The Energy Garage is a student-driven space for innovation and study hosted by Aalto University School of Science. In opening its doors, the Energy Garage provides a platform for research into energy-related phenomena and for learning new things as part of a wider network. By uniting Aalto University students and researchers interested in energy with businesses in this sector, the Energy Garage can be seen as a tool for finding solutions to energy-related issues.
The Energy Garage is open to everyone, regardless of their degree programme or academic background. It can be used as both a space and a tool designed to support students in their project work. On top of everything else, the Energy Garage also fosters multi-disciplinary networking and the development of expertise in projects that transcend traditional intellectual boundaries between different disciplines.
The Energy Garage is the brain-child of Professor Peter Lund, who wanted to come up with an environment in which students and experts from the full spectrum of energy-related industries could meet up and exchange ideas. Professor Karlos Artto and Development Manager Inkeri Ruuska gave good ideas during the planning process.
‘There are similar meeting places in many of the top universities around the world. The Energy Garage, which has just opened on our Otaniemi campus, took its inspiration from a similar idea at MIT in the USA. We then applied our own Aalto learning hub model,’ reveals Professor Lund. ‘The space also contains a "smart energy" producing climbing wall that we hope will further inspire energy-based projects,’ he continues.
The Energy Garage opens for business in the beginning of October and projects are already under way. One such project is the pico-energy network being constructed as part of cooperation between universities in Finland and India. Next up is the ‘descending thermometer’ green ICT project. In fact, the space is already in use by several student groups on the basic course on new energy.
Mikko Virta serves as both the project manager and ‘foreman’ for the Energy Garage.He studies energy technology at the School of Engineering.
‘Over the course of the project I’ve met staff and students who have been enthusiastic about the possibilities Energy Garage offers as a space. Teaching can often be extremely theoretical, and the possibility to work on practical matters can seem more interesting. Many people have small projects of their own and need space to realise them: Energy Garage offers them the possibility to put those projects into practice,’ says Mikko.
Next year we will see the Energy Garage operating at full steam, with the aim of between twenty and thirty new student projects getting started. The first enterprise collaborations will then follow in the winter. Once the space is running at full capacity, we hope that it will bring together around three hundred students and teaching staff.
Aalto University students are developing and leading the Energy Garage's operations. We encourage and support them to make this new space into a living, inspirational, and enticing environment for everyone interested in energy-related topics at Aalto University.
Come and join the Energy Garage community!
Project Manager Mikko Virta
Professor Peter Lund