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Andreas Günther
Programme Manager
Renewable Energy Online

Email:    reo@pz2wguol.detdr
Phone:  +49 441 798 3338

University of Oldenburg
School of Mathematics and Science
Institute of Physics
D-26111 Oldenburg
Germany

Programme Objectives

In our study programme, you will acquire competences in four different competence areas.

Subject-Related Competences

After finishing the programme you will be able to:

  • Evaluate energy resources
  • Explain and apply principles of different renewable energy conversion processes
  • Technically design and assess renewable energy installations
  • Technically design and assess the integration of renewable energy systems into energy supply networks
  • Evaluate renewable energy technologies and their impact from a socio-economic and environmental perspective
  • Scientifically model renewable energy systems and processes

Methodological Competences

After finishing the programme you will be able to:

  • Communicate natural-science and related topics in oral and written format
  • Perform literature research in natural science data bases
  • Work on projects individually or in teams in a structured and self-responsible way
  • Critically and rationally evaluate scientific results, models or concepts
  •  Contribute to scientific discussions on natural science related topics
  • Perform and critically evaluate data-acquisition and data-evaluation methods
  •  Develop research questions and project proposals on natural-science related topics

Social Competences

After finishing the programme you will be able to:

  • Communicate and work in a diverse team, addressing different stakeholders
  • Manage conflicts
  • Moderate meetings and discussions

Personal Competences

After finishing the programme you will be able to:

  • Work analytically, outcome-driven and efficiently
  • Act responsibly and apply good scientific practice
  •  Critically reflect your own professional competences and limitations

Curriculum Renewable Energy Online

The curriculum of the study programme consists of different types of modules: Core Modules, Technology Orientation Modules, System Orientation Modules and Social Science Orientation Modules. Some of the modules are mandatory and some are elective. On the one hand, we provide sound information in Renewable Energy, on the other hand you are able to follow your individual interests.

Module Handbook

For detailed information on the modules please have a look at the module descriptions below or download the complete Module Handbook (last update: 03 August 2018).

Course of Studies (regular study time)

The regular study time is 7 semesters with 3 modules per semester. This requires a workload of approximately 20 hours per week. 

1. 
Sem.
18 ECTS

2. 
Sem.
18 ECTS

3. 
Sem.
18 ECTS

4. 
Sem.
18 ECTS

5. 
Sem.
18 ECTS

6. + 7. 
Sem.
30 ECTS

Elective Modules (Technology)

Elective Modules (System)

Course of Studies (extended study time)

It is possible to extend the study time according to your individual needs, e.g. by studying 2 modules per semester (workload approximately 14 hours per week).

1. 
Sem.
12 ECTS

2. 
Sem.
12 ECTS

3. 
Sem.
12 ECTS

4. 
Sem.
12 ECTS

5. 
Sem.
12 ECTS

6. 
Sem.
12 ECTS

7. 
Sem.
6/12 ECTS

8. 
Sem.
6/12 ECTS

9./10. 
Sem.
30 ECTS

Comment

One elective module can be chosen either in the 7th or 8th semester.

Elective Modules (Technology)

Elective Modules (System)

Core Modules

The study programme contains four mandatory 'Core Modules' where you acquire the fundamental competences in the most important fields of Renewable Energy.

Renewable Energy Basics

(Mandatory)

This module consists of several self-studying courses called primers. The primers cover fundamental knowledge to succeed in the specialisation courses from the fields of Mathematics, Solid State Physics, Programming, and Electrical Power Systems. Their aim is to provide the heterogeneous audience a common knowledge base especially in those fields which were not covered in the previous studies of the students. For each of the primers an e-book is provided which contains the study content. This e-book is accompanied by a respective course on the learning platform where students can evaluate their progress using self-evaluation feature, pose questions, discuss with class mates and mentors on a forum and submit mandatory assignments.

Renewable Energy Laboratories and Excursion

(Mandatory)

This module aims at introducing the Renewable Energy Online (REO) programme, the online learning platform C3LLO as well as some important basics and principles of scientific working, which will be done online. Furthermore, in an on-campus period at the university of Oldenburg, the students will gain some first hands-on experiences in an introductory laboratory. Subsequently, they will get a deeper look into the underlying principles of selected Renewable Energy technologies in a second laboratory. Also an excursion will be part of the on-campus period, in which the students will get to know various companies, international organisations as well as research institutes in the field of Renewable Energy in Germany.

Introduction to Renewable Energy Resources and Systems

(Mandatory)

This module will give an overview on the global energy system and the challenges of energy supply due to fluctuating energy resources with varying and seasonal load profiles.

Simulation and Laboratory

(Mandatory)

In this module, the students obtain the competence on modelling and critically analyzing simulations. Students apply those in a topic on renewable energies of their choice. Students have the choice to simulate specific renewable energy components or systems which are later investigated in hands-on laboratories. Through this, students learn to critically discuss the results of their simulations and compare them to real measurements as well as the results from differently implemented simulations from which they deduce the limits and validity of the respective models. In a practical simulation course, the students will identify a renewable energy system of their interest and develop a relevant research question. The students will construct a model to answer their research question with respect to a real experimental setup. At the end, they will present their results in a paper where they detail their model and their results and apply the previously learned critical measures to it. In another practical laboratory course during an on-campus phase the students will perform hands-on investigations on a setup. Students will learn how to setup measurement equipment, program data loggers for long-term measurements, plan measurement campaigns. Furthermore, they will learn how to present their measurement results in a report and compare their measurement data to those obtained from the simulations. Finally, students will acquire the competence to evaluate, discuss and communicate these results according to scientific standards.

Technology Orientation

The modules  of the technology orientation provide the necessary fundamentals of wind energy, photovoltaics, energy storage and further renewable energy technologies. In order to further specialise in a selected technology, you can choose up to three elective modules in wind energy or photovoltaics.

Wind Energy Fundamentals and Wind Farm Design

(Mandatory)

This module consists of a theoretical part and a practical part:
In the theoretical part, the students will learn the fundamentals of wind power generation and utilization. The course starts with the explanation of the physics behind the generation of the wind, its occurrence and how wind measurements are carried out. Concepts about the energy and power available in the wind, as well as the types of wind energy converters will be described. The aeromechanical energy conversion is explained thoroughly, including the basic blade aerodynamic design. The main components of the wind turbine are also characterized, along with the main drive train, generator concepts and power control strategies. Insights on the mechanical design of the wind turbine components will be given, based on the generation and occurrence of loads. Environmental effects, political and social aspects of wind energy utilisation will be discussed as well.
In the practical part, calculation exercises will be given to complement the knowledge of the theoretical part. Additionally, students will get insights on how wind farm planning is done in the industry. They will perform tasks related with the assessment of the wind resource, energy yield, wind farm efficiency, shadow casting and noise emission of a wind farm. In a self-contained work they will select types of wind turbines and establish a wind farm layout for a given site. They will also optimize the wind farm design, in regard of energy yield and environmental impacts. Tasks to learn about basic economic calculations will be also provided.

Design and Simulation of Wind Turbines

(Elective)

This module consists of a theoretical part and a practical part:
In the theoretical part, the students will learn the fundamentals of wind power generation and utilization. The course starts with the explanation of the physics behind the generation of the wind, its occurrence and how wind measurements are carried out. Concepts about the energy and power available in the wind, as well as the types of wind energy converters will be described. The aeromechanical energy conversion is explained thoroughly, including the basic blade aerodynamic design. The main components of the wind turbine are also characterized, along with the main drive train, generator concepts and power control strategies. Insights on the mechanical design of the wind turbine components will be given, based on the generation and occurrence of loads. Environmental effects, political and social aspects of wind energy utilisation will be discussed as well.
In the practical part, calculation exercises will be given to complement the knowledge of the theoretical part. Additionally, students will get insights on how wind farm planning is done in the industry. They will perform tasks related with the assessment of the wind resource, energy yield, wind farm efficiency, shadow casting and noise emission of a wind farm. In a self-contained work they will select types of wind turbines and establish a wind farm layout for a given site. They will also optimize the wind farm design, in regard of energy yield and environmental impacts. Tasks to learn about basic economic calculations will be also provided.

Fluid Dynamics

(Elective)

The motion of fluids, particularly of air, plays a fundamental role in the context of renewable energies. Global weather systems as well as the flow around a single blade element of a wind turbine follow the natural laws of fluid dynamics. This module offers additional insight into the origin of fluid motion and the underlying equations. It will therefore complement the fluid dynamical concepts used in other modules such as wind energy fundamentals or energy resources and conversion. After introducing the basic concepts, the fundamental equations of motion will be thoroughly deduced. These equations will then act as a starting point to explore different topics such as turbulence, aerodynamics and atmospheric dynamics. The module covers a lot of topics and can therefore not provide all important details of e.g. aerodynamics. It rather aims for enabling the students to study more complex and aerodynamical and meteorological topics by themselves. Furthermore, it is a strongly recommended prerequisite for the module Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Computational Fluid Dynamics

(Elective)

This module consists of a theoretical part and a practical part:
In the theoretical part, the students will learn the fundamentals of computational fluid dynamics. It concerns the numerical solution of the governing equations describing a fluids motion. These equations are systems of partial differential equations for which analytical solutions exist only for a few special cases. Therefore, CFD methods have to be applied to allow a prediction of the specific flow problem. Different methods will be discussed to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the numerical approximations. The most important iteration schemes and their foundations are discussed in this context.
In the practical part, exercises for the use of the open source software tool OpenFOAM will be given to complement the knowledge of the theoretical part. The students will get a first overview on how to perform fluid dynamic simulations and which details have to be regarded. They will conduct steady-state simulations for incompressible flows. Various cases such as airfoil simulations at different angles of attack will be performed. A comparison towards experimental data will be conducted to understand strengths and weaknesses of numerical simulations in OpenFOAM.

Basics of Photovoltaics

(Mandatory)

This course covers the physics of photovoltaic devices where we discuss the solar cell from a microscopic point of view to explain the macroscopic behaviour of solar cells. We discuss design and optimization strategies as well as the limits of solar cells, various technologies and materials which are on the market.

In the practical part of the module, calculation exercises will be given to complement the new theoretical knowledge. Additionally, the students will simulate solar cells and their behaviour under varying conditions using a research based simulation software.

Solar Resources and Systems

(Elective)

This module consists of two parts which extends the knowledge about photovoltaics: with solar energy meteorology methods to evaluate the incident radiation on the modules as well as the incorporation of photovoltaic modules into energy systems. Students learn to design a photovoltaic system for various environmental conditions and predict its performance.
In the Solar Energy Meteorology part, the solar resource is described and modelled in more detail. Students learn the theoretical meteorological models and concepts to predict the solar radiation, optimize systems with the goal to improve energy security and grid performance.
In the part on PV Systems, students learn about the design and characteristic behaviour of solar cells. Then they will learn how to connect solar cells and about the various effects on the system performance if the system is not operating under ideal conditions. Furthermore students will learn to setup stand-alone and grid connected PV systems for various applications and environmental conditions and get to know the further required components like charge controllers or inverters. Finally students are able to predict the systems performance. Students learn to design and set up a photovoltaic system and calculate the relevant performance parameters.

Energy Storage

(Mandatory)

In the theoretical part, students will learn the changes for the grid by implementing power generation from volatile renewable sources. The course starts with the explanation of the “Energiewende” in Germany and the portfolio of technologies in a 100% renewable energies scenario and the impact for the stability of the grid and sets a focus on the distributed grid. To compensate fluctuations with storage the concepts of several technologies for central electrical energy storage are explained and discussed. A short review of fundamentals of the chemistry of secondary batteries is explained and helps to understand different charging and discharging behaviours. A comparison of different technologies will be given, before the most relevant battery principles are explained and the advantages or shortcomings are discussed. For every type of secondary battery the typical applications are explained by examples. Typical charging strategies are described and typical battery characterisation methods are shown.
In the active part, the students focus on a country to examine the grid situation of a country with notable integration of renewables. They analyse a scenario simulation to locate problematic areas in the grid given by volatile resources in a system of demand and load. For implementing storage devices they develop and research solutions for one grid service and a suitable technology. The results are shown in a teamwork presentation.

Selected Technologies of Renewable Energy

(Mandatory)

This module will give an overview over a selection of renewable energy technologies, namely Biomass Energy, Hydro Power and Solar Thermal Energy. The focus is on the scientific principles of components and the technical description of the components. Further detailed system analysis will be presented in other modules.

System Orientation

The modules of the "System Orientation" introduce you to the foundations of grid integration and decentralised electrification. You may choose one or two specialisation modules in order to work on real-world projects with a focus on grid integration or off-grid electrification.

Grid-Connected and Off-Grid RE Systems

(Mandatory)

After successful completion of the course, students will understand the existing structures and technical fundamentals of energy systems for the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy and their interaction and dependencies. They should develop an understanding of the necessary information and control technology components and processes for the management and operation of electrical energy systems, and can assess and evaluate problems and challenges, in particular for information and communication technologies (ICT) and for computer science through the expansion and integration of unpredictably fluctuating decentralized producers into the existing system.

Off-Grid Electrification Project

(Elective)

This module introduces principles and topics, which are relevant for an off-grid energy supply project and its sustainable implementation. Throughout the course, the students will work on different dimensions of a real-life project in a developing or emerging country. By this, they will get a full and close insight into the project and a broad understanding of underlying theoretical and methodological concepts. The first part of the module is a lecture about ’Project Management and Financing’. The students will be introduced to basic aspects of development and financing of renewable energy projects with a special focus on developing and emerging countries. This includes private and public financing instruments and typical business models for off-grid electrification projects. Relevant concepts for cost and investment calculation will be explained. In the second part of the module, a real-life project will be introduced. The students will get in contact with the partners on-site and establish a full picture of the project. Subsequently, the approach of ‘Problem-Based Learning’, which is the underlying didactical concept of this module, will be presented. Following this approach, the students will work in groups to collaboratively investigate aspects and issues of the real-life project: In international and interdisciplinary teams, the students will analyse technical, social, financial or ecological aspects, relevant for the project’s implementation, development and sustainability. They will identify issues and appropriate methods for an analysis. Finally, they will select a specific topic or problem important for the further development of the project according to their personal preference individually or in small groups in order to analyse the problem. At the end of the module, the findings will be presented via a video conference to the whole group including the project partners. Furthermore, a scientific paper as well a consultancy report have to be submitted.

Grid Integration Project

(Elective)

In the theoretical part, the students will learn the fundamentals of electrical power and the different circuits for AC and DC power. The main division of electricity grids will be described and typical grid topologies and the main elements of a grid are explained. A deeper view will be given for compensators and capacitors in AC circuits. To understand the basic operation principle power quality and stability and power quality concepts are identified. The main issues associated with are discussed. For the increasing amount of power electronics the different electronics switches in power converters and its parameters are shown and calculated. At that point the students are able to identify the challenges for RE grid integration and recognise the mechanisms used to integrate RE into the grid. To understand the regulation of an electrical grid the students learn the special characteristics of the electricity market and regulatory conditions. The future role of storage technologies in the electrical Market are discussed with a view on the structure of the electricity wholesale markets. The roles of distributed storage devices are explained to identify the concepts of ancillary services and the application with energy systems. Throughout the composition of the system, principles of operation, technologies involved and associated issues were presented. All that concepts will be concentrated in the assessment of the Power System Analysis in different scenarios. The module concludes with an analysis of a given scenario and developing a solution for implementing storage devices that will be shown as a presentation.

Social Science Orientation

The Social Science Orientation introduces you to social science and economic theories and methods in order to put Renewable Energy into a societal context and discuss the sustainability of Renewable Energy.

Energy and Society

(Mandatory)

This module comprises two introductory units: One to sociology and the second one to energy economics. It will address student’s with a natural science and engineering background to apply and critical assess economics and social science research.
Sociology - Theory and Methods: students will learn the fundamentals of sociological theory and method. The course provides an overview of some major strands of contemporary influential sociological theories and the historic development of the discipline, including its relation to societal development. The founding fathers of the discipline namely Comte, Marx, Durkheim and Weber will be introduced, as well as proponents from the structural functionalism strands, like Parsons and Luhmann, contemporary Marxian and new approaches. These contrastive ‘sociological views’ and methods will be related to selective major development theories. With the problem based learning approach students will learn to distinguish between different theories and methods through analysing, i.e. attributing policy measures to sociological and development theories.
Energy Economics – Mainstream and Heterodox Approaches: the course starts with an introduction to mainstream economics, with an energy focus. Markets, demand and supply will be addressed. This will be followed by analysing selected contemporary influential heterodox economics approaches: Post-Keynesian, environmental and New Marxian. Analogous to the sociology unit, with a problem based learning approach students will analyse contemporary energy policy measures.

Renewable Energy and Sustainability

(Mandatory)

The module “Renewable Energy and Sustainability” takes a look at the interaction of the development of humankind and the condition of the natural environment. The aim of the module is to illuminate the areas of sustainable development where technological and formal changes are at their limits and depend on social processes to prevent irreversible destruction of the world as we have known it until today. Different strands of development since the Industrial Revolution will be addressed such as mechanisation of labour work, exploitation of fossil fuels, social changes and new consumption practices, resulting psychological and social effects and the unfolding limits of various natural resources and unpredictable changes in natural processes. This lays the foundation to critically rethink the direction human development is taking and to develop an understanding that there are limits in the physical environment. It is shown that a paradigm of growth has entered modern life that is widely left unquestioned. Ideas and new ways of thinking and living are addressed that could handle the growth paradigm and sketch a different system in which sustainable development is possible.
With the module, students not only will read about the concepts, but discuss and get to know their strengths and weaknesses, deal and argue with and about them. Therefore, besides the theoretical input, the study material also contains sections with guidance for discussions. These discussions will be done in webinars or group forums. There will be presentations about the respective topics to address the main questions and issues. The students will choose one of the discussion topics - depending on personal interests. They will prepare a presentation as well as write a discussion paper, which has to be submitted at the end of the semester.

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