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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Shining a Spotlight on Energy People: Mattias Gustafsson AMEI


4 min read

Head and shoulders photo of Mattias Gustafsson with lab equipment in the background Photo: M Gustafsson
Mattias Gustafsson AMEI, Laboratory Engineer, Preem Refinery

Photo: M Gustafsson

In our latest Spotlight on Energy People interview with Energy Institute (EI) members, Mattias Gustafsson AMEI, Laboratory Engineer, Preem Refinery, highlights the important role that the EI plays in expanding his knowledge and expertise.

Q: Tell us your background and when you first became interested in energy?
A: I grew up in Norrkoping, Sweden. I remember when we stopped for some fuel in the petrol station how I just loved the smell of petrol! The other memory was when I looked up into the sky and saw the airplanes taking off. I guess I was around 10 years old then.


Q: Tell us a little about your current job and industry?
A: As a laboratory engineer, my main responsibility is to make sure that our instruments are calibrated and up and running 24/7. It also includes buying new instruments, commissioning them and writing instructions hopefully well enough so that everyone can understand them. The best part is when new instruments are installed and work immediately. Instant success!


I’ve been working in a laboratory for 12 years and I felt it was time to utilise my knowledge to help others develop.


Q: How did you get into laboratory work?
A: I have a Master’s degree in physical/analytical chemistry. My plan was initially to work with more theoretical stuff, but I realised that I was better than most people at laboratory work. So I started at an independent laboratory where I first came into contact with petroleum products.


I have worked as a technician in three other laboratories. In my second lab, I was given more advanced tasks and was responsible for the new ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy), for example.


I started at my current employer Preem Refinery as a laboratory technician too, but after a while I became a laboratory engineer. Now one of my tasks is to support the technicians with education and coach them and also make sure that the instruments are working as intended.


Q: How has being an Associate Member (AMEI) of the Energy Institute benefitted you in your career?
A: I’ve been a member for half a year, but I’ve received support from the EI over the past two years. The most important of which is its role in the making of new jet fuels. The meetings that the EI has held about this have been amazing and have given me so much valuable information.


Q: What have you gained from these meetings?
A: I went on my first SAF/Avtur meeting in 2022; before that I wasn’t aware that there was something called SAF, sustainable aviation fuel; I had only analysed regular fossil jet fuels before. A new world opened up for me. After the meeting in 2023 I felt it was time to become a member to fully take advantage of all the knowledge available on the EI Knowledge webpage. The most important resources are all the information about jet fuel, both fossil and renewable. Without these it would have become very hard for us to find all the information we needed.


We are soon to start producing green aviation fuel from HEFA (hydro-treated esters and fatty acids) feedstock. We are going to produce SAF from waste tallow, rape seed oil and used cooking oil. The market for SAF seems to be good. There seems to be a huge demand for a greener jet fuel in both Sweden and elsewhere in Europe.


Q: Can you talk about the latest equipment in the laboratory for producing SAF? 
A: The biggest difference is that we must use an ICP-OES to analyse low concentrations of some elements such as platinum and palladium. Those metals can be tricky sometimes. The old MP-AES (microwave plasma atomic emission spectrometry) machine which we have isn’t really up for this task. Next year we also must buy more instruments for the analysis of chlorine, a JFTOT (jet fuel thermal oxidation tester) and elementary analysis. So I have a busy time ahead! We are also reorganising the area where we analyse jet fuel to get better analysis flow.


Q: Also, have you seen the EI is organising another UK MOD aviation fuels committee meeting on 19–20 March – are you planning to come along? 
A: Yes, I’ll be attending. It’s the most important meeting of the year in my opinion. Hints and tips of what the future will bring are so important. And it’s important to meet other people who have been in the process of producing and analysing SAF.


I also like the fact that EI has managed to gather both producers of jet engines and the producers of jet fuel under the same roof for the meetings and in different working groups. That makes life easier for all parties!


The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author only and are not necessarily given or endorsed by or on behalf of the Energy Institute.


You can find more information about EI Membership and the Shining a Spotlight on Energy People series here.