Powering up the Energy Institute

ATTENDEES: The ICUE 2018 conference was held at the Sport Sciences Institute.

The recently held Industrial & Commercial Use of Energy Conference (ICUE) marked the changing of the guard at CPUT’s Energy Institute.

Started two decades ago by Prof Ernst Uken the Energy Institute was created as a platform to market research in energy to outside industry, like Eskom. When Prof Nico Beute brought the Domestic Use of Energy Conference (DUE) under the auspices of the Institute more researchers were attracted to the conference platform.

ICUE deals with research into the industrial applications of energy like power systems or mines while DUE concentrates on the smaller scale such as for home use or micro-grids.

Upon his retirement from CPUT Prof Philip Lloyd took over some of Uken’s Energy Institute duties and ran the conferences together with Beute.

Head of CPUT’s Centre for Distributed Power and Electronic Systems (CDPES) Prof Mohamed Tariq Khan pointed out that very recently though the Institute by itself oversaw no university students active in research.

“The three founding members were already retired and mostly serving in an advisory committee,” said Khan. He took over the running of the Institute in July this year, and by default the organising of the conferences.

“The Institute will now be supported by my very astute colleagues from the CDPES research and technical team. The CDPES is a large centre with over 80 graduate students in its Masters and Doctoral programme,” said Khan.

Senior lecturer and CDPES staffer Dr Khaled Aboalez, who sat on this year’s ICUE organising committee, said 34 papers were delivered at the conference and they are already thinking about how to expand international participation for next year.

“With the long history of these two conferences we will be able to invite more people, especially with the new conference management and the merging of the management of the CDPES and the Energy Institute under the leadership of Prof Khan.

“We do similar things but used to be isolated. Now with the new facilities and labs at CDPES we will be able to merge the experiences of the CDPES in application of power electronics and power system analysis with the scope of the Energy Institute for energy policies and energy economics. Both of the objectives will be unified for a more focused overview on different energy aspects, not only the technical but also policies and economic impact,” said Aboalez.

He said they were thinking of introducing a keynote address named after Lloyd in honour of the retired CPUT lecturer who passed away a week before the ICUE conference took place.

Engineer Andrew Kenny paid tribute to ex CPUT professor by delivering a paper written by Lloyd entitled “The Evolution of the UK Power Grid”, preceded by a warm description of a man who had a big impact on academic research into the use of energy in this country.

Using Gridwatch, the live monitoring website of the UK’s power grid, Lloyd had examined how that country had reduced its dependence on coal based power. His research pointed out that South Africa would only be able to do the same if it changed underlying conditions such as increasing the amount of power generated from alternate sources such as solar or wind.

Written by Theresa Smith

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