PHYSICAL TECHNOLOGIES FOR RENEWABLE ENERGIES
Learning outcomes of the course unit
1) Knowledge and understanding
The course provides the analytical tools needed to understand the energy problem and the evaluation of its possible solutions. In particular, the physics behind the renewable energy production processes is highlighted.
2) Applying knowledge and understanding:
Knowledge, skills and methodologies related to the management and analysis of the energy production systems, with special emphasis on renewable energy sources, are provided. Students are strongly encouraged to report on particular application of the studied energy supply methods.
3) Making judgments:
The collection and the interpretation of the large amount of data presented in the course offer to the students the opportunity to make critical judgments with respect to arguments such as the environmental sustainability of the energy supply (for each energy sources examined).
4) Communication skills
Students will have the opportunity to process information, ideas, problems and solutions, having the opportunity to independently arrive at conclusions based on their knowledge in dialogue with specialists and non-specialists interlocutors.
5) Learning skills
At the end of the course the student will have developed the necessary skills to undertake further studies on the subject with a high degree of autonomy.
The basic courses of the first two years.
Course contents summary
The energy problem is central for the present and future of human activities. The control of the energy resources exploitation and the reduction of the environmental impact, resulting from their use are not only political and economic immediate issues, but represent above all, a scientific and technological challenge. These strategic objectives can be achieved with complex actions, aimed firstly to increase the energy production efficiency and use secondly, to the exploitation and introduction of renewables energy and new technologies. Therefore, it becomes necessary an increasingly targeted knowledge of the energy sources both classical (fossils) and innovative (renewable). The aim of the course is to provide a methodological basis in the field of the use of energy resources and in techniques to control the environmental impact of the energy systems showing how to make a rational use of energy and, at the same time, to implement systems and sustainable technologies.
ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY: Origins and meaning of the sustainability concept, Energy Sustainability, Energy balance, human actions.
ENERGY AND ITS SOURCES: The concept of energy, definition and forms of energy, primary and secondary energy sources conventional and alternative energy sources, renewable and non-renewable sources.
THE FOSSIL SOURCES: Oil - Natural Gas - Coal - Comparison between the costs of fossil fuels.
THE NUCLEAR SOURCES: Nuclear fusion - Nuclear fission: advantages and disadvantages - Fission reactors of the third and fourth generation - Cost of energy produced by nuclear source.
RENEWABLE SOURCES: Definition of renewable energy, energy from classical renewable sources:
Hydroelectric Power - Advantages and Disadvantages of hydropower - Cost of energy produced from hydroelectric sources.
Geothermal Energy - Advantages and Disadvantages of Geothermal - Cost of energy produced from geothermal sources
Wind Energy - Advantages and Disadvantages of wind energy - Cost of energy produced from wind power.
Biomass - Technologies for biomass conversion - thermochemical conversion processes - Direct combustion and cofiring - charring - gasification - pyrolysis - biochemical conversion processes - aerobic and anaerobic digestion - Alcoholic fermentation - Extraction of vegetable oils and biodiesel production-Steam explosion - potential advantages and disadvantages in the use of biomass for energy purposes - Cost of energy produced from biomass.
Solar Energy - Earth-Sun Balance - Greenhouse effect.
Solar photovoltaic - Description of photovoltaic technology - The solar cell – Comparison between different technologies - The conditioning system and the power control - The PV electrical capability - Advantages and Disadvantages of PV - Cost of energy produced by photovoltaic technology .
Thermal Solar Energy: low temperature - Advantages and Disadvantages of solar heat at a low temperature - Cost of energy produced by thermal solar energy at low temperature.
Thermodynamic Solar Energy: Solar energy concentration in Thermodynamics - Concept - technologies of solar energy systems - linear parabolic collectors (Parabolic Trough) - linear Fresnel collector systems (Linear Fresnel Reflector) - Central Tower Systems (Solar Tower) - parabolic circular systems (Dish Stirling) - Cost of solar thermal power technology.
RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR THE FUTURE: Giving a look at the most promising and innovative conversion technologies - Marine Energy - Technological development and potential of the Marine Energy - Osmotic Energy (salinity gradient) - Tidal Energy - Energy from tide changes (intervals) - Costs - Energy from tidal currents - Costs - Energy from marine currents - costs - Energy from the waves – Cost - Energy from thermal gradient.
DJC. MacKay, Sustainable Energy - without the hot air; UIT Cambridge, ISBN: 978-1-906860-01-1 (downloadable and available for free on http://www.withouthotair.com/)
C. Julian Chen, Physics of Solar Energy, ed. Wiley, ISBN: 978-0-470-64780-6
Twidell & Weir, Renewable energy resources, ed. Taylor and Francis, ISBN: 978-0-419-25320-4
Lectures and exercises enriched with applications.
Assessment methods and criteria
The formative evaluations are designed to detect the effectiveness of the learning and teaching processes in confront of the lessons content. It will be positively evaluated the student presence, his participation in exercises and insights that will be proposed either by a participatory point of view and by a purposeful point of view.
The certified evaluations (oral examination) will be in place to assess and quantify with a vote, the achievement of the objectives of the courses and their credits, certifying the individual preparation of the student. In particular, it will assess the knowledge of the general and specific topics covered in class with particular attention to the degree of elaboration and exploration of the learned concepts.
Possible program expansion to suit the students specific needs.