Final-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student wins top prize at GT Murray Awards

24 November 2017
Emily Melhuish (third from right) with the second and third place winners and judges of the competition

Fourth-year Electrical Engineering student Emily Melhuish has scooped the top prize at this year’s GT Murray Memorial Award ceremony, organised by Engineering New Zealand Auckland branch.

The GT Murray Memorial Award recognises Engineering New Zealand student members who are leading the way in research and design. Students are required to present their project to a panel of industry judges, which this year included Bryce Julyan from the NZ Planning Institute, Geoff Stuart from the Engineering New Zealand Auckland branch, and Nat Jull, Engineering New Zealand Auckland branch member and former recipient of the GT Murray award.

Emily’s project focuses on improving the estimation accuracy of state of charge of lithium ion batteries, with a particular interest in their use in electric vehicles. The traditional direct measurement approach for predicting state of charge currently runs at an estimation error of between 2 – 4.8%, which provides a serious challenge for drivers who may face their vehicle running out of battery in the middle of a road.

The algorithm that Emily has developed used voltage, time elapsed, current, cell capacity and internal resistance to estimate state of charge during a constant current discharge. Two test rigs were built, which allowed her the opportunity to test the model in real-time, predicting the state of charge for each lithium ion cell. Results showed that the proposed solution was able to predict state of charge with an error rate of 0.28 – 0.96%, a significant improvement on the current industry standard.

Emily, alongside project partner Murali Magesan, were also awarded Best Project prize in the category of AI and Machine Learning 1 in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Part IV projects.

“I was so grateful to be selected by the University of Auckland to present my project. It was a great opportunity to present to a group of industry experts, and a way to test my knowledge because I had to present to a less technical audience. I was honoured to win the award, particularly as the other presentations were of such high calibre. It was definitely a great way to finish the year!” says Emily of her win.

Emily will take her learnings with her to her new role at Rocket Lab, working with the Propulsion team to create better testing systems.
The Faculty of Engineering congratulates Emily on her success, and wishes her all the best in her future endeavours.