Energy for the World

Discipline: Engineering
Instructor: Johnson
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 | China Download Syllabus

Plentiful and affordable energy defines the modern industrialized world. How can affordable energy be provided in countries that currently lack this necessary infrastructure? This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of power generation technologies: fossil fuel-burning power systems, nuclear power, hydropower, tidal power, geothermal power, wind power, solar power, biomass, and fuel cells. We will also discuss their economic and global environmental impacts as well as centralized vs. decentralized power systems. Special emphasis will be placed on the energy resources of the countries we visit on our voyage.

Field Work

Country: China
Day: 1

China has the largest population of any country on Earth.  They also have the goal of quickly becoming a fully developed nation. To achieve this goal, China needs a plan for wide-spread energy development. Until recently, China’s main form of power generation was based on coal-fired power plants. However, carbon dioxide emissions from these plants is a significant source of global greenhouse gas emissions and the Chinese government has launched a large-scale plan to use significantly more renewable resources for power generation, including the construction of the world’s largest hydro-electric power plant and many new wind farms stretching from the Gobi Desert eastward. The Field Lab will consist of a visit to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, located in the old French Quarter of Shanghai, where we will tour the University campus, visit energy research laboratories and have presentations on the development of the Three Gorges Dam hydropower generation system and a proposed 1000 Megawatt off-shore wind farm. Academic Objectives:
  1. The objective for the students following the field lab is to write a report describing what they’ve learned from the field trip, whether or not they think that the Chinese have constructed a realistic plan and describe any short-comings they identify. The report may include photographs and/or video. This report will be used as a comparison document to the energy analyses they do of other countries visited on the voyage in their group projects.