NEFI Power Women for the Decarbonisation of Industry

Despite numerous efforts to promote and address the issue, the proportion of women in technical professions remains low. On the International Women’s Day, the NEFI Innovation Network will bring successful female technicians to the stage. They are NEFI project managers or are pushing the decarbonisation of industry with their know-how and expertise.

In the week of the International Women’s Day we will present six role models from the NEFI Innovation Network to showcase the natural approach of these women to a technical career. Role models are important to create a desire and interest in a career in technology for the following generations.

So, let’s open the curtain for the NEFI Power Women:

Christiane EGGER

Christiane Egger is Deputy Managing Director of the OÖ Energiesparverband (Energy Saving Association Upper Austria), the Energy Agency of the county of Upper Austria, and Manager of the Cleantech Cluster-Energy. She studied law and technical environmental protection at Technical University Graz.

Her work focuses on the activities of the Energy Saving Association concerning the corporate energy transition and the course management of the Energy Academy with a comprehensive energy transition continuing education offer. She has been a coordinator in more than 20 EU projects and is also active internationally as a lecturer. She is a conference organizer of the World Sustainable Energy Days (an annual international expert conference with more than 600 participants from 50 countries). Christiane Egger has been actively involved in the strategic development of the Energy Model Region NEFI since the beginning, and she is member of the NEFI Cluster Steering Committee.

We have asked Christiane Egger:

What fascinates you about your profession? What drives you? What motivates you?

„My professional work makes a significant contribution to the energy transition – that was, is and will remain exciting. The scope of my work ranges from technical to economic to legal and communicative topics, and at the same time I can work on the biggest social transformations of my generation.”

Christiane EGGER
Member Cluster Steering Committee,
Deputy Manager OÖ Energiesparverband,
Manager Cleantech-Cluster Energy

Stefanie KRITZER

Stefanie Kritzer completed her studies in mathematics in Salzburg. She has been working for Salzburg AG since 2009 and was initially responsible for the areas of flexibility management and digitalisation in energy trading. Since the beginning of the year, she has headed the Asset Management Department of the Energy Technologies Business Unit, which focuses on the expansion of renewable energies and the decarbonisation of district heating.

Previously, she was a research associate at Macquarie University in Sydney. Besides her job with Salzburg AG the energy expert graduated with a Master of Business Administration in Salzburg. Currently, she has also a teaching obligation as an external lecturer at Fachhochschule Salzburg. Stefanie Kritzer is the project manager of the NEFI Projekt CE4T – Clean Energy for Tourism, that makes a significant contribution to decarbonisation and increased efficiency in the winter tourism industry. As a mother of a six-year-old son, she would also like to inspire other women to get involved in energy research.

We asked Stefanie Kritzer:

“What fascinates you about your profession? What drives you? What motivates you?”

„The Energy Transition is among the greatest challenges of our time. I am happy every day that I have the opportunity to contribute to such a relevant task with my work. “

Stefanie KRITZER
Project Manager CE4T,
Head of Business Unit Energy Technologies
Department Asset Management
Salzburg AG für Energie, Verkehr und Telekommunikation

Edith HASLINGER

Edith Haslinger is a senior scientist at the AIT Center for Energy specialised in geothermal science. She received her PhD in 2004 from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna at the Institute of Applied Geology in mineralogy, geochemistry and petrology. Research stays at Mid Sweden University Sundsvall (diploma) and at the Natural History Museum London (dissertation) complemented her training. After teaching as an assistant at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, she worked as a research assistant at the Umweltbundesamt Wien GmbH, Department of Groundwater. This was followed by an employment at the Federal Geological Institute, as a project manager in the FA Geochemistry and FA Raw Materials Geology. In 2009 Edith Haslinger joined the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and has been working as a project manager for geothermal energy. In 2020 she passed an internal hearing to become Senior Scientist.

Since September 2018 Edith Haslinger is project manager of NEFI Project SANBA – Smart Anergy Quarter Baden, that is developing innovative ways for a decentralised energy supply for quarters. She considers geothermal energy as an important building block of heat transition and for the implementation of an integrated energy system. Therefore, she focuses on the further development of high methodological competence in the areas of material characterisation and in experiments on corrosion and thermal simulation for all geothermal issues. As a mother of two daughters aged 5 and 9, it is particularly important for her to foster curiosity and fascination for energy research in children.

We asked Edith Haslinger:

“What fascinates you about your profession? What drives you? What motivates you?”

„The most fascinating and at the same time motivating thing about my job is the diversity. No two days and no two projects are the same. I am coordinator of large projects with different project partners and requirements. On the next day I go to the lab and carry out scientific experiments and measurements. Then I work “in the field” taking rock and water samples to analyse them. You exercise different roles and have many contacts. This requires high mental and communicative flexibility. To my daughters, I try to set an example of how, especially as a woman in technical and scientific professions, you can be successful and still also be a present and committed mum.”

Edith HASLINGER
Project manager SANBA,
Senior Scientist
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Julia VOPAVA

Julia Vopava completed her master’s degree in industrial energy technology with distinction at the University of Leoben. The opportunity to contribute to the design of future energy systems through scientific projects led her to the Chair of Energy Composite Technology in 2016, where she completed her doctorate in February 2021 in the subjects of Energy Composite Technology and Electrical Engineering. Her dissertation dealt with the identification of possible synergy effects between e-mobility and the use of photovoltaic potentials at the grid and energy technology level.

During her teaching career she supported the Energy Model Region „Industrial axis Mur-Mürz“, which contributed to the development of the NEFI flagship region as an exploratory project. Since February 2021, she has been strengthening the NEFI team by leading the newly funded project TCP_to_industry, thus contributing to the implementation of the industrial energy transition through the integration of innovative Austrian technologies.

We asked Julia Vopava:

“What fascinates you about your profession? What drives you? What motivates you?”

„The active design of sustainable energy systems of the future constantly opens new scientific topics to me. Working together with partners from science, industry and business in an interdisciplinary way makes my job exciting and rewarding. “

Julia VOPAVA
Project manager TCP_to_industry,
Research associate
Montanuniversität Leoben

Ksenia POPLAVSKAYA

After studying environmental technologies and international relationships at the Diplomatic Academy and Vienna University of Technology, Ksenia Poplavskaya joined the AIT Center for Energy in 2016. She is a research engineer in the field of electricity market analysis and regulation of the energy industry and in parallel she is PhD student in the energy industry at the Technical University Delft. In her dissertation, she examines market design and incentives for market participants using their own balancing energy market model and she examines approaches for an efficient congestion management. In several national and international projects, she analyses the Austrian and European regulatory framework for the integration of new technologies in power grids and markets, incentive mechanisms and future business models in a changing energy system. Ksenia Poplavskaya has strengthened the NEFI Team since December 2020 as project manager of the recently funded project Industry4Redispatch. This project is dealing with demand-side flexibility potentials of industrial and commercial customers with the help of automation and optimisation tools and contributes to system decarbonisation and flexibilisation.

We asked Ksenia Poplavskaya:

“What fascinates you about your profession? What drives you? What motivates you?”

„In my job, I am motivated by the challenges and the varied, practical work. I am happy to drive innovation with my work, to develop new solutions for the energy system with colleagues and project partners, and to make a personal contribution to the ongoing energy transition. “

Ksenia POPLAVSKAYA

Project manager Industry4Redispatch
Research Engineer
AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH

Kerstin PFLEGER-SCHOPF

Kerstin Pfleger-Schopf started her scientific career with her studies in “Environmental Systems Science” at Karl-Franzens-University Graz. She gained professional experience beyond the university working in waste management with a focus on waste recovery technologies and refuse derived fuels. This brought her to University of Leoben, where, in addition to her Master’s degree in “Industrial Energy Technology”, she gained first experience with scientific projects at the Chair of Waste Utilisation Technology and Waste Management. The opportunity to actively shape the future through scientific projects led her to the Chair of Composite Energy Technology, where she has been working since 2015. Her dissertation focused on determining the potential of municipal wastewater treatment plants as flexibility service providers in the electrical grid. In addition, her involvement in and operational management of energy research projects made her want to contribute to achieving the goals of the industrial energy transition. Starting with 2017, she was actively supporting the development of the NEFI Model Region. Until her maternity leave in 2020 she took over the operational management of the NEFI_Lab. After her maternity leave, she will support the newly established NEFI_Lab team with her experience.

We asked Kerstin Pfleger-Schopf:

“What fascinates you about your profession? What drives you? What motivates you?”

„Becoming an active part of the industrial energy transition together with partners from science, industry and business provides new challenges every day that permanently broaden my horizons and make my job varied and exciting. “

Kerstin PFLEGER-SCHOPF
Research associate
NEFI_Lab
Montanuniversität Leoben

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