CEC engineers and technicians have collaborated with a team of fifth year engineering students from the Copperbelt University (CBU) to design and develop a live solar power plant model. Intended for use in demonstration and education purposes, the model was first used at CAMINEX 2018, held in June at the Kitwe showgrounds.
The project provided the students with the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in power electronics and renewable energy to a practical solution. The four students collectively applauded the CEC team for its guidance and support.
“The project was completed despite challenges such as the circuit failing to operate according to its initial design plan. However, from the various tasks that were carried out at the project site we learnt how to express our skills, how to manage and work within a given time frame and most importantly the effectiveness of team work. The team gave us the platform to express our knowledge on technical aspects and helped us with information on proper procedures carried out in the engineering industry,” they revealed.
The students were given a chance to demonstrate their knowledge on the technical aspects of the project and received invaluable experience in respect of the proper procedures employed in the engineering industry.
“Not only did the project help us acquire a depth of knowledge about renewable energy but it also helped us acquire even more knowledge about motor control. This knowledge will be of vital importance in industry especially in the mining sector. Most of the knowledge we’ve acquired thus far has been theoretical, such as how motors work, speed control as well as the forward and reverse control of it. Thus, the project helped us to have a feel of how it is done in practice. It was such a nice experience,” they enthused.
CEC has over the years provided platforms where industry can meaningfully interact with and add value to academic learning and sees building value-adding relationships between industry and academia as a key objective of its social investments.
As CEC expands its footprint in the renewables energy space, having only recently commissioned its first grid connected 1MW solar PV plant, and a first for Zambia, the Company has a vested interest in contributing to the quality of education in specialist fields at local universities.
“We are actively ensuring that home-grown talent and skills are available to the industry and the country, as a whole, in what is a relatively new field in Zambia,” explained managing director, Owen Silavwe.
Some of CEC’s more notable investments in recent years intended to enhance practical learning and to promote research and innovation in students include a power system for the University of Zambia’s School of Engineering, partnering with Germany’s GiZ on the development of a solar energy technology curriculum for the CBU and provision of technical, logistical and material support to enable University of Zambia students to design and build an energy efficient prototype car.