Ryan Oatley - "Fusion Energy Insights has been an invaluable experience"
Fusion is a burgeoning industry offering exciting career prospects. For anyone interested in fusion jobs, or in the motivations of young people coming into the field, here we introduce you to Fusion Energy Insights' 2023 summer interns.
Ryan Oatley is entering the second year of his Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at the University of Leeds.
This is what he had to tell us…
Invaluable networking opportunities
I joined Fusion Energy Insights to enhance my understanding of this exciting
industry and develop a range of professional skills, including written communication, and investment data analysis.
Furthermore, working and staying at the UK's leading Harwell science and innovation campus will provide invaluable opportunities to network with world-leading experts in fusion and other key industries such as space, and defence. In addition, I am eager to research fusion's role in other markets than powering the grid, specifically its role in space and marine propulsion.
© Harwell Science & Innovation Campus
Fusion energy and space propulsion
The promise of harnessing the power of the sun here on Earth is not only awe-inspiring but also holds the key to a virtually limitless and clean energy source. I am fascinated by the intricate science and engineering behind fusion reactions, striving to contribute to the advancement of this cutting-edge technology.
Following a previous research project on long term human space exploration, what particularly excites me is the potential alternative application of fusion beyond energy generation—space propulsion. The challenges of deep space travel, such as immense distances and prolonged travel times, demand innovative solutions to achieve efficient and rapid interplanetary exploration.
Fusion propulsion systems offer a tantalising prospect, utilising the same fundamental reactions that power stars to propel spacecraft at unparalleled speeds, potentially reducing travel times to distant celestial bodies from years to mere months. This prospect ignites my imagination, driving me to explore the fascinating intersection of nuclear fusion and space travel.
With a deep-seated curiosity for both energy innovation and space exploration, I am eager to contribute my skills to the fusion research community and work towards realising these ground-breaking applications. The allure of solving some of humanity's most pressing challenges through fusion, while also venturing into the cosmos with innovative propulsion systems, drives my determination to be part of this incredible journey of scientific and technological advancement.
Could future rockets be driven by fusion propulsion? © University of Washington
Investing in Fusion Energy
The most interesting thing I have learned from my time at Fusion Energy Insights so far has been about investment into fusion. After initially exploring investment data to project future industry valuations and analysing the optimal routes individuals can take to invest in fusion, I was invited to join ‘Arab fusion’ meetings with industry experts from around the world, who were discussing building an Arab fusion programme and attracting Arab states investment to fusion. This enabled me to widen my understanding of industry-proven methods to attract private investment.
All round scientist
As well as working with Fusion Energy Insights, The University of Leeds organises a research programme in partnership with The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) every year where 5 students attend a fully funded, 4-week individual research program at KAIST - in Daejeon, South Korea.
As a part of this programme, I am currently working in KAIST’s Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, in the Biophotonics laboratory. I am utilising nanotechnology knowledge gained during my degree to conduct experimental research on the ‘Label-free quantitative assay of artificial breath aerosols using a SERS substrate for early-stage lung cancer detection’. This research aims to create a device that can detect early-stage lung cancer from breath, although the technology can be spread towards the rapid and accurate detection of other cancers, infectious diseases (e.g. TB, malaria, HIV/AIDS), and even neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or ALS).
After I graduate, I wish to work in either the energy or pharmaceutical sectors, potentially moving towards a sales engineering role and then into management. My work with Fusion Energy Insights enables me to enhance my knowledge in both fusion energy and global markets, so is an invaluable experience for this career path.
When not working or studying, I enjoy going to the gym, playing music and cooking!