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We created a monster

Hey guys, how’s your week been? My week has been eventful!! Everyday could have made up for complete episodes of a TV series (not joking here). However,we are not here to talk about my week, it’s the second episode of my “come back” series


The Sustainable Energy Engineering programme is known for projects( actually, most of the programmes at KTH have projects integrated with the courses). In the third semester, there is a compulsory course named, Applied Energy Technology, below is a sneak peek into some of its learning outcomes .

In summary, it is a 9 credit course aimed at ensuring that all skills needed to write a master thesis is inculcated in the student. Ranging from project management skills to properly writing a scientific research project.

For this course, we had a list of over thirty projects proposed and supervised by different research groups in the department of energy technology, the students are allowed to pick the project they find interesting. One of the things I love about KTH is freedom – the free will to design everything as you would love. In this case, it meant you could either sign up for your selected project as an individual and then, you’ll be paired with other students who selected the same project or you could either create a group and then select your preferred project. (the number of students required for each project was stipulated in each project proposal) You might ask, what if ten people pick a particular project? Literally, the unspoken rule of this ‘game’ is, “fastest fingers first!”.

Right from the moment the projects were released on canvas (the learning management system used at KTH), even before the introductory class for this course was over, students already started sending emails to the course responsible to secure their choice.

Thermal Energy Storage – Phase Change Materials

Three friends of mine with similar interests, which was, working on a solar-related project, created a group and applied for three projects, stating the order of preference. Our preferred option was, “Pre-feasibility of a cascaded PCM TES for high-temperature steam cycles and/or gas driven cycles”. Guess who got their first choice?!!!!

After students have received feedback on what projects they would be working on, each group then sets up a meeting with their project supervisor to set the ball rolling. I must say, I had a wonderful group. It was easy to book meetings though we had different schedules. Also, we drew up a plan after our first meeting to guide our work process- wrote our objectives down, decided that each person should lead the project for three weeks each. With this, the project really began…

“You created a monster and now, the monster is about to drown you”

These were the exact words, we were told by another student who looked through our codes, late at night in the M building. The results of our simulation were not exactly the kind that we were expecting. For example, imagine you had a power bank that you could charge, but could not discharge. Worse, the deadline of the project was fast approaching! Call it pressure, call it stress, that’s the air we were breathing daily.

smile even in the face of adversity; it will keep the hope alive:)

To make our lives more interesting, this was not the only project or course in the semester. At some point, every one of our friends and close family members knew we were working on a project, day and night, hoping for better results.

You can’t keep doing a thing the same way and expect a different result.

Therefore, we started investigating new ways to solve our problems. I told you we were a good team right? Instead of cracking under pressure, we put our best foot forward each day, hopeful that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. At some point, we were simulating almost round the clock. The early morning risers would start up, the ones who loved to work late at night would continue the simulations until the odd hours of the morning.

Did we find a way to charge and discharge the ‘power bank’? Did we have a good presentation? Did we submit the report in time to meet the deadline? YESSSSSSSSS!!!

Oh! The best part is, we ditched the monster we created!! By the way, you can tell that this was the major reason why I took a break from the blog, In life, time management is key and when things are not working as planned, you might need to take time to restructure your life…that’s my two cents there 😉

The PCM Team!!! L-R: Niccolo, Cristina, Anna and Oluchi. (This was the day we submitted :))

“Success is not just the destination; it’s the entire journey, every bit of it. It’s not just the outcome rather it’s the entire process.” 

-Mohsin Ali Shaukat

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