Are Smart Grids a “smart” solution to solve Bangladesh’s energy demand surge? That’s the question power systems engineer, Luca Pizzimbone, is answering in a first-of-its-kind feasibility study financed by the German Development Bank.
In this post, Luca shares about his Bangladeshi experience in Khulna – far from our headquarters in Bad Vilbel. Read more about the technical details of the project in his earlier post.
The shortest route to Khulna is via Frankfurt on a 30-hour journey that involves three long flights and a bumpy three hour bus ride.
Normally, I commute to our offices in Bad Vilbel by bike through the woods with a beautiful view.
So, you can imagine my hesitation. But this was a great project for a country in need of breakthrough energy solutions for its 160 million citizens. It was certainly worth the inconvenience on my end.
As a power systems engineer, my role in the project was to conduct the training on network analysis and oversee the team’s execution of the power system studies.
When I finally arrived in Khulna after my 30-hour journey, I had to deliver a five-day training. This training was to prepare the young engineers to hit the ground running with the modelling software. Afterwards they needed to update and complete their mathematical model within two months’ time.
As you can imagine, the training was very intense. Since it was the first time we had worked together, we had to learn about each other’s level of experience and expertise on the go.
Everyone proved to be enthusiastic and fast learners. The team’s deep knowledge of the electrical grid was a big advantage. Since they recalled so much by heart, we could adjust the grid quickly with high accuracy.
We owe much of our swift progress to Firas Jrad, another talented Tractebel engineer in Bad Vilbel. He did a superb job preparing the draft mathematical model for the training, giving us a solid basis to work from.
The study results reflect the diverse expertise that we brought to this challenge. The new ideas and possibilities that emerged from this diversity added significant value to the process.
The intensity of the training also helped to forge essential bonds within the team. It was clear that by working together – pooling our joint expertise and experience – we could achieve better results. Despite the intensity of the training, the team was also able to gradually develop their skills with the modelling software with Tractebel’s support.
Discovering great food and my Doppelganger
Beyond the training, I had fantastic experiences discovering Bangladeshi culture. I really enjoyed all the great vegetarian food that was specially prepared for me along with delicious teas and snacks. I learned that vegetables in Bangladesh are far fresher and tastier than I imagined. And notably spicy.
I also discovered that I have a Bangladeshi Doppelganger! Lalon is a centuries-old revered philosopher, mystic and song writer who the team and some local people were convinced I look exactly like.
Do you see any resemblance? Of course, I was pleased by the comparison – even if Lalon was not an engineer… You can judge for yourself:
(Small hint: Lalon is on the right! 😉)
Lalon would be pleased
As a great philosopher, I’m sure that Lalon would be pleased with the great possibilities we were discovering through our research with such a diverse team of experts.
It’s really the best of “East meets West” as a first-of-its-kind feasibility study – financed by the German Development Bank in partnership with Bangladesh’s Western Zone Power Distribution Company Limited (WZPDCL). If we can harness the power of Smart Grids for Bangladesh with all this diverse expertise, the country’s energy future looks far brighter indeed. As for me, I’m looking forward to other uplifting projects…no matter how long the journey.