Alumni portrait - Ingrid Sørum Melaaen - NTNU Alumni
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Ingrid Sørum Melaaen
Ingrid Sørum Melaaen
Position: Director CLIMIT at Gassnova SF
Education: Ph.D LNG process technology, Institute of Refrigeration Engineering
Working towards a future where we can still go skiing
After the Government decided this autumn to support the capture, storage and transport of CO2, Ingrid Sørum Melaaen's working day has become even busier. But she is motivated by working with technology that will make it possible for her grandchildren go skiing in the future.
Ingrid Sørum Melaaen currently works as director of CLIMIT, which is part of Gassnova SF. CLIMIT is a national program for research, development, piloting and testing of technologies for capture and storage of CO2 (CCS). The goal is to contribute to faster realization of climate technology.
Before she talks more about her current job, she looks back in history. To 1981, when she began studying chemistry, and to 1986 - when she got her first job just after she finished her studies.
- My first job was with what is today called SINTEF Energy. Briefly explained, I worked with technology for liquefying natural gas to LNG (Liquefied natural gas). This makes it possible to transport natural gas on ships.
Had three children before she defended her PhD
When she defended her dissertation about LNG technology in 1994, she had a six-month-old baby, and two children aged two and four.
- I had three children while I was working on my PhD, and I think it’s important to be able to show that it is possible to combine career and working with a PhD with having children. I started on my PhD in 1989, and even though I took maternity leave in between, it did not take that long either.
Fascinating development in the field of energy
After her PhD, she was ready to move south, and in 1994 the family moved to Porsgrunn. For thirteen years she worked in various professional and management positions in the petrochemical company Borealis, followed by ten years in the energy group Skagerak Energi. She joined Gassnova in 2017.
- What has been the most important qualifications you gained from the studies at NTNU?
- It is the broad knowledge in technology, which has been useful in all the jobs I have had. The work with the PhD gave me experience in how to carry out a long-term project assignment; how to start with a problem that through extensive studies and examinations eventually forms a dissertation.
Sørum Melaaen finds it fascinating to see how the development has been in the energy field. Only seven or eight years ago, they removed charging points for electric cars in Porsgrunn because no one used them. At the beginning of 2020 however 260,693 electric cars were registered in Norway, according to Statistics Norway.
Working on the “Longship” project
- What are the most interesting challenges you are working on right now?- After the Longship project was agreed upon in the state budget this autumn, the follow-up of this project will be the most important task for Gassnova in the future, says Sørum Melaaen.
The Longshop project is in other words the Government having decided to support the construction of facilities for capture, transport and storage of CO2.
CLIMIT supports projects that among other things look at the kind of infrastructure different companies need in order to capture CO2. They also process applications from companies that want support for the development of new technology.
Contributing to achieving climate goals
The world is facing a major task in achieving the goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Norway is committed to become a low-emission society by 2050. Gassnova experiences that more and more people, both in Norway and internationally, see the capture and storage of CO2, known as CCS, as necessary to achieve the climate goals.
Sørum Melaaen thinks it is exciting to follow the development and not least working with it. She is excited about what business model for handling CO2 will be implemented; perhaps paying for emissions in the same way as one pays for waste will be a requirement?
- What motivates you in your work?
- Being able to work with an issue that is particularly important for the society. I have also become a grandmother and have five grandchildren, which adds an extra dimension. It is very motivating to be able to work to ensure that the energy use is in such a way that those who come after us also will be able to go skiing in the future.