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A Comparison of the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Sectors in Germany and the United States, with Recommendations for Engineering Teaching Practices

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

ECCD Technical Session 4: Energy and Analysis

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Lisa Bosman Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Bosman holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering. Her engineering education research interests include entrepreneurially minded learning, energy education, interdisciplinary education, and faculty professional development.

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Jennifer Brinker Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

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Jennifer Brinker's teaching emphasizes learning from real-life projects. She recognizes and teaches the importance of saving energy, money and the environment, along with meeting customer comfort and production needs. She holds a Master’s Degree in Land Resources and Energy Analysis and Policy from UW-Madison and achieved Certified Energy Manager (CEM) certification. Jenny has conducted hundreds of commercial energy audits since beginning a career in energy management in 2005. Jenny has worked on contracts for energy management programs and utilities. She has also developed and managed contracts with government entities and non-profit organizations. Her work in developing energy management programs involved training energy auditors, which has led to her current role as a sustainability and energy management instructor at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

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Kenneth Walz Madison Area Technical College

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Dr. Walz completed his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin in Environmental Chemistry and Technology, while conducting electrochemical research on lithium-ion batteries with Argonne National Laboratory and Rayovac. His studies also included research with the University of Rochester Center for Photo-Induced Charge Transfer. Since 2003, Dr. Walz has taught chemistry and engineering at Madison Area Technical College, where he also serves as the director of the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE).

Dr. Walz is also an adjunct professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin. He has served as teacher for the UW Delta Center for Integrating Research, Teaching and Learning, and has mentored several graduate students who completed teaching internships while creating new instructional materials for renewable energy and chemical education. Dr. Walz is also an instructor with the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP), delivering professional development courses in energy science for public school teachers.

Dr. Walz is an alumnus of the Department of Energy Academies Creating Teacher Scientists (DOE ACTS) Program, and he worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducting research in renewable fuels and electrochemical materials. He continues his work with NREL, serving as an instructor for the Summer Renewable Energy Institute for middle and high school teachers. Dr. Walz has been recognized as Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and as the Energy Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education.

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The German Energiewende is the planned transition by Germany to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply. This paper reports on a U.S. faculty international study program, which took place in May 2019, to explore the intersection of the German renewable energy and energy storage sectors. The international program included eleven instructional faculty from throughout the United States on a two-week learning and discovery experience starting in Frankfurt and ending in Munich, Germany. This paper provides an overview of the German renewable energy and energy storage landscape in comparison to the United States. Emphasis is placed on differences related to the historical context, policy and regulatory differences, and technology advances in the renewable energy and energy storage sectors. The comparison of Germany and the U.S. provides a nice example for faculty and students to investigate how technology readiness, regulatory policies, and economic forces all intersect to establish markets for a multinational industry. Findings from the international program and their impact on the education practices of faculty in the United States are provided, with a focus on academic curriculum, teaching practices, and career pathways for the energy industry.

Bosman, L., & Brinker, J., & Walz, K. (2020, June), A Comparison of the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Sectors in Germany and the United States, with Recommendations for Engineering Teaching Practices Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--33986

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