Course catalog description: The course is comprised of three parts: an introductory part that provides just-in-time analysis tools from engineering economics, thermodynamics, and sociopolitical analysis; a part dealing with all the major nonrenewable energy sources and technologies; and a part analyzing all major renewable energy sources and technologies.
Credits and contact hours: 3 credits; 1 hour and 20-minute session twice a week, every week
Pre-Requisite courses: None. This course is multi-disciplinary, but a maturity level in science and engineering is necessary.
Co-Requisite courses: None
- Introduction: Sustainable Energy; Defining Energy-Scientific and Engineering Foundations; Aspects of Energy Production and Consumption; National and Global Patterns of Energy Supply and Utilization; Environmental Effects of Energy - Confronting the Energy-Prosperity-Environmental Dilemma; Mathematical Representations of Sustainability.
- Estimation and Evaluation of Energy Resources: Units of Measurement, Energy and Power; Comparison of Different Forms of Energy; The Energy Lifecycle; Estimation and Valuation of Fossil Mineral Fuels, Especially Petroleum; Lessons for Sustainable Development
- Technical Performance: Allowability, Efficiency, Production Rates: Relation to Sustainability; An Introduction to Methods of Thermodynamic Analysis; The Importance of Rate Processes in Energy Conversion; Chemical Rate Processes; The Physical Transport of Heat; Use and Abuse of Time Scales; Energy Resources and Energy Conversion.
- Local, Regional, and Global Environmental Effects of Energy: How Energy Systems Interact with the Environment; Adverse Environmental Effects Over Local and Regional Length Scales; Global Climate Change: Environmental Consequences over Planetary-Length Scales; "6 degrees can change the world"; Attribution of Environmental Damage to Energy Utilization; Methods of Environmental Protection; Environmental Benefits of Energy; Implications for Sustainable Energy
- Project Economic Evaluation: Introduction; Time Value of Money Mechanics; Current versus Constant-Dollar Comparisons; Simple Payback; Economy of Scale and Learning Curve; Allowing for Uncertainty; Accounting for Externalities; Energy Accounting; Modeling Beyond the Project Level.
- Energy Systems and Sustainability Metrics: Introduction and Historical Notes; Energy from a Systems Perspective; Systems Analysis Approaches; Measures of Sustainability; Drivers of Societal Change; Some General Principles of Sustainable Development
- Fossil Fuels and Fossil Energy: Introduction; The Fossil Fuel Resource Base; Harvesting Energy and Energy Products from Fossil Fuels; Major Accidents: Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon; Environmental Impacts; Economics of Fossil Energy; Some Principles for Evaluating Fossil and Other Energy Technology Options; Emerging Technologies; Why Are Fossil Fuels Important to Sustainable Energy
- Nuclear Power: Nuclear History; Physics; Nuclear Reactors ; Nuclear Power Economics; Reactor Safety; Different Reactor Technologies; RBMK and the Chernobyl disaster; Advanced Reactors; Nuclear Power Fuel Resources; Fuel Cycle; Fusion Energy; Future Prospects for Nuclear Power
- Generally, on Renewables: Introduction and Historical Notes; Resource Assessment; Environmental Impacts; Technology Development and Deployment; The Importance of Storage; Connecting Renewables to Hydrogen; The Future for Renewable Energy.
- Energy from Biomass: Characterizing the Biomass Resource; Biomass Relevance to Energy Production; Chemical and Physical Properties Relevant to Energy Production; Biomass Production: Useful Scaling Parameters; Thermal Conversion of Biomass; Bioconversion;
- Geothermal Energy: Characterization of Geothermal Resource Types; Geothermal Resource Size and Distribution; Practical Operation and Equipment for Recovering Energy; Sustainability Attributes; Status of Geothermal Technology Today; Competing in Today's Energy Markets; Research and Development Advances Needed; Potential for the Long Term
- Hydropower: Overview; Hydropower Resource Assessment; Basic Energy Conversion Principles; Conversion Equipment and Civil Engineering Operations; Sustainability Attributes; Status of Hydropower Technology Today.
- Wind Energy: Introduction and Historical Notes; Wind Resources; Wind Machinery and Generating Systems; Wind Turbine Rating; Wind Power Economics; Measures of Sustainability; Current Status/Future Prospects.
- Ocean Waves, Tide, and Thermal Energy Conversion: Introduction; Energy from the Tides; Energy from the Waves; Energy from Temperature Differences; Economic Prospects; Environmental and Sustainability Considerations; The Ocean as an Externalities Sink; Current Status and Future Prospects
- Solar Energy: General Characteristics of Solar Energy; Resource Assessment; Passive and Active Solar Thermal Energy for Buildings; Economic and policy issues; Solar Thermal Electric Systems-Concentrating Solar Power; Power tower-central receiver systems; Parabolic troughs; Dish systems
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems: Semiconductor device physics fundamentals
- Performance limits and design options: Silicon-based cells (crystalline and amorphous); Thin-film cells; Concentrator cells; Current status and future potential of PV; Economics of solar cell production; Sustainability Attributes; Prognosis
Textbook: Jefferson W. Tester, Elisabeth M. Drake, Michael J. Driscoll, Michael W. Golay and William A. Peters: “Sustainable Energy: Choosing Among Options”, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Other supplemental material: Power Point presentation handouts and lecture notes.