The University of Newcastle, Australia

Monash Scholar

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

University of Newcastle Electrical Engineering graduate Kumaran Nathan's potential to become a leader in his field has been recognised with the awarding of a prestigious scholarship from The General Sir John Monash Foundation to support his postgraduate study at Cambridge University.

Kumaran Nathan content photoMr Nathan, who believes Australia has the capability to become a world leader in renewable technologies and smart grids, is one of 15 students who will receive a Monash scholarship at the Sydney Opera House, tonight, Tuesday 26 November.

Launched in 2003, The General Sir John Monash Scholarships are designed to foster leadership, expertise, and international networks, and build Australia's capabilities for the future. Scholars are selected on the basis of academic excellence, demonstrated leadership capability, with the desire and a credible plan to contribute to Australia.

As the first University of Newcastle graduate to receive a Monash scholarship, 23-year-old Mr Nathan said he was extremely grateful for the opportunity it would create, which he expects will lead to a life-changing experience.

"The research I intend to undertake at the University of Cambridge is a natural progression of the experience I gained during my final year engineering project at the University of Newcastle, into the development of a STATCOM (static synchronous compensator) to increase power quality in electrical networks," Mr Nathan said.

"One issue that is preventing a clean, sustainable and renewable energy revolution is that technologies are in their infancy compared to large coal-fired and nuclear power stations.

"Networks have been designed the same way for over 100 years and use unidirectional power flow from large generators to consumers. My research aims to solve the problems caused by high levels of distributed generation and assist the world in progressing to a clean energy future."

Mr Nathan said the large scale uptake of a clean, sustainable and renewable electricity generation could produce clean drinking water by powering desalination plants; address food shortages by growing crops under UV sources; and increase use of electric vehicles, thereby reducing global reliance on oil.

Mr Nathan, who graduated from the University of Newcastle this year with first class honours and the University Medal, will undertake a PhD at Cambridge in 2014, studying distributed energy generation and storage systems to support renewable energy for Australia.

The General Sir John Monash Scholarships are now Australia's most prestigious postgraduate scholarship program, celebrating Australia's finest military leader: the man increasingly acknowledged as one of our greatest civic leaders.

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