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The Open University

Can renewable energy sources power the world?

The Open University via OpenLearn

Overview

We ask the question ‘Can renewable energy sources power the world?’ as a response to the growing awareness that increased use of renewable energy technologies is making a major contribution to ...

Syllabus

  • Introduction and guidance
  • Introduction and guidance
  • What is a badged course?
  • How to get a badge
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week1Week 1: Introducing renewable energy
  • Introduction
  • 1 Defining sustainable and renewable energy
  • 1.1 Renewed interest in renewables
  • 2 Energy definitions and concepts
  • 2.1 Units of energy and power
  • 2.2 Efficiency and capacity factor
  • 3 Renewable energy from the Sun
  • 4 Energy supply and demand: world and UK
  • 4.1 World energy supplies
  • 4.2 Energy supply and demand in the UK
  • 5 Fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and climate change
  • 5.1 What are the causes of climate change?
  • 6 Overview of renewable energy sources
  • 6.1 Non-solar renewables
  • 7 EU and UK renewable energy prospects 2020–2030
  • 7.1 Electricity market reform and new EU 2030 targets
  • 8 Case study: Scotland aims for 100% renewable electricity by 2020
  • 9 Week 1 quiz
  • 10 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week2Week 2: Solar energy for heating and daylighting
  • Introduction
  • 1 Solar thermal energy and daylighting
  • 1.1 Solar radiation
  • 2 Direct and diffuse solar radiation
  • 2.1 Availability of solar radiation
  • 2.2 Optimising solar energy collection
  • 3 Passive solar heating of buildings
  • 4 Daylighting
  • 5 Active solar heating
  • 6 Varieties of solar collector
  • 7 Solar district heating
  • 8 Heat pumps
  • 8.1 Air and ground source heat pumps
  • 8.2 Heat gains from heat pumps
  • 9 Solar thermal electricity generation
  • 9.1 Power towers
  • 10 Week 2 quiz
  • 11 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week3Week 3: Solar photovoltaics
  • Introduction
  • 1 Basic physical principles of photovoltaics
  • 1.1 Semiconductors
  • 2 Photovoltaic materials and technologies
  • 2.1 Crystalline silicon PV
  • 2.2 Gallium arsenide PV
  • 2.3 Thin-film silicon PV
  • 2.4 Other thin-film PV technologies
  • 2.5 Concentrating PV systems
  • 3 Photovoltaic systems for remote power
  • 4 PV systems for houses
  • 5 PV systems for non-domestic buildings
  • 6 Large PV power plants
  • 7 Energy yield from PV systems
  • 8 PV economics and environmental impact
  • 8.1 Environmental impact and safety
  • 9 PV integration into electricity systems
  • 10 The growing world PV market
  • 11 Week 3 quiz
  • 12 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week4Week 4: Bioenergy
  • Introduction
  • 1 Introducing bioenergy
  • 2 Biomass as a solar energy store
  • 2.1 How much energy from biomass?
  • 3 Biomass as a fuel
  • 4 Biomass energy from plants
  • 4.1 Woody biomass
  • 4.2 Cellulosic materials
  • 4.3 Other energy crops
  • 4.4 Microalgae and other microorganisms
  • 5 Secondary biomass energy from wastes, residues and co-products
  • 5.1 Wood residues
  • 5.2 Temperate and tropical crop co-products
  • 5.3 Wastes
  • 6 Biomass processing
  • 6.1 Physical processing
  • 6.2 Thermochemical processing
  • 6.3 Biochemical processing
  • 7 Environmental impact of bioenergy
  • 7.1 Emissions
  • 7.2 Land use
  • 8 Energy balance of bioenergy
  • 9 Costing bioenergy
  • 10 Future prospects for bioenergy
  • 11 Week 4 quiz
  • 12 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week5Week 5: Hydroelectricity
  • Introduction
  • 1 Background to hydroelectricity
  • 2 Hydropower resources – world, regional, national
  • 2.1 Regional hydro resources
  • 2.2 National hydro resources
  • 3 World hydro output
  • 4 Small-scale hydro
  • 5 Stored energy and available power
  • 5.1 Pumped storage
  • 5.2 Power, head and flow rate
  • 6 Types of hydroelectric plant
  • 7 Types of hydro turbine
  • 8 Hydro as a component of a power system
  • 9 Environmental impact of hydroelectricity
  • 9.1 Hydrological effects
  • 9.2 Other physical effects
  • 9.3 Social effects of hydroelectricity
  • 9.4 Considerations and comparisons
  • 10 Economics of hydroelectricity
  • 11 Future prospects for hydro

  • 12 Week 5 quiz
  • 13 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week6Week 6: Wind energy
  • Introduction
  • 1 The origins of wind and atmospheric pressure
  • 2 Energy and power in the wind
  • 3 Wind turbine types
  • 4 Aerodynamics of wind turbines
  • 4.1 Aerofoils and harnessing aerodynamic forces
  • 5 Power and energy from wind turbines
  • 5.1 Calculating wind energy distribution
  • 5.2 Estimating annual energy production
  • 5.3 Wind speed maps, atlases and computer models
  • 6 Environmental impact of wind energy
  • 6.1 Wind turbine noise
  • 6.2 Electromagnetic interference

  • 6.3 Wind turbines and aviation
  • 6.4 Impact on wildlife
  • 6.5 Public attitudes and planning considerations
  • 7 Calculating the costs of wind energy
  • 8 Offshore wind energy
  • 9 Future prospects for wind energy
  • 10 Week 6 quiz
  • 11 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week7Week 7: Wave energy
  • Introduction
  • 1 The physical principles of wave energy
  • 1.1 Deep and shallow water waves
  • 1.2 What happens beneath the surface?
  • 2 Wave energy resources
  • 3 Wave energy technologies
  • 3.1 Fixed devices
  • 3.2 TAPCHAN and other fixed devices
  • 3.3 Floating devices
  • 3.4 Point absorbers: the AWS-III/Clam
  • 3.5 Attenuator devices
  • 4 Wave energy economics
  • 5 Environmental impact of wave energy technology
  • 6 Grid integration of wave energy
  • 7 Conclusions
  • 8 Week 7 quiz
  • 9 Summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements
  • Week8Week 8: Towards a renewable future
  • Introduction
  • 1 UK renewable energy futures
  • 1.1 UK electricity scenarios
  • 2 Balancing renewable supply and demand
  • 3 Pathways to 2050
  • 4 Renewable energy futures for Denmark
  • 5 Renewable energy futures for Germany
  • 5.1 Germany as a role model?
  • 6 Renewable energy scenarios for Europe
  • 7 European supergrids and DESERTEC
  • 8 Can renewables power the world?
  • 8.1 95% of global energy from renewables by 2050
  • 8.2 Comparing International Energy Agency and Greenpeace scenarios
  • 9 Summary and conclusions
  • 10 End of course quiz
  • 11 End of course summary
  • References
  • Acknowledgements

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