Alumni experience

Process Engineer at BTG BioLiquids

Ruud Meulenbroek graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Technology. He went on to do a Master’s degree in Mechanical Enginering at the University Twente. Since 2012 he has been working at BTG BioLiquids in Enschede.

Advanced Technology and my Master’s degree

I have always had a broad interest in science and technology. I was drawn to the idea behind the Bachelor’s programme in Advanced Technology: that most innovations emerge in areas where traditional disciplines like physics and chemistry overlap. I liked the notion that we should start taking a multidisciplinary approach to training our scientists and engineers, and supply them with a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit as part of the bargain.

During my Bachelor’s, I discovered an interest in mechanical engineering, fluid flow and modelling. This led me to take a minor in Aeronautical Engineering and pre-Master’s courses for the Thermal Engineering specialization in the Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Twente. This Master’s programme has allowed me to dig deeper into these subjects and has introduced me to the world of numerical modelling, which enables engineers and scientists to solve highly complex problems.

My daily activities

BTG BioLiquids wants to contribute to a cleaner energy supply by substituting fossil fuels with fuels from renewable sources. The pyrolysis technology we provide efficiently converts most types of non-food biomass into second-generation biofuel within seconds. This technology was originally conceived at the University of Twente and was further developed by BTG, the University of Twente’s first spin-off company. As a process engineer I am involved in designing and commissioning these pyrolysis plants, the first of which is currently under construction in the Dutch town of Hengelo.

I graduated while working at a global oil and gas company but I decided to change tack and apply to the small sustainable start-up company where I currently work. The set-up here means that there is less time to specialize in a particular subject and you have to be a jack-of-all-trades. I can be working on PR, sales, engineering and project development all in the course of a single working day!

How are you using what you learned during your studies?

The thorough grounding in mathematical engineering I received at Twente really pays off when it comes to getting to the heart of an engineering problem quickly and effectively, especially when there is heat and mass transfer involved. I have even had the opportunity to put the business courses from Advanced Technology to good use. In my first year at BTG, I was asked to write the business plan for our company!

Advanced Technology really challenges you to perform at your best. It also enables you to discover which area of science and engineering you feel most passionately about so that you can start to specialize. For me it was an excellent stepping stone to a great job.

My advice for prospective students

Follow your own interests when it comes to deciding which courses to take. Go ahead and join a study or sports association. Becoming a good engineer also means that you need to develop your organizational and leadership skills.

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