Renewable energy

In profile: Mechanical Engineer Franco Montagner

Opportunities to move within the organisation have kept Mechanical Engineer Franco Montagner’s skills relevant, and his interest keen.

Franco Montagner on site 850w

“I haven’t been in the same role for more than three or four years, and I’ve been able to work across the organisation in quite different positions,” Franco said as he was recognised for his 25 years with CS Energy.

“I’ve been able to work across a lot of different boundaries and divisions, which has also let me build up good relationships with people over the years.”

Franco’s career started as a contractor at AUSTA Electric in 1996, when CS Energy’s power stations, along with Stanwell and Tarong, all used to be in one company.

When the National Electricity Market started operating in 1997/98, four government-owned corporations were created: CS Energy, Stanwell, Tarong, and the in-house engineering consultancy called AUSTA Energy.

“I moved into AUSTA Energy, becoming a permanent employee in 1998, but in 1999 AUSTA Energy was disbanded.

“Given the choice to go to the other three companies, I chose CS Energy because Callide C was being built at the time, and I’d done a lot of consulting work there in the past.”

Franco moved to Biloela to work on interfaces from Callide B to Callide C, such as coal plant and raw water system upgrades, and then on Callide B water systems and ash dams.

Back to Brisbane

In 2003, he moved back to Brisbane to work with the team looking at new power stations development, such as Kogan Creek, which began construction in 2005.

“We were looking at other projects that we may have wanted to build, including carbon capture and sequestration options – and that’s when I started on the Callide Oxyfuel Project, in 2006.”

The Callide Oxyfuel Project was a demonstration project which successfully showed carbon capture technology could lower emissions at a coal-fired power station by retrofitting Callide A Power Station with oxyfuel technology – a world first.

“I was on the project for eight years across the different phases all the way from feasibility and construction to commissioning and operations,” Franco said.

When the demonstration phase ended, Franco moved into asset management, looking into plant investigations, reviews, and strategies, greenhouse reporting before moving into data analytics in 2019.

“After that, I was seconded into Future Energy during the early days of the hydrogen demonstration plant at Kogan Creek, before moving back into asset management in my current role, which is reviewing the work that’s happening, looking at how we may improve our systems, and make sure we’ve got the right strategy for us.”

Franco said his favourite role so far was the oxyfuel project.

“A lot of good work was done,” he said.

“As an engineer, it taught me a lot about project engineering, project management, and risk management, which I didn’t have a great deal of exposure to before.

Overall, Franco says, “I have had a diverse range of roles which has helped me develop my career.”