July 22, 2016

Sustainable energy research in Jakarta

An interview with Grishma Manandhar '11

BMKF scholar Grishma Manandar ’11 is interning at GIZ, a German company that specializes in international development, while she conducts sustainable energy research in Jakarta, Indonesia. Grishma, who majored in mechanical engineering, previously spent several years working as a renewable energy consultant for an international nonprofit organization in Nepal and India. She says she loved being able to make a difference for people in Nepal’s remote communities.

In 2014, Grishma was awarded a scholarship for a master’s degree in environmental leadership at the University of Flensburg in northern Germany. She will spend three months total in Indonesia, before returning to Germany to finish her studies.

We recently caught up with Grishma for an interview:

BFMK scholar Grishma Manandhar, second from left.

Sustainable energy expert Grishma Mananhdar ’11 (second from left) under cover in Indonesia.

How’s your German?

“I’m not fluent in German, but I can understand and speak basic things. My classes in Germany are taught taught in English. In Jakarta, I can kind of blend in. People talk to me in Bhasa.”

What’s the best thing about your graduate study experience?

“Meeting with friends who are from all over the world!”

Why Jakarta?

“I am working with GIZ to develop technology scenarios for green refrigeration, i.e. to see the savings in CO2 emissions by replacing ozone depleting and global warming refrigerants with natural refrigerants.”

How’s the research going?

“It’s stressful, because the sector I am focusing on is reluctant to give us the data — even if it’s positive. The whole process of formalities is taking so long and the biggest constraint for me is the time. Here in Indonesia, they still use refrigerants which are banned in EU, USA, and even in Indonesia itself. So, basically, I am visiting supermarkets (that is my focus area) and collecting as much data as possible. In most of the refrigerators you can see the technical specification. I feel like a secret agent making notes and taking pictures. People look at me weirdly because I take pictures of these cards attached inside the refrigerators.”