International Women in Engineering Day: Energy and engineering heroes

Jun 21, 2021 | 2021, Blog

Lontra’s Principal Development Engineer has always sought out innovation within engineering. Particularly energy and its production from different technologies. Lucy’s fascination with energy and engineering comes back to that fundamental question of how things really work and when they work, how can we make them more efficient.

“As a child I was fascinated by renewable energy and how to use energy well. I was also intrigued by how things worked, my grandfather and I made a tiny wind turbine out of odds and ends in his workshop. That was the start of it.”

“The great thing about R+D is that you touch most branches of engineering which makes the work really varied. We take on lots of data on our rigs and it’s always telling a story. I like to tease out the meaning which is often quite hidden and find it really satisfying.”

Testing and development have always been the core of Lucy’s roles:

“I started out as a graduate engineer working in the aerodynamic test labs of Alstom (now GE) who make steam turbines. I went from assisting on a key rig to being lead engineer looking after performance testing of the next generation of steam turbine blades. This was also where I started coding as we moved to a more current data acquisition kit.

“From there I branched out into blade vibration testing, taking blade vibration signatures of new turbines in different factories across Europe. Next stop was managing the labs- both mechanical and aero testing. Then a move to wave energy, an area I really enjoyed, and I got to be part of the team guiding Alstoms investment in wave energy. Later I did some work with the tidal team too, looking at how to capture the story in the data streaming from our prototype unit.”

At Lontra, Lucy is currently working on our LP2 blower, establishing its performance and behaviour under different conditions through data acquisition and testing.

“We are taking vibration measurement on our new machines so we can check everything is in spec, whilst learning how similar the machines are. This will also be the starting point to ensuring machine health in the future so we as well as our customers can check this information.  It’s exciting that our first machines have now been shipped to the USA, I have been working with the local guys there to get the machines up and running.”

“We’re exploring how to improve the diagnostic information for the customer, including how to make the units easy to commission, how to recognise problems when the machine is remote and identifying the root cause.”

When speaking about her engineering hero Lucy said:

“My engineering hero is Wilfred Campbell who with no electronic equipment was able to develop an understanding of blade vibration.”

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