Meet Chiara Poli Reghenzi, who finished her graduation project Power2Heat in February of 2023. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Of course, I’m 23 years old and originally from Milan, Italy. Currently I am pursuing my BSc in Technology, Liberal Arts and Sciences (ATLAS) at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. I am part of the university college of University of Twente, which follows the same liberal arts and sciences approach of other university colleges in the Netherlands but has a more technical focus. My specialization is in Business Development and Sustainable Innovation, although in my free time I enjoy learning about an array of different fields that include physics, mathematics, behavioural sciences, ancient history, art, and philosophy. 

“I’m passionate about finding solutions for complex, cross-border problems and driving innovation in sustainability and technology.” 

How did you end up doing your graduation project for Ventolines? “I was working on an assignment for Ventolines regarding power to heat as a part of my studies. We worked on this assignment with a group of students, and this is when I saw the opportunity for a power to heat research project on the website. I decided to see what the possibilities were, and the rest is history.” 

You just finished your research; can you tell us a bit more about it? “My study was centred around power to heat: an umbrella term for technologies that use (renewable) electricity to generate useful heat for industrial processes, think electric boilers, heat pumps, … The main goal of my research was identifying how Ventolines can help industries transition to sustainable energy by using this technology. I studied a lot of theory and interviewed several industrial companies, which helped me identify the drivers and barriers of adopting power to heat in their processes.” 

I found the topic very fascinating, more than I expected to. Before starting, I had never really explored the topic at depth. However, more than 35% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands are related to heat production, so it is an important issue to tackle. Overall, I found it a rather interesting challenge to work on, and I enjoyed the process.

Previous studies and reports on power to heat were conducted before the energy crisis, when the business case for power to heat was more difficult. The business model was not so feasible, and organisations were not so willing to implement this technology. Since then, the situation has really changed and currently it is much more attractive to use electronic boilers in industrial processes. Before the energy crisis, gas was viewed as a reliable and stable source of energy but that has changed. Many people that I spoke to realized that gas is not as reliable and stable as was previously thought, so they are more open to transitioning to power to heat.” 

“Everyone is very welcoming and friendly, I really felt like a part of the organisation. The only regret I have is that I was unable to participate in more social activities the company organizes, because I lived so far away from the office.” 

What was your experience doing your gradation project at Ventolines? “I really liked it and especially enjoyed coming to the office. I have always wanted to work in skyscraper, since the office is on the 25th floor of the World Trade Center in Almere I got to experience that. The view is amazing. The team was very welcoming and took the time to get me up to speed. Everyone is really an expert in their field and knows what they are talking about. We also had regular meetings with all interns and graduates, where we could share our insights and progress. All in all, there was a very professional yet friendly atmosphere.” 

“I’m very happy that I ended up doing my graduation assignment with a company, because it gave me an idea of how I can apply the knowledge I’m gaining through my studies. I was able to dive into the theoretical parts while also experiencing how theory translates to real life application. Additionally, it opened my eyes to career possibilities in the sustainability field.”  

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