Esben Larsen 40 years at DTU

Enthusiastic electrical technology geek celebrates 40 years at DTU

Friday 29 Sep 17
by Stine-Lykke-Wagner


Esben Larsen
Associate Professor
DTU Engineering Technology
+45 45 25 35 12
Esben Larsen from DTU Electrical Engineering is one of a kind. Not only does he spend most of his time on various research projects, but he is also a strong advocate for a healthy and educational environment for the students at DTU. That and so much more has been his priority at DTU for the past 40 years.

Esben is a well-respected researcher both among students, colleagues, and partners. The impressive turn up at his 40 year jubilee celebration, from both past and current colleagues, students, and industry partners, is a clear statement of this. Among the speakers were Professor and Head of Centre, Jacob Østergaard, colleague and research group leader, Chresten Træholt, a former manager of the HV laboratory, and a former manager of the north-east Funen power supply company.

40 years of dedicated work holds many inspiring stories, we learned during these speeches were stories of Esben’s many accomplishments were told. One story told us about a research project on partly-isolated medium-voltage substations that changed the way MV-substations are designed, and another told us about how he was the first to place a grid connected wind turbine in Greenland.

Testing Greenlandic sustainability
Esben has always had a passion for challenging projects, so when he heard about the possibility to test sustainable energy in a Greenlandic perspective, he quickly joined in. “I think it was very interesting to get to test whether wind turbines would be able to perform under arctic conditions”, Esben Larsen says while he explains how he sees Greenland as an amazing Exploratorium partly due to the fact that the island is divided in small isolated communities, which is quite similar to the micro grids we often work with at DTU. The exception is that these communities are mostly self-depended, which can be tough for the community, but also means that there are great opportunities for tests and experiments.

10 years ago Esben flew to Greenland with some of his students and other partners from the project to raise the island’s first and only wind turbine. The idea was to gather enough information on conditions and performance to form the basis for development and implementation of wind energy in the Greenlandic power system. After a lot of data collecting it turned out that the wind turbine was well functioning, but not stabile on the right parameters, and the project was unfortunately shut down. Since then, the Greenlandic energy company have come a long way and are now planning to re-open the project, starting by renovating the old, but still standing, wind turbine in a new project, starting next year,2018.

But it is not only wind energy that Esben experiments with in Greenland. He has also performed tests and experiments on PV installations (solar energy), that have contributed to the expansion of PV installations across almost all of Greenland. Data from the PV installations outlines the general performance as well as the effects of local climate conditions like snow and ice shedding. Numbers actually shows how Greenland reaches a higher AEP (annual energy production) per installed kWp than the Danish average in PV.
Esben hopes that the experiences made in Greenland will contribute to a broader distribution of PV integration across arctic areas.

“I find it extremely thrilling to be able to help other communities become more sustainable - especially when it involves challenging projects that operates in much more complicated terms and conditions than we usually work with in Denmark. I also like to bring a couple of students to experience these projects. I find that they learn a lot from experiencing these kinds of challenges already in their student years.” Esben Larsen, Associate Professor, Center for Electric Power and Energy, DTU Electrical Engineering.

Student advocate
Generally, Esben spend a lot of time and consideration working with his students, both in terms of their projects and thesis, but also in terms of the rules and laws surrounding the students. As present part of the department study committee and former director of studies at the MSc Programme for two years, Esben has fought to ensure a healthy study environment at DTU. Since then, he has been known as a teacher doing everything in his power to help the students adapt to their surroundings and to what is expected of them, so that they are able to blossom and advance personally and academically.

Esben is also very committed to his department where he is part of the working environment committee, representing Center for Electric Power & Energy and PowerLabDK. Among his peers he is known to be a hard working researcher, who initiates a lot of projects and who always follows through. To his colleagues, he is known to be someone you can rely on, and not least someone who it is always pleasant to work with.

Center for Electric Power and Energy congratulates Esben on his 40 years at DTU and hopes to prosper from his presence for many years to come.

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