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“Paul lives in Reading and holds a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southampton. In 2010, he started in Ramboll as a project manager and three years later, he was named Director and Head of Ramboll Energy’s Waste-to-Energy department in the UK.”
“You cannot just turn waste off. It just keeps coming, so you need to do something clever with it,” says Paul Konig, Head of Ramboll Energy’s Waste-to-Energy team in the UK.
In Harwell, just outside Oxford, we find the Ramboll Energy satellite office where Paul Konig is positioned as Director and Head of Ramboll Energy’s UK Waste-to-Energy department. Paul has delivered projects relating to the thermal treatment of waste for over twelve years with experience at all stages of the project lifecycle.
Together with his team of five people Paul acts as project manager and technical advisor for local authorities and public sector clients. He provides technical support through the procurement stages by selecting bidders, assessing tenders and monitoring the design, construction and operation of the waste-to-energy plants.
Paul also applies his mechanical engineering skills when helping waste management companies decide the best supplies for a project, reviewing supply- and design documentation and supervising construction on site.
- I enjoy spending time away from the office visiting clients. Being able to respond to short notice demands is key, and the ongoing supervision of plants is very important. A waste-to-energy plant typically has an operation period of 25 years or more and needs to stay in an operable condition and be maintained appropriately over the entire period, says Paul.
When asking him what it takes to be a good project manager in a highly technical industry, Paul answers:
- When coaching your team you need strong interpersonal skills, leadership and high integrity. You have to be enterprising and apply a logical approach in your decision-making, but still retain a sound strategic outlook and vision.
At Ramboll, Paul has been involved in several large waste-to-energy projects, both in the UK and internationally. One example is an ongoing project where Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department was in need of an alternative and sustainable disposal solution for an annual waste amount of more than 650,000 tonnes of sewage sludge.
The solution was to construct a four-line incineration plant that receives up to two thousand wet tonnes of municipal sewage sludge per day, making it the world’s largest plant of its kind. As an Independent Certifier, Paul reviewed the conceptual design and project definition, provided certifications, monitored the construction stage and audited plant performance during commissioning and hand-over.
- You cannot just turn waste off. It just keeps coming, so you need to do something clever with it. I find it fascinating to be part of such a valuable and longstanding project. A local authority will perhaps build one plant in a lifetime, and one of Ramboll’s core businesses is to impeccably deliver these plants. I like being able to guide people through the technical elements of it all and discuss how and why things are important. You really have to think wider than just the technical details, says Paul.
Paul’s technical expertise is underwritten by his status as Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He has been a member of the Learned Society since 1998 and Paul works with the institution across industries such as Power and Energy, Heritage and Education.
Engineering is also an integral part of Paul’s spare time. For over 20 years, he has been a member of a local model engineering society that specialises in building, operating and maintaining fully operational 1:8 scale steam locomotives for the benefit of the local community.
- I appreciate the machinery and preparation it takes, and these models work just like the real thing. Besides building the trains and maintaining the infrastructure, I help organise workshops to promote the engineering field. I’ve always been interested in industrial heritage, and the details and history captivate me so I guess it’s no coincidence that I became an engineer, says Paul.
Ramboll has played a significant role in the Mersey Gateway project, the central feature of the significant highway improvements between the M56 and Speke Road. It is a new six-lane cable-stayed tolled bridge across the Mersey Estuary between Runcorn and Widnes.