Engineering Students Tour Bakun HEP
MIRI: A total of 34 engineering students of University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) visited Bakun hydroelectric project and the Pinnacle Condominiums in Bintulu recently to gain insight into their engineering.
At Bakun Dam, second highest concrete-faced rockfill dam in the world located some 60 kilometres west of Belaga, the students saw for themselves aspects of dam operation and power generation, including environmental flow release at the spillway and power plant water intake.
They learned that environmental flow involves releasing a substantial amount of water into the river on a daily basis to maintain its ecosystem. Environmental flow consists of the release of surface water at the impoundment to ensure the environmental flow has sufficient dissolved oxygen levels to keep the ecosystem downstream healthy.
After the visit to the dam, the students spent a day in Bintulu visiting the construction site of Pinnacle Condominiums, a new 27-storey residential development that will be among the tallest in the state.
They learned about design and architectural aspects of the building and how these elements are being implemented in the engineering works, as well as how the requirements of all stakeholders have been taken into account in its development.
Fourth year civil and construction engineering student Aaron Wong Ching Chuan said he appreciated the opportunity to learn about mega projects like the Bakun Dam, particularly its design and construction and spillway operations, and the innovative use of modern construction materials like lightweight concrete at Pinnacle Condominiums.
Third year environmental engineering student Shivashanggeeta Kanthasamy said the visits to the two sites brought her studies to life.
“At Bakun Dam, I gained more knowledge about the safeguards put in place to protect the environment, as well as environmental protection procedures that must be fulfilled before such construction projects can be approved,” she said.
Head of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, Associate Professor Muhammad Ekhlasur Rahman said field trips are an integral part of student learning at Curtin Malaysia.
He said they can learn in the field as in the classroom and, more importantly, see theories learnt in the classroom being applied in the real world.
“Our students are given lots of exposure to the engineering industry to equip them with valuable industry relevant knowledge and skills to enhance their marketability when they graduate,” remarked Associate Professor Muhammad.