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Batteries and Fuel Cells for the Cars of Tomorrow: New Online Course on edX

Electric vehicles are likely to be the cars of the future. They require highly efficient batteries. A new online course explains why they are important, and how they work.

Batteries and Fuel Cells for the Cars of Tomorrow: New Online Course on edX
Picture: mikesphotos/pixabay

The scope of renewable technologies continues to expand, especially in terms of electromobility and energy. Electric vehicles are in high demand, not only in the world´s largest automotive market (China).

Therefore, the need to store and efficiently utilize energy is of utmost importance. There is also a growing need for the increased portability, accessibility and longevity of many of the technologies we use. 

The Cars of the Future Need Batteries and Fuel Cells

State of the art batteries and fuel cells are integral to the achievement of the above goals, and significant time and resources are being put into improving them. 

This is accompanied by an increased need for education and training in battery and fuel cell technology and its applications.

A new MOOC (massive open online course), designed by Associate Professor Dmitry Pelegov from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the Ural Federal University, aims to contribute to this education. 

Recently, we interviewed Professor Pelegov about his new course. 

"I Want to Demonstrate the Crucial Role of Batteries for Electric Vehicles"

Edukatico: Professor Pelegov, why are batteries and fuel cells such an important topic for today´s scientists and engineers?

Professor Pelegov: It is an important topic for everyone. Energy storage is the cornerstone of EVs [electric vehicles] and renewables. It is especially important for people working in related fields.

Edukatico: Your online course "Batteries, Fuel Cells, and their Role in Modern Society", on the edX platform, introduces these technologies. What are the main topics participants in the course can expect to learn about?

Professor Pelegov: The course information gives a detailed explanation of what is in the course. In short, however, the course explains what is currently happening in the field of batteries and fuel cells, what we can expect in the near future, and why it is on that trajectory. And, of course, how the technology works.

Edukatico: Who would be most likely to benefit from your MOOC and why? Is there a specific learner profile for the course?

Professor Pelegov: My course is tailored for two main learner profiles.

One, the general audience/public. Indeed, every global citizen wants to breathe clean air and live in a stable world without eco-catastrophes, oil wars and economic shocks. Most people also understand that electric-based transport and renewable energy sources are key elements of a sustainable future. 

While we have heard such sentiments before, firstly, I want to demonstrate the crucial role of batteries in terms of EVs and renewables. Secondly, I want to tell in a few words how it all works. I hope that after my course, learners will be able to understand the current state of play, and where it is all heading as far as the future is concerned. I would also like my learners to be able to understand key technological details in articles and the news.

The second learner profile is students of material science. My course will serve as a basic introduction to the subject of batteries and fuel cells and their role in modern society. I think it’s very important to impress upon them the demands from industry and society, as a way of preparing them for their careers.

Introduction to the course (English subtitles are available)

The Driving Forces Behind Electromobility Are the Same in All Countries

Edukatico: There are learners from many different countries who are expected to participate in the course. How does the development of electric vehicles differ between countries or regions?

Professor Pelegov: It differs quite significantly, especially in terms of financial considerations. For example, one of the lectures is focused on EV sales, with a focus on the main EV markets and market conditions. However, the driving forces behind developments in the area of electromobility, as well as main risks impeding EV adoption, are rather common

That being said, I always look forward to the comments and insights from learners from different countries. Personally, I always find them interesting and motivating. 

Edukatico: Lastly, we would like to know what your expectation is from teaching an online version of this course. What are the main differences between teaching on campus and teaching online?

Professor Pelegov: There are hours of video lectures which is a real highlight of the course. They aren’t perfect, and I have made some mistakes. However, using the inputs and feedback from my students and others, I want to continue to improve the course further. Despite being a course that is young in terms of its development, people will benefit from it greatly. Ultimately, the most desirable result for me personally is to hear, “Now I’ve got it!” from my learners, and that they say that wherever their study space happens to be.

Edukatico: Thank you and all the best for your new MOOC!

This new online course launches on the edX platform on October 29, 2017. To make the course easier to follow, English subtitles/transcripts are available. The MOOC is free to learn, and an optional course certificate costs $49.

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