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The desire to learn, to discover the world, and to take action.
Portraits 08/03/2023

The desire to learn, to discover the world, and to take action.

Arnat (the “t” is silent) comes from the Comoros. One of the words that defines her best is “enthusiasm”. But we could equally choose “spontaneity”, “hard work” and “willpower”. As she says herself: “Whenever I have doubts, I remind myself that we alone create our opportunities.” We asked this new recruit from Cylergie a few questions. 

We need to be proactive and able to respond quickly and impactfully to the challenges that arise. And what better way to do this than through research and innovation?

We alone are the ones who set the limits, or who choose not to dare.

Can you describe your career path in a few words? 

I come from the Comoros, where I completed a baccalaureate scientifique (French high school diploma specialising in science). I received a scholarship to go to Morocco to study for the university entrance exams in maths and physics. I then joined the Mohammadia Engineering School, which provides training based on the Polytechnique. I graduated in industrial process engineering in 2018. 
Industrial process is a very broad topic. During my studies, I took wide-ranging courses spanning dairy products to the production of chemical fertilisers. It was only during my end-of-studies internship at a Moroccan green energies agency (MASEN) that my enthusiasm really caught fire! I was surrounded by fascinating, passionate people, and I realised that I wanted to increase my skills in the field of energy and improve my understanding of the issues at stake, while making a contribution to science.
So in October 2019, I started a PhD in process and energy engineering at the LOCIE Laboratory at Savoie Mont Blanc UniversitySpecifically, I worked on absorption machines, which are alternatives to the ENGIE’s familiar heat pumps, with an additional interest in decarbonising the facilities. In France, we are lucky to have decarbonised (nuclear) electricity. But this is not the case in the rest of the world, and these machines can help to produce heat while limiting the use of electrical energy. We also talk a lot about heat recovery, which is where these machines come into their own in France.
I wanted to continue working on the decarbonised production of cold and heat, as well as on the production of green energy, while increasing my skills. This is one of the reasons that I decided to join ENGIE, and specifically Cylergie, in October 2022. 

 Can you define your role for us in one sentence?

I work at Cylergie as a research engineer in the field of cold and heat production using absorption units or heat pumps. I also work on energy efficiency via the decarbonisation of our customers’ facilities. Working in Research means being involved in the great movement of this century. I am at the heart of various projects that strive to support our customers in the energy transition.

What excites you about your job?

Several things excite me about this role.
The first is being an active player in the decarbonisation of our means of production, whether in our laboratories in Cylergie, in collaboration with Lab Singapore, or directly on the ground with our customers. I also enjoy how open we are to the outside world – not locked away in our research labs, as is sometimes the case in academia.  
The second is the day-to-day intellectual stimulation. When you work in a group with big ambitions, you want to bring something to the table. 

Can you tell us a little about your passions outside of work?

I'm a real film lover. I love to analyse what I’m seeing. It’s exciting for me to understand “the mechanics” of the process: what they do and how they do it, sometimes with few resources.
I'm very curious about the world around me. To be able to grow in an environment, you have to open up to it. And I’m in the discovery phase, whether this relates to food, art, music... Or just understanding how things revolve around me, which forces me to realise how small I am faced with the vastness of the planet. 
I spend a lot of time in restaurants, at the cinema, with my nose in an atlas, reading books… In the past, I didn’t have the opportunity to travel as much as I would have liked. But France is very diverse. Almost all the countries of the world are there on every street corner. You just have to allow yourself to approach, to meet new people.  

How would you say that research and innovation are important, both to the Group and for the world?

In a group like ENGIE, it is crucial. We need to be proactive and able to respond quickly and impactfully to the challenges that arise. And what better way to do this than through research and innovation? 
At R&I, I work alongside creative individuals who take the initiative in proposing ideas and innovating, while working in harmony with operational teams and technological developments, and without neglecting the business side of things. Because being part of the Group also means being profitable. 
I hope that the Group will continue to invest as much – or even more – in nourishing and stimulating the minds of its employees. A company faced with fierce competition that does not invest in research risks losing its global leadership and standing.

How do you see the future of energy?

Energy is a fast-changing sector. Technologies appear and disappear. Others that were formerly neglected reappear...it is difficult to predict what will happen.  One thing is for sure: the constraints needed to stop the planet’s temperature increasing by more than 2°C.
We talk about decarbonising energy in developed countries. But we must also help developing countries not to repeat the same mistakes. This is doable. But it requires human and financial resources. 
So I can’t say how I see the future of energy. But I hope it will meet the 2050 decarbonisation targets. 

You are very young. How do you think you will change over the next ten years?

I’ve been asked this question a lot. Before, I had a lot of answers. But as time goes on, the more I realize that we create our own opportunities.  I hope that in ten years I will have learned a lot, that I will still have new things to learn, and that I will still be able to contribute to more sustainable energy. 
I also want to take on more responsibilities and have the chance to be involved in decisions that may impact the energy world of tomorrow. 

What 3 words do you associate with innovation?

Boldness: for me, innovating means daring to imagine, daring to create, and daring to communicate. 
Motivation: it's not easy to implement a project. You have to be motivated and believe in what you're doing. 
Open-mindedness: once you have had the boldness to imagine a project, and the motivation to implement it, you have to know how to take a step back and make any improvements.

Is there a quote, a phrase or a mantra that means a lot to you?

There’s a quote from Franklin Roosevelt: “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”
We alone are the ones who set the limits, or who choose not to dare. And in Research and Innovation in particular, it is vital not to put up obstacles, to be able to express ourselves and thrive. This quote reminds me both that we create these opportunities ourselves and that we must be bold in seizing them. 

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