The aim of this course is to introduce energy systems into the infrastructure. Water and food supply, transportation, governments, administrations, health, internet, communication channels, manufacturing of goods, banking and other sectors essentially depend on energy. Without energy, all these infrastructures cannot be operated. Hence, the energy sector is today’s most critical infrastructure. A failure in parts of the energy sector results in negative impact on other infrastructure systems - and may result in situations of disaster.

Oil is still a key energy source for the world, but many countries are highly dependent on imports. In the 1970s, our planet felt this slightly for the first time (OPEC supply reduction). Is it better today? What happens, if the USA-Iran conflict escalates? Up to now, the UCTE (Continental European) electricity grid has been one of the most reliable grids in the world. Ever since about two years, instabilities are observed. Investigations uncovered that a break-down would result in war-like consequences for the population. Are there options to avoid such effects?

The course provides deep insight into the whole energy system, how it works, the nature of risks and vulnerability. The reasons of potential failures are illuminated as well as the consequences of such incidents and the dramatic impacts on the civilized world. The course will also cover methods of reducing existing risks and provide security approaches as well as measures of mitigation.

Target Audience

The course not only contemplates the technologies of the energy sector, but also deals with economic and social aspects as well as issues of the civil society. Maintaining a functioning Infrastructure Energy is a permanent interdisciplinary task. Who should attend:

  • Engineers of all disciplines
  • Scientists, researchers
  • Economists
  • Governmental and trans-national executives dedicated to energy supply and distribution systems
  • Developers of Energy Master Plans
  • Administrators and electricity grid operators
  • Security executives (anti-terror, technical and natural disaster response, etc.)
  • Policymakers
  • Students
  • Professionals interested in Critical Infrastructure Energy

Course Programme

Lectures will be presented on the following topics.

Day 1

  • Critical Infrastructures: Why an infrastructure can be critical? Assets, benefits, dangers, risks, potential damages and losses. Interdependencies between Infrastructures. Special role of “Crit-Is (Critical Infrastructure) Energy”.
  • Electricity from key Renewable Energies (RE): State-of-the-art technologies of Photovoltaic (PV) and Wind Energy Conversion (WEC). Basic equation, capacity factor. Environmental aspects. Pros and cons.
  • Electricity demand and supply: Electricity grid as key element. How it works, role of consumer, role of generator. Reliability, grid stability and security of supply. UCTE and other electricity grids, comparison and evaluation. Impact of comprehensive failures of electricity grid.
  • Traditional Electricity generation: State-of-the-art technologies of thermal power plants. Environmental aspects. Power vs. energy. Substitution of fossil and nuclear through PV and WEC, pros and cons. Status of German energy transition project.

Day 2

  • Energy and economy: Access to electricity vs. poverty. World GDP and energy consumption, energy intensity of countries. Fixed and variable costs of power generation, cash flow cycle over the lifetime.
  • Fossil fuels: Peak oil. World trading of energy commodities, energy exporters and importers, nature of risks and vulnerability. Energy import dependency of some countries. Special role of nuclear fuel. Oil price and world economy.
  • Energy efficiency (EE) as "energy source": Energy intensity of manufacturing, potentials and limits of EE, technical & financial feasibility of EE. Advanced technologies of electricity application, co-generation, combined cycle, heat and other energy recovery. Case studies, real life examples.
  • How to overcome volatile RE generation: Direct and indirect storage of electricity, batteries, hydro pumping PP, Wind to Gas (W2G) and others. Smart grids, Demand Side Management (DSM), technical feasibility, financial and social costs.

Day 3

  • Biomass and other RE: Energy potential and exploitation of biomass. The conflict “food vs. fuel”, how to solve it, real life examples of sustainable biomass to energy systems. Others: Tidal and geothermal energies, solar up-draft, gasification, biogas generation and application, substitution of fossil natural gas by biogas. Evaluation (technology, financial feasibility) of RE systems.
  • Environment and climate: Greenhouse effect, physics, CO2 in atmosphere and emissions by country, other greenhouse gases, world climate ob¬servations, long term change of temperatures, further explanations.
  • Nuclear energy: Status of utilisation worldwide, basic physics of nuclear power, liquid drop model, chain reaction and radioactivity, state-of-the-art reactor technology. Fukushima accident, decay heat, Zr-H2O reaction, lessons learnt.
  • Options for future energy systems: Potential of hydropower and other RE systems, challenge of off-shore wind farms, Desertec and other initiatives. Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSTP) technology, fusion reactor. Evaluation of Crit-Is Energy: maintaining reliability, reduction of risks, security of supply, minimisation of vulnerability, mitigation of impacts of failures.

Course Presenter

Prof Helmut Koerber, Dipl-Physiker (MSc), Dr (PhD) of Engineering is a Senior Consultant and CEO of APC Angewandte Physik (Applied Physics) Consulting AG, Allschwil, Switzerland, and a lecturing professor at University of Furtwangen (HFU), Black Forest, Germany, previously also at HTW University of Berlin. He has been advising companies, governmental authorities and NGOs in matters of energy efficiency, risk and safety, prevention of industrial accidents as well as environment protection - in all cases financial feasibility analyses included. His main research focuses on biomass to energy technologies, Critical Infrastructures (Crit-Is) with an emphasis on security of electricity supply, and core melting in light water reactors providing fundamental insight into the Fukushima accident long before it occurred.

In his many years of working all around the globe (North and Latin America, Europe, Mid-East, South and Southeast Asia, Pacific, Africa), Helmut was able to gain comprehensive professional experience through a wide variety of projects (power plants, chemical, textile and agro industry, waste incineration, refineries, mining) as well as through training of postgraduates. He is a highly successful lecturer for both engineers and non-technical professionals. As such he has provided more than 100 courses.

Prof Koerber is a licensed expert of “Environment Protection and Safety Technology” corresponding to §29a BImSchG (Bundes-Immissions-Schutz-Gesetz, = German Federal Act for Emission Protection). He is author of several books and of teaching materials for lecturers. He has published widely in journals, conference proceedings, as well as government and industry reports.


new forestThe New Forest is one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations and offers many attractions all year round, including picturesque forest villages as well as beautiful scenery. It is located in Southern England, spreading over 150 square miles of Hampshire. The New Forest was established as a royal hunting ground by King William I, and by the 14th century, the land was being used to produce timber for the shipbuilding industry on the south coast. Today, after nearly 1000 years, the forest is still Crown property and is administered by the Forestry Commission. Since the reign of King William I commoners have been given the right to graze their livestock, normally ponies, cattle and pigs, on Forest land where they wander freely. In the New Forest, the well-being of the animals and the special needs of the countryside are a priority. The Forest is unarguably recognised as one of the most unique and important wilderness areas in Western Europe and, because of this, it is now a National Park.

Venue and Accommodation

The course will take place at the Wessex Institute at Ashurst Lodge located in the New Forest, an outstanding National Park that borders the South Coast. Ashurst Lodge is an ideal venue for conferences, courses and seminars.  The participants can benefit from an excellent standard of accommodation in various hotels or bed and breakfasts in the area.  The surroundings are equally appealing to those who enjoy walking, horse riding, cycling, sailing and fine landscapes.

For more information on how to find Ashurst Lodge and to arrange accommodation during the courses please use the information provided on the Contact Us page.

Ashurst Lodge panorama