Julia Römer German-Based Engineer Develops Environmentally Friendly Refrigerator System: COOLAR.
Before Julia and SWE HQ dove into the details of her innovative new refrigerator system, we got to know her a little bit better. Discussing with her how interest in engineering came to be, where she studied and what inspired her brilliant idea.
HQ: Julia, what inspired you to be an engineer?
JR: I learned it [engineering] from the start. My father and mother were both engineers. And I was a 'hands-on' kid. So, for me it was totally normal for women to be engineers. I had an early interest in science and mathematics and I never really took to the writing/communication side of things.
HQ: Did your country's culture affect your career choice? Was it considered "out of the box" for you, a female, to be an engineer?
JR: There is a difference in Germany alone. In East Germany it is extremely normal for women to work full-time and have the same society experience as men. Western Germany not so much. I had engineers around me my entire life ... my family friends, in particular, were all engineers: males and females.
HQ: Tell us a little bit more about your university experience.
JR: When I came to university, in the Western part of Germany, they were, indeed, surprised I was a female engineer. I studied industrial engineering, with a focus on technical chemistry (mathematics and chemistry) at The University of Berlin. This is a very unique mash up on studies. The Technical Chemistry field isn't too common.
HQ: What is your work-life, day to day? Do you consider yourself an entrepreneurial engineer?
JR: Yes! I am an independent engineer working for and with COOLAR throughout this innovation period. COOLAR is my brand. I am also a member of the board of the biggest environmental NGO group. I do a lot of volunteer work with the environment, as well.
HQ: We've noticed your passion for the environment, how did you come to realize this?
JR: I am very passionate about keeping the environment friendly! I grew up in a city and was passionate about city-life, but I summered with my wet nurse each year. She lived in the country, out in nature. The feelings of keeping nature in-tact stuck with me as I ventured into my career as an engineer. I actually took a year off and did things for the environment before attending university. I taught at a youth camp ... about nature, animals. This was motivation for my studies.
HQ: What was the spark that ignited your COOLAR Refrigeration System?
JR: The COOLAR technology I learned during my university studies. I had never heard about this concept before: 'It's possible to cool with heat?' I learned this process of adaption during school. I took to the concept right away and decided to stick with it. I thought to myself, 'this is great, why isn't this everywhere?' Then, one of my professors gave me contact info of folks who were already working with this technology. After meeting with these contacts, I learned that they were already building large industrial cooling machines. It was great to see how it really worked!!
"However, I continued to ask myself, 'why isn't this available to everyone, though? Industrial sizes are for companies and that's great, but what about for people, who are in need of it, like a fridge?'"
Julia then began her master's program and went to summer school and studied climate innovation. Working alongside her professor's contacts, she established COOLAR and the rest ... history!
Currently COOLAR is competing for funding to place her solar thermal medical refrigerator in developing regions around the globe. The more votes, the more shares, the higher the shares the heavier the votes. So! The more votes, the better ... so everyone, please VOTE HERE for Julia and COOLAR.