The Round we Must not Lose

Photo: Luka Strezoski

Doctor of Sciences, Associate Professor, Department Chief, Consultant, and MMA fighter – all of these terms describe one person. Luka Strezoski is living proof that anything is possible if you love what you do. He managed to join seemingly unjoinable things together, both in science and in sports, and he is successful in all of them. Besides the fighting pits, this young scientist leads another battle, in which his opponent is far more dangerous than a sporting rival. There is almost no living being that had not yet felt the consequences of climate change, and since human activities caused this global problem, it is only humans who can work on solving it.

Luka Strezoski, along with other world-famous scientists, aims to contribute to completely using renewable energy sources and abolishing fossil fuels because, as opposed to the sports phrase “it is not important to win – it is important to participate”, this round we must not lose. Fossil fuels, that lie at the epicenter of climate concussions, should be replaced by renewable energy sources (RES) as soon as possible. Strezoski agrees with these words of wisdom, highlighting that he will consider his career success only if he and his team manage to contribute to this energy transition.

As an Associate Professor and Electrical Power and Applied Engineering Department Chief at the Faculty of Technical Sciences (FTN) in the University of Novi Sad, Luka’s main area of work is developing models, algorithms, and methods that enable electrical power companies to monitor, control, and protect electrical power systems based on the production of large amounts of electricity from renewable sources. Our interlocutor is proud to highlight that his team, in cooperation with the Energy Electronics and Transducers Department at FTN in Novi Sad, was chosen among numerous European universities, to be the host of the biggest European scientific conference titled “Smart Electrical Power Systems”.

IEEE Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (IEEE ISGT) conference will be held next October in Novi Sad.

“Organizing this conference is a huge thing for our University, for the city of Novi Sad, and even for our whole country because we will get a chance to listen to the biggest world experts in the area of electrical power, right here in Novi Sad, and thus position as a central place in the electrical power and RES integration. This is like bringing Wimbledon to Novi Sad”, Strezoski says. 

Step-by-step for switching to RES

No matter how tempting it is to switch to RES, Strezoski highlights clean sources are based on completely different technologies than traditionally alternating devices, and therefore their integration brings numerous challenges. This is especially notable when it comes to the electrical power systems and huge amounts of RES scattered all over the globe, so Strezoski emphasizes that abolishing fossil fuels completely is miles away.

“The challenges and problems are completely different than when we consider only one RES and only its point of connecting to the system (this has been widely publicly debated). I would like to accentuate that it is completely different to view whether a RES will jeopardize operations in its connection point with the electrical power system, starting from the analysis of electrical power system with an enormous amount of RES, and their influence on the entire system’s functioning. The nature of such problems is completely different, and they are more numerous. This is exactly what we are dealing with”, this young scientist asserts.

He also warns that we must not be seduced only by the benefits of green energy and rush into unplanned integration of a great number of RES, guided by unrealistic goals such as “100 percent RES by 2030.”.

Even though he highlights that the replacement of fossil fuel power plants with those using RES is one of the most important questions of today, which should save lives of millions of people threatened by air overpollution, energy transition should be done so as not to put stability and trustworthiness of electrical power systems at risk.

“We must act carefully and have a plan, which means that we should gradually replace fossil fuel power plants with renewable sources, bit by bit. Or else we will cause more damage than good”, this young scientist says.

A compound of science and economy guarantees success 

Strezoski believes that scientific work without practical application of results is not a complete success, whereas the economy without science is destined to stagnate. Competitors will quickly eat companies who do not realize that. According to him, what everyone should ideally aspire to is a compound of science and economy, where science is at the forefront by developing innovative solutions, and then only the best of them are applied in the industry, that is the real world.

“That way, science, and economy significantly improve one another. Science provides innovation and progress to the economy, whereas the economy guides science in a realistic and applicable direction”, Strezoski adds.

Besides his academic career, Strezoski is currently a chief consultant at the Schneider Electric Development Center, in the area of integration of big amounts of renewable energy sources into electric power systems, as well as a member of the Technical Board at the same company.

Foto-ilustracija: Pixabay

“Ever since I started my cooperation with Schneider Electric, I have been developing a comprehensive software solution for monitoring, management, control, and protection of electrical power systems with lots of RES, that is the development of DERMS (Distributed Energy Source Management System). This is a centralized software solution intended for control centers of electrical power companies, that enable operators and engineers to complete monitoring, communication, and the possibility of optimum electrical power system administration with big amounts of RES, as well as the tools for protecting such systems from failure and other unwanted events. This software is very complex, based on cutting-edge technology, and regarding huge and highly dynamic changes in electrical power systems, DERMS should also be adapted and improved, by constantly developing new and innovative solutions. In my opinion, such an approach is a perfect example of compounding science and industry”, Luka says.

He adds that more than a year ago the company also founded the Technological Board. Within the Board, he manages a few working groups with the goal of joining science and industry together in order to encourage young experts to develop innovative solutions and participate in global scientific conferences. Only the best solutions would be applied to commercial products.

Global, but ours

It does not come as a surprise that Luka gained a lot of his knowledge and skills abroad. However, he decided to apply all his knowledge in his home country.

During his master’s studies, this young scientist had been awarded a scholarship to spend one part of his studies in London, at the City, University of London. He had also spent a part of his doctoral studies in the US, where he continued his research at one of the best universities in the world, namely the Case Western University in Ohio. After getting back to his hometown, Strezoski defended his doctoral thesis and became the youngest Doctor of Sciences at Novi Sad Faculty of Technical Sciences.

He revealed that studying abroad meant a lot to him because, among other things, he got a chance to take a sneak peek into the world of electrical power of today and see what the global problems that have not been solved to this day are.

“I acquired very important and strong connections with some of the most important scientific institutions in the world, and this will help our Department, the Faculty and the University position on a global scale of electrical power systems”, this young Doctor of Sciences explains.

Strezoski highlights that living abroad had changed his electrical power views, but also his relationship towards students, as well as teaching, experiments, and other scientific feats.

“I think we must go out into the world, show what we know best in the global scene, and prove, through cooperation with scientific institutions of the world, that we are one of the strongest research teams in the area of electrical power systems in the world”.

A healthy mind in a healthy body

What Strezoski managed to achieve in science, he achieved in sports as well – namely, he is a highly successful professional sportsman. He admits that his sports career made a huge impact on his personal development, because as he says, every sport, and especially martial arts, brings out the best in you and later maintains your “sharpness”, character and discipline.

As one of the best examples of this, Luka mentions the fact that he had had to lose 15 kilograms before every match to be able to fight in his 77 kg category. This means that every match demanded exhausting preparations, both physical and mental, for a young man who is disciplined in such a way to apply it in life in the most correct way, so success will be guaranteed for him.

“Therefore, my advice for all parents is to encourage their children to do sports (especially martial arts) from the earliest age, because this “investment” will bring them lots of advantages later in life”, Luka concludes.

Prepared by: Milica Radičević

Read the story in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine RECYCLING.

Translator Vesna Savić