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ECEN 1500 - Sustainable Energy

Catalog Data ECEN 1500 (3). Sustainable Energy. Explores how energy is created and used in today's society. Through collaborative discussion and hands-on data collection, students will analyze the engineering challenges, fundamental limits, and potential solutions to meeting our energy needs sustainably. Students will learn to analyze numerical data, estimate orders of magnitude, and apply mathematical methods in their own lives and in the ongoing energy debate. Basic algebra required. Restricted to non-engineering majors. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: quantitative reasoning and mathematical skills.
Credits and Design 3 credit hours. Elective course.
Prerequisite(s) None.
Textbook David J.C. MacKay, Sustainable Energy -- without the hot air. UIT Cambridge, 2008.
Course Objectives This course is designed to be a flagship class offered to other departments throughout the university in order to prepare a new generation of informed citizens from all disciplines that can contribute meaningfully to the energy debate. The course has been designed in coordination with the campus-wide Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative (RASEI). The course centers on an engineering math component including basic data collection and analysis, order of magnitude estimations, application and manipulation of mathematically expressed physical relations. In short the course is designed to empower students such as those from Journalism and Economics with the mathematical tools and engineering understanding in order to be active drivers in energy issues.
Topics Covered
  1. Motivation - Why sustainable? What is engineering? What are the goals?
  2. Energy for cars and planes. Energy from wind and solar
  3. Energy for heating, cooling, lighting, & gadgets. Energy from hydro & offshore wind
  4. Energy for food and the rest. Energy from wave, tide, and geothermal
  5. How does it add up?
  6. Can we engineer better solutions? Wind, Waves, Tides
  7. Engineering better transport.
  8. Engineering better heating.
  9. Engineering more efficient stuff.
  10. Sustainable finite resources
  11. Importing renewable energy, long distance energy transport
  12. Power fluctuations and energy storage
  13. How can we make it add up?
  14. What can we do?

Last revised: 08-02-11, PM, ARP.