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Elena is on a mission to find a more sustainable way of purifying water

Next up in our series of interviews with team members is R&D engineer Elena Gómez Gónzalez. Elena graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering back in Spain, in Madrid. Then she came to Copenhagen to do her Master’s degree in Nanoscience. Elena has been living in Denmark for about 3.5 years now, and has been with HPNow for more than three years.

She joined the company as a student assistant and also completed her thesis at HPNow. “I found the company thanks to a course in electrochemistry. The professor I had there knew Rasmus and Arnau [the co-founders of HPNow], who were looking for a student assistant. I was one of the interview candidates, and was lucky enough to get the job. And once I graduated, I started working full time.”

Every day is different

No day is the same at the HPNow office, Elena tells us. “I am part of the research team, so I spend most of my time in the lab, doing experiments to find the optimum way of running our system. But I also collaborate in the production department, which is good, because you get to know what you need to look for in your research to make improvements.”

Elena enjoys that interdisciplinary aspect of her work. “Sometimes research can be a bit frustrating when you don’t see the results. Being part of the production department as well makes it easier to see the results of your research. When you find something in your research that really works in practice, that’s very satisfying.”

Teamwork

During the day, everyone is focused on their work, but they’re also willing to help others if needed, Elena says. “Also, during the day we discuss different projects and issues that everyone is having.” Outside working hours, the team is also close-knit. “During lunch and coffee breaks, we talk about things not related to work. “Funny jokes, stories, things like that – it really helps to keep our spirits up.”

Elena also emphasizes that the team is very diverse. “We have people from all around the world. We all respect each other, and because we know each other we can make jokes. It’s a very safe environment, I would say.”

Living in Denmark

Outside of work, Elena says she likes living in Denmark a lot, she just misses a few things, like the mountains and the sunlight. “But everything else is pretty good, I’m having a good life here. I love dancing, especially salsa, two to three times a week. And I try to travel as much as possible – I always bring a book and my camera with me. I used to have biking as a hobby as well, but since I live here it’s more like a means of transportation than a hobby.”

The future of water

Finally, Elena shares her vision for the future of the water industry. “There are millions of people around the globe without access to clean water right now. So it’s a very important industry, and it will be more and more important in the future. More research needs to be done in this field, and that’s what HPNow is doing as well – trying to find a more sustainable way of purifying water.”

Doing this sustainably is very important, and HPNow contributes to making that a reality, Elena explains. “We’re already doing that now by producing hydrogen peroxide that decomposes itself into water and oxygen over time, without chemicals. And we’re also working on lowering energy consumption. That’s a bit more challenging, but the work is definitely being done.”

Taking a view to the nearer future, Elena shares an update on the development of more efficient electrochemical reactors. “That way we can produce high quantities of hydrogen peroxide, and we can approach different industries. That’s very exciting, I’m looking forward to working with different industries and clients.”

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