Training in renewable energies fills up young engineers

The bus leaves the city of Perpignan and goes into the scrubland. On board, twelve students from the Sup’EnR engineering school watch the wind turbines pass by. The vehicle stops in front of a building with undulating shapes, clad in stainless steel. This is the waste treatment plant with energy recovery from Calce, where all the yellow bins of the Pyrénées-Orientales converge.

During a visit of almost two hours, the young engineers will learn more about the recycling of plastic, transformed as the case may be into school supplies, tarpaulins or even clothing. They will discover how energy from the combustion of waste is recovered to provide heat to schools, hospitals and industries in the area. And will be made aware of the importance of sorting before the “Museum of Horrors” – a sample of objects wrongly thrown into the yellow bin, from brake pads to swimming pool motors, including animal carcasses and syringes.

The students of Régis Olivès, director of Sup’EnR, are receptive: it is to contribute to a greener world that they have opted for the only engineering school entirely devoted to renewable energies (ENR). “I wanted to be an environmental actor through my job”, testifies Anouk Barrière. Listed in 4e year at Sup’EnR, the 21-year-old wants to work in sustainable building. His comrade Titouan Janod, also 21, says he played with vehicles powered by renewable energy during his childhood. The choice of Sup’EnR was imposed on him: “For me, life has no meaning if I don’t try to save the world. »

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Since its launch in 2016, Sup’EnR, a partner of the INSA group (National Institute of Applied Sciences), receives 1,000 additional applications each year. “In 2022, we received 5,500 requests… for 24 places”, explains Régis Olivès. The training recruits after a bachelor’s degree, a preparatory class for the Grandes Ecoles, a university bachelor’s degree in technology… or directly through Parcoursup, through a two-year post-baccalaureate course at INSA Toulouse. The students then go on to an engineering cycle at Sup’EnR, where they follow technical lessons on the various renewable energies, but also courses in environmental law or energy market economics.

Hired at the end of their internship

“ENR is also human sciences. We may have high-performance technologies, installation at all costs where it is not relevant in terms of landscape, environmental and societal has no interest”, explains Régis Olivès. Member since 1996 of Promes (Processes, materials and solar energy), a laboratory of excellence, he evokes a paradigm shift around renewable energies: “Before, people despised us a bit, asking us how we were going to make electricity at night. Today, companies historically focused on fossil fuels or nuclear are investing in renewable energies. Total has even financed training in Toulouse devoted to the energy transition, which, moreover, does not go without hindering a certain number of students. »

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