Powering the New Normal
Published on Wednesday, 09 Feb 2022 https://www.cpjobs.com/hk/article/powering-the-new-normal
By Ms Gloria WONG from the Electrical Division of the HKIE
Engineers do wondrous things every day in a wide variety of fields for the good of society. Not the least of these fields is electrical engineering. This is a specialised type of engineering dealing with energy and electricity, and we owe these electrical engineers a salute for most of the “normals” that we take for granted in our lives today are powered by them. The hands of electrical engineers touch almost every part of our lives. It is no surprise that they are one of the driving tribes that make all our futures brighter.
Qualified electrical engineers can work as designers and developers of new electrical facilities, as well as experts in resolving electrical engineering related problems. They apply knowledge in electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism to systems of different scales and modes to process information and transmit energy. Electrical engineering is a very dynamic field that covers wide areas such as control systems, telecommunications, power transmission and distribution networks, electromechanics and signal processing. Electricity could be difficult for us to visualise in its form as invisible electrons, yet it reveals itself by various means to power our daily lives and energise the dynamics of our ever evolving society.
Embracing the “New Normal”
The future is driven by technological transformations. All walks of life are enjoying the convenience from offline to online experiences brought by innovative technologies. All these are underpinned by strong electricity steered infrastructure. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, electrical engineers are well-prepared for the ongoing challenges and embrace this “New Normal” by actively applying emerging technologies in multi-pronged dimensions to cope with the greater demand on quality and quantity of electricity-driven facilities. Professional electrical engineers innovate in order to pave the way for a smarter and better quality of living for us all. A few of their many achievements are highlighted hereafter.
Digital technologies are everywhere in our daily lives, transforming the way we live, work, travel and play. Such digital transformations pose ever increasing demand for safe and reliable power systems. For example, in order to cope with the development of a sustainable and smart airport, Hong Kong International Airport has explored a High-voltage Battery Energy Storage System using innovative new technologies such as Lithium-ion battery technology and load predictive control models using big data to enhance the backup capacity and robustness of its power network.
Smart building technology helps to connect building operations through the Internet of Things (IoT) and simplify tasks like building and facility management, energy saving, safety and security through computer devices and big data analytics. Smart buildings are connected and responsive to a smart power grid, and they interact with building operators and occupants to empower them with autonomous experiences and accurate information for decision making.
Smart mobility generally encompasses digitally connected infrastructure components that provide integrated transportation system solutions to address traffic problems and related environmental issues. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are introduced to transform the planning, implementation and operation of mass transportation systems. A pilot Smart Train Planning system powered by an AI algorithm was developed by MTR to automate the preparation and optimisation of daily train dispatch plans in order to achieve high train availability and operational excellence in a more complex operational environment.
A roadmap to becoming an Electrical Engineer
Engineers are professionals who build better futures for us all. With this belief and my interest in applying scientific theory to solve problems in our everyday lives, as well as the awareness of climatic change that is going to be a big crisis for mankind, I determined to become an electrical engineer who can construct innovative solutions for low-carbon, sustainable living. To ignite the spark of my passion, I pursued my undergraduate studies and started my career development in electrical engineering.
Electrical engineering students should take the valuable opportunity to undergo a 2-year Scheme-A graduate training programme accredited by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (The HKIE) upon completion of a recognised undergraduate degree programme. My Scheme-A training was both fruitful and remarkable. Throughout the 2-year training programme, I acquired holistic knowledge of multiple aspects of engineering and gained the opportunity to put the knowledge I acquired into practice. In addition, I got the chance to rotate across different divisions and sections to widen my exposure. I was also assigned an engineering expert as a tutor who seamlessly offered career guidance and professional advice throughout the training programme. Upon completing the Scheme-A training with a satisfactory performance, I was promoted to Assistant Engineer and I am now en route in my professional development to becoming a professional engineer.
Electrical engineers hold the keys to global carbon neutrality. The power grid is now in the course of decarbonisation: Renewable energies are expanding, energy storage systems are evolving, and vehicles are electrifying. Electrical engineers are sparing no effort in exploiting opportunities to deploy new technologies and formulate new solutions to tackle upcoming challenges.
We are in the most exciting time for our profession. Engineering is conventionally perceived as a male-dominated profession. But today it is now a profession that brings out the best talent from both genders. Electrical engineering students are encouraged to join the well-established Scheme-A graduate training to embark on the pursuit of becoming a professional electrical engineer, and together we will power the next “New Normal” to come.