I recently found your Internet site. I must tell you it's one of the best sites on I&E that I've ever found. Having said that, it leads me to believe this is the right place to help me with my dilemma.
I want to learn more about my trade, but I'm unable to find any acceptable online courses. My goal is a bachelor's degree in process automation engineering or at the very least an associate's degree. However, accrediting problems and/or bad reviews of courses found have prevented me from starting. Can you recommend any online schools that offer what I need? The most important factors to me are that the school is recognized in our industry as being of good quality, and that I get quality in the material I'm learning.
El Nido Biomass
[Walt Boyes responds]
You might take a look at www.eit.edu.au. This is the website of the Australian Engineering Institute of Technology. It has, in collaboration with IDC Technologies, the best online automation engineering courses. It offers a degree program, but you need to talk someone there about the value of it in comparison to the American bachelor of science.
Also, you could consider doing the EIT courses and then take the ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP) exam. Both certifications would get you pretty much what I think you're looking for. You might even be qualified to take the Engineer-In-Training exam and the PE in control systems engineering.
Béla Needs a Fact Check
It seems that this reader will not be spared one edition from Mr. Lipták's mantra of inexhaustible, clean and free renewable energy. An inexhaustible thing is worthless unless it is also abundant. Renewable energy is scarce, intermittent, inadequate; hence, its high relative cost. The recent study by the DOE of levelized costs of competing electrical generation technologies (www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html) confirms that solar photovoltaic is three times more costly than nuclear fission, in contradiction to Mr. Lipták's published statements. This is hardly free.
Gen III and IV nuclear reactors are safer, more reliable and more efficient. With deployment of breeder reactors, nuclear fuel reserves will be extended by hundreds of years, more than enough time to develop nuclear fusion. Mr. Lipták's position on breeder reactors and nuclear fusion? Deny their existence, and they will go away.
If you ignore the facts and especially the costs, the global marketplace will punish you. As the United States and Europe persist in a self-destructive energy policy, 90% of new nuclear reactors are being built in Asia and the Pacific Rim. All of those jobs proclaimed by Mr. Lipták and the other misguided adherents of renewable energy will be outsourced to our saner trading partners.
Mr. Lipták's answer to global competition? Create a global energy dictatorship (master controller) to save man from himself. Need I say anything more?
Al Rogers, PE
Applied Control Engineering, Inc.
[Editor's note: Béla Lipták is writing a multipart series on renewable energy in our Lessons Learned column. All the columns are available at www.controlglobal.com.]