20 October 2011
Practice-oriented higher education
Inauguration of off-grid laboratory for new degree program “Power Engineering and Renewable Energy” at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences
Just in time for the launch of the degree program “Power Engineering and Renewable Energy”, starting with the current winter semester, the new renewable off-grid laboratory of the Faculty Electrical Engineering and Information Technology could be inaugurated at the end of September 2011. An off-grid system or insular facility is a self-sufficient power supply system. The Mayor for Environment Matters of the city of Karlsruhe, Klaus Stapf, emphasized the importance of renewable energies for climate protection and officially put the facility into operation – where regeneratively produced electricity was extracted from 8 tons of heavy lead-acid battery storage for the first time before the eyes of 45 guests.
The off-grid laboratory consists of a small wind turbine, with a maximum power of 5 kW, and a photovoltaic system, with a maximum power of 3 kW. Together they supply a battery storage with 4,400 Ah. “We’d like to extend our off-grid system and create a renewable combined power plant”, says Prof. Dr. Hermann Fehrenbach, scientific head of the laboratory, "by adding a combined heating and power plant we can provide safe renewable energy.”
It took almost 3 years to establish the laboratory. “Without our sponsors, the tuition fees and various student projects we could have never afforded to set up a facility for € 150,000”, underlined Vice-President Prof. Dr. Markus Stöckner during the opening ceremony.
The head of the degree program “Power Engineering and Renewable Energy”, Prof. Dr. Alfons Klönne, was also very happy about the number of applications received for the new degree program that just started this winter semester. It was quite impressive: 400 applications for 53 placements available. This reflects the large interest of applicants in renewable energy.
Thanks to the new laboratory, the students are able to learn about the components of self-sufficient power supply and regenerative power supply systems under realistic conditions. “Control engineering and state-of-the art power electronics also play a major role”, says laboratory engineer Hans Wünstel, “since without them we couldn’t use renewable energy in the form we do today”. Students in the higher semesters complete their practical training, do experiments and work on their projects and final thesis at the laboratory. The first research project in conjunction with a partner from industry is currently being conducted at the laboratory. The objective is to develop an innovativeand efficient small wind turbine. A further research project, about a wind park of small window power plants in the urban environment, is being planned.
Students – including those from other faculties – are involved in these research projects through project work and their final theses. The university’s new laboratory is thus used across the disciplines.