Energy Transition Track

Introduction

Since 2013-2014 the Strategic Area Energy organizes the Energy Transition Track which is part of the TU/e Honors Academy.

Students are invited to join the Honors Academy based on received (top) grades during their first year. Afterwards follows a short selection procedure. Students start their Honors trajectory at the beginning of the second year of their bachelor program. The trajectory consists of two years of an additional workload of 15 ECTS each on top of their regular education program. Students can choose between different Tracks offering other set-ups and contents: https://studiegids.tue.nl/opleidingen/tue-honors-academy/bachelors-students/honors-tracks/.

The Strategic Area Energy aims to provide the students with a broad view on energy related problems and solutions in the Netherlands, Europe and the world. The Energy Transition Tracks offers students the opportunity to work in multidisciplinary groups on energy assignments, preferably proposed by an external client. The students learn about the energy sector and the theme at hand through research, discussions and additional assignments. The Strategic Area Energy  organizes assignments and clients, plenary meetings to discuss progress, coaching of the groups, excursions or additional assignments. Furthermore, attention is paid to personal development of each student: https://studiegids.tue.nl/opleidingen/tue-honors-academy/bachelors-students/honors-tracks/energy-transition/.

In September 2015 three students who participated in the Energy Transition Track of the TU/e Honors Academy were granted Energy Topsector scholarships. The Energy Transition Track is organized by Strategic Area Energy. More info

These are/were projects of students of the Energy Transition Track: 

2016-2017

Early September 2016 the Energy Transition Track students gathered for a kick off meeting and 6 possible topics were introduced. The students were invited to choose one of these topics or to come up with an alternative. After the meeting they needed to think, discuss, and persuade the other students resulting in the formation of Teams on the topics of their choice.

This year we created four teams. Chosen topics:

  1. Optimization of wood vinegar production process in rural Thailand
  2. Sustainable and Smart building at TU/e campus
  3. Metal Fuels (burning) to generate electricity/heat
  4. Driving the first Bus on Formic Acid (students joining Team FAST; http://www.teamfast.nl/)

All topics are related to either questions from society or (applied) research questions related to projects executed at our university.

2015-2016

1. The Solar Cube
Research Questions; Approximate the energy generated and its efficiency by conversion of solar irradiation to mechanical energy in a to-be-defined object of a to-be-defined magnitude? Under which circumstances could this process be valuable (worthy to be applied)?

2. Team FAST
A team of students joined Team FAST (www.teamfast.nl). They were part of the technical and marketing team and set themselves objectives related to the team objectives and their personal development goals.

2014-2015

1. Blue Energy

Research question
Will a (small) boat be able to sail on the energy produced by making use of the difference in chemical potential between salt and fresh water?

Challenges faced
The technology, although already applied (partly), is still being improved and tested, which makes it difficult to obtain data from companies involved. There is limited expertise available in this field at TU/e. Environmental impact as well as the limitation in locations which are suitable to use this type of energy resource, provide important boundaries to this project.

2. The formic acid fuelled car

For more information on this project; see the following websites:

2013-2014

Heat pump systems

Research question
What is hampering the large scale implementation of heat pump systems in households in the Netherlands when considering the technology, social and legal aspects and the financial feasibility of the technical system?

Challenges faced
The gas infrastructure at which the Dutch heating sector has focused for a long period, hampers implementation of other, possible solutions. Another difficulty was that no specific client was found offering a case study.

Conclusions
There is not much stimulation from (local) government for application of these types of systems in terms of subsidies or tax reductions. In combination with the fact that different technological options are only feasible in specific, niche markets, the large scale implementation of heat pump systems is not within reach.

2. Cloud energy

Research question
Is it technologically possible and financially feasible to extract electrostatic energy from clouds before it is released through lightning?

Challenges faced
Obtaining literature on this topic was difficult, therefore research had to be focused on several (technological) areas. Another challenge was therefore to theoretically understand what happens exactly before the lighting takes place. Another challenge was to find a practical manner allowing for extraction of the energy from the clouds before lighting.

Conclusions
After obtaining sufficient theoretical background of energy in clouds, exploration of possible practical solutions and designing equipment which would be able to withdraw this energy, the students concluded that the limited output in energy would not match with the investments needed to build the structure to withdraw this energy.