Childhood Fascination with Electric Gadgets Culminates in Cum Laude

Enthusiasm to understand the mystery behind the design and operation of electrical and electronic gadgets as a child led to cum laude MSc graduate, Mr Peter Anuoluwapo Gbadega, choosing Electrical Engineering as his field of study in later life.

A native of Nigeria, Gbadega completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Lagos and believes this gave him the necessary skills set to explore his field of interest and hone his academic strengths.

‘During my undergraduate studies, I learned more about automation and control systems, electric motor drives, power electronics, and industrial process control,’ explained Gbadega. ‘Besides building theoretical concepts, I always enjoyed long hours in the labs to correlate theory to practical observation and I gained a sound technical base. I accomplished the skills of teamwork, for example, by leading my group in the design and construction of a traffic lighting system.’

At the University of Lagos, Gbadega also worked on a research project that investigated energy saving potentials in an academic institution.

He enrolled at UKZN to do an MSc in Electrical Engineering under the supervision of Professor Akshay Saha, focusing on power losses in HVDC converter stations.

‘My study investigated the determination and evaluation of power losses of various topologies of HVDC technologies (LCC-based, two-level, three-level and Modular Multilevel Converter VSC-based HVDC systems) using both analytical and simulation approaches to validate the results and the feasibility of the HVDC loss study,’ said Gbadega.

‘The motivation behind this research was that there is a constant search for various methods to reduce cost, improve reliability, minimise the environmental impact of power lines and minimise power loss during transmission,’ Gbadega explained.

‘The above problems could be addressed and solved if the transmitted power from the sending end could be monitored to prevent a large amount of power being consumed by some of the equipment on the electrical networks.’

Gbadega described his master’s degree journey as ‘arduous and immensely solitary’. Two factors kept him going however: ‘The first was the time expended during the process of research and the most important was the support, compassion and gentle prodding of those around.

‘I am immensely grateful to engineer Babatunde Olubayo who is currently studying towards his PhD degree at the Tshwane University of Technology; engineer Awogbemi Omojola who is doing his PhD degree at UKZN; and to Deborah Gbadega, my sibling.’

Gbadega singled out his supervisor, Professor Akshay Kumar Saha, whom he described as his role model, for guidance and counselling throughout his MSc.

‘Nothing is impossible in life,’ said Gbadega. ‘I strongly believe in enjoying what we do and having the passion to pursue it. Thus we can ultimately achieve our destination, no matter how much effort is needed.’

Gbadega is passionate about academia and has chosen this as his life long career path, with an interest in teaching and research. He aims to complete his PhD and publish scientific research in reputable journals.

‘A degree in Engineering enhances the nation’s economic productivity and improves the quality of life worldwide,’ said Gbadega. ‘The world is facing significant environmental challenges and there is a great opportunity for engineering to serve as a force to help society solve the problems associated with these challenges.’

Words: Manqoba Hadebe

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal