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From dreams of space to green energy: One woman’s journey to success in mechanical engineering

Institution News Team

Kusum Trikha, Senior Engineer, WSP
Kusum Trikha, Senior Engineer, WSP

32-year-old Kusum Trikha has come a long way since her childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut.

The New Delhi, India-born, mechanical engineer, who has forged a successful career in the green energy sector, has lately been reaping benefits of her hard work. She made it to the 2018 Tech Women 100 list, to the finals of the 2019 European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards, as well as to the Future List of Northern Power Women

The alumna of the University of Glasgow, who funded her Master’s studies through the International Leadership Scholarship, which she had been awarded for her previous academic and professional successes, says she welcomes the accolades as an opportunity to promote the profession of mechanical engineering and her work in low-carbon energy.

“The work that I do does not only generate profits for my company but has also contributed to the community by providing emissions-free electricity,” says Kusum. “I believe that this good work should reach out to the masses so that they can understand more about the good things that engineering gives to the world.”

Kusum, now a senior engineer at WSP, started her career at India’s heavy machinery manufacturer IHEL. Kusum admits her choice was rather atypical for a girl but enabled her to gain insight into a fascinating area of the human endeavour.

“I was doing work on boilers for power plants,” she says. “As a child, I would never have imagined how this equipment operates – the massive pressures and temperatures, and the safety risk involved.”

Kusum says she is particularly proud of her work on a novel Allam cycle technology, which converts fossil fuel into electrical energy while capturing all carbon emissions generated in the process at no extra cost. She has also worked on biomass gasification, energy from waste and combined cycle power plant projects.

Kussum is passionate not only about her work but also about raising the profile of mechanical engineering. She admits that after arriving to the UK she was surprised how few women she saw in engineering compared to India. But she is hopeful that women will soon understand how rewarding a career in engineering can be.

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