The University of the Witwatersrand – Wits – recently shared the news that master’s student in electrical engineering and aspiring academic, Hlengiwe Mnisi, was recognised by the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) Southern Africa for the Best Student Paper (2019).

CIGRE is a global technical forum committed to the collaborative development and sharing of power system expertise.

Wits best student paper Hlengiwe Mnisi

Master’s student in Electrical Engineering at Wits, Hlengiwe Mnisi.

In her paper entitled, Investigation of the application of Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA) in canola-based natural ester oil under arcing fault, Mnisi reports on her findings which indicate that DGA, a diagnostic tool used in power transformers to detect incipient faults, can be used with ester oil. The new ester oil can replace mineral oil, as used in transformers, and offers significant environmental benefits.

“The availability of a DGA tool for ester oil-filled transformers will ensure that the future power transformers are well equipped with condition monitoring tools, which aid in power infrastructure resilience,” says Mnisi.

Although she finds the field of high voltage insulation challenging, being recognised for her research has been fulfilling.

For Mnisi, it was curiosity that ignited her interest in electric engineering. “Growing up, I was intrigued by the whole idea of electricity; how one can flip a switch on and a light would turn on. I was curious how the electricity was flowing from the switch to the light bulb. Little did I know then that the electricity wasn’t even from the switch,” she says.

“Today I feel absolutely honoured to have won this award. I am grateful for the recognition of my work by the power systems fraternity. This means that my effort to contribute knowledge in the high voltage insulation field is recognised and celebrated.”

Her quest to contribute to new knowledge has motivated her to pursue a career in academia. Although she is currently working as a Junior Data Engineer with the Absa Group, she plans to pursue her PhD in the same field and to offer her skills and expertise as an academic in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at Wits.

Mnisi also presented a paper at the 2020 Southern African Universities Power Engineering Conference at the end of January 2020.

For more information visit: https://www.wits.ac.za/news/latest-news/general-news/2020/2020-01/aspiring-academic-wins-best-student-paper.html

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