On 31st January 2023, the IEEE Power and Energy Society Brac University Student Branch Chapter, in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Brac University, and IEEE PES Bangladesh section, organized a seminar on power controllers entitled “Smart Power flow controllers- A Necessity for future power grid” in Brac University premises. Dr. Kalyan K. Sen, the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Sen Engineering Solutions, Inc., was the keynote speaker of this event. The prime focus of this seminar was to make the participants learn the concepts of the power flow controller, power electronics, smart grid, and the future aspects of these fields. Other featured guests of this event were the professor and the chairperson Dr. Md. Mosaddequr Rahman, Professor Dr. Shahidul Islam Khan, and associate professor Dr. A.S. Nazmul Huda of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Brac University, respectively.

The power industry manages the generation, distribution, transmission, and sales of electric power to the public and industry. Grid and power flow control are indispensable parts of this industry. However, in earlier days, the cost of production and generation was high, and the steps involved in these processes were quite complex. The advent of the smart grid and power flow controllers reduced the complexities of these processes to a great extent. A smart grid aims to develop the existing electric power system by incorporating the tools it needs to operate as reliably and effectively as possible, and power electronics is the branch of electrical engineering that deals with the smart grid. In a transmission system, the main goal is minimizing the loss or excess energy consumption and optimizing the power flow by increasing controllability using affordable solutions. Therefore, the manipulation of the impedance of the transmission line is a significant part of the transmission system. The power flow controller controls the impedance of a transmission line. These devices provide reactive power compensation in transmission networks. In this way, it increases the operational flexibility of an electrical power system network.

Dr. Kalyan K. Sen is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Sen Engineering Solutions, Inc. For 33 years, before taking on this role, he worked in academia and industry. He was one of the crucial members of the Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) development team at Westinghouse Science & Technology Center and was a Westinghouse Fellow Engineer. He got elevated to the rank of IEEE Fellow with the citation: for developing and applying power flow control technology. Since 2002, he has been a distinguished lecturer at the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES). Till now, he has delivered 170 lectures in 17 countries.

Throughout the seminar, the eminent speaker spoke on all topics of the power industry and explained how the implementation of smart grids and power controllers increases the efficiency of the power industry. Nevertheless, he shared some valuable insights with the participants at the beginning of the seminar. He talked about his life experience. He advised everyone to learn the engineering concepts intuitively and work hard to be a great problem solver. Quoting a line from the Gita, he said, “You do your work, and the outcome will come.” Afterward, he went on to talk about the power industry and smart grid. Initially, he discussed the primary topics of the power industries. He explained the grid, the process of making the transmission flow negative, and the significance of manipulating impedance. Furthermore, he emphasized optimizing the real power and minimizing the reactive power. Power flow controlling is one of the most critical tasks in a transmission network, and phase angle regulation is the most cost-effective and energy-saving method regarding power flow control. Changes in power flow change the impedance of the transmission network. According to the speaker, using an inverter is expensive. Inverter might be the fastest method of controlling power flow, but it could be more cost-friendly. He briefly overviewed the symmetric and asymmetric voltage regulation process and reactance emulation. Finally, he suggested joining IEEE because it brings an engineer in contact with a vast engineering community. Then, the professor and the chairperson of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of Brac University, Md. Mosaddequr Rahman, Ph.D., put the importance of the power system and power industry into words. After that, he thanked Dr. Kalyan K. Sen for taking the time and sharing his beautiful thoughts with the students. Lastly, Dr. Shahidul Islam Khan, Ph.D., took the floor and shared a few words regarding IEEE and some upcoming projects. Finally, he ended his speech by assuring the students that IEEE would always be with them to make a difference.

The seminar was hosted by the IEEE student branch chair Farhan Ahmed Nafis. It was open to all Brac University students, but they had to undergo a free pre-registration process. The seminar began at around 12:00 pm. As the IEEE Power and Energy Society BRAC University Student Branch Chapter’s first event in 2023, the number of participants was remarkable, and the seminar was a huge success. Lastly, pleasantries were exchanged, which marked the conclusion of this beautiful session.