College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota
College of Science and Engineering
http://cse.umn.edu/

Northern Europe 2012

May 27, 12

Day 12: Wind Farm & Saku Brewery

Today we took a coach bus out to the coast near the cliffs to visit a wind farm. Apparently the sea has been eroding away at these cliffs. From the signs we read, these turbines are actually taller than the ones in the Baltic Sea near Copenhagen by 30 meters. We thought they looked smaller, but the forest nearby probably acts as an optical illusion. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped to have lunch at the Saku Brewery. Estonia and Latvia are very similar to Minnesota in that a lot of the beer they serve is locally brewed by smaller craft breweries. Saku started in 1820. Some of the group is going out to meet up with the students and to get dinner, others are going to a local cultural music festival, while the rest are trying to get healthy.

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May 27, 12

Day 11: TTU & Sauna

Today we are meeting our Estonian student representatives from Tallinn Technical University. They show up at our hotel around 11:30 AM and we say hello and start walking to the tram station. We got our tickets and headed to the school. It was a nice small campus. All of the guys were Power Engineering students and the girls were Geology/Mining students.

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May 27, 12

Day 10: Estonia, The Harbor of the Baltics.

We have an early 5 hour bus ride to Estonia, followed by a long walking tour of their old city. On the way to Estonia, most of us are sleeping. We passed some wind farms, large bright fields of yellow mustard plants, and forests thick, full of tall skinny evergreens. We arrive at our hotel in the old Soviet factory and warehouse district. Many of the old brick buildings have been converted into nice hotels, office buildings, restaurants, and clubs. Nearby is a theme park, and the Baltic Sea.

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May 27, 12

Day 9: Aerodium Wind Power

Today we took a trip to an Aerodium site near Jelgavas to experience wind power in a completely different way. Imagine five 200 kW motors equipped with blades about 3 meters in diameter all channeling wind into a common tunnel. This tunnel is then pointed upwards through a safety net with large cushions around it. Now imagine jumping into this wind stream. You get Aerodium...

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May 24, 12

Day 7: MHD Facility and Latvia History

This morning, we are taking the train outside of the city to visit the Metal Hydrodynamic (MHD) Research Facility. This facility was built by the USSR to develop a nuclear powered spaceship to Mars. It is now used for liquid metal hydrodynamic research.

Some of the other research going on in this facility includes, optimal design conditions for burning biomass as a fuel, thermal dissipation properties of ferro-fluids, and measuring transport coefficients of nano-particles with a continuous laser.

The "Baltic Blues" have caught up to a few more people. We go back to the hotel for a break and lunch, and then we go back to the University to do our presentations about Latvian history and culture.

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May 24, 12

Day 6: The University of Physics and Mathematics - Latvia

We arrive at the University of Physics and Mathematics - Latvia this morning greeted by a little rain and a very enthusiastic student representative. Wind Turbine production in Latvia for the purposes of electricity began in 1934. Wind energy production appears to still be in its infancy here, as most of their Project GORWIND is still in the planning and policy phase. Lativa currently does not produce wind turbines, but they do produce some parts.

The rest of today is exploring the city and a big dinner at a local traditional restaurant with dancing. Unfortunately, the "Baltic Blues" have caught up with me, and I spent the rest of the day sleeping and trying to get better.

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May 20, 12

Day 5: Riga, Latvia - Culture Capitol of Europe... if not the World.

We got to Riga early this morning. We had a little scare at the airport, as one of us briefly lost their passport (but found it in a different pocket). We arrived in Riga during their marathon race and had to walk several blocks to the hotel since the road was closed. We art staying in the Albert Hotel (named after Albert Einstein, who was born here). After dropping off our suitcases and getting a quick lunch or nap, we went on a 3-hour guided walking tour of Riga and the "Old Town" of Riga from the 12th and 13th centuries. If you thought Copenhagen was amazing, seeing Riga might make your heart stop, as the antiquity, preservation, restoration, and modernization of the Old Town and the surrounding area of Riga have been done so well, despite the numerous wars, bombings, and occupations. National/Cultural pride here is so apparent and dedicated, it makes American patriotism look like an obvious "Made-in-China fake" (not that I am speaking poorly of American patriotism).

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May 20, 12

Day 4: Freeday to Elsewhere

Today is a complete freeday for us. However, we are to wake up at 4:00 AM to get ready and leave for the airport tomorrow morning. Some people are going to see more of Copenhagen or go outside of the city. Some people are going to explore the churches and museums. Some people are going to the Elsnor Castle where Shakespeare's Hamlet took place. About a third of us (including myself) are going to take a day trip to Malmo, Sweden across the sound.

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May 18, 12

Day 3: DTU & Shopping

We started off with a trip to the main campus of DTU about 10 km outside of Copenhagen. We had a presentation from a student that is finishing his Master's Degree in nanotechnology engineering. He showed us how an engineering idea can become a business plan, and different ways to start your own company along with his experience. It was a very interesting presentation. If I had to redo college all over again, I would consider doing the entire program at the Danish Technical University near Copenhagen. The campus is very modern and beautiful despite it's age.

Since today is the day after their holiday, everyone has taken the day off for shopping, and the weather was perfect for it. The streets were crowded almost as much as the MN State Fair. Copenhagen is the cycling capital of the world, and it shows. We looked through the very large Royal Copenhagen store. We then stopped at the Copenhagen Amber House and Museum. I then hunted down a hold-in-the-wall glass blowing shop that I had passed by the previous day.

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May 17, 12

Day 2: Wind Turbine Farm, Canal Tour, & Madklubben

Hi everyone! Today we visited the offshore wind turbine farm built by Siemens. It was very cool! Then we had some free time, but I think most of us took a nap, as we were all tired and the weather was very windy and cold. This afternoon we took a boat tour through Copenhagen via the canals (think Venice). We saw many historical buildings from the 1600's and a few modern buildings from the last 20 years. We then had a very nice dinner at the Madklubben restaurant where there were many Norwegians celebrating Syttende Mai (Norwegian Independence Day). They were having a good time singing loud drinking songs. We had the evening free and saw more of the town. We haven't done much shopping yet due to the holiday closing most businesses. Tomorrow we go back to the University.

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May 16, 12

Day 1: Hilsen fra Kobenhavn

We got to Copenhagen just fine. None of us got much sleep on the plane, but we tried to make up for it on the bus. We visited the Danish Technical University in Riso and saw their wind turbine research facilities. We saw numerous historical buildings, found the shopping district, and went to a couple of bars.

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Mar 20, 12

Wind Energy in Northern Europe CE 4011

May 15 - June 3, 2012
Seminar Description:


Professors Henryk Stolarski and Sonia Mogilevskaya (both from the Department of Civil Engineering) are leading this global seminar that will explore northern European cultures, the intersection of economic development and energy production, and the structural aspects of wind energy production. Participants will visit Denmark, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia--some of the most picturesque countries of the Baltic Sea region. The cities visited will include: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Riga, and Tallinn.

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