Total at Work

Meet Sergej! He works as a Photovoltaic Research and Development (R&D) Engineer in Total’s Gas, Renewables & Power Branch. The focus of his job is to look for new ways to minimize the cost of fabricating solar cells, whilst also making the cells as efficient as possible. 


“My work is about making solar power more accessible to everyone!” says Sergej. “I’m fortunate to be a direct part of Total’s commitment to developing renewable energies. I am strongly convinced that solar power is one of the main sources of energy among the other renewable sources.”


Renewable energies will become an important part of the energy mix delivered by Total in the near and mid-term future, providing up to a third of energy needs. Explaining more about his part in this exciting transition, Sergej explains how his work involves simplifying the fabrication process. “We want to minimize the number of process steps required to build solar cells. That means reducing the time, temperature and consumables used during the manufacturing process.”


Key Facts

  • Name: Sergej
  • Branch: GRP (Gas, Renewables & Power)
  • Position: Research and Development Engineer
  • Field of study: Physics, Mathematics
  • Advice: Get a good education, be curious and involved in innovation; be open-minded; love what you do and be proud of what you do!


So what’s his favorite part of the job? “Working at a company which values our knowledge and experience, and is truly committed to better energies. The atmosphere is super-positive and I enjoy the engaging team spirit. My work is very interesting and we have to deliver at a fast pace which keeps me motivated.”


Working in such a fast-moving area also means a lot of travel! “It can be very intense: travel to a new place, night at the hotel, all-day meetings or laboratory work, repeated for several days. But since I enjoy my work, I’m really happy to meet new people, to see new tools and learn how to operate them.” Reflecting on what makes it all worthwhile, Sergej says that, “What counts is achieving my work goals, interacting with other professionals and developing successful collaborations.”


With travel playing such an important part in Sergej’s role, it’s not surprising that he has visited an impressive number of countries. “Since we collaborate with US based solar cell manufacturer, I get to visit their R&D center in California once or twice a year, spending up to a fortnight there.” Closer to home, he also travels about 10 times a year within Europe. “These shorter trips might be to visit a tool supplier, partner university or laboratory. Occasionally I attend conferences or group meetings on European solar projects.”


What’s most important for success in Sergej’s role? “Being a team player who is also results-oriented. Natural curiosity and the desire to innovate are also important.” He adds that, “To feel that your work may improve the quality of life for many people is a really powerful driver for me.”


Thanks for sharing your story with us, Sergej!