From childhood inspiration to scaling net-zero globally
I have been surrounded by engineers all my life. Growing up in India, my dad would tell me stories about his job and take me to see the different projects he was working on. Seeing these schools and hospitals being built, knowing how much work went into them, and understanding what was happening on-site gave me a fascination for developing projects that can make a tangible difference.
As Sector Lead, I am responsible for winning new business and delivering net-zero projects in the power generation and industrial sectors. I work on projects all over the world, including the US, Australia, UK, Canada, and New Zealand. This global perspective gives me an insight into how technologies are developed in different countries. It also helps me to understand any barriers preventing these technologies from being commercialised so they can be scaled up to make a difference.
Overcoming barriers, solving problems
One of the main barriers to a first-of-a-kind project being commercialised is funding. Different countries have different ways of funding – you can go private or public, and we guide our clients through both processes. Another barrier is technical challenges as we often venture into the unknown. We go beyond our scope to solve problems and make things happen.
Making carbon capture a reality
I have been working on NET Power and the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle with sustainable infrastructure company, 8 Rivers, in La Porte, Texas, since 2013. It’s a world-first technology that burns fossil fuels and uses supercritical CO2 to produce low-cost electricity without producing air emissions. Over the years, we have guided 8 Rivers through various technical and commercial challenges, supporting them on engineering design, value engineering, risk management, and cost management to ensure the system and design are cost-effective solutions that could be commercialised on a global scale. Through various rounds of testing in 2021, NET Power’s 50 MWth test facility was able to use its sCO2 cycle to synchronise with the grid and export power onto the grid for the first time in history, developing a concept that will be a key player in the market in the next 5-10 years.
The power of engineering
The success of this project came down to three factors – the first was our ability to get the right funding to support the project from start to finish. The second was going above and beyond in helping the supply chain in developing designs for CO2 pumps, CO2 compressors, and heat exchangers. And the third factor was that the geography of the project didn’t constrain us. Instead, we brought the right expertise in at the right time, from wherever they were in the world.
I have wanted to make a difference in engineering ever since I was a child. Now, I can say I helped to develop a carbon capture system that can change the way we produce power. It’s incredible to think that one project back in 2013 has turned into multiple projects for WSP. I want to continue to grow our net-zero portfolio, expand our current offering, develop more innovative projects, and use our learnings to help clients on their journey to commercialisation of first-of-a-kind technologies.