Educating the energy engineers of the future
“We have to educate engineers who think innovatively and creatively to solve the energy challenges of the future – they will meet complex challenges and must be able to take important decisions”, says vice head of department at AAU Energy, Mads Pagh Nielsen. For this reason, students and researchers from AAU Energy as well as companies from the energy sector met at the Energy Camp in Esbjerg last week.
The aim was to encourage new ways of thinking about the challenges concerning future green energy systems and to formulate project proposals to be further investigated by students for their 9th semester projects or master’s theses. Companies such as Liftra, Vestas, Danfoss and Rambøl presented their views on the challenges, and through workshops, exercises and creative processes, the students were urged to work with the problems with a different approach from what they and the companies are used to. The camp presented an occasion for the companies to gain new perspectives and join the students in cooperation across the field, in order to form a closer relation and be able to work together and merge visions, ideas and knowledge.
Great energy and a major success
The outcome of the camp was 37 project proposals, that show how the students used their innovative and creative thinking to perceive challenges from new and bigger perspectives. Instead of focusing on the small parts of existing technology, the goal was to zoom out and maybe take an entirely new approach to the specific challenge to be able to contribute to the green transition. The students thus gain a more holistic view of the problems through being part of the process from beginning to end.
Mads Pagh Nielsen explains that the camp was “very rewarding and a very positive experience, where the energy was great and there was lots of enthusiasm from both the students and the companies.” The success will be repeated in the years to come, where the camp will hopefully grow even bigger and eventually also include high school students and politicians in solving the challenges of the energy systems of the future.