The Big Interview: ‘I grew up in Blanch, my life was playing football with the lads and I wasn’t thinking about global problems’ – Kevin O’Toole, co-founder of Exergyn

At school, Kevin O’Toole wasn’t really sure what a mechanical engineer did, but thought it sounded cool. Graduating from Technical University Dublin with an engineering PhD, he became fascinated with the broader potential of smart alloys, which led to the patenting of a cutting-edge heat pump free of refrigerant gases, which are one of the main causes of global warming

Kevin O’Toole. Exergyn, the company he co-founded, has patented a cutting-edge, emissions-free heat pump that contains no refrigerant gases. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Like most teenagers called to a meeting with the school guidance counsellor, Kevin O’Toole had no real idea what he wanted to do with his life.

“I grew up wanting to be a train driver. My dad was a plumber, I was always around mechanical things and I liked them. When I was 16, deciding what to do with the guidance counsellor, I wasn’t sure what a mechanical engineer did. He told me something about ...