Energy pioneers wanted

Symbolic picture for the article. The link opens the image in a large view.
Renewable energy generation will play an ever increasing role in the near future. (Bild: Martin D. Vonka/shutterstock)

With its new Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in Clean Energy Processes, FAU is setting the course for the important task of training the specialists urgently required for transforming the energy sector and the chemical and biotechnology industries.

Regenerative energy sources play an important role when it comes to ensuring zero-emission energy supplies in the future. However, as these sources of energy are not available at all times, a form of intermediate storage is required. Hydrogen is at the top of the list of potential energy carriers as it can be used in many ways, not only as a means of storing regenerative energy irrespective of weather conditions, but also for heating buildings, as fuel for vehicles and as a raw material for the chemical industry, for example for the production of methanol, ammonia, or various fuels. The gas could become particularly important as an alternative energy carrier for industry, a sector that consumes vast amounts of energy and produces large amounts of carbon dioxide. Hydrogen is currently still gained from fossil energy carriers, but if climate targets are to be met, it must be produced using methods that do not produce CO2. This is not the only challenge, however. The chemical and biotechnology industry must also adapt its manufacturing processes to incorporate zero-emission energy carriers, making new process equipment and plants necessary.

Pioneers in environmentally-friendly energy

This is precisely where the new degree programme Clean Energy Processes comes in, which is offered by the Chemical and Biological Engineering department and starts during winter semester 2021/22. The programme is taught in English. Clean Energy Processes focuses on the generation, storage and efficient use of clean and sustainable energy in every sector as well as on established industrial methods and processes that need to be adapted. ‘Change is coming and we need engineers who can develop environmentally-friendly energy systems of the future. These pioneers will research fundamental relationships, find answers to tomorrow’s questions, and develop and implement relevant technologies,’ emphasises Prof. Dr. Katharina Herkendell from the Chair of Energy Process Engineering.

Two specialisations in the Master’s degree programme

Vier Frauen in einem Labor.
The Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in Clean Energy Processes are characterised by a strong international and application-oriented focus. (Image: Ahmed Mahmoud)

Prospective experts in energy technology can apply for either the Bachelor’s degree programme or the Master’s degree programme.  Students of the Master’s degree programme can choose between two specialisations: ‘Energy Technologies’, which focuses on energy generation and conversion or ‘Energy Systems’, where the main focus is on implementation. ‘This degree programme is one of the first of its kind in Germany. Close collaboration with existing research projects and the key research priorities of the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN) make it very special,’ explains degree programme coordinator Jasmin Singh. ‘Its international and application-oriented focus make this degree programme unique. Students will have the opportunity to work with scientists who perform top-level research, and who have close links with the Helmholtz Institute and Energie Campus Nuremberg as well connections to industry,’ says Prof. Herkendell. In addition to laboratory courses, for example in process technology, the Master’s degree programme includes an industrial internship, which often assists students in finding the right direction for their future careers. Laboratory courses provide students with the right tools and methods to drive sustainability forward into the future. However, it’s not just technical expertise that counts. The degree programmes recognise the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach and include subjects like business administration, ethics, law and sustainability.

Setting the course for the jobs of the future

Prof. Dr. Katharina Herkendell
Prof. Dr. Katharina Herkendell is Vice Chairperson of the Degree Programme Committee for ‘Clean Energy Processes’. (Image: FAU/Georg Pöhlein)

Prof. Herkendell believes that job prospects for graduates of these programmes are excellent. ‘Students receive in-depth training in engineering, and are capable of carrying  out environmental performance evaluations and evaluating problems in process engineering in complex social contexts, possibly in an advisory role.’ As the teaching language is English, they also possess the vocabulary required to address current and future issues in energy generation and systems and work on the solutions to global challenges. Graduates have a wide variety of career opportunities open to them in fields such as synthesis, chemical processes, process technology, quality management or in political consulting. Spin-offs are also a welcome possibility. Another option for graduates are the research and development departments of large companies. And for those who prefer to focus more on research into science or process technology, there is the opportunity to study for a doctoral degree. ‘Our unique focus means that we are training engineers who will play an active role in driving forward the transition to new forms of energy and the transformation of the chemical industry,’ emphasises Jasmin Singh. ‘We are already setting the course for the jobs that will be required in three or four years’ time,’ concludes Prof. Herkendell.

The Webseite of the degree programms

From Eve Tsakiridou

Cover alexander Nr. 116Die Themen der neuen Ausgabe sind: ein Interview mit dem Präsidenten der FAU, Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, und dem Markendesigner Claus Koch über die neue Zukunftsstrategie der FAU, eine Untersuchung über den Einfluss von Patenten auf Marktentwicklungen, die Studiengänge „Advanced Materials and Processes“ und „Clean Energy Processes“, ein Spaziergang durch unseren Aromagarten, der heuer sein 40. Jubiläum hat, und ein Interview mit dem Siemens-CEO Dr. Roland Busch.

Ausgabe 116 als PDF herunterladen