Gabrielle (Gaby) Coppez has the distinction of being the first DBREV Scholar. Her 2011 MSc (Eng) was completed at UCT in the Department of Electrical Engineering and entitled ‘Optimal Sizing of Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems for Rural Electrification’. While the thesis looked at problems and challenges facing electricity supply in rural areas of South Africa in particular, Gaby’s object was the creation of a software tool for feasibility assessment that can be used to calculate the size and type of the Hybrid Renewable Energy System (HRES) that is best suited, in view of the energy demands calculated, for a particular rural area.
Gaby writes: “Receiving this scholarship from DBREV was momentous for me. As well as being a great financial help, it introduced me to many people who expanded my vision on rural electrification and what it means in South Africa. The mentors that I had during this time, Wendy Annecke and Dave Gale, were amazing, walking alongside me, asking good questions and being available when I needed them. It really made a big difference to have a group of people that I could call on and discuss things with, who asked hard questions and helped me to focus on, not only the academic side of things, but the real, practical implications of things too. That was really invaluable.”
Gabrielle currently lives in Brussels, Belgium, and is working for Pall LifeSciences as an automation engineer, developing and supporting a range of controllers designed for bioreactors used in the Pharmaceutical industry for creating lower cost vaccines. She is still passionate about South Africa and the use of renewable energy and plans to return to South Africa in the coming years and, once again, become involved in this area of work.
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