Any Masters student will tell you how challenging it is to complete their thesis. It’s a lot of hard work, and hopefully, somewhere down the line, you can do some good for humanity. It’s not often that your work has impact from day one and receives award-winning recognition! We caught up with MSc in Environomical Pathways for Sustainable Energy Systems student, Christoforos Meno-Aikateriniadis, who now works at AFRY Management Consulting in Oxford (UK) in the field of energy markets. He tells us about his project: “It was in collaboration with one of Europe’s largest utilities providing clean electricity and heat, Vattenfall. It was part of a larger project within the departments of R&D and Electrical Distribution – with crucial results for internal development and analysis in the innovative area of fault identification/prediction with smart meter data. While challenging and demanding, it was motivating to know that from the first moment the project will have an impact. Having it win 3rd place in the Vattenfall Energy Awards was icing on the cake!”
Christoforos shares more details on how his thesis, ‘Methods to identify broken neutral fault in LV distribution grids, by using existing smart meters infrastructure’ will affect the industry. “With an impact and applicability in Vattenfall’s monitoring system, the project helps to understand smart meter infrastructure and data, and their role in upcoming smart grids. I applied algorithmic and machine learning methods to identify common faults in low voltage grids, such as broken neutral fault and phase losses. The value is to bring in information from the smart meters to contribute to better and more efficient monitoring of the Low Voltage (LV) and Medium Voltage (MV) networks. There’s big potential to supervise LV networks with the assistance of the end-customer smart meters, so Vattenfall wants to take further advantage of such data. Vattenfall has evaluated my conclusions, and they are right now working on how to use/integrate them in real-life applications!”
Christoforos explains that Europe was an “easy” choice since there are a lot of prestigious universities and it’s the epi-centre of the energy transition. “I chose EIT InnoEnergy Master School since you can study at great technical universities, but at the same time improve business knowledge and soft skills. The majority of the projects require teamwork, strong collaboration and interpersonal skills in a multicultural environment with people from all around the world. We also study in two different countries and visit areas such as Togo, Africa or Indonesia for real-life projects. The excellent combination of academic knowledge and real-life projects gives you a solid profile as a potential employee and expands your horizons as an individual.
During his project, Christoforos received valuable support from two mentors, one from Vattenfall and one from KTH. He says, “A great individual can achieve great things, but a great team can excel. I shared this with the head of the R&D department in Vattenfall when he asked me for feedback. I wanted to show that the more trust and support organisations provide to students, the better the outcome will be for both. I recommend that students and supervisors seek out these mentorships – as they are beneficial to both sides!”
Looking back on this intense time during the heat of the project, Christoforos has only good things to say about the process: “What a great experience for a student to work daily in a large, international company such as Vattenfall. I was there for six months, basically as a normal employee. The project has had an amazing domino effect, including winning 3rd place for my thesis and contributing to me landing my current position. Also, I am working on a paper that will be published in the next few months in collaboration with my mentors from KTH and Vattenfall in an energy journal. It was the best closure of my academic life and I am looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead!”
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