EnergyLab: The student laboratory for climate protection

The EnergyLab at Gelsenkirchen Science Park aims to make the subjects of climate protection, energy and, in particular, renewable energy accessible to schoolchildren and lets them conduct their own experiments. Pupils are also given career guidance for these future-oriented fields. In its “EnergyBox”, the EnergyLab has also developed an attractive educational tool that teachers can use – and are using – anywhere.

Since it opened in 2010, the EnergyLab at Gelsenkirchen Science Park has been revealing the options for climate-friendly energy generation to schoolchildren and helping them make career choices. In the EnergyLab, pupils gain practical insights into the future-oriented fields of renewable energy, energy and environmental technology, electronics and mechanical engineering. In addition, the organisation informs the next generation about training and study opportunities and presents companies from the green economy. This way, around 2,000 young people every year gain practical experience, background knowledge and information about career opportunities in the forward-looking areas of activity that are renewable energy and climate protection.

Engine for progress:

  • Approx. 2,000 young people take part in training each year
  • Intensive STEM courses about climate protection and renewable energies
  • Career guidance in future professional fields
  • Information circulated through teaching materials

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Photo: Thomas Gödtner

Experiments on the output of wind turbines: pupils measure values such as voltage and current under various conditions and produce performance charts.

On-site activities from project days to summer schools

The range of activities is primarily aimed at youngsters from age 13 or 14 upwards and is mainly availed of by pupils from Gelsenkirchen and other towns in the Ruhr region. At the EnergyLab, the emphasis is on active experimentation under expert guidance for all activities relating to renewable energies. On project days, the schoolchildren are taught for four hours by the EnergyLab’s teaching staff about two topics from a wide range of subjects including photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, biofuels, wind power, fuel cells and hydrogen. The EnergyLab programme also comprises an intensive two-day physics course as well as summer schools and special company initiatives, competitions and event formats on theme days, such as “GreenDay” or “GirlsDay”. Regular study groups from local schools are also held in the EnergyLab in the afternoons over an entire academic year/semester.

Two labs for up to 30 people are available on site for this purpose. There is an opportunity to experience renewable energy where it is generated: outside. To take light measurements when investigating solar power or measure wind speeds (when studying wind turbines), pupils need to go out into the park. The photovoltaic installation on the Science Park’s roof and racing fuel cell cars in the Science Park’s arcade illustrate the application of these technologies outside the student laboratory. In addition, the EnergyLab arranges regular excursions to other places outside the classroom, for example trips to Gelsenkirchen’s power station or the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen.

The EnergyBox

“EnergyBox”, a tool that facilitates learning and experiments, is another success story. This popular teaching aid for ages 9 to 12 actively supports teachers in planning their lessons by providing materials for experiments, measuring devices and instructions that are easy to follow. With 27 simple and clear experiments, schoolchildren can have fun discovering the world of renewable energies at first hand. Thus, the EnergyLab is helping in various ways to firmly establish the subjects of climate and energy in children’s minds.

Photo: Energy Lab

“In the EnergyLab, we have the opportunity to pass on to young people something that we strongly we believe in: our future lies in renewable energies and we all can contribute to climate protection. It’s nice to see that many schoolchildren are becoming enthusiastic about these issues.”

Hildegard Boisserée-Frühbuss and Ralf Engelbrecht-Schreiner, project management

Partners and sponsors

  • Wissenschaftspark Gelsenkirchen GmbH
  • Klimabündnis Gelsenkirchen Herten e.V.
  • Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft und Forschung (MIWF)

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