The annual travel scholarship made to Heriot-Watt engineering students by the Incorporation of Hammermen of Edinburgh has this year been awarded to two students involved in a joint project.
The scholarship, made annually to an outstanding undergraduate mechanical engineer, allowing a developing young professional to supplement their learning during their normal undergraduate programme, will this year go to 4th Year MEng Students Gordon Ungruh and Thomas Werner.
The scholarship will cover some of their travel and subsistence costs on their six week summer visit to India as part of the EPSRC-DST funded project to develop a 5kW renewable energy power plant for off-grid communities in rural India.
The power plant brings together concentrated solar power, bio-gas production and hydrogen storage providing an on-demand electricity supply to a number of small communities. As part of their 4th Year undergraduate projects under the supervision of Dr O’Donovan, Gordon and Thomas have developed solar concentrators and solar receivers in a largely lab and experimental environment.
Dr O’Donovan said, “This trip is now an opportunity for them to acquire some real ‘hands-on’ experience of a working renewable energy power plant. The scholarship will also give them an invaluable cultural experience and, together with the collaborator in India, Professor Shibani Chaudhury at Visva Bharati University, an appreciation of the social and societal challenges such a disruptive technology can have on a community.
"I also anticipate that this visit will also lead to a conference or journal publication following the analysis of the preliminary performance data and yield from the power plant.”
Gordon added, “I am confident that this placement will provide both Thomas and me with a unique opportunity to experience some real engineering as well as a unique cultural experience in what will be a very challenging rural environment. It will also enhance our employability in the future.”
The students will also give a presentation on their experiences at the Incorporation’s Annual Dinner.