Purification Efficiency, Mathematical Modelling and Patenting: Meet Our Senior Research Engineer, ThiébautMitte News
In search of new and exciting projects in the Berlin hardware startup scene, Thiébaut came across Mitte back in 2018 and soon shifted from freelance consultant to full-time member of the Hardware team.
Passionate about solving complex technical issues, it’s no exaggeration to say that Thiébaut is a true expert in his field. From thermodynamics to fluid dynamics and simulation of the machine – he knows it all, and with his knowledge, helps the team bring our smart Mitte Home to the market.
Find out more about his exciting and wide-ranging role at Mitte, his biggest learning about water, and what pomegranate has to do with the Mitte cartridge of his dreams.
Tell us a bit more about yourself?
I am French and was born in Strasbourg, a city near the border of Germany. I must admit I’ve always been a workaholic, but in the free time I have, I love gardening, hiking, climbing, and swimming in the sea. All of which are fairly complicated to do here in Berlin, but I love this city and I don’t mind spending long hours on trains to the Vosges mountains or even to the French Riviera.
How did you come to work at Mitte?
Back in 2018, I was looking for hardware companies here in Berlin, in search of exciting new projects. I started consulting for Mitte that year. A year later, seduced by the cross-disciplinary team and convinced I could bring more to the company as a full-time employee, I decided to join.
How would you describe your role in one sentence?
I am an engineer, so my role is to solve technical problems – very complex ones being my preference – such as purifying water with minimum energy input and wastage.
“I am really happy to see how the first sketches of Mitte Home we made in the team have now materialized into a real product, without big changes since the first basic ideas. Going from ‘maybe we could do it like this’ to ‘it’s totally working like this’ gives a great feeling.”
Tell us about a day in the life of a Senior Research Engineer at Mitte?
One nice thing about the job is that there is no typical day. In the morning I could be discussing computational fluid dynamics with a colleague or talking about our latest patent with our attorneys, and in the afternoon you could find me looking at some machine parts under a microscope or working on a mathematical model predicting our purification efficiency.
Is there any project you like working on in particular?
The purification side of our technology is quite exciting because you are fighting against various invisible enemies present in the water, and your job is to build a barrier between them and the users. In that sense, you really feel a connection to them. Also, I am some kind of reliability nerd and I am really happy we are designing and testing our products to be long-lasting.
What’s the best thing about working at Mitte?
I love how nice people are and the atmosphere here even despite the fact that Covid-19 forces us to work mostly remotely. And I appreciate the determination of the management team, who don’t consider failure an option.
Which parts of your job do you find most challenging?
It is difficult for me not to let myself be involved in everything… I am naturally very curious.
What’s your biggest achievement at Mitte so far?
I am really happy to see how the first sketches of Mitte Home we made in the team have now materialized into a real product, without big changes since the first basic ideas. Going from “maybe we could do it like this” to “it’s totally working like this” gives a great feeling.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I try to live as such that I do not generate, through my lifestyle, more than 2 tons of CO2 per year – which is the average carbon budget per capita that the planet can cope with.
What career advice would you give to aspiring engineers looking for a job in a purpose-driven startup?
In my opinion, well-run startups are the most efficient form of organization. But, like any other high performing system, efficiency comes at the cost of some fragility, and therefore engineers have to bring their ‘A-game’ and constantly question their skills, and look for ways to improve themselves. Not a place to rest on your laurels.
What’s something you know now that you didn’t know when you began at Mitte?
When I joined Mitte, I think I did not fully realize to what extent water was the perfect carrier of a multitude of elements! Elements that could so positively affect your health and your morale. In general, you basically have to drink about 3L daily, which is a great opportunity to piggyback on that and through water, put healthy elements directly in the body without having to think about it. Minerals are the obvious candidates that do this, but it could also be micronutrients and nutraceuticals in the future.
If you weren’t a Hardware Engineer, what other careers would you have chosen?
Oh I don’t think I chose one career for the rest of my life! I still intend to become an astronaut and later probably a gardener.
Last but not least, If you could dream up any Mitte cartridge of your choice, what would it be?
I would love to have a cartridge releasing urolithin A, a molecule derived from pomegranate, which has anti-aging properties. It boosts a process called mitophagy which basically cleans up your cells. I already drink pomegranate juice regularly for that. I find it every day difficult to do everything I want in 24 hours, so the idea of living longer helps me cope with this frustration.
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