Power crisis has spurred engineering students to devise energy-saving projects this year

What if you had an application in your building that could track which household uses the maximum electricity and could calculate extra tariffs for that specific household? Would the timing and duration of load shedding differ for everybody then?

And when there is a power cut for ‘maintenance purposes', is it possible to have solar energy extracted through a micro grid, as per requirements? These ideas may seem a little complicated or even like wishful thinking to some, but for M. Yogalakshmi and Varsha Jayakumar of Sai Ram engineering college, and many like them, these are the elementary questions that they seek answers to, while working on ways to optimise power supply.

While the trend in most electrical and electronics projects in engineering colleges in the past saw students working day and night on building sophisticated and sometimes, menacing robots, this year has seen them striving to come up with innovative answers to the prevailing power crisis.

The College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University, has now opened its campus for students from all engineering colleges to display their power-related projects on its premises for a few days.

“We realise that there are ample shortcomings in whatever projects we come up with and sometimes, we need experienced professors to tell us that. However, they may not be available everywhere. So students can come and avail of the technical expertise of the faculty here to improve their projects,” says S. Manikandan, a student of the College.

As part of the same drive, students have been asked to go through the abstracts of the projects of their seniors and improve on them so that results are faster.

Most students here have been following the Kudankulam project too, and seem to firmly believe that the plant is necessary.

“But we are also looking at how can we maximise output from existing grids,” said K. Narayanan, a student involved in the micro grid project for the university.

Solar panels and solar cells and a micro grid that powers four tubelights and a fan have also come up recently at the University, with the involvement of students, faculty members and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board officials.

The University has nearly 40 clubs, many of which are green clubs that examine a variety of issues ranging from preservation of old trees in the campus to conservation of power.

The students have also come up with applications that study the best time to capture solar energy and analyse load shedding patterns. “The attempt is to increase the technical efficiency of the projects so that they can be used or even considered at a higher level,” says S. Santhosh Raghavan, another student.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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