Women in Engineering series

Diana De Porcellinis

Published: 11th February 2022

As we return to our Women in Engineering series, we’d like to introduce you to Diana De Porcellinis, who was originally trained as an aerospace engineer before she specialised in the development of sustainable renewable energy alternatives. Today, she works as Project Manager R&D Contracts in Nel Electrolyser PEM.

Diana holds a Masters in Chemical Engineering for Sustainable Development and a PhD in Materials Science for Health Environment and Energy. She studied at prestigious Harvard University where she held several positions, and during her master thesis and PhD, she worked on different fuel cell technologies.

“I used to work in Redox Flow batteries before I moved on to Nel a year and a half ago, so you can say I’m still fairly new to the electrolyser industry,” she says.

During her studies, Diana was one of few women that chose engineering as a subject – only five out of nearly 200 students were female on her bachelor course.

“I was a visiting student at Harvard in 2016 and attended my first government funded quarterly review meeting when I noticed I was the only woman and the youngest person in the room! My professor gave me chance to present and to be heard, it was very empowering and motivating,” she explains.

Diana believes we are currently seeing a growth of women and girls in science and engineering, and although we still have a way to go, the trend is positive.

“If you have a passion for science and engineering – go for it! It will lead you to places that you can’t even imagine. Women belong in engineering, like anybody else.”

A constant learning process

What Diana loves most about her job is that there’s always something new to learn.

“Electrolysers are in principle very simple, however, each one of the components holds an entire new world of properties and challenges to discover and resolve. That’s exciting.”

One of the projects that she has worked on in Nel is the 20 MW system the company just installed in Spain.

“It was an impressive team effort to deliver such a big system. I really enjoy the part of my job where we work as a team and the trust that comes from it.”

Diana is enthusiastic about the future of hydrogen:

“It’s imperative that we move towards a more sustainable industrial reality, from stainless steel to cement to heavy vehicle industry. There are so many opportunities where green hydrogen could make the difference.”

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