MIT Portugal Program student awarded with the REN 2017 Prize for the best Master’s Thesis


Credit: Bruna Tavares

Bruna Tavares won the REN Award 2017 and a 12.500€ prize with the work developed during her Master´s Thesis. The researcher has created a new monitoring method that prevents electric network failures and increases the quality of service, allowing a more effective way to monitor the power grid. Currently she is a MIT Portugal Program first year PhD student in Sustainable Energy Systems at INESC TEC/ Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP).

To understand the method developed by Bruna Tavares we must think of the concept of a robot that is pursuing a certain route and along the way he picks up light and acoustic signals for directions, using them to create an internal map that helps to explain the outside reality. The researcher´s proposal consists in applying the same concept to the electric system by "using the same method of recording the signals registered from different devices to better understand the conditions of the Portuguese power grid".

Along the power grid system there are the so-called conventional sensors to measure the conditions of the network, but recently countries like Brazil or Spain use more advanced sensors, which collect measurements of the electrical system displaying the time and GPS location. The cost of these sensors is still relatively high however they can be combined with conventional sensors along the grid.

Currently there are still no advanced sensors installed in the Portuguese power grid system so this method developed by Bruna Tavares suggests their inclusion will allow to gather the information required. According to the researcher it´s this possibility to better understand the electrical network that allows the operator to "control and increase the quality of the network service" and this "will lead to a better performance in the service provided to the consumer."

The researcher at the Center for Energy Systems (CPES) of the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC), explains that " the final consumer takes for granted the electrical power supply at their homes, but to make this happen with quality and accuracy, it´s necessary to take into account several processes."

Bruna Tavares also added: "the method I've developed along with researchers Vladimiro Miranda and Jorge Pereira presents different criteria to estimate measures on the network and despite still not being used by the Industry, have many advantages, namely overlook errors in measurements."

This method was developed during Bruna Tavares Master's thesis which was supervised by Vladimiro Miranda, INESC TEC Director and full Professor at FEUP and co-supervised by Jorge Pereira, INESC TEC researcher and Professor at the School of Economics and Management of the University of Porto. Currently she is attending the first year of the MIT Portugal Program Sustainable Energy Systems Doctoral Program at INECT TEC/ FEUP to continue and perfect the work developed during her Masters.


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