamic fundamentals taught at university, while process modelling using Pipesim® software has enabled me to further appreciate the complexities of flow assurance from both operational and safety perspectives.
Establishing technical and commercial feasibility is fundamental at io, but maximising value to the client within the constraints is critical. Systems modelling using Modelica has enabled me to take economics, costs and environmental implications into account to help inform the decisions leading to optimised developments. Balancing technical feasibility with stakeholder needs to produce quality solutions has involved significant trade off analysis, a key aspect of all io led studies.
io has pioneered the use of Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), underpinned by the Decision Quality (DQ) framework, to ensure the optimised solution can be made and is aligned with the client’s value drivers. I had the opportunity to join concept identification workshops, to demonstrate the importance of these frameworks, to retain and optimise project value. These skills proved vital for a technical decision note I produced regarding an essential services generator that remained within the clients net zero ethos. Here I was able to perform a technical assessment of the available technology types and utilise a ranking system that took the client’s key value drivers into account; whilst ensuring that the value objectives were met to guarantee the technical feasibility of the chosen technology type.
The social side of io is as exciting as the mix of energy projects; with weekly lunchtime runs and regular toolbox talk socials to take advantage of the great food and drink scene London has to offer. In January io held its first ‘Sprinovate’ – an opportunity for the company to brainstorm novel ideas to accelerate the energy sector.
Throughout my first six months at io I have had great fun working with everyone on exciting energy projects across the globe and can’t wait to see where the rest of my time with io takes me.