Engineering Outreach in Renewable Energy
The Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply (CIREGS) hosted an event for more than 50 A-level students and teachers from Cathays High, Cardiff and Vale College and Cardiff Sixth Form College.
The public outreach event was based in renewable energy and engineering, with an introduction to some of the projects currently being carried out in the school. These included the MEDOW project, which is a European Commission funded 'Marie Curie' project co-ordinated by Cardiff University and has academic and industrial partner institutions in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium and China. The aim of the project is to provide intensive broad ranging training to early career researchers in the field of multi-terminal DC grids (i.e. creating a grid with the capacity to transmit power harnessed from wind farms over very long distances to shore) with an aim to finding solutions to many of the barriers to integrating a grid of large-scale offshore wind farms to the onshore power grids of European countries.
The aim of the event was to help the students to link engineering to real life and see how engineering affects most areas of our lives. Some of the MEDOW project's Early Stage Researchers gave talks on the links between engineering and renewable energy. These included the reasons behind the increased demand for energy from renewable sources, the challenges of integrating renewables into existing power systems, basics on how offshore wind energy works, and why engineering will be a reliable source of employment in the future.
Students were given the opportunity to visit one of three demonstrations of Cardiff School of Engineering's pioneering renewable energy research. One group visited Professor Roger Falconer and a model of a proposed barrage over the Severn estuary; the second group visited the 'power system simulator' in the CIREGS lab; and the third group received a demonstration of the lightning simulator in the High Voltage lab. Visitors were given the chance to see the facilities at Cardiff School of Engineering, and ask questions about the practical side of engineering.
The groups then joined up again for a talk by Prof Falconer on the proposed Severn Barrage - something very relevant to South Wales and another form of renewable energy.
Students all said that they were glad they had attended and the vast majority felt that they had been encouraged to consider studying engineering.
Find out more about the MEDOW project here.