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Nadia Febina’s journey to climate tech began in the corridors of one of the oil and gas giants. After studying Gas and Petrochemical Engineering at university, Nadia went on to work for 15 years at BP, where she traversed the globe from Indonesia to Angola, the UK and Singapore working on FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) projects. Nadia first became interested in Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) whilst scuba diving off a remote Indonesian island. Thus began a decade long journey to discover the benefits of OETC which led her to found her company, Lumare Energi. Milly Young, head of our Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship, sits down with Nadia to hear more about her mission to harness the power of the oceans and contribute to a sustainable blue economy.

You worked in Oil and Gas for over 15 years before transitioning to renewables and founding Lumare. Can you talk a little about this transition and where the idea for Lumare came from?

It first started on a scuba diving trip in 2009 on a remote island in Indonesia. While sitting on a beautiful, pristine beach, I suddenly heard a noise and smelled diesel fumes from the diesel generator that powered the small and modest accommodations on that little island. It was pretty distracting, and I thought there must be a better way to do this. I was still working in Angola on an FPSO (Floating Production Storage and Offloading) project at that time. But after that diving trip experience, out of curiosity, I started to read casually and did research on the side about clean energy technologies, especially those that are suited for the island environment. I then found references and literature about ocean thermal energy (better known as ocean thermal energy conversion or OTEC), and I realised what this technology could do for rural communities in eastern Indonesia. I was hooked.

Long story short, after a few years, I took on a more formal approach to studying it and I did my Master’s in Professional Engineering with “OTEC application in Indonesia” as my major project. Not long after that, I quit my 15-year oil & gas job and, with encouragement and support from mentors, colleagues and relatives, I founded Lumare Energi in mid-2019.

What does Lumare Energi do?

Lumare is an Indonesian start-up with a vision of providing access to clean energy and drinking water from the deep ocean. With our technology that is based on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), we create clean energy with zero emissions and high mineral by-products from the Deep Sea Water (DSW), including drinking water and natural sea salt.

Our zero-emission technology helps solve water scarcity and electricity supply issues, contributing to a sustainable blue economy. It also runs day and night, unlike other renewable solutions, thus providing a better solution to dirty and expensive diesel generators on remote islands.

You are the Founder and CEO of Lumare. What strengths and attributes do you bring to the role?

My strength is that I am a passionate person. I am following the fire from my passion to keep me going. Also, I am a little bit stubborn and quite a persistent person. When something is said to be impossible, I do not believe it immediately; I will find other ways until it is proven impossible.

Specifically in the context of Lumare Energi, I think my 15+ years of experience in BP - from process engineering to project and operations management - is also beneficial for Lumare. From my work at BP, I learned many applicable technical skills and about rigour in managing projects and operations.

In 2022, The Economist's World Ocean Initiative awarded Lumare as a winner of the Ocean Changemaker Challenge. Can you tell us more about this?

Winning the Ocean Changemaker Challenge 2022 was undoubtedly the highlight of this stage! It was such a sweet surprise and really gave us a lot of encouragement to ourselves to keep going. I like to read The Economist and have followed and attended their online conferences. One day I saw that they are looking for a startup working to develop business solutions to ocean-related sustainability challenges. So I thought, hey, why not apply for this challenge? We then sent our pitch, which had to be in a 1-minute video format.

In their requirement, they specified that they were looking for startups that contribute to the sustainable development of the ocean economy, a startup that creates innovative, viable, scalable and action-oriented business solutions to sustainable blue-economy challenges. By “blue economy”, it means a sustainable ocean economy that harnesses marine ocean resources for long-term economic development and social prosperity while protecting the environment in perpetuity.

I saw the winners from previous years provide fantastic solutions to ocean-related challenges. So, I expected little when I applied for the challenge. When they told us that we were one of the three winners that they selected, I was ecstatic! To be able to interact with ocean leaders and to be acknowledged by them was very humbling and definitely gave us renewed energy to work more on Lumare.

What is your team focused on at the moment at Lumare Energi? What’s next? And where can we find out more?

It is now an exciting time for us! Our team has done conceptual engineering and preliminary studies. We also have selected potential locations for our pilot. On the technical side, we plan to do offshore surveys this year. On the business side, thanks to the WICEF program, we are re-looking at the customer side for customer validation. In parallel, we are also fundraising for the next stage. The feedback that we are getting is very helpful in shaping and refining our strategies. Our main challenge is that although it has a low OPEX (operating expenditure), it is pretty capital-intensive. So, we are now evaluating ways to derisk it and make it more attractive for investment. You can see more about us on our website: We also exist on Linkedin and Instagram.

Why did you decide to apply for the EnergyLab Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship?

Because of the word Energy and Women in one name :) I have been working in the energy field since I graduated from university and it is a very male-dominated field. Now, as a founder of an energy startup, it is still an area with few women involved. I bumped into EnergyLab and the WICEF program when I was browsing. I was very excited, and I applied right away.

Any advice for women founders in a male-dominated industry?

When we are a minority in a group, it is easy to feel impostor syndrome. We spoke a lot about this in the WICEF program, and this is a common theme among the women founders..

Once, I had to speak as a panellist in a world’s scale forum, and everyone on the panel and in the audience was much more experienced and competent than me. The day before the event, I was paralysed with fear. Somebody advised me to shift the focus to the service that I bring rather than on myself. It worked! I am not sure, but maybe this little trick can be helpful for us women founders in a male-dominated industry as we are prone to this syndrome. There will be days when we are overwhelmed by self-doubt. Try to shift the focus on the service and value we bring, look at our goals and our whys again, and keep going, one day at a time.

Anything else you’d like to talk about?

I want to thank Milly and EnergyLab for developing such an incredible program! It is pretty intense, but it covers so many fundamentals for founders. I wish I had it earlier!

Interested in joining EnergyLab’s Women in Climate and Energy Fellowship? Head over to our website to fill out an EOI form. If you have any questions, email Milly at [email protected].

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