May 2013

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She is an engineering student who has studied classical Indian dance since the age of four or perhaps she’s a dancer who loves to analyse power system operation and application of advanced technologies to improve transmission efficiency. A huge mouthful but that’s the research area of this final year student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The UWI, St Augustine Campus.

Laurel Bhairosingh is a young woman who believes that ‘no matter how many times you fall (literally and figuratively), all that matters is how many times you get up’. That gives some indication as to why she’s also the recipient of the 2013 IEEE Power & Energy Society Student Prize Paper Award in honour of T. Burke Hayes. The IEEE Power & Energy Society is a leading provider of scientific and engineering information on electric power and energy, enriching humanity through innovation. This particular award recognizes an outstanding original student paper in electrical power engineering and the competition is based solely on judging of written papers related to the electric power industry. The purpose of this award is to encourage students in their professional development, to stimulate interest in the programmes of the electric power industry, to encourage students to prepare quality technical papers with faculty supervision and to recognize the schools and faculties that provide guidance in these areas.

She described the application of her research which focuses on asset management and improving the usage efficiency of overhead power lines. “As industrial growth continues, demand for electricity has increased, resulting in the occurrence of transmission network bottlenecks. I am investigating the feasibility of increasing the amount of current that can be transferred using existing network infrastructure and generation resources.”

So, why engineering? And why that area, electrical and computer engineering? The reason for her selection has its genesis in those genes that make her want to dance. She sees it as a field that would allow her to create something new that can positively impact the lives of many. Her choice of area lay in that same social consciousness. The department’s mission statement resounded with her personal life goals: ‘to produce bold, articulate engineering graduates and to conduct relevant and innovative research and development for the social, economic and intellectual growth of the Caribbean region.’ She found a mentor in Dr Sanjay Bahadoorsingh who constantly and patiently emphasized to her the need to always give her best. She credits him and the support of Professor Chandrabhan Sharma with her success.

The discipline that comes from classical dance classes once a week for more than a decade, under the tutelage of Guru Sandra Sookdeo, and the self-expression through movement come together in her pursuit of excellence in engineering. Escape into dance allows Laurel to manage the stress of studying and to keep balance in her life. Next steps include gaining industry experience and, later, graduate studies in the field of power engineering. But always, always, for Laurel, there will be dance.

Paper Details

Title of paper: Development of a MATLAB Based Dynamic Line Rating Software Tool

This asset management oriented project focused on improving the usage efficiency of overhead power lines to yield an increase in grid power transfer. The factors influencing an overhead conductor’s rate of heating and cooling were thoroughly reviewed. Real time environmental conditions including ambient temperature and wind speed were employed to dynamically determine optimal power transfer ratings for transmission lines. A graphical user friendly software tool for overhead dynamic line rating was also developed in MATLAB.

The award will be presented at the IEEE PES Student/Faculty/Industry Luncheon of the 2013 instalment of the prestigious IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting in July in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.