EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems

Summary & Activities


Summary & Activities

This lesson browsed through a number of renewable energy technologies and applications and provided you with some reading sources to understand how those technologies work and what is their current status of development. While we touched on the technical specs of different energy systems, mastering all the science that is behind those technologies would probably require you to take a separate course on each of those. Our goal here is to understand the role of these technologies in sustainable energy development and their potential pros and cons as decision-making factors. This lesson also contained some examples of metric calculations in order to illustrate the scale of technology impact.

Type Assignment Directions Submit To
Reading Complete all necessary reading assigned in this lesson.
Discussion This is a very obnoxious PR video on one of the emerging solar technologies. Your task will be to watch it with a critical eye and form an unbiased opinion on this technology. In your forum post, discuss the promise of this technology and also indicate what you do not "buy" in this video. Feel free to search additional information to support your argument.


If you want to be truly unbiased, post your opinion first, then read others. Do not forget to comment on your classmates' posts.

Deadline: for initial posting - this Sunday / for replies - Wednesday.


Lesson 8 Discussion 


Comparative Assessment

  • Using information found online, perform comparison of the key renewable energy technologies considered in this lesson with respect to the following suggested metrics:
    • Environmental: lifecycle CO2 emissions - lb per kWh of generated energy
    • Economic: electricity cost  - $ per kWh
    • Social: public concern for technology operation
  • Search and collect necessary information from online resources, with preference for government documents or published papers. If you use data from a website, pay attention to the original data source and assess its reliability. Make proper citations for your data sources.
  • Prepare a table to present the numerical information for the above-suggested metrics.
  • Discuss the promise of those technologies for a locale of your choice. Express your opinion as to why a specific renewable energy option would be preferred over others in your specific case. Please limit your report to 2 pages.

Please see more details in the Lesson 8 Activity Sheet posted on Canvas.

Deadline: Wednesday (before midnight) - check Canvas calendar for specific due dates.


Lesson 8 Activity 

References for Lesson 8:

Alfe, D.; M. J. Gillan; G. D. Price, Thermodynamics from first principles: temperature and composition of the Earth's core" Mineralogical Magazine 67 (1), 113–123 (2003).

Brownson, J.R.S., Solar Energy Conversion Systems, Heliotactit Press, 2014.

Eiffert, P., Kiss, G.J., Building-Integrated Photovoltaic Designs for Commercial and Institutional Structures, NREL, 2000.

IEA Statistics, CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, International Energy Agency, 2015.

Robert, S. and Guariento, N., Building Integrated Photovoltaics. A Handbook, Birkhauser Verlag AG, 2009.

Tegen, S., Lantz, E., Hand, M., Maples, B., Smith, A., and Schwave, P., 2011 Cost of Wind Energy Review, NREL (2011)

US EPA, Biomass Combined Heat and Power Catalog of Technologies, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Combined Heat and Power Partnership, 2007.

Vanek, F.M. and L.D. Albright, Energy Systems Engineering. Evaluation and Implementation, McGraw Hill, 2008.

Kubiszewski, I., Cleveland, C.J., and Endres, P.K., Meta-Analysis of Net Energy Return for Wind Power Systems".Renewable Energy. 35 (1): 218–225 (2010).