Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Doctoral student Jun Su was always destined to pursue a career in engineering.
“When I was a kid, I was always curious about how electricity can light up the whole world. I grew up in a family of electrical engineers, and was so proud when my parent participated in the construction of the power grid, ensuring the safety of the power supply, transfer and consumption. This had a significant impact on my choice of degree.”
Our life would be unthinkable without the use of electrical energy, says Jun who came to AUT as an international student from China.
“Electrical energy is a prerequisite for the rapid development of industry and agriculture, and even transport. It’s a universal energy source and can be created from a variety of methods, for example solar power, hydropower, wind power, natural gas and nuclear power.”
Preparing for the future of transport
For his PhD research, Jun is developing a smart charging strategy for electrical vehicles to help electric utility operators prepare for the growing popularity of these vehicles.
“There’s a growing interest in electrical vehicles as a replacement for conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. However, the increasing usage of electrical vehicles may result in congestion in electricity consumption, which means more investment needs to be made to upgrade our power system to accommodate this.
“My research aims to develop a smart charging strategy that can charge as many electrical vehicles as possible without violating the system’s restrictions or put stress on distribution networks.”
Jun’s research is supervised by Professor Tek-Tjing Lee, Dr Ramon Zamora and Dr Gilbert Foo.
Embracing new technologies
AUT plays an important role in supporting innovative technology, he says.
“In the first year of my PhD, AUT became the first university in New Zealand to launch an electric bus, travelling between the different campuses. I was so proud to have the chance to participate in this project, and research the potential impact of electric buses on the electricity grid and other key information related to electrical vehicle technology.
“The introduction of the country’s first electric bus made AUT a pioneer not only for encouraging low carbon practice but also for academic research on zero emission transport.”
His involvement in the launch of the electric bus also gave Jun the opportunity to meet electrical vehicle experts from a number of organisations including the Tranzit Group and the EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).
“I really appreciate that they have provided me with lots of advice, industry knowledge and data for the publication of my first journal paper. With the help of my supervisors, my first journal paper was successfully published at the end of 2018, and the National Energy Research Institute and Meridian Energy have expressed an interest in providing electrical vehicle charging data for my research.”
Creating great graduates
He would highly recommend AUT’s electrical engineering programme, Jun says.
“It provides an easy pathway for the acquisition of knowledge, and offers a platform for me to present my research outcomes to gain industry attention. I also really enjoy studying in the new Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences building, which has an integrated automated lighting and ventilation system. This is a perfect example for students to see how engineering changes our lives.”
AUT’s reputation for creating sought after graduates was a key reason Jun chose to study at AUT.
“In comparison to other world-renowned universities, AUT graduates are highly favoured by employers. The reputation for graduate success in the industry demonstrates that AUT is doing excellent work when it comes to teaching and industry connections. For me, this was a significant reason for choosing AUT.”