Nicholas Schulz

Nicholas Schultz

Job Title

Automotive Engineer

What did you study?

Automotive Engineering at the University of Adelaide

How has your career progressed?

Before I completed my degree, I had three months work experience. During that work experience I was involved in the design of a heat engine technology being developed by Applidyne for Cogen Microsystems. The aim of the project was to develop a domestic solar system which produces both electricity and heating for less cost than existing products on the market.

After graduating in December 2008, I started work at Applidyne at the start of 2009.

What asks and responsibilities do you have in your present job?

Along with consulting work over the last year, I have been working on the second generation of the heat engine.

This is a new design that involves a number of new technologies. The aim of the project is to design a solar powered heat engine suitable for residential and small scale commercial applications that is able to produce electricity, hot water and home heating cheaper than equivalent solar PV and hot water systems.

Why is the study of science, technology or engineering relevant for your role?

The study of science, technology and engineering are all particularly relevant in my role in the design of the cogen heat engine. Engineering principles and techniques are used throughout the design process.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

I hope to further my knowledge and experience in all aspects of mechanical engineering and design, particularly in the renewable energy field.

Australia presents such a vast array of significantly under-utilised renewable energy production potential. With the current national and global shift towards more environmentally friendly solutions, there is a substantial and growing market for renewable and environmentally friendly products.

As a result, I plan to develop my career in this field with particular emphasis on developing products that enable the customer to reduce their environmental impact.

The most rewarding part of my current role

Being responsible for designing products from a blank sheet of paper, all the way through to a production product.

During the design process, getting prototype parts made is always rewarding because you can see your design translated into reality.

The most challenging part of my current role. Developing effective designs that are able to meet a number of criteria within budgetary and time constraints. With the solar heat engine, there are so many factors that contribute to the performance of the system, from heat transfer problems to environmental conditions. Every aspect of the design must be considered in great detail to minimise the development risk.

What career advice would you give to school students in a similar career?

Work experience in a company that is directly involved in engineering design is critical to gaining experience in product design.Try to get work experience in a number of companies over a broad range of specialty areas – practical experience in a machine shop or trade is also particularly useful to develop a better understanding of the processes involved in manufacture etc. Theoretical learning is far more useful if you understand the background and practical applications of what you are trying to learn.