Please tell us about yourself

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) hosts the prestigious “Green Talents – International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development” on a yearly basis to promote the international exchange of innovative green ideas. The award, under the patronage of Minister Professor Johanna Wanka, honours young researchers each year. The winners come from numerous countries and scientific disciplines and are recognised for their outstanding achievements in making our societies more sustainable.

Selected by a high-ranking jury of German experts the award-winners are granted unique access to the country’s research elite.
Last year, in 2015, a young girl, Shougat Nazbin Khan, an IUB Alumna, was the first Bangladeshi to be awarded the Green Talent award in Berlin. Completing her SSC and HSC from Viqarunnisa Noon School & College, Shougat studied Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB), Shougat received the UNESCO Madanjeet fellowship to study Green Energy Technology at UNESCO Madanjeet Institute of Green Energy Technology in India.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

“I always had great fascination for computers and video games from a very young age. Throughout my time in school, I wanted to become a computer engineer. But, then I started to realize EEE is more dynamic and challenging. It encompasses a large number of disciplines which enable engineers to provide innovative solutions to real world problems. My parents never put any kind of pressure on me, and I got to choose my own career. They have always believed in me and have been quite supportive. It has inspired me to grow and take further steps toward my goals.  ” says Shougat Nazbin.

Tell us about your Green Talent Award?

During her Master’s studies in Green Energy Technology, shougat concentrated on solar photovoltaic technology. She has done comprehensive research in Wind-Solar Hybrid Systems, Grid-tied and Standalone Photovoltaic Systems, Solar PV Irrigation Systems, and Thin Film Solar Cells.

In 2015 Shougat was awarded a Green Talent.

Effective irrigation is a crucial part of Bangladesh’s agricultural economy. While this has been dependent on fossil fuels in the past, Shougat’s research into photovoltaic energy supplies is breaking new ground for the country’s many farmers.

Bangladesh is a country that suffers from power cuts and energy shortages. This poses problems when irrigating the land through diesel powered irrigation pumps. Another issue with diesel pumps is that farmers often have to rent these irrigation facilities. This means that poorer farmers must leave their lands uncultivated during dry months, damaging their crop yields. As an innovative alternative to diesel, Shougat Khan’s research offers solar power technology to operate these irrigation pumps. It also reduces the burden on the environment because solar is a cleaner form of energy than diesel.

A solar based irrigation system is economically beneficial both for poorer farmers who need not to rely on diesel and for the Bangladeshi government who can save money on agriculture power subsidies which are provided to diesel oil. A solar water pumping system mainly consists of solar panels, an inverter and three phases or single phase AC water pump. Shougat usually designs the system without storage battery. Removing the battery also reduces the serious pollution to environment, the construction cost and maintenance cost.

Shougat’s work has received the interest of many organisations, and during her M.Tech in Green Energy Technology, she received the prestigious UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Fellowship, which fully funded her Master’s degree. She has achieved several academic awards at national and international levels. She has authored and co-authored a number of publications in international journals and presented papers at international conferences, both at home and abroad. Now working as a lecturer at the Independent University of Bangladesh, she has developed and implemented stimulating renewable energy projects and guided university students. She has also organised national and international industrial tours, workshops, and conferences.

The jury appreciated Shougat’s hard work, for which she has received international recognition, and her natural inclination for thorough research, which means she always keeps up-to-date with breakthroughs in her field.

How does your work benefit the community?

“I have worked on various projects on renewable energies in several countries. My research mainly focuses on hybrid energy systems that are feasible for clean energy production. Apart from designing, I develop modelling and simulation frameworks to make better energy predictions and performance analysis of the energy systems. It was a great experience to be honoured in front of many distinguished guests. I was overwhelmed with joy when I received my award. I felt more committed to continue my research efforts and bring positive changes to society through it,” she says.

Renewable energy projects are still mostly donor-driven in Bangladesh. “We often have to rely on foreign expertise to execute such projects. I want to work towards minimising this dependency. I have already started skill development training programmes on renewable energy on a small scale. I am eager to set up a training institute for stakeholders in the future.”

Your future plans?

Amongst applicants from over a 100 countries, Shougat stood a proud Bangladeshi with the award in her hands. “I felt even more determined to work hard on my application when I realised that no Bangladeshi has received the award before. Achieving the prestigious award at such an early stage of my career has definitely ignited an ambition to realise and chase my dreams. This international recognition has motivated me to maintain the intellectual journey and reach higher levels of excellence,” says Shougat Nazbin.

One of the essential parts of continuing one’s development as a scientist is constantly keeping up with the latest research and trends, believes Shougat. “But, in my opinion it’s also very important to challenge yourself sometimes by taking scientific risks, learning big ideas and researching on new areas, particularly the ones that have significant social impacts. This helps a person to look at things from a new perspective and ensures the use of best practices.”