Vibrant. That’s the first word that comes to mind when you meet Xia. And afterwards: cheerful character, positive approach, creative thinker, eager to learn, not to be pigeonholed. Perhaps not exactly qualities you would expect in a woman who spends much of her time in the lab. Yet it is precisely these kinds of qualities that empower her as a technologist. Meet Xia, who knows how to combine her research work with tasks as a prevention officer and internship supervisor.
During her biotechnology study at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, Xia knew she didn’t want a job in the medical specialization she had chosen. She found out that process technology suits her better. She therefore decided to do her internships in that direction. This gave her enough experience to start working as a technologist at Recell in September 2020. “Because I have a different background than my colleagues, I sometimes look at things differently. It enables us to really strengthen each other”, says Xia.
The fact that at Recell she is given the freedom to take on general tasks in addition to laboratory work is important to Xia. She is a prevention officer and internship supervisor. And she took on a number of marketing tasks for a while. “I am extremely inquisitive. And at Recell there are still a lot of things that we have to standardize because we are growing so fast. This way I can continue to challenge and develop myself. That’s cool!”
As an engineer, Xia is responsible for the Recell quality. “Quality in the broadest sense of the word. I look at how we can obtain the best quality tertiary cellulose from the residual flows that come in. With the expertise of the lab, we ensure that only the best Recell quality goes to manufacturers for use in new products. And sometimes it is about answering the question: what do we do if a residual flow does not comply?” In addition, Xia is involved in new applications and projects, where she also focuses on quality. Such as with Cell-U-Value, a collaboration between
With our brands Recell Infra, Recell Compose and Recell Chem we focus on the following markets respectively: Infrastructure, Construction and Chemicals. Recell Services is part of the R&D (Research & Development) department. Xia: “Residual flows come in here. We analyze their quality and potential. What can you do with such a residual flow, besides taking it to the landfill or incinerator? And what reprocessing could we do if the quality does not yet match 100% with the intended application? We also consider the possibility to generate glucose from it, for example, for the chemical industry or cellulose as a raw material for biocomposites. Because not every stream can be used for just about anything.”
If we can indeed recover cellulose or glucose, a business plan is included. “In this way we ensure that value is returned to a company’s residual flow. We walk our customers through this step by step.” And when the analyzes result in a pilot, we are happy to guide this pilot from Recell Services. “In many cases, the cellulose can be separated easily. But if not, we can also look at how we can extract plastics from the residual flow, for example, which can be returned to the customer’s circulation.”
Doing, not just talking
Sustainability is gradually becoming an umbrella term. However, that does not make it any less important to make a positive contribution to the environment and climate. Xia: “What we do at Recell is not a pretty picture for some time in the future. We are doing it now! And that is badly needed, because the climate problem is huge and has to be tackled from all sides. At Recell we don’t just talk, but we do!” She loves putting her shoulders to the wheel together with her Recell colleagues. “We are all working towards a goal. At Recell, you are given the space to find your own path and to develop. And we are able to react quickly to the market and to new innovations, which makes our work super interesting!”