SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY AND ALTERNATIVE SOURCES
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of the course is to teach the following concepts:
Knowledge and understanding: the aim of the course is to give to the student fundamentals on the use of renewable, sustainable and alternative sources and a deep knowledge of the principal chemical processes for the production of fuels, electrical and thermal energy. In particular, the following items will be discussed:
Bioethanol and biodiesel production from renewable sources: first, second and third generation biomass
Second generation biomass gasification principles
Chemicals production from biomasses and their uses in the biofuel production
Bio-oil production and upgrading
As alternative energy source, the fuel cells will be presented, together with hydrogen production and storage
As renewable energy, the use of solar energy for the production of electricity through the use of solar cells will be discussed.
As for the environment protection, different methodologies for the recycle of the polymers will be discussed. In particular:
Chemical recycle processes of polymers; Thermal depolymerization reactions; Polymer oxidative degradation; Chemical depolimerization reactions
Polymer natural degradation processes
A particular emphasis will be given to the biodegradable polymers production, properties and uses
Finally, the thermovalorization of solid waste will be presented.
The last part of the course will be focused on the urban and industrial wastewater treatments and industrial exhaust gases treatments.
Applying knowledge and understanding: in parallel to theoretical explanations, the student will be trained in laboratory practice exercises. The lab experiments will be: (i) synthesis and characterization of biodiesel; (ii) synthesis and characterization of polylactic acid; (iii) chemical depolimerization of PET: how to chemically recycle a plastic bottle. Moreover, during the academic year, two instructional visits will be performed. One visit will be at the IMEM solar energy labs, and the second one alternatively to (i) a wastewater (or exhaust gases) treatment plant; (ii) to an incenerinator plant; (iii) a biopolymer production plant. These activities will train the student to apply and reinforce the concepts acquired, in particular for the plant and process management and its sustainability.
Making judgements: The student will possibly acquire a complete autonomy in the classification of the different alternative energetic sources, analyzing the advantages and disadvantages. The student will be able to autonomously and critically analyze the most suitable wastewater treatment (exhaust gas) for a particular plant or process, proposing the necessary characterizations to identify the type of wastewater (exhaust gas). Moreover, the student will be able to evaluate the most suitable treatment process for polymer disposal/recycle, based on the material characteristics.
Communication and lifelong learning skills: the student should be able to properly communicate using the typical scientific terminology. To this aim, at the end of the course the student will present in English to the teacher and to the classmate, who will actively participate to the discussion, an article or a review connected to the course contents. The work will be done as working group. The group will be composed by maximum four students that will autonomously select from the literature the article/review. The student should be able to present in a proper and critical way the selected argument.
To successfully follow the course and pass the examination it is fundamental to possess most of the knowledge and concepts treated in the course of
"Chimica Generale", "Organic Chemistry I and II", "Chimica e Tecnologia dei Polimeri"
Course contents summary
Biofuels: first, second and third generation
Biorafinery processes and biomass uses
Exhaust gas treatments
Bioethanol and Biodiesel production from biomass of first, second and third generation
Syn gas Production from biomass of second generation
Bio-oil production and upgrading
Syngas as chemical platform: the thermochemical route
MTG (Methanol to Gasoline) process
MTO (Methanol to Olefins) process
Solar cells: solar energy; mode of operation; characterization; types of solar cells (Si, CIS, CIGS, DSSC, nanocrystal thin film, Grätzel)
Fuel cells: mode of operation; applications; types of fuel cells (low and high temperature); hydrogen production and storage
Polymer recycle: mechanical, chemical and thermal
Chemical transformation of plastic materials
Polymer oxidative degradation
Biopolymers: definition, production and sources. Types of bioplymers and applications. Natural degradation of biopolymers. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment: pre-treatments, primary, secondary (biological) and tertiary treatments. P and N reduction in wastewater. Principal definitions: BOD, TOC, TIC, sludge age, sludge loading
Industrial exhaust gas treatment.
Slides, handsout and references cited
Frontal lectures, lab practice, case studies, educational visits, and a group working (maximum 4 students) consisting in a presentation to be done in English in front of the classmates. The presentation will cover a particular argument of the course.
Assessment methods and criteria
The student will have to prove to be able to properly and critically manage the contents of the course using a technical correct language. The student must be able to connect the arguments of the course.
The ability to master the technical language will be positively evaluated.
The result of the oral exam will be provided immediately
It is mandatory to register for the exam.