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Energy: Uses, Sources, and Environmental Impacts

$228 Limited inc GST / $¤,205
Energy: Uses, Sources, and Environmental Impacts

<p>Energy is central to our existence, from the food we eat to the comforts of our homes, our transport, the jobs we do and the technologies we enjoy. Yet our ever increasing thirst for energy has

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Energy is central to our existence, from the food we eat to the comforts of our homes, our transport, the jobs we do and the technologies we enjoy. Yet our ever increasing thirst for energy has placed many strains on both the environment and the planet’s resources. We examine how we use energy, and how we supply it. What are the laws which govern energy efficiency? How do fossil fuels impact on the environment? What are the prospects for renewable energy sources? And Does nuclear still have a role to play?


SUGGESTED READING

  • J J Kraushaar and R A Ristinen; Energy and Problems of a Technical Society
  • R A Hinrichs and M Kleinbach; Energy, Its Uses and the Environment


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Energy: mechanical, heat, chemical, nuclear, electrical. Historical overview of our increasing use of energy: photosynthesis and food/muscle energy; new sources; water and wind, coal.
  • The Industrial Revolution: thermodynamics and the efficiency of energy conversion. Coal and oil: emissions – air pollution; greenhouse gases.
  • Energy from the sun: the Earth’s energy balance and the greenhouse effect. Solar Thermal energy applications.
  • Solar Photovoltaic energy, including the physics/engineering principles of solar cells.
  • Wind energy. Other renewable sources such as wave and geothermal.
  • Physics of the nucleus: binding energy; radioactivity and nuclear decay processes; fission and energy release.
  • Nuclear reactors: types, operating procedures and control, safety; accidents.
  • Policy issues: demand and supply side management. Energy efficiency. How to build and maintain a reliable electricity grid.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the various forms of energy, their inter-conversion, and uses.
  2. Discuss heat engines, and the conversion of heat to useful work, including the generation of electricity.
  3. Discuss the Earth’s energy balance, the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases.
  4. Discuss the direct uses of solar energy, as well as how it drives the atmosphere.
  5. Describe the fundamental concepts of solar cells, and their efficiency.
  6. Discuss the operating principles, and constraints, of a wind turbine.
  7. Explain how a nuclear reactor operates, and the safety considerations employed.
  8. Discuss the policy instruments which may be used to improve the overall efficiency and environmental impacts of our energy usage.