Meet Britta Hackbarth who keeps the German windmills standing
As a project engineer in Ramboll Energy, Britta works with offshore wind in Hamburg. She designs the foundations for offshore wind turbines, and she enjoys being part of a renewable and immature industry, where there is still much to learn.
How would you describe your job?
As a project engineer in Offshore Wind, I get to apply my engineering skills by working on the design of, for example; monopile foundations for offshore wind turbines. It gets a little technical, so when I explain my job to my two young daughters I simplify by saying: “You see those windmills at sea? Your mom makes sure they don’t fall down.”
We’re currently 30 people in the Hamburg offshore wind department, and we do everything from smaller concept and feasibility studies to large scale detailed designs.
I’m also the German and Benelux representative in the Ramboll Group Works Council. We are nine elected employee representatives from eight countries that seek to exchange information and strengthen the cross-border dialogue in the organisation. We all meet once per year, and together with Ramboll CEO Jens-Peter Saul and other board members, we make sure all Ramboll units are well informed and consulted, when decisions are made.
What kinds of projects are you working on?
At the moment, I’m working on the design of foundation structures for a large offshore wind farm in the German Baltic Sea. Among other things, I help design the foundations and I calculate and consider the influence of different water depths, soil conditions and other environmental conditions like wind and wave forces.
When finished, the farm will consist of 60 turbines with a total capacity of 360 MW, which is enough to power more than 280.000 homes.
Have you always known that you would work with renewable energy?
I just recently discovered my passion for renewables. At Hamburg University of Technology, I got my engineering diploma in civil engineering majoring in steel designs, concrete structures and geotechnical engineering. Afterwards, I worked five years at the university as a Research Associate at the Institute of Concrete Structures. I think the versatility of concrete makes it a fascinating building material, and I am happy to say that I recently finished my PhD, which dealt with reinforced and prestressed concrete structures.
My interest in wind power arose when I joined Ramboll in April 2013. I like that it is a relatively young industry, where there is still much to do and learn, and I find it to be a great working environment. You are surrounded by rather young people, and you don’t need 50 years of experience to become an expert.
Also, I enjoy being part of the long-lasting and sustainable approach that Ramboll applies in projects. I think it’s fascinating to work with renewable energies, and I like when things get a little complex.
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