May 8-29, 2013, Ireland
During the last mini-term, a group of students from the College of Engineering did a three-credit faculty-led study-abroad class on “Sustainable Energy Engineering” in the Republic of Ireland. Ireland is one of the leading countries to have invested greatly in sustainability.
Ireland already generates about 15% of its total energy from wind power. It is planning to invest another €2 billion to install 145 off-shore wind turbines. The future plans are to install an additional 1,000 turbine and to sell electric power to United Kingdom and France.
In addition to doing their class work, students learned about Irish history, visited the countryside, historical places, and wind farms. They interacted with the private owners of the wind farms and got the first-hand account of the different technologies used in wind energy generation, economics, and the related social issues.
Molly Young, a senior in mechanical engineering, said, “The study abroad trip to Ireland was a once in a life time opportunity. Not only did I learn a lot about wind turbines and energy efficiency but I also learned a lot about the Irish culture. It is an experience that I will never forget.”
Dr. Madhu Madhukar, the faculty leader of the program, added, “This was a great opportunity to see this important technology up close and actually interact with the people who implemented it.”
Greg Thompson, a senior in mechanical engineering, said, “It was a very interesting class that was made all the better by the first-hand experience of visiting the wind farms. Dublin is also a great city and all of the accommodations given to us were wonderful.”
One of the field trips also included a visit to Belfast, the birthplace of the Titanic, where students visited the factory where the Titanic was built and tested before making its fateful journey.