Please tell us about yourself
The very first Kipaji scholarship is being awarded to a CTW student of Sustainable Energy Technology (SET). The recipient is Suman Sapkota, a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Kathmandu University, Nepal. The Kipaji Scholarship Fund, established by UT alumni and other sponsors, is aimed at talented engineering students from countries with fledgling economies such as in parts of South America, Africa and Asia. The scholarship – Kipaji means gift and talent in Swahili – gives students the opportunity to study at the University of Twente and to return to their home countries to put their newly acquired knowledge and skills to work.
Yesterday, Suman Sapkota graduated at the University of Twente on: ‘Technical and Sustainability Analysis of Sediment Erosion of Impeller Blades of Dredge Pumps’. We are very proud he worked for us on this topic and graduated with a grade 8 for it. As such, he stands in a long line of Master students1, who graduate with an 8 or even higher2. We value good students and we like to work with them only if the work they deliver is useful for us. This requires an intensive supervision and the results are correspondingly. This does not guarantee a good result, but you can always try3.
Suman graduated on a topic covered by the chair of ‘Sustainable Energy Technology’4. The objective was to study the economic and environmental impact of worn wear parts. When wear parts have to be rejected too early, they increase their environmental footprint. On the other end, if an impeller is severely worn, the efficiency decreases and the environmental footprint increases also. Our question was whether it was possible to improve the design of the dredge pump for a longer lifetime by checking the wear rate of the improvement in a simulation. To understand the problem and answer the question Suman had to start investigating the wear process itself.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?
Suman Sapkota, hails from Dharan, a small town in eastern Nepal. He graduated from Kathmandu University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also took and completed an online course called 2.01x: Elements of Structures, offered by MITx, an online learning initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Suman Sapkota did his internship with E&T Nepal Private Limited, a Japanese company that outsources work on behalf of Honda Motor Company Limited.
Sapkota: “I feel I have an insatiable passion for renewable energy… its harvest, collection and distribution. It is like an immensely powerful magnetic field that draws me in, deeper and deeper. My projects and line of work coincide with my passion, while my real interest lies in the area of research and information on renewable energy.”
What do you hope to achieve after completing your studies?
“I live in a country with a hydropower development potential of around 40,000MW, but it only produces 600MW, meaning most of the population has to do without electric power 12 hours per day. I decided to build a career in the field of energy so that I can really make a difference in helping to eliminate the energy crisis in my country.”
What will your contribution be to the scientific and/or economic capacity in your home country?
“My dream is to set up renewable energy centres together with the government of Nepal and INGOs to facilitate young entrepreneurs and local households with an eye to poverty alleviation through the effective use of renewable energy. The programme that I envisage will foster entrepreneurial attitudes, build the skills of young people and create incubator programmes to promote entrepreneurial activities in the off-grid lands of the Himalayas.”
“Last year I worked on Disaster and Human Relief projects that involved constructing sustainable, post-earthquake classrooms and shelters in different parts of the country. The project also involved providing people with essential supplies, medicines and metal stoves to help ensure their health and nutrition.”
Why did you choose the University of Twente?
“I opted for the University of Twente because of their excellent Sustainable Energy Technology programme. The lecturers all have extensive practical experience, the lab facilities are top-notch, the working environment is excellent and the international atmosphere is inspiring. UT has everything a life-long student like me needs to quench his thirst for knowledge.”