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Electrical Training offered at CECC NV Discover Engineering Solutions

1._Carel_BrouwersElectrical Engineering Specialist Sjef Cobben will be on the island for a series of two certificate granting seminars beginning in late September. This is a great opportunity for professional electricians and high level amateurs/hobbyists to gain technical knowledge from one of the leaders in the field.

Cobben is a research scientist with Alliander which operates one of the biggest electrical grids of the Netherlands. He is a specialist in the safety of various kinds of networks and installations and collaborates on national and international committees about standardization of requirements for low and high voltage installations. Cobben has adapted his curriculum for the seminars for the environmental conditions of the Caribbean, considering special factors of temperature, salt and humidity in the air, and soil composition.

The two one-day seminars are being organized by CECC Engineering NV; each course will be available twice. The first course is "Electric Safety: Protection against Electric Shock" and will be held on Tuesday, September 23, and again on Thursday, September 25. It will cover such topics as fault protection, earthing systems, and residual current devices.

The second seminar is entitled "Power Quality: Problems and Solutions." This will be offered on Tuesday, September 30, and again on Thursday, October 2. Cobben will share information on voltage levels, harmonic distortions, voltage dips and how to measure power quality.

In a visit to the CECC office in Harbour View, Philipsburg, WEEKender met with the engineering firm's founder and managing director Carel Brouwers. He explained the importance of upgrading the knowledge level of the island's electrical workers. "We are in discussion with GEBE, also the sister companies from Saba and Statia, and together with VROMI's inspection department. It's important that they are aware of the topics that we will be presenting in the classes. The professor from Holland is well-known, well-educated and very experienced."

We also take a look at international codes because of the community we have in St. Maarten; we have a lot of American and French regulations; from the English islands, we get some of the British codes, so it's very difficult for us to follow all of the codes. But most codes are based on international codes; the basic technology it is based on is all the same. Electricity is electricity. So in this training, we try to explain how it's been set in the Dutch code but we also try to bring up how it's done in the international code. So it starts with the basics and will continue to the high end of electrical technology.

Power Quality is the key to high performance for technical systems. The voltage fluctuations are regulated and if it goes too high or too low, you get problems – your equipment can get damaged. A lot of things are built upon the idea that when electrical systems were first designed, it was based on a normal sine wave. But nowadays with all the electronics, it's changed; solar panels for example, which are all DC and utilize invertors that convert the DC into AC currents. There are also issues with energy-efficient air conditioning systems using DC components. Another factor is the LED lighting which can save energy but will produce an electronically made sine wave which can complicate the energy flow; and you get quite a lot of problems, especially in large installations. There are already situations in Europe where this has happened and it's very difficult to identify where the problems are and to find the source of the problems. So this training will look into the things that create these power quality issues and how you can find solutions or at least increase awareness of these problems; especially if one is using photovoltaic systems that are connected to the grid and creating problems in other locations.

The introduction (charging) of electrical cars also has an impact on the electrical grid. So these things have to be regulated – they are regulated in Europe and in other parts of the world. You have to follow certain criteria, but these things are still not acknowledged here. They have to predict; they have to install enough capacity that will be needed compared to the amount that is produced. Sometimes, there is a lot of sun; and other times there is less sun. So let's say most days you have 80-90% of the needed capacity but the rest of the time GEBE has to produce enough capacity for everyone. But maybe 80% of the time, they have a lot of generators standing there doing nothing, costing money. Everybody is pushing for solar energy, and in a large scale community like Europe, it's completely different than a small community like St. Maarten. So I think it's time to get the discussion going about this. That's one of the reasons we want to run these courses.

Brouwers has planned out the courses so that the first day will be ideal for the companies that supply power and give the connections. The second course is ideal for the installers, especially those that install solar panels. Another thing is to bring up some awareness to the consequences that can occur if things are not done according to international regulations. "We can bring these discussions up to the Ph.D. level, as Sjef Cobben has written textbooks on these topics and he is connected with the Eindhoven University of Technology.

The courses are priced at $750 each with a $50 discount if you follow both courses. Attendees will receive a certificate which can aid in their professional development. There is no test included. For more information or to register for the courses, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (721) 542-3058. CECC hopes to bring more courses to the island in the future.

About CECC Engineering

-Began in 2007 as installation consultants

-Motto: Knowledge, Efficiency and Creative Solutions

-Aims to meet the needs of clients

-Experts in mechanical, electrical, air conditioning, plumbing

-Focus: Everything that is in or on the building

-At present: Eight employees & trainees

-Consults regularly with external specialists

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