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“With engineering we can change the world”

Published 11.6.2024

Sara Couso, Technical Project Coordinator at the San Alonso Thermoelectric Power Plant, moved from Seville to Argentina for a year to take on fresh challenges. The Spaniard shares her experience at Techint Engineering & Construction and underscores how important it is to leave your comfort zone.

 

When Sara Couso joined Techint Engineering & Construction’s Seville Engineering office, just two months before the outbreak of COVID-19, she was starting out on what would turn out to be a challenging but rewarding journey. The mechanical engineer, originally from Huelva, confesses that it was pretty hard to work from home, in a new company, with colleagues she didn’t know—and with most of them living in Argentina. However, she passed this first test with flying colors and continued, onwards and upwards.

A year later, she embarked on an exciting adventure crossing the Atlantic Ocean. From October 2022 to November 2023, she moved to Argentina to join the team working on the San Alonso Thermal Power Plant project, in the province of Corrientes.

“I joined the company as a mechanical engineer—and now I’m coordinating a 120,000-hour engineering project! That’s to say, the opportunities are there, but you have to be very brave to take them,” summarizes Couso.

Her previous assignments included the development of large EPC offers for combined cycle projects, such as Barcarena, a 600-MW combined-cycle power plant for CELBA, in Brazil; Energía de Celaya, a 1,300-MW combined-cycle power plant for EdC, in Mexico; and Salamanca, an 840-MW combined-cycle power plant for CFE, also in Mexico. Additionally, she was involved in the Dos Bocas Refinery Cogeneration project, where she helped specify and finalize the power cycle purchase.

For Couso, engineering is a “wonderful profession.” “It’s one of the most beautiful areas to work in; you can change the world and there’s also a lot of innovation within our sector,” she highlights.

Towards the energy transition

The San Alonso Thermal Power Plant project was a substantial logistics and coordination challenge, involving members of the engineering teams in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Spain, India and Mexico. Today, the project is in its last stages.

Techint E&C carried out different basic engineering works, including CAPEX estimation, and detail engineering at the plant, as well as fault diagnosis and improvements at the Garruchos Power Plant. Both plants generate electrical energy from forest biomass, with a capacity of 40 MW each.

“This falls into the Energy Transition segment because, although the base is combustion, biomass is held to be neutral in terms of CO2 emissions, thus helping to decarbonize the energy matrix,” details Couso.

Tereré, football and friendships

“My experience in Argentina was wonderful. It was the first time I’d left Spain, and Argentina seemed like an easy country to adapt to because we have a similar culture. In fact, we speak almost the same language, the food is not that different, and the people are very open,” she recalls.

During her stay in Buenos Aires, Sara tried the typical mate leaf tea, although she found it “very bitter”, and says she prefers the tereré version. She visited Iguazú Falls, Patagonia and Jujuy, incorporated slang words such as “mufa” and “canchero”, into her lexicon, and even celebrated Argentina's goals in the World Cup final.

“I was so happy to be able to work at the company's headquarters. Being able to see my colleagues daily and having face-to-face meetings made the work much easier. In fact, I returned to Spain with excellent memories and friends from the office,” she adds.

Finally, she has some words of advice for the younger generations: “You have to work hard, be good at what you do and, above all, don’t stay in your comfort zone! Dare to take on new challenges—it’s the only way to grow!”

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