Tessa Gordelier

Tessa Gordelier

What do you do?

The main thing I do is work on wave energy devices, designed to generate electricity from waves in the sea.  I work on the mooring systems which hold the devices to the seabed and I try to understand how we can make the systems stronger and/or monitor them in use.  I love the variety in my job; that I get to design systems at my computer and then I get to implement the designs in testing programmes in labs or in the sea.  I enjoy working with a variety of people to progress wave energy technology so that it can become a viable form of renewable energy generation.  This fulfils me as I am concerned about the climate emergency and it feels good to be doing something positive to help this global issue. 

What does a typical day at work look like?

A typical day will depend on what project I am working on.  I may spend time at my desk researching topics, or designing engineering systems using CAD, or planning test programmes. If it is a practical project I may conduct test work. Some test work will be in a laboratory but sometimes, if I am doing ocean trials, I will to go to sea on a boat and work on systems in the sea.  Throughout my PhD I did this a lot when looking at mooring systems for wave energy devices.  I have regular meetings with colleagues to discuss projects and also write reports on how work is progressing in different projects. Sometimes I write papers about my research that are published in international journals and I go to conferences to present on what I have found in my research.  I also give lectures to students studying Renewable Energy. 

How did you get to where you are?

I have always wanted to use engineering to improve the world around me and climate change is something that really concerns me.  Initially I worked in small scale renewable energy installations for a consultancy and then moved into energy management more generally, working to reduce the carbon footprint of a university.  When doing this I realised that whilst I found this fulfilling, I wanted to create new ideas (rather than just applying other people’s ideas) so I decided to go back to university to do a PhD and move research forward.  I love the sea and so a PhD in wave energy fitted really well.  Since doing a PhD I have stayed on in the Renewable Energy Research group conducting research on various things related to the sea. 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love running and cycling and also enjoy surfing when I can get to a beach or just swimming in the sea if there are no waves! I also enjoy music and food and sharing these two things with friends! I have two small children and I enjoy exploring the outdoors with them.  I hope that showing them the beauty of the world will give them a love of it and help them grow up wanting to protect it.