For Women’s History Month, we are highlighting members that are taking risks, making an impact, and reshaping conversations about women in the workplace.
Today we interview Elizabeth Hillstrom, lead mechanical engineer at Frost Methane, an environmentally conscious engineering & technology company. She states, “Our mission is to help fight runaway climate change, by mitigating concentrated methane seeps.” Elizabeth and her team are deeply passionate about driving positive environmental change through minimizing the amount of greenhouse gases produced in the atmosphere. “I have limited time. I want to create the most value for the world that I can.”
Frost Methane contributes to reducing emissions by converting methane into its equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. Effectively, this decreases its original warming potential by a factor of 25. She explains, “It is so technologically simple, and the opportunity exists, we almost have an obligation to do it.” Elizabeth leads the engineering and development of this technology at the Product Lab in the Port Workspaces. “For me, climate change is a really compelling problem to work on because it is the defining problem of our generation. It is already so important and is going to continue to become even more pressing.”
Elizabeth’s outstanding work entails designing, fabricating, testing and prototyping devices which, in future, can be left in remote areas without maintenance. These energy self-sustaining devices are equipped to convert methane, monitor the seeps and send data to satellites that Elizabeth has helped design and build! Her genuine care for her work is seen showcased through her willingness to travel and camp at test sites all over the world, including within the arctic circle. “We want to make an impact. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.”
Elizabeth’s passion for the environment doesn’t stop with her work at Frost Methane. When she isn’t backpacking, biking or sailing on her 34-foot boat ‘Sea Slug’, she is on the board of directors for a non-for-profit in Alaska; Inian Island Institute. Originally, she began her time at the wilderness reserve as a student and now drives the vision and mission of the environmental, education field school. “It’s a pretty mind-blowing place, that helps inspire and build a community of young people who are passionate about climate change.”
Overall, Elizabeth and her team’s environmental purpose to reduce the impacts of climate change is extremely inspiring. Her can do attitude and positive personality has driven the technological success of the company. “This project is so appealing, because it is so simple. Someone needed to make it happen. The sooner we do it, the more impact we can have. That buys us more time for solving more global infrastructural problems.”