Award-winning cooperation

Ulrich Wiese, Walter Astheimer, Andreas Nguyen, Kevin Weilbacher and Benjamin Rapp, Geert Ernst (from left to right) © Werner-Heisenberg-Schule Rüsselsheim

Kevin Weilbacher, Benjamin Rapp, and Andreas Nguyen with their mobile solar charging station. © Werner-Heisenberg-Schule Rüsselsheim

The cooperation between Werner-Heisenberg-Schule in Rüsselsheim and RheinMain University of Applied Sciences was finally agreed upon at the beginning of July, and already there is a reason to celebrate: In the context of the district Groß-Gerau’s “Energy award” competition, a team consisting of two students of the degree program Interdisciplinary Engineering at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences and five students of Fachoberschule Maschinenbau (technical secondary school for mechanical engineering) at Werner-Heisenberg-Schule won third place and received a prize in the amount of €1,300. The project management, too, was a joint endeavor, with subject teacher Ulrich Wiese responsible for his students from Werner-Heisenberg-Schule, and Alexander Espenschied, lecturer in the degree program Environmental Engineering and managing director of the Bischofsheim-based photovoltaic company INEK Energie GmbH cheering on his team from RheinMain University of Applied Sciences.

Mobile solar charging station

The team entered the competition with a mobile solar charging station. “The main body of the charging station had been built during an earlier project week at Werner-Heisenberg-Schule and was the ideal basis for a charging station. The off-grid charging station we built is portable and works using three photovoltaic modules in solar batteries. It can therefore supply several devices with higher power requirements such as refrigerators, electric barbecues, music systems, e-bikes with a total output depending on the size of the solar batteries used. The charging station can be used as an energy supply outdoors or in places without a mains connection and, of course, can also be used in the classroom for test series,” Wiese explained to those present at the award ceremony.

The jury considered the project worthy of an award and Walter Astheimer, first district councilor of the district of Groß-Gerau, voiced his enthusiasm about the result achieved: “I am delighted that Werner-Heisenberg-Schule has become one of the winners of our competition for the third time and I find it particularly commendable that this time it was within a cooperation with RheinMain University of Applied Sciences.” Bernhard Gross, Dean for Academic Affairs at the Faculty of Engineering at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, also offered his congratulations on the project's success on behalf of the entire dean's office: "We really appreciate that the efforts and dedication of the cooperative school/university team have been acknowledged and rewarded."

Joint theoretical project phase

The joint theoretical project phase including all calculations, layout designs, specifications, the circuit diagram design, material planning/parts list compilation, documentation for the off-grid system under the guidance of the students involved took place at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences and at INEK Energie GmbH. The joint practical construction of the system took place in the workshops of Werner-Heisenberg-Schule and INEK Energie GmbH, also during the school vacation, as the group had to allow for the pupils’ preparations for their final exams and the students’ coursework commitments. As Ulrich Wiese's team says: "We wouldn't have come this far without Alexander Espenschied".

“After the project is before the project” as the saying goes: The alignment of the modules of the charging station to the position of the sun, originally planned for this project, will be implemented in the new school year with a new group. And the project has inspired some of the participants to embark upon a career in engineering: Two of the pupils from the school project group, who have since obtained their entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences, will start studying mechanical engineering at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in winter semester 2020/21.