The challenge is trying to cope with the increase in demand and supply, by using novel equipment and techniques, and at the same time making sure we maintain and understand the ageing of existing assets on our network.
The diversity of projects attracted me to this role. I presently work as a link between industry and the university, where I use my knowledge in power systems and high voltage, in providing short term consultancy and research solutions to UK and international power companies. The role involves working with industries in different fields, including power, energy, aerospace and marine transport.
I first joined the University of Manchester in 2005, to pursue my Masters in Electrical Power Systems. The university runs one of the most prestigious MSc courses in this subject, and I wanted to give myself an edge in the demanding job market by joining this course. I later stayed on to pursue a PhD, due to my growing interest in the field of electrical energy and high voltage. Upon finishing my PhD, I took my present role at the university, as I watched the demand for skilled engineers increase in the energy sector, and University of Manchester was in the forefront of energy research. The university allows me to use the facilities and my knowledge to aid energy companies. The University of Manchester has the largest capability in high voltage test equipment in the UK, coupled with a high research profile. Therefore, I have an array of resources I can use in order to solve energy and power issues.
The electrical power industry is presently seeking radically different equipment designs and environmentally acceptable technology solutions to support the rapid change in generation mix and growth in electrical load. Other areas are moving towards high voltage systems including aviation and marine transportation. My role is to support the design of high voltage products and systems, providing testing in the HV laboratories as well as specialist simulation support using software including 3D simulations. I support the electrical power industry by providing them with 'non-routine' high voltage testing and consultancy that leverages my unique skill-set. My job is not only to look at new developments in the energy markets, but also understand the ageing of existing assets on our electricity network.
My daily role is defined by the needs of the power industry, which includes teaching, research and consultancy. As a Knowledge Transfer Research Fellow, I try to bridge the gap between the university and industry. My day to day activities are varied and diverse; from testing equipment within the lab at high voltages, or testing power electronics to be used in modern aircraft in special environmental chambers. Some days I teach students about power systems and high voltage engineering, and other days I help power companies to design their new transmission towers. I could also be working offshore on ship generator systems, trying to help maritime organisations and industry. I have the freedom to be able to work on a wide range of projects, from different industries, thus exposing me to several areas within energy and engineering. My work has a direct impact on the way we generate, transmit and use energy. I learn something new every day, and have the opportunity to then teach that within the university. The landscape of energy is changing, and my job allows me to be a part of this change and make an impact on future energy issues.
My job at the university is to try and find novel solutions to problems faced by the power industry. This means I work mostly with industrial partners, both within the UK and abroad. Some challenges faced by industry need different fields of expertise, in which case I tend to work with colleagues from different research groups and areas, to try to find multi-disciplinary solutions. Most of the work I do is either presented at international conferences or technical meetings, in order to showcase the facilities and knowledge base we have within the University of Manchester. I also teach undergraduate and postgraduate students in order to raise awareness and interest in my area of expertise.
I am presently involved in working with different companies and research groups in trying to understand the needs of changing energy demand and supply. I hope that my work, and the combined research at the University of Manchester, helps in developing innovative, cost effective and sustainable solutions for energy transmission, generation and storage. I feel that the work I do will affect the way we look at energy and also, hopefully, inspire students to study engineering and future energy related issues.
The challenge is trying to cope with the increase in demand and supply, by using novel equipment and techniques, and at the same time making sure we maintain and understand the ageing of existing assets on our network. The future energy landscape will be a mixture of new and old techniques, and the key is to understand the performance of such a hybrid network and make sure we guarantee the security and stability of electricity supply.