Shubhankan Mukherjee

MSc Advanced Power Engineering, 2020

What path has your career taken since graduation?

Scotland has always been at the forefront of leading and developing sustainable energy solutions and University of Edinburgh has played a key role by encouraging research and pioneering cutting-edge technologies in the aforementioned areas. Since graduation, I have remained committed to working in the renewable energy sector. The electrical grid is a dynamic system, and this has always made me solicitous and apprehensive about the intermittency of solar and wind systems, to name a few.

So, I have worked in the energy storage industry developing robust technologies like batteries, flywheels and super capacitors to support the grid. Recently, the electric vehicle industry is gaining a lot of attention and traction. But paradigm altering innovation needs to be made to support fast charging of vehicles and providing abundant charging stations to support the growing demand without constraining the grid. I was bouncing off the walls when I started to design engineering solutions to make this revolution possible.

What is your current role and what does your work involve?

I am currently working as an Electrical Design Engineer at GRIDSERVE. GRIDSERVE has commissioned the world’s first electric vehicle charging forecourt at Braintree, UK. The design is a reminiscence of a fuel station but powered by the grid to charge electric vehicles while you grab a cuppa, post your mails or order a sandwich. We promote sun to wheel ecosystem wherein majority of our sites have solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to support the grid.

The upside of being a design engineer is I can give wings to innovative design and bring new technologies to life. My work starts at the development stage on how the site should be built (typical site plan) to designing intricate system like intelligent charge control which involves power system analysis, control and protection systems. On a given day, I can be working on designing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to remotely monitor the site performance or be designing fast-charging control algorithms to ensure safe power flow site-wide.

What experiences do you feel helped you get to your current position?

Pursuing my masters at THE University of Edinburgh has equipped me to deliver to the best of my potential. My masters degree and the University’s award-winning resources instilled the trait of independent thinking which is imperative to be successful in any field. It has made me more confident to travel into the uncharted roads and open doors to new horizons. This was all possible because of the research projects I carried out and subjects I pursued during my masters.

Also, I would definitely vouch for gaining industrial exposure through placements and also volunteering activities in the university which helped me develop key people skills. In addition to this, I would say that we should continue to learn and grow after graduation by taking up vocational courses and test our knowledge in budding areas by doing certificate courses.

How have you used the skills and/or knowledge developed during your degree in your career?

My degree was a two-year programme. It gave me sufficient time to learn the theory and understand the underlying principle of how things work, put my knowledge into action by applying them in research-based projects and get industrial exposure by visiting companies which are pioneering developments in renewable energy sector.

Having the right mix of theoretical learning and practical implementation abilities is imperative. Every moment counts at University of Edinburgh and there is wide array of resources for developing key skills and drive one’s passion to new heights. I distinctly remember the lab-based courses which involved MATLAB and LABVIEW based subjects and to date, I regularly use them to carry out my engineering activities/duties.

Also, engineering is just not about design but managing projects and people. At the University of Edinburgh, I have met people from diverse backgrounds and learnt a lot about their culture. This has endowed me to gel well with people and approach any situation pragmatically.

What do you think was the most valuable aspect of your time at Edinburgh in preparation for your career?

To my reckoning, I would say the opportunity to learn from industry and academic experts was one of the most valued aspects. Alongside, the city of Edinburgh has many organisations that are actively and successfully deploying new technologies in green energy fronts. Choosing Edinburgh was one of my best decisions as it allowed me to reach out to these firms and get first-hand experience to widen my knowledge. I am a firm believer of the notion which is, we believe what we see. I was fortunate to be blessed with the privilege to witness that my degree is making a difference and helping the world to transition to renewable energy and this filled me with enthusiasm to go to campus with bells on.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in your area of work?

The first thought that comes to my mind is having strong basic knowledge which is the key to solidifying foundation of the subject matter. Also, some keys area which will continue to play a part of your engineering career is electrical machines, power systems and control fundamentals. Pivotal attribute which will support one’s professional journey is working on software skills as it is not only important, but it will assist you to efficiently accomplish your goals and prosper in your field.

In addition to this, I would suggest that networking is crucial these days, as it is just not about making new connections, but how we can turn connections, by rubbing shoulders with people, into opportunities.

Quote: A good engineer is always learning!

Shubhankan Mukherjee
Shubhankan Mukherjee