UPM Biofuels

Chemical engineering student Matias became familiar with everyday work at the biorefinery during summer job

Chemical engineering student Matias became familiar with everyday work at the biorefinery during summer job

The UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery offered chemical engineering student Matias Korvela, 24, an interesting seven-month summer job that complemented his studies. Matias is a final-year student at the Centria University of Applied Sciences in Kokkola.

He worked as a field operator at the biorefinery, where his job was to ensure that everything ran smoothly. “My tasks included taking samples of the biofuel in different phases of the manufacturing process and delivering them to the lab for inspection. I was also responsible for monitoring various pieces of equipment and ensuring that they worked,” he says.

Matias says he applied for a summer job at the Lappeenranta biorefinery not only because of his studies, but also because he was interested in biofuel production: “I decided to apply shortly after I had attended a course focusing on renewable energies.”

He worked at the biorefinery for a considerably longer period than the traditional few months for a summer job. “I started working there at the beginning of March and my last shift was at the end of September. This allowed me to get a broader picture of the biofuel manufacturing process,” Matias says.

Orientation – then independent work

Matias says that the job requirements were challenging and that the first months included a work orientation period, after which he was allowed to work independently.

“Naturally, I received guidance up to the end and I was given a personal supervisor when I started, and they familiarised me with the work. The orientation period was planned quite well and my instructor was really good at guiding me, even though I had never worked at a biorefinery before.”

As well as the training period, Matias is grateful for the great team spirit which he says made the whole refinery a pleasant and fun place to work: “The people at the refinery just shared the same interests. There were no arguments and I also got lots of support and encouragement.”

An educational workplace in a nice city

Even though the distance between Matias’ home town Kokkola and Lappeenranta is almost 500 kilometres, he returned several times during these seven months. “We worked in shifts so we had six days off in a row. That gave me plenty of time to visit my family and friends back home,” he says.

Although he visited Kokkola several times, Matias also enjoyed staying in Lappeenranta. “I am used to being close to the sea from my childhood in Kokkola, so Lake Saimaa became very important to me during that time,” he explains.

Matias says that the summer job at the biorefinery was an interesting and educational experience that gave him lots of new knowledge to support his studies.

“The job at the biorefinery taught me more than any of my previous jobs. I can definitely recommend the Lappeenranta biorefinery for anyone who is interested in oil manufacturing, because you can see the whole process on a small scale in Lappeenranta.”


Author: Satu Peltola
Photo: Ville Vauhkonen