Australian YM Profile: Khalid Abdulla


Name: Khalid Abdulla CEng MIMechE

Role: Engineering PhD Candidate

Company: The University of Melbourne

Location: Melbourne

Institution Roles & Duration:

  • Australian YM Committee member Mar. 2017 - present
  • Australian YM Chair Aug. 2015 - Mar. 2017
  • Victorian YM Chair - Nov. 2014 - Aug. 2015


  1. How did you get involved with the Institution?

    In 2009 I joined the Wave Energy Developer Aquamarine Power in Edinburgh as a Graduate Engineer, and enrolled in the IMechE eMPDS scheme working towards my Chartership, which I got in 2014.

    In 2014 I returned to University and relocated to Melbourne, to study towards a PhD. Here I have joined the Victorian Panel where I am the Young Member's representative.

  2. What is your day job?

    I am a PhD student researching optimisation problems arising from integrating a greater proportion of renewable energy sources into electricity supply systems. Two of the major challenges of renewable energy, compared to conventional generation, are that it generally cannot be dispatched (controlled to generate on demand), and it cannot be forecast accurately over long time periods.

  3. What keeps you busy outside your day job?

    I enjoy hill-walking, rock-climbing, and anything else that gets me out and about in the great outdoors. I also love travelling which was part of my motivation for moving to Australia to do a PhD. My guilty pleasure would have to be hobbyist electronics, did I hear someone say 4-way Cake Pong? or Indicating Bicycle Helmet?

  4. Most exciting project you have worked on?

    The installation and commissioning of Oyster-1, the first ever Oyster wave energy converter up in Orkney. As a relatively recent graduate but working as part of a small team I got to take on some big responsibilities, and it was amazing when Oyster-1 first generated onto the grid. I even got to meet the First Minister!

  5. What kind of project would you like to work on?

    Any project which takes practical steps to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Especially here in Australia as there are such excellent renewable resources available and I feel we should be making better use of them.

  6. What do you see as the engineering challenge for the future?

    I think one of the biggest challenges has to be energy. As a species, stumbling across the stored up supply of energy in the form of fossil fuels has caused almost every aspect of our lives to become dependent on abundant supplies of low-cost energy. As an example recent studies have suggested that for every unit of food energy reaching tables in the US, 10 units of fossil fuel energy are required to fertilise, harvest, process, and transport that food. As these resources run-out, or rather it becomes uneconomic (or environmentally unacceptable) to recover them, there are some major engineering challenges ahead in making processes more energy efficient and switching to more sustainable sources of energy.

  7. What does being part of the Institution mean to you?

    It means the opportunity to organise and attend interesting talks from outstanding engineers working in all areas of the profession, and also promoting engineering as a career choice.

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