Students will gain an appreciation of energy needs and uses in the modern world, and the possibilities and limitations of using renewable sources to meet these needs.
On successful completion of this module students will be able to form a good general view of the practicalities of harnessing renewable energy resources; of their rather diffuse nature; and of the possible environmental cost of utilising renewable energy, such as degrading visual amenity, alteration of water flows in rivers and estuaries, or other damage. Students will be able to make estimates of the energy available from specific renewable energy resources at a given site, and will have a deeper level of knowledge and understanding of wind and wave energy resources in particular.
The energy problem: depletion of fossil fuel resources; climate change. The renewables resource: the sun as the ultimate source; solar, wind, sea waves, hydropower, biomass, tidal power, geothermal energy. Economic issues. Carbon balance. Fundamental technologies for capture and conversion of renewable energy: present state of technology and research for the future. Integration of distributed electricity generation into the Grid.
More detailed coverage of energy from sea waves and wind. Types of wave energy converters; simple theory. Types of wind turbines; Betz theory; mechanical plant; regulation of wind turbines; assessment of sites for wind turbines.