Antonio Garcia Ordinana works as Engineer in the Marine Business Support department inside the R&D organisation in HEMPEL A/S

Risø has a high degree of freedom which forces you to set your own goals

Antonio Garcia Ordinana studied 4 years of the 5-year Chemical Engineering master's degree at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) in Valencia (Spain) before coming to Denmark. He found DTU Energy the perfect spot to merge catalytic chemical kinetics with Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.

“I enrolled in a T.I.M.E. (Top Industrial Managers of Europe) double degree program and my only 2 options to carry out studies in English where the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) or Lund University”, says Antonio Garcia Ordinana. He found a broader offer at DTU in M.Sc. than Lund and also Copenhagen looked more attractive as the city to live for the next 2 years, so he enrolled in the M.Sc. in Advanced and Applied Chemistry as the master in Chemical Engineering was very similar to his previous 4 years of studies.

“I wanted this master to broaden my knowledge as it had more focus in basic-fundamental chemistry”, says Antonio, who ended up doing his master thesis at DTU Energy at Risø Campus, because he had really enjoyed the two course regarding Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) that were taught by Risø-personnel.

“I found DTU Energy the perfect spot to try to merge catalytic chemical kinetics with SOFC.”

Fewer students, more learning

Antonio found the study environment at Risø Campus slightly different from the study-environment; he came from, with most of the differences in favor of Risø Campus.

“In my opinion, and compared to other departments at DTU, there is a more business-oriented working atmosphere at DTU Energy at Risø than at DTU-Lyngby. Therefore, I think is a very good place to develop the master thesis whether you want to orient your future career towards the public (university) or private sector”, says Antonio, who will very much recommend others to study at Risø Campus.

“In my opinion, it has its advantages to have this high degree of freedom as you must push your own goals and structure yourself in order to fulfill the requirements of your master thesis.”

However, studying at Risø also had its drawbacks as there were less fellow students to connect with, also the business-oriented working atmosphere makes it somewhat tougher at some times to be a student.

“I find it important to remark that master students are still students and therefore they always require support and collaboration of the staff, and this is sometimes difficult to achieve at Risø Campus as it is a more professional network that maybe in some other departments at DTU Lyngby Campus.”

High degree of freedom

Antonio encourages future students to be careful in selecting the topic, area and supervisor of the master thesis and to contact a prospective supervisor of DTU Energy in advance to set up a series of meetings where the project plan, description, etc. are clearly explained and understood by both sides.

“This is in a more general DTU perspective rather than Risø-oriented, but it also goes for Risø. Also I missed more contact with my fellow students (Ph.D.)”

All said and done, the pros far outweighed the cons, and Antonio loved studying at DTU Energy at Risø Campus. Besides all the interesting and useful scientific content related to SOFC, he found the self-learning on scientifically and engineering working methodology highly useful.

“You have a high degree of freedom which enforces you to set your own goals and organize your workload yourself. I liked that.”

Antonio finished his master thesis on "Improved methodologies for studies of sulfur poisoning of steam reforming of Ni-YSZ SOFC Anodes. Packed bed reactor and fuel cell testing" in October 2012 and continued straight afterwards to a job as Engineer in the Marine Business Support department inside the R&D organisation in HEMPEL A/S (Global Coating Supplier).

Knowledge can be used for everything

In his new job he has a very broad area of responsibilities, among those technical Support to Technical Service and Sales departments, trouble-shooting of technical inquiries related to Hempel's Marine assortment, product performance evaluation and development, management and up-to-date technical documentation and on-site technical support during dry-docking for different projects.

All this applied to the different types of coatings used in the Marine industry, involving underwater hull coating as self-polishing antifouling and fouling release coatings, cargo hold coatings, water ballast tanks, fresh water tanks, etc.

The most important lessons from studying at Risø Campus

You must drive and motivate yourself to achieve your goals. Be independent, self-confident, organize and with your own initiatives-ideas.

Get well informed prior to select your thesis, elaborate a good project plan, objectives and time-frames, and evaluate all the variables involved before making the final decision.

 

The field Antonio is working in now it is completely different and involves other responsibilities far away from his studies at Risø Campus, however he is more than capable to do the job due to his chemical engineering and chemistry background and all the non-scientifically knowledge he gained at Risø Campus.

Risø was a very good start

“In my opinion, the non-scientifically knowledge like the ability to organise your own workload is the one that helped me the most in my current career. I must include another important aspects learnt as necessity of teamwork, cross-communication within colleagues and supervisors, presentations skills, test plan, scientific and non-scientific writing skills, etc. All this done in a professional-oriented language, where you have to be able to translate ideas and feedback from a scientific-technical point of view to a commercially-oriented one. In my opinion, all these aspects are present in the entire DTU organisation, however maybe even reinforced when carrying out the master thesis project at Risø Campus.”

These skills were learned at put to good use in his new work-environment, where everybody is very busy and the professional and good use of time is highly important.

“All the non-scientifically aspects learnt along my stayed at DTU Energy have been very useful to start my professional career in the private sector”, says Antonio.

His ambition is to continue his work as an engineer with a technical consultant role in the R&D organisation and within the Marine industry, hopefully aspirating to a managerial position shortly.