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Christina Tzotzi

Chemical engineer, Christina Tzotzi, received the Woman of the Year 2015 prize for the field of Research and Development awarded by the French technical journal L’Usine Nouvelle. Organised this year for the fourth consecutive year, the awards were held in partnership with leading technical companies like Technip, SNCF, and Renault Group. The awards are intended to honour outstanding women working in industry, a sector where few women hold positions of responsibility, and thereby give younger women an incentive to pursue similar careers.

Christina Tzotzi studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, receiving a degree in Chemical Engineering. She then went on to acquire a Masters degree from the University of Thessaly’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, specialising in energy systems, industrial processes and pollution abatement technologies. She also obtained a PhD from the same university in 2009, submitting a doctoral thesis entitled 'Influence of fluid properties in gas-liquid two-phase flow in horizontal and near-horizontal pipes'. Her supervisor was Prof. Nikos Andritsos. She then completed post-doctoral studies in modelling multi-phase flows in the transport of oil and natural gas, at the IFPEN Institute in Paris.

Between 2011 and the present day she has been working at the Technip Centre for Innovation and Technology in Paris, exploring how to introduce innovative products to safely transport oil and natural gas underwater. The main objective of the research programmes Christina Tzotzi leads is to demonstrate the effectiveness and safety of the company’s product: a heated pipe that can be installed at great ocean depths to carry oil and natural gas, thereby eliminating the creation of methane hydrate (a flammable ice formed from compressed natural gas) which develops under high pressure and low temperatures. The overarching goals are to design safe oil fields at great depths and cut costs.

Christina Tzotzi is responsible for developing the experimentation protocol, running industrial scale experiments (creating 200 kg blocks of methane hydrate for the first time worldwide) and marketing the project to oil companies since the programme is funded by Total and ExxonMobil. In her own words, “this has always been demanding, since during the course of the 4-year programme we needed to combine various interests that didn’t always converge, such as the scientific aspect of the programme and the interests of the oil companies, which wanted immediate results”.

Christina Tzotzi has participated in numerous scientific conferences and her papers have been published in a host of respected scientific journals.