Dr Daniel Eghbal

FIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus)

Acting Manager Intelligent Grid Power Platform

Energy Queensland

Dr. Daniel Eghbal is currently leading a team at Energy Queensland that’s responsible for developing the actionable strategies for the transformation of the Queensland electricity distribution network. The outcome? Enabling an intelligent grid with high penetration of distributed renewable energy sources, which will ultimately leverage emerging technologies. Daniel holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering, is a senior member of IEEE, fellow member of Engineers Australia and Vice-chair of IEEE Australia Council.

Prior to joining Energex, Daniel had seven years of academic experience leading research projects and supervising postgraduate students, where he published a number of journal and conference papers, including a book chapter.  

How long have you been a member of Engineers Australia?
I joined Engineers Australia in 2018, and recently became a Fellow and achieved my Chartered status.

Why did you pursue a career in engineering?
I guess it goes back to when I was a high school student and got interested in mathematics and physics, later progressing into how I can solve problems or build things to make everyone’s life easier.

How can Australian communities/people/society benefit from your work now and in the future?
My current job is focused on developing actionable strategies to build an electricity network that enables customers to adopt new technologies. In a future world that most customers have battery energy storage and electric cars, everyone will be generating and consuming more electricity. The electricity grid can be an enabler for such a future, and society will benefit from innovative engineering solutions that ultimately contributes to lowering the electricity bill.

What is the most challenging or interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
A project to roll out network monitoring devices at residential customers to detect broken neutral connections and possibly other faults on the low voltage network. The device is then connected to an IoT platform before assisting the network operator to detect faults in almost real-time.

What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
Moving forward, we’ll need diversely-experienced engineers with excellent soft skills as well as deep engineering and technical knowledge.  We have to make sure the engineers that are being trained today would be equipped with the skills required to solve the problems of tomorrow.

What excites you about the future of the profession or what opportunities do you see for the future?
The electricity industry is going through unprecedented change and transformation at the moment; This brings a unique opportunity for young engineers to gain new skills and really make a difference, with opportunities presenting themselves from a wide range of places from establishing start-ups or work with utilities or consultants, or anywhere in-between.

Who is your engineering hero?
Dr. Firouz Naderi: An Iranian-American scientist who spent more than 30 years in various technical and executive positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where he contributed to some of America’s most iconic robotic space missions. One of the highlights in his career was he helped re-plan the Program as a chain of scientifically, technologically and operationally interrelated missions with a spacecraft launched to Mars every two years.

Image: courtesy of Daniel Eghbal