Let There Be Light: Interview with the Dean of SUSU Power Engineering Faculty, Sergey Gandzha

On December 22 the entire power engineering community of Russia celebrates the Power Engineer’s Day.

This is a professional holiday for workers of the industry which includes generating, transmission and consumption of electric and heat energy. The holiday originated in the distant 1920, when the well-known GOELRO plan was approved. Today, Russia is considered an energetic country which holds advanced positions in the world. It is very symbolic that the holiday concurred with the shortest light day of the year, when power engineers need to work their hardest.

“There are no former power engineers,” say those who had ever been part of creating and maintaining energy systems and those who nowadays perform the responsible job of a power engineer. The Power Engineer’s Day is the holiday for everybody who knows that ‘heat’ and ‘light’ are not just words but an entire epoh in their lives. Dean of SUSU Power Engineering FacultySergey Gandzha, told us about importance of the profession and about upcoming celebratory events.

– What is specificity of the profession of power engineer? How important is it?

– In order to understand how important power engineering is, it is enough to be left without heat and light for a short period of time. The importance of power engineering is not just determined by the fact that this is a budget-generating branch of industry. For Russia, heat energy is very important. We are a northern country. Average annual zero isothermal line passes alongside southern borders of our country. If we won’t be able to keep ourselves warm, all other threats will become secondary. Thermal power engineering has always been relevant. We have a fully-featured Department of Industrial Thermal Power Engineering which is developing together with the entire Faculty and performs training at every level: bachelor’s, master’s and postgraduate studies. Structure of the Faculty as arranged so that we perform training of specialists of the entire process chain of power engineering: generation, energy transmission over a distance, distribution of powerful energy flows, and consumption. If a student decided to dedicate himself to this wonderful profession, he can get education in any these areas. We also perform training of specialists in renewable power engineering. ThisDepartment is dynamically developing as well. This year we are going to see the first group of graduates who will become electro technicians, the specialists who will be using electron as a tool for technology process: lasers, welding, various types of heating, electrolysis, and electron beam and ion technology. The Department of Electric Drive and Industrial Automation performs training in the sphere of automation processes and computerization.

– What must a specialist in the sphere of power engineering know and be able to do?

– Power engineering is a specific profession which requires a professional to have specific skills. The key word in power engineering is reliability. Equipment should operate properly and without any failures. Therefore, the most important quality of a power engineer is discipline. If a student yet in the process of study skips classes, passes from one semester to another with academic failures, then in the future the system will reject such a specialist. I should note that power engineering has always been at the top of science and technology. We are working with very complex equipment. It requires that a professional is highly qualified. We have the following proverb: ‘Power engineers can work everywhere but only those with power can work in power engineering’ which means only true professional can work in the sphere. We provide very good background training and, of course, the specific knowledge in the specialty. For that, we have all the necessary conditions: a modern laboratory base and highly qualified teachers.

– What innovations are there in the sphere of power engineering?

– If we count the time from the discovery of the Faraday’s Law of Induction made in 1831, then power engineering as an industry is soon turning 200 years old. During this time, power engineering pushed the limits of its own development. All the most significant and break-through achievements take place at the interdisciplinary level and the intersection of sciences. Lately there appeared the strategy of digitalization and computerization. Power engineering becomes intelligent. The term ‘smart power engineering’ came into existence. In order to create a smart system, all its elements should be computerized: generators, the network, distributing devices, and electric drives – a built-in microprocessor system should be present everywhere. Besides, there should be an intelligent supersystem for controlling such smart elements. We are going to perform training of such specialists. Nowadays strategy of the university’s development is being corrected, and the Rector gave the assignment for every Institute and Faculty to develop its general strategy of development. We determined our main area of development as follows: the digital distributed power engineering. This strategy fully corresponds with Federal Power Initiatives and programs for SUSU development: the NRU program (PNR-1), Program 5-100, and the University 3.0-4.0 program. We chose young scientist Viktor Tarasenko, whose candidate’s dissertation belongs to this research sphere, as the Technical Director of this main area of development.

– What do your Faculty’s students do within their practical training?

– The policy of the Ministry of Education and Science, of the university and the Faculty – is practice-oriented education. We do a lot in this area. First of all, we help students to master their professional occupation in the process of studying. Students undertake internships on-site as welders, circuit installers, or boiler operators. It is important that a student, while being the head of production, understood the structure of the process that he supervises. We try to choose topics for course papers and diploma thesis directly from the industry. We signed a Roadmap with the ChTPZ, and now the enterprise is specially for us preparing real-life industrial topics for the education process. Students are working on specific problems on the basis of commercial agreements and the obtained grants. At the Faculty, there are works in the sphere of distance and computer learning, and public open online courses are being developed.

– What events will be held within celebrating the Power Engineer’s Day?

– Preparation to celebrating the Power Engineer’s Day is almost fully organized by the Student Trade Union Committee. My only responsibility is approving the program and allocating money. On December 22 at 13:00 in the 2nd floor’s hall, the Power Engineering Faculty will hold the celebration for students, employees and guests. Within the celebration, our Faculty will be visited by a famous artist and inventor, Nikolay Panafidin, who will present four of his artworks at our student exhibition. All his devices are one way or another related to electricity. The students who will be able to guess the principles of his devices’ operation will be given complimentary prizes from the Dean’s Office. We also invited artists who graduated or are working at the Power Engineering Faculty. The exhibition of their artworks will be held under the slogan “A talented person is talented in everything” and will open on December 21 in the hall of the 3rd floor. I invite everyone to the Faculty for taking part in our celebration.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova; Anna Styazhkina
Event date: 
Friday, 22 December, 2017 - 13:00
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