ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course deals with basic topics related to energy transformation processes and their impact on the environment. In particular, sustainability is considered with reference to several aspects: energy use, renewable energy, energy transformations, use of fossil fuels in combustion processes for heating and primary engines.
Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course the student will be able to know the main issues related to world energy consumption and to the most used energy sources with reference to energy generation and utilization processes taking account of renewable and/or not renewable energy sources, engine plants, final use of energy. He/she will also acquire the basics of the concept of efficiency in energy conversion processes. Therefore he/she will have a rough idea of problems, advantages and disadvantages of the different solutions used or proposed nowadays for energy generation and use.
Applying knowledge and understanding:
The student will be able to make general considerations on operating characteristics, performance and pollutant emissions of power plants used for energy generation from primary sources. He/she must also be able to compare qualitatively different solutions for the generation of energy from primary sources.
The student will have the tools and knowledge necessary to carry out critical investigations on energy conversion processes and solutions for the generation and use of energy from the point of view of main environmental problems.
The student must have the necessary tools to effectively present evaluations and comparisons of different solutions for specified processes for energy generation through both graphic and numerical representations concerning the characterization of energy and environmental alternatives.
The student will be able, starting from the basic knowledge given in the course, to acquire by himself the information, features, data that can be useful to know the main characteristics of systems and solutions used and/or proposed for energy generation and use with reference to environmental impacts.
Attendance to the course requires knowledge provided by the courses of Physics and Chemistry.
Course contents summary
General aspects. The planet energy balance. Energy sustainability. World energy consumption. Fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. Technologies for the use of renewable sources. Biomass. Hydropower, solar and wind power.
Power plants: processes of energy conversion and use, specific emissions of pollutants. Combustion processes. Short description of steam plants, gas turbines and internal combustion engines. Emissions from stationary and mobile applications and techniques for their reduction.
General aspects. The planet energy balance: natural and anthropogenic contributions. Energy sustainability: generation and use of Renewable Energy Sources. World energy consumption and primary energy sources. Fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. Technologies for the use of renewable sources. Biomass: availability and characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. Hydropower, solar and wind power.
Power plants: processes of energy conversion and use, specific fuel consumption and specific emissions of pollutants. Combustion processes: introduction to reactions, fuels and formation mechanisms of pollutants. Short description of steam plants, gas turbines and internal combustion engines: emissions from stationary and mobile applications and techniques for their reduction.
Topics discussed during the course are reported following the same approach and the same nomenclature in the following book:
M.Bianchi, A.De Pascale, A.Gambarotta, A.Peretto – “Sistemi energetici - Impatto ambientale” - vol.3, pp.1-544, ISBN 88-371-1754-X, Pitagora Editrice, Bologna, 2008.
Suggested readings for extended studies can be found in:
R.Vismara, "Ecologia Applicata", Hoepli, 1992
Learning activities will be developed in the form of frontal lessons. Lectures will be focused on the basics for the study of conversion processes and energy use from primary energy sources. As part of the course some numerical examples will be also presented, intended to allow the student to become familiar with the unit of measurement used to assess the operational characteristics of the systems used for the generation and use of energy.
The teacher is available during the reception hours and also by appointment (e-mail) for explanations.
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment of learning is carried out through the final exam only, which ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills (i.e. acquisition of learning outcomes) through an oral interview.
The oral interview is based on a question on the topics of the course and on the application of the theory to original problems: the critical capacity, the ability to explain and to correlate involved issues will be evaluated.
The question is evaluated on a scale from 0 to 30. To pass the exam a score of at least 18/30 is required.
The final grade is obtained by calculating the arithmetic mean of the scores of the two questions. The final score is communicated immediately at the end of the test.
Please note that online registration is MANDATORY to be admitted to the exam.
Attendance to the course lectures is highly recommended.