Energy Applications Techniques Engineer
Qualified as a mechanical engineer in Venezuela, then spent a year majoring in internal combustion engine cycles at the IFP School.
Based in Rueil-Malmaison
When I qualified in Venezuela in 2002, I wanted to come to France and study at the IFP School because their curricula tied in with my mechanical-engineering course.
I finished my course there and got a job working in industrial development with AVL LIST GMBH in Austria. By 2005, I felt I was ready to move to a research center. I obviously thought of IFP Energies nouvelles. They hired me on a permanent contract to work on energy applications techniques in October that year.
My job has evolved a lot since IFP Energies nouvelles hired me. I have worked as a research engineer in three fields: I started out in calibration, then moved to technological applications involving engine prototypes, and now I am working on combustion analysis.
Basically, what I am doing now is defining combustion-experiment programs to steer the research project to its goals. This phase leads to result after-treatment then technical analysis.
I don't really have “normal” days. But, by and large, I spend half my time gathering technical intelligence and researching literature to come up with new research themes and feed projects underway. I spend the other half of my time running tests on engine benches to be able to move fast as soon as the results are out.
I am working on these duties as part of a team comprising a project manager, a test technician and a research engineer. The project manager's experience and input help me with the analysis phase. The technician's field experience is vital to the quality of results.
It faces me with new questions all the time. And it faces me with the hot issues today (saving energy and curbing CO2 emissions, for instance). So there's a lot of variety. And it's very rewarding because a large number of our projects ends up in applications working on automobiles.
You obviously have to be self-reliant and very persevering. The first results are just the first step in a long process. You also have to be meticulous if you want to establish methods that will lead to useful results. Time-management skills also help if you have to alternate research and lab-analysis work.
I'm happy doing fundamental research at the Energy Applications Techniques Division and hope to stay here for the time being. But I am just starting out, and there is so much to learn and discover!