The Central University of Colombia visiting the University of Oldenburg

by Mónica Andrea Gutierrez Almonacid, Colombia (PPRE15/17)

On May 6th of 2016, 11 students from Colombia visited Oldenburg with the aim of approaching to the research activities being held at the University of Oldenburg and its associated institutions. They all are doing their Bachelor’s degree in engineering at the Central University placed in Bogotá D.C., Colombia.

The Central University is a higher education institution founded approximately four decades ago and one of its main purposes is to encourage students to continue doing research activities, as well as giving them the possibility to collaborate with international groups and research institutions working on different fields of science. This has allowed previously for two groups of students to visit Germany in 2012 and 2014, specially focusing on Industrial Automation Processes. This year the University realized it was time to change the topic since its students were showing different interests. Therefore, at this opportunity the visit to Germany was mainly focused on ‘Modeling and Simulation and their relation with the real world’. Manuel Mejia is one of the lecturers of the university leading research in this field and was the leader of the group during the visit.

Manuel and his group of students realized that the University of Oldenburg has a strong focus on Renewable Energy and they were interested to see the modeling and simulation of different renewable energy systems. As an introduction to their visit to the university, they had an overview of the Postgraduate Programme in Renewable Energy (PPRE) where its director Michael Golba explained how the program is structured, the possibilities of getting into the program and the research groups that the University is working with were also mentioned. Afterwards, the group visited Next Energy, Forwind and OFFIS since they are some of the most recognized associated institutions to the University of Oldenburg doing research in the field.

In Next Energy the group had the opportunity to see how the institutions were focusing efforts on doing research in photovoltaics, fuel cells and energy storage and furthermore on how they are trying to find the path for integrating these technologies in an effective way in the European energy systems. It was especially interesting for the group to see the laboratories inside the institute where they could see the current testing projects on fuel cells and the research done in thin film solar cells.

Forwind introduced to the students the research done in the wind energy field. More specifically, in wind energy meteorology, in wind flow interaction with wind turbines, as well as their studies in wind power systems. Some of the current projects were also introduced including the new wind tunnel in construction which is expected to enhance experimental research in the institution in order to validate their simulation results.

The final visit was to OFFIS, where the students learned the high importance of introducing an ICT based electricity network (smart grid) in order to cope with the new challenges generated due to the integration of renewable energy technologies in different voltage levels of the grid. In the institution they had the chance to go to the Smart Energy Simulation and Automation Laboratory (SESA-lab) where real conditions of complex grids are to be simulated.

Hereby, Manuel Mejía, his students and Mónica Gutiérrez, who was a PPRE student accompanying the group during the visit to Oldenburg, want to extend their gratitude for all the information sharing that took place during the visit and the warm welcome that the University and all the institutions gave to their visitors. Special thanks are giving to Michael Golba form PPRE, Wedigo von Wedel and his PHd students from Next Energy, Juan José Trujillo from Forwind and Jorge Velasquez form OFFIS who were the representatives from each institute.

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