Within 20 years Wageningen will be provided with solar energy. At least, that is the plan. Before that much remains to be done. For example the supply and demand of solar energy throughout the day should perfectly fit each other. Geert Mulders helps the municipality of Wageningen in this great projects for his master’s thesis of Urban Environmental Management at Wageningen University.
Geert chose to do a master in the direction of environmental sciences, after completing his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Planning. “During my bachelor, my preference went out in this direction. In 2009 I studied in Uppsala, Sweden for six months to follow courses. The courses I took, where already in the direction of environmental management.” The master Urban Environmental Management consists of three directions: water reuse, energy generation and waste disposal. Geert: “In the first year of my master I had little knowledge of these topics, but soon I found out that I liked the direction of energy generation the most. My thesis perfectly fits this subject.
Geert is now working on the project for two and a half months. “I do all the work at the University at the Department of Environmental Technology, but I have much contact with the municipality as well. I look at the demand and the supply of energy in Wageningen. Currently this is two megawatts, which corresponds to the energy consumption of 500 households. Soon the municipality will try to produce these two megawatts from solar energy. It is important to know whether there is enough sunlight and when most energy is consumed. In the morning between seven and eight and in the afternoon between five and six there is a peak. These are not the times when the sun shines the most, so it is necessary to convert solar energy for storage. A lot of research at Wageningen University is done. There are already ideas for saving it in compressed air or for the use of solar energy in fuel cells.”
It is also possible to adjust the demand with management and that is what Geert is doing. “Companies consuming much energy can choose not to use certain devices at peak times. For example, large refrigeration systems are not always in use, but only cool a certain amount of time per hour. I contact companies in Wageningen to look at this type of management methods and ask for approval to be allowed to see their energy consumption. Fortunately, most companies respond positive. Geert really likes his research: “my research combines technology and management. It is interesting how the municipality works. I like to attend meetings with companies, at least now I can see how it works in real life.”
He is also enjoying the department: “It is always fun, we often drink coffee together, lunch together and celebrate each others birthdays.”