"The best thing about working here is the people and their passion for what we do."
My master’s degree was focused on optimising internal combustion engines, and I spent the next decade doing that at various locations in both hemispheres for my previous employers. Jetting around the world, tuning engines and gearboxes to reduce the carbon footprint of cars was fun, but it also made me realise that my own carbon footprint was getting quite a lot bigger than I can ever be comfortable with. ZeroAvia was one of the companies that had been on my radar because of the technologies involved, and I took the Dornier test platform as a sign that I should take the plunge. Working on the power generation system controls gives me a new challenge each day, I still do powertrain optimisation, but for a solution that has never been done before, and on a more personal level, I get to work on things here that in a traditional company would be split across multiple departments.
Having worked around the world, I thought I couldn’t be surprised with whatever ZeroAvia had to offer, but I was, and rather pleasantly so. Everyone is passionate about what they work on, and quite a few are far and away the foremost experts in their areas. And yet, everyone wants everyone around them to succeed as well. The people care about their work and the work of others, and it really shows in our day-to-day.
On a broad note, I help develop the controls for the power generation system, mainly focused on how the fuel cells work, how they should be operated, how they should react to user and external demands. Sure, commercial fuel cell power generation solutions exist for homes or low transient applications, but nothing off the shelf today is ready for aerospace applications. That is where my team comes in: we try to move from the status quo to a place where we can certify a powertrain for use in aviation. We try to get what could be described as not-a-very-simple system working as optimally as possible, as quickly as possible. Can something be done? Can it be done better? Safer? First principles thinking is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but it is what we do.
The work is fast-paced and leaves a lot of room for steep learning curves. We all pitch in and get our hands dirty when someone needs help, this means we may be working on things far outside our comfort zones. There are always things to do, new things, things that no one else has even attempted before, the scope for professional growth is limitless in an environment like we have here.
The best thing about working here is the people and their passion for what we do.
Watching the test flights of the Dornier, hands down.