Awan’s doctoral research deals with the control methods for more efficient electric motors, which could replace traditional induction motors in industrial applications and help reduce the carbon footprint of motor driven systems
F. M. Mahafugur Rahman receives TEK’s and TFiF’s best dissertation award
Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering alumnus, F. M. Mahafugur Rahman, has been awarded Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland (TEK) and Tekniska Föreningen i Finland (TFiF) the Best Dissertation of the Year Award. Rahman completed his doctoral studies in the summer of 2021, and in his dissertation, he presented real-time control algorithms for next-generation renewable energy production. These control methods are needed, for example, to connect wind and solar power plants to the electricity grid.
Rahman is currently working as an R&D Design Engineer at ABB Oy which he started after completing his doctoral studies.
‘The topic of my doctoral thesis is closely connected with my current work. The skills I gained during my doctoral studies, help me for the development of control software and a real-time operating system-based platform for ABB’s frequency converters,' he says.
Solving problems related to renewable energy
Renewable energy sources are connected to the electricity grid using power electronic converters. As renewable energy production is growing rapidly, the management of electricity networks is becoming more challenging, and therefore, converters must be controlled more intelligently.
‘My doctoral thesis relates to solving interaction and stability issues of the electricity network. With the methods I developed, the converters can actively maintain both the voltage and frequency of the grid and ensure the stability of the power system,’ Rahman says.
Moreover, the actual grid conditions are often unknown and time varying. The dissertation answers the problem, which also offers a connection to the variability of the grid conditions. Rahman’s control methods operate stably in both strong and very weak conditions with good dynamic performance, without the need for case-by-case retuning of the control system.
In addition to renewable energy production, the control methods can also be used in many other applications, for example, in energy-saving electric motor drives, in the electrification of heavy industrial machines, and in the port network connection of ships.
Rahman's supervisor, Professor Marko Hinkkanen, is very pleased with Rahman's work.
'Mahafugur did his work diligently but with a smile. He is also a team player, always ready to help others,' he says.
Hinkkanen is the leader of the Electric Drives research group. Two years ago, TEK's and TFiF's dissertation award was awarded to Asad Awan, who also did his dissertation in the Electric Drives group. Awan also works at ABB as it is a significant employer among Aalto University's alumni in electrical engineering.
A doctoral degree opens many doors
What about studying for a doctoral at Aalto University, is it worth it?
‘I would heartily recommend doing a doctoral degree at Aalto University. To the students, Aalto University provides a wonderful working environment and culture, international and multidisciplinary research groups, the flexibility of work, very good lab facilities, and for which, students get opportunities to conduct high-quality research. In addition, students get opportunities to network with many companies and organisations in the related fields through different job fairs and workshops organised in the university,’ Rahman says.
TEK and TFiF together give annually the Best Dissertation Award in the field of technology in recognition of a high-level dissertation, which has significantly promoted or is expected to promote technical expertise in Finland. Other factors to be taken into account in the evaluation include the scientific-technical novelty value and usability of the results. The award is worth 7,500 euros.
Our warmest congratulations to F. M. Mahafugur Rahman!
Electric drives play an important role, e.g., in a large number of industrial applications, electric and hybrid vehicles, elevators, and robotics. Electric drives are systems where the electric motors or generators are controlled by power-electronic converters (such as a frequency converter).