Late in 2022 I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jane Melia, the CEO and co-founder of Harvest Thermal. They had announced a deal with BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based firm that does electrification retrofits, and so were sending out press releases. I get zillions of them, but most are pretty boring. Melia isn’t boring at all, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with her.
Melia has three passports British, French and American, and has been living in the San Francisco Bay area since 2004. Her original PhD in fluid mechanics led her to working in wind energy, but she quickly jumped over to the business side of the world, working on corporate strategy.
Melia’s PhD was about the flow of fluids through arrays of obstacles, something she applied to wind turbines, doing computational fluid dynamics studies to optimize wind farms. Her thesis was focused on the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984, where a Union Carbide plant released a toxic cloud of methyl isocyanate that injured 574,366 people and killing 2,259 people outright. The modeling up until that time for gas releases failed spectacularly to account for the actual flow of the gases. Obstacles were supposed to cause mixing and hence reductions of toxicity, but in actual fact eddies behind buildings caused concentration of the gases.
But Melia had a burning desire to both solve her own home heating issues and build a firm around the solution. And so, Harvest Thermal was founded in 2017.
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