On the 27th of September 2019, the IEEE University of Nairobi Student Branch had the immense pleasure of hosting engineers from the ABB Group. This was a culmination of weeks of planning and preparation, and we are glad it came to fruition.
Students started getting seated as early as 1:30 pm, which was evidence of the yearning for knowledge rumbling within their intellectual bellies. Thanks to their punctuality, the talk kicked off promptly at 2 pm, which, in and of itself, is a feat to behold.
The talk was divided into two sections: Energy Management and Renewable Energy.
Eng. Muchina kicked off the session with a brief discussion on centralised and decentralised grid systems along with their pros and cons. There was a mention on smart grid and how they could play a big role in the evolution energy transmission and distribution. And finally he covered on the very important topic of protection of power systems, through the use of switchgears among other protection mechanisms.
Next up, Eng. Irungu gave a detailed treatise on power factor, going to the extent of explaining the concepts on a white board which was at hand. Mention on how capacitive and inductive loads affect power factor, and even ways of detecting when you have a power factor issue was made. There was also a discussion on harmonics and how they can be detrimental to the operation of certain sensitive equipment, for instance those in hospitals, thus a need to eliminate them in such scenarios.
After a short refreshment break, Eng. Nzethe took the attendants through how the use of variable speed drives could lead to more energy efficiency in pumping application. There was also a short crash course on the basics of pumps and pump curves.
The final session was on renewable by Eng. Macharia. Unfortunately at this point in time we were running short of time and thus had a short treatise on microgrids and how the could be used to bridge the energy gap in the rural areas.
The event culminated with a short demo on some of the equipment ABB had brought with them such as the variable speed drives for pumps and a selection of breakers.
However, there was so much still left uncovered and time the infernal limiter caught up with us, the students unanimously extended an invitation for ABB to return on a future date, and continue the conversation.
Throughout the session, the ABB team kept the attendants engaged by asking questions and those who participated made away with ABB branded pens, caps, books, mugs and even coasters.
All in all it was an extremely informative session, and the IEEE UoN SB looks forward to building a partnership with ABB Group going forward.
It is the aim of the IEEE University of Nairobi Student Branch to enrich student lives by supplementing what is learnt in class in a bid to create holistic individuals. If you are reading this, and you aren’t an IEEE member yet, you could consider joining one of the largest professional bodies by going to https://www.ieee.org/membership/join/index.html and creating an account.