The world’s first energy island
DTU already has a number of activities based on the island of Bornholm, including the experimental platform PowerLabDK, which is a collection of electricity and energy facilities that see DTU laboratories connected to the Bornholm energy system. With the establishment of Bornholm as the world’s first large-scale energy island and offshore wind farms in the Baltic Sea, DTU will have the opportunity to test green technologies for the energy islands of the future in a flexible environment that already functions as a living energy laboratory.
Over the past year, 115 DTU students have attended a course on Bornholm, where they have developed new innovative energy solutions in collaboration with Bornholm-based companies. DTU expects the number of students and researchers on Bornholm to grow as the energy island takes shape and the historic power station Rønne Elværk is transformed into a vibrant hub for students, researchers, and companies.
“We don’t have to send hundreds of students there to make a difference. It can easily be a good case if some of them write their exam projects on Bornholm. The latest group of DTU students helped Bornholm-based companies become self-sufficient, produce green energy, and rethink their production in relation to heat and energy losses. As a result, two students are now writing their BSc project with utility company Trefor on Bornholm,” says Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen.
Actively present throughout Denmark
The dream scenario is that some of the students will become aware of the study opportunities available throughout Denmark. In the long term, some of the students may choose to take up residence in the local areas and get jobs in the local industry. If the students wish, they can also enrol in a study programme in one of the areas where DTU is present and combine this with elements from DTU’s digital study programmes.
In fact, one of the greatest qualities of the digital study programmes is that students can complete the main part of their study programme digitally, regardless of where in Denmark or the world they live. The study programme is structured so that students alternate between extended periods of virtual collaboration and shorter periods of physical attendance at DTU in Lyngby or Ballerup, says Carsten Orth Gaarn-Larsen:
“There are many ways to live a good life, and, for some, living in a big city is not ideal. If schools and shops disappear, there is a risk that small communities will die out. Therefore, there is a value in nurturing them. Our approach is to be more actively present throughout Denmark. In this way, we can help push the boundaries of how we can all live and reside in the local areas in the future.”