Interview with Sangram Savant: "It has to be practical"
Interview with the Energy Engineering and Management Alumnus Sangram Savant, who is currently doing his doctoral research at the Laboratory of Renewable Energy Science & Engineering (LRESE) of the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).
The interview was taken by the HECTOR School Team in March 2019.
Hello Sangram. Thank you very much for spending some time on the interview. Can we start by you, telling something about you?
- I grew up in the western part of India. From the beginning, I liked working with my hands, it runs in my family. My parents, my grandfather – everyone is an engineer. Therefore, it was clear to me that I also will be an engineer. I did my Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and started working at a wind turbine manufacturer called Suzlon Energy Ltd. It was kind of a revelation when I had seen the Al Gore movie „An Inconvenient Truth“ about global warming. From this moment, I knew I wanted to work in this field and contribute to find solutions for clean energy.
Why did you decide to do a Master at HECTOR School?
- I already knew about the KIT and its good reputation and really appreciated the structure of the offered Master program Energy Engineering and Management offered by the Hector School. It fit perfect to pursue my preferred career. Other universities and programs I compared were also speaking about the combination of technology and management. However, at HECTOR School they weren´t only speaking about the possible technologies, they had the experts and the cases in which we really gained practical experience. In the lectures, we got to know the current state of technology but also the outlook into future in both aspects: technology wise and economically.
What did you like most at HECTOR School?
- I liked the possibility of not just learning theoretical, but combining studying with working. That is what really counts. It has to be practical. That´s also why it was so important to me to have the management part involved in my study. I learned about how the business is working, finance and a lot more interdisciplinary parts. All the lecturers were experts, so I got a deep and not just a broad understanding of everything that influences the energy industry.
Was there something you experienced at HECTOR School that you would say influenced your further life?
- Definitely, Prof Ehrenberg’s lectures about batteries and fuel cells. He introduced me to the electrochemical energy storage and the specific demand of materials. That´s still what I am working on. I do my Ph.D. in "Particulate/Colloidal photocatalytic and photo-electrochemical reactors for solar water splitting". Basically using the sunlight to split water directly into hydrogen and oxygen using suspended particles. I focus on both, the modeling and experimental investigation of the reactors and come up with design & guidelines of such reactors. I really believe in hydrogen as a clean and practical future energy source. The energy transition issue with the perspective of a low carbon energy source has ignited discussion about hydrogen technology as the energy vector that could replace the present energy ecosystem, when or even before it would be exhausted. Hydrogen, being an energy dense fuel and having all the required infrastructure in place, is bound to be a key player. And as we stand in 2019, Hydrogen is no longer the future, it is the present.
- Also, the international and interdisciplinary of the other students influenced me. The studying, living and partying with them was amazing. I am still in touch to pretty much all of them – in private but also through HECTOR School. This year I was the host of an Alumni Meeting. We had a tour through the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, dinner together and went to the Geneva International Motor show the day after. It is great to be part of such a strong network.
Some last words you want to say in the interview?
- It was a rewarding experience studying at HECTOR School. I also lived at the campus, right in the center of Karlsruhe and very close to the lecture rooms. The days were long and intense, but I wouldn´t have changed it.