The next generation of energy professionals will need to design, operate, and manage sustainable energy systems that integrate the latest technologies and are scalable enough to meet growing global demands. According to the book, Energy Systems Engineering, Third Edition, these are the areas of development for which tomorrow’s energy professionals should be prepared:
Research and development: Challenges include, among others, the:
- Redesign of combustion systems to separate CO2 and sequester it in reservoirs
- Development of nuclear fusion into a mature technology
- Development of lower cost solar photovoltaics or other systems for converting sunlight to electricity
- Use of structural engineering to reduce the cost of large-scale renewable energy systems, such as large offshore wind turbines or centralized solar power plants
- Development of more cost-effective and less land-intensive biofuels
- Development of long-lived and cost-effective fuel cells
Prospecting for resources: Finding attractive locations for wind turbines, for tapping geothermal resources, for sequestration reservoirs for CO2, or for other resources.
Streamlining the installation process: Especially for renewable energy systems, developing and standardizing this process so that it is cheaper, faster, and more predictable. At the same time, making renewable energy systems more adaptable so that they are applicable in a greater range of locations.
It is clear from this list that almost any discipline of engineering as well as related disciplines can play a role in this process. For these efforts to succeed, decision makers in business and government must be well-informed. Therefore, energy professionals with the relevant experience will be needed in executive positions in energy businesses large and small, in policy decision-making positions in government, and as leaders in energy- and environment-related nongovernmental organizations.
If you’d like to learn more about the future of renewable energy and potential opportunities for energy professionals, download this free white paper, An Orderly Transition to Renewable Energy by Francis M. Vanek, coauthor of the above excerpted book, Energy Systems Engineering, Third Edition.Tags: AccessEngineering, Connect, renewable energy, engineering students