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Success story - KTH trio shines in Desertec project

Published Aug 15, 2012

Three young KTH Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) alumni with a passion for a better world have been independently developing different solar technologies within three different companies, towards the same goal. All three came from different continents, studied together in the SEE Master program and are now leading experts taking key roles in the recent Desertec Industrial Initiative, 2020 CSP concept project.

KTH trio shines in Desertec project: (Tobias Prosinečki, Camille Bachelier and Yibekal Gedle)

In light of the climate change threat facing our planet, the DESERTEC project aims to promote the generation of electricity in Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe using solar power plants, wind parks and the transmission of this electricity to the consumption centres. Produced electricity from desert regions in Northern Africa, like the Sahara desert, would be transmitted to Europe and the African countries by a super grid of high-voltage direct current cables. It would provide a considerable part of the electricity demand of the North African countries and will provide EU with 15% of its electricity needs. This ambitious project requires extensive collaboration efforts of the international network of scientists, experts and politicians from the field of renewable energies, and now we are proud to announce that three of our own former students are taking part in realising this important initiative.

Tobias Prosinečki has been Head of Solar-field design and layout for Molten Salt Solar Tower R&D at Solarmillenium AG.  As the European Foundation for Power Engineering Innovative Energy Award Laureate, he has lead the simulation, design and feasibility analysis for large scale Molten Salt Solar Tower power plant deployment at a specific site in the Middle-East/North African region for the DESERTEC project.

“I wanted to contribute to the betterment of the world by fighting humanity’s greatest challenge, climate change”. Consequently, after completing his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in Australia, he took the initiative to follow his passion by developing further his technical skills in Sweden. The KTH SEE Master program fit his desires perfectly, as it offered a broad spectrum of knowledge: turbo-machinery, sustainable energy utilisation, renewable energy generation with options to specialise into different energy fields (wind, biomass, hybrid systems, PV and solar thermal). He chose to specialise in solar energy generation, because “living in Australia made me a great believer in the power of the sun”. The highly relevant KTH teaching program, with practical experiences at the Högskolan Dalarna, the European Solar Energy School and the prestigious solar research platform in Almería, Spain (PSA) combined with the Master thesis at the solar research department of German Aerospace Centre (DLR) exposed him to a multitude of solar technologies (PV, Trough, Fresnel, Dish-Stirling and Tower). “The vast technical knowledge and credentials I have gained through my Master studies gave me a great entry to an important position in my dream Solar company”. 

Camille Bachelier, integrates his expertise in Solar Fresnel Collector technology and sales at Novatec Solar, whilst working on assessing the economical potential of the technology developed by R&D to devise market competitive product solutions to be sold by the Sales team. His skills and expertise were engaged in this DESERTEC collaboration to support the technical and economic potential assessment of the Linear Fresnel technology for this project.

When he started his studies of Energy Systems Engineering in France, he already envisaged a career in the field of renewable energy. He ambitiously hoped to take part in the great “transition in the global energy mix toward a more sustainable one”. A double diploma partnership with KTH gave him the opportunity to concretise his professional plan, by taking part in the SEE Master program. Although initially preferring subjects related to wind power generation, the high variety of the topics available as part of the SEE course work allowed him to greatly extend his renewable energy knowledge and to make the proper professional career specialisation (Concentrated Solar Power). “The excellent quality of teaching at KTH together with my master thesis at the solar research department of the DLR provided me with the ideal start for my career in Concentrated Solar Power”.

Yibekal Gedle with expert knowledge in the Parabolic Trough Solar Collector System, he currently works as an R&D process engineer at Flagsol. His major contribution to the DESERTEC project was through performing the total simulation of Fresnel and Parabolic Trough technologies. The tasks included optimisation of costs and performances through finding the optimising factors and boundary conditions, which would improve the potential performance of the above technologies at a given design location.

Originally from Ethiopia, he “grew up with a passion to make use of the hot sun shining through the window every single morning”. After studying his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, he realised his childhood desire, to specialise in the solar energy related field, through his SEE studies at KTH and research work at Flagsol GmbH. “I started to think more analytically about the advantages of playing my role in creating a better society with a sustainable energy resource.” The highly enriching courses at KTH laid the necessary foundation for a more practical understanding of the different sustainable energy systems.  Whereas the company based Master thesis with Flagsol has extended his knowledge in the field of Solar Power. That is how he realised his childhood dream of making a contribution to tackle the sustainable energy challenge of our everyday life by choosing the Concentrated Solar Power career path.

DESERTEC project: Solar power from the desert, wind power from the coast. Credit: DLR.

Article in Swedish on Main KTH website:

Page responsible:Oxana Samoteeva
Belongs to: Energy Technology
Last changed: Aug 15, 2012