SPOTLIGHT ON…Lewis Gardiner
Welcome to Spotlight On… our weekly introduction to the OXTO Energy team. Every week we conduct 5-minute interviews with the team and get to know them a little better. Last week we introduced you to Gerald and this week we have an interview with Lewis Gardiner, our Business Development Manager.
Tell us a little about your background and your role?
I have been with OXTO Energy since the company was formed and there have been some big developments along the way. Originally from Wales, I studied Product Design and Engineering Science in Cardiff before moving to the South East to work in the energy industry.
I joined the team as a Mechanical Designer and over the years I have transitioned into a commercial and business orientated role. My work now focuses on the commercial integration of the system and I frequently present the technology at events and conferences. One of my favourite moments so far was seeing the first prototype assembled and operating for the first time.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
In my spare time, I enjoy travelling and sports! I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie and I do a lot of rock climbing and running. I also love Formula 1. Earlier this year I took a trip to Australia and I was amazed by the diversity of the climate. One day you could be in the middle of a desert, a couple of hours later at the heart of a tropical rain-forest and then the next thing you know, you’re walking around a concrete jungle full of fancy restaurants and shoe shops. This was one country – and a small part of that country at that! I know it’s a little cliche, but I also saw the biggest and creepiest spider I’ve ever seen. It was bigger than my hand!
What drew you to the energy and storage industry?
I have always been interested in renewable energy and the environment and I have previously worked on the design and development of a hydro-power based flood warning system. I knew I wanted to continue working in the renewable and clean-tech sector and when the opportunity to work in energy storage came up, I jumped at the chance.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about the storage market right now?
One of the most interesting things I have seen is how quickly the market has developed. Back in 2014, it was a small sector with very little attention. In the space of three years it has developed into one of the most exciting and talked about industries in the whole world. What we should remember is that this is not just a UK issue. There is a worldwide need for storage. I recently wrote a piece about why we need storage on our blog. I also believe there is huge potential for a storage solution rather than a single storage technology. It will be very interesting to see how different combinations of technologies can interact to create an efficient solution.
Beyond storage, what clean-tech sector do you think is most interesting?
I would say the electric vehicle industry is very exciting at the moment. I recently sold my petrol car and I’m thinking about getting an EV in the near future. I’ll keep you updated with how that goes! EVs are commonplace in cities like London where there has been a substantial investment in support infrastructure. However, as you travel west and north of the UK, we see less and less support infrastructure and people are more reluctant to make the switch. This needs to change if we are to ever see a mainstream uptake of EVs. Additionally, if we look at Norway, we can see the cost benefits of EVs far outweigh the cost of a petrol or diesel cars. There is even a growing stigma attached to driving fuel-based cars.
Have you read or seen something interesting lately that you think we should know about?
There have been some interesting developments with hyperloop technology recently. Hyperloop is a “new“ method of transportation where people are transported within depressurised tubes that travel at more than 760mph. It’s a similar concept to that of the tubes used for transporting mail, but on a much bigger scale. There are several companies developing the technology and one of these companies recently released a video showing their prototype. I’m still a little sceptical about the feasibility of the technology and I wonder how long it will take to build. However, I do think there’s huge potential to reduce travel times and carbon emissions if it’s possible.
Don’t forget to check back as we shine the spotlight on the rest of the OXTO Energy team! To keep up-to-date with the latest developments at OXTO, follow us on Twitter.