Meet Philip, a Total co-worker currently on attachment to CEFIC (The European Chemical Industry Council) and an active member of the Total Professeurs Associés.
“I joined Total in 2003 as group leader in the Energy and Environment of Process Technology Group, based in Total Technology and Research Center in Feluy, Belgium. Along with other experts in my team, I was responsible for providing technical advice on energy efficiency and environmental emissions reduction technologies to the ethylene crackers and satellite units of Total.
Part of my role was also to share our work with the wider industry community, being recognized as an expert in the field.
I have always been interested in sharing my knowledge with students and other people, and had originally considered an academic career to pursue this interest! I was delighted to discover the Total Professeurs Associés, and I volunteered to teach university courses on energy efficiency and it importance to a sustainable and economic petrochemical industry.
I started with teaching a course on ‘Energy Efficiency in the Petrochemical Industry’ at the HEI in Lille, which I did for four years. This program was highly appreciated and what started as a half a day course gradually grew to 2 full days.
In 2008, I was appointed by the Total Petrochemicals Direction Committee as a guest Professor at the University of Gent in Belgium. Since then, I have spent about one day per week teaching 1st and 2nd year Chemical Engineering Master students on how to design and operate chemical plants. I am currently on secondment to CEFIC (The European Chemical Industry Council), where I continue my TPA activities, as CEFIC sees the value of engineering education and knowledge-sharing for our industry too.
As a TPA professor, I bring real, practical experience from industry, in contrast to the academic and theoretical material that students learn in the classroom. In this way, I am helping to prepare these students for their future jobs. For me, teaching has helped me to structure my thoughts, by conveying key messages and diving deeper in some topics that I teach to my students. I also use the contact with the university to promote Total as an interesting employer, and help identify and build a long-term talent pipeline for Total.
I believe that the energy industry also has a role in getting secondary school students interested in STEM courses and I applaud Total’s participation in sessions organized for schools in Belgium. In the future, I look forward to contributing to these activities too.