“Innovation and entrepreneurship are key to a smooth and efficient energy transition”

23 June, 2022

We spoke with Ana María Azuela, project engineer at E4Efficiency. She manages the coordination and management for energy efficiency projects in regasification plants, in both the technical and economic side. Ana has a degree in Energy Engineering and a Master in Instrumentation and Process Control.

Ana Azuela

  • You work as a project engineer at a company dedicated to energy efficiency developments in the field of liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification plants. Tell us what e4efficiency is and what you do to contribute to decarbonisation.

E4efficiency is a start-up that was established in 2017 under Ingenia Business, the Enagás entrepreneurship programme. It carries out energy efficiency projects at regasification plants and focuses on using the cold of LNG.

Our start-up offers customers the opportunity to consume ecological cold, a product made from what is currently considered waste, and which can help to reduce their carbon footprint up to 90%.

This cold energy often goes unused in regasification plants with traditional vaporisers, which heat the gas with a large stream of water. This water needs to be cooled again and is then returned to the sea. Therefore, the thermal energy in the LNG cannot be harnessed.

  • Did you find anything that caught your attention about the world of energy engineering? Do you have role models?

My greatest role models are still my parents. Since I was a child, I have listened to my father talk about his duties at the Enagás plant in Huelva. This awakened my interest in the industry sector.

Coming from such a background, it was obvious to me that science would become my profession at an early age. However, it wasn’t until I had to choose what degree to study that I opted for Energy Engineering. This was in 2011, when our country was trying to recover from a deep economic crisis. I realised that energy, and particularly energy efficiency, my area of expertise, were key components of our search for solutions.

I realised that energy, and particularly energy efficiency, were key components of our search for solutions

  • Spain needs to have the necessary scientific and technological capabilities, especially considering the current energy transition. What would you do to encourage women to join this industry?

I believe it’s a process that must begin early on, helping little girls discover science and making them see that they also fit in. It’s not just for boys!

At this stage, guidance talks can prove very useful. It is crucial that these talks are started at an early age and it should be women giving them. This way, girls can develop new dreams and not only aspire to become nurses, veterinarians, or housewives, but also to have fun with helmets and using toy tools.

Advertising, in general, and pro-equality policies as well as family education and customs clearly play an important role as well.

  • What advice would you give future generations of STEM women?

You should be brave in a number of ways, starting with entering this world in which we are a minority. In meetings and working groups, you will not find many other women by your side – at least not in the short term.

And, of course, call out anyone who doubts you and believes that this is not a place for women. Prove to them that not only men can use helmets, lab coats and calculators. Finally, I would also encourage them to become someone girls and young women can look up to, as there will always be new generations looking for role models.

There will always be new generations looking for role models. We need to become someone girls and young women can look up to

  • You are part of a start-up. What do you think the relationship is between innovation, entrepreneurship, and energy transition?

In my opinion, innovation and entrepreneurship are key to a smooth and efficient energy transition. In this way, start-ups can play a pivotal role, particularly in large companies that have a traditional business.

They can be a great way to encourage innovation in industrial processes that are being used, to improve or transform these processes. This is the case with e4efficiency. It acts on Enagás’ core business, optimising the regasification of liquefied gas by using the cold of LNG and making it available to customers.