Sustainable Energy OpenCourseWare: MIT's Free Graduate Level Course on the Study of Energy Sustainability

Published Jan 09, 2009

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Currently, much our energy is generated by burning fossil fuels, which, due to the supply's finite nature and the release of fossil CO2 when it is burned, is not sustainable. 'Sustainable Energy' is a free OpenCourseWare offered by MIT. It is most appropriate for students in a Master of Engineering or Master of Science in Chemical, Civil or Environmental Engineering degree program, but anyone with a sincere interest and some background in energy technologies could enjoy and benefit from this free course.

Sustainable Energy: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Graduate Yes No Yes Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
No Yes Yes

Sustainable Energy: Course Description

Four instructors are listed for this course, Dr. Elisabeth Drake, Professor Michael Golay, Professor Frank Incropera and Professor Jefferson Tester. The required textbook is written by three of the professors. Beginning with assessment of global and U.S. current energy consumption and resource depletion, you'll move into the complicated compromises and trade-offs involved in different form of energy sustainability. You will examine energy security and availability, environmental impacts and poverty, sustainability frameworks and your environmental footprint. Next, you'll look at energy supplies, projecting into the future with Hubbert curves and exponential versus linear growth. After a basic intro to thermodynamics, you'll consider energy storage and distribution issues. You'll learn to analyze energy systems through thermodynamics and economics. Using life cycle analysis and simulation models, you'll compare fuel cells, electric vehicles and electric generation, transmission and distribution systems. Finally, you'll consider the possibilities and problems with wind, solar, biomass, fossil fuels, geothermal and nuclear power generation.

Seven readings are available online or as PDF downloads. All assignments and exams are included, but solutions are not. Four related video lectures may be found on MITWorld. To learn more in the critically important field of sustainable energy, visit the sustainable energy course page.

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