Foundations of energy production

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide an overview of energy problems with regard to the availability and potential of primary energy sources divided into fossil fuels, renewable sources and nuclear energy. The energy needs relating to the last decades and the prospect of short- and medium-term increases are then analyzed. The global energy system is then analyzed both for environmental and economic aspects.
In the last part of the course the Italian energy situation is analyzed, highlighting its specificity.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will be able to:
read and understand scientific articles and books that deepen the covered topics;
to deal critically with problems relating to the production and use of energy in various forms, with the related environmental impacts;
dimension a source to satisfy a specific energy demand also evaluating its emissions;
deepen a specific energy topic and communicate the results: for this purpose, the presentation and discussion of a paper on a topic chosen by the student is required in the examination phase.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The teaching program includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

- The history of Energy. Presentation of the current world energy system, mainly based on fossil sources. Primary energy and final use energy. Some energy indicators. Fossil sources (coal, oil and gas): comparisons, status and prospects.
-Introduction of the limits of this energy system (local pollution, global pollution and physical limitation of sources) and possible solutions. The different forms of environmental impact: local pollution (the main pollutants and their generation) and global pollution (greenhouse gases and their effect on the earth's atmosphere).
-Analysis of possible solutions to the previously introduced energy problem: renewable energies, their potential and their problems. Fission and nuclear fusion. Energy efficiency. Intermittent sources, their impact on the electricity grid and possible solutions: storage, micro-generation and smart grid. Focus on hydrogen as a possible energy vector and its potential role in transport. Hydroelectric energy: source and energy storage.
-Renewable sources. The photovoltaic cell: principle of operation and efficiency. The main technologies on the market. Photovoltaics in the world and in Italy. Perspectives of cost reduction and technological developments. Solar thermodynamic (CSP): the main technologies on the market. Costs, limits and possible developments. Solar thermal: collectors and their diffusion in the world.
Wind energy: technology, costs and its spread around the world. Offshore wind, the limit imposed by the seabed and the prospects for technological developments for the deep seas.
Biomass: its many forms and different uses. In-depth study on the possible energy recovery from municipal solid waste. Biofuels with current limits and prospects for technological development.
Conventional geothermal energy and its possible developments. Low enthalpy geothermal energy and its exploitation through the heat pump.
- Nuclear fission energy: the reactor and power generation. Safety: the causes and lessons of the main accidents. Externalities and costs. Wastes: their radioactivity, doses and effects on the population. Historical and geological deposits. Reactors in the world and Uranium reserves; reactors under construction and prospects.
-Nuclear fusion: physical principles and the state of research.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of nuclear and solid state physics
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons
Teaching Resources
· Alimonti, Pedrocchi "Energy, Development, Environment", Ed. Esculapio
· Transparencies presented in class available on the course website
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam of the Fundamentals of Energetics course consists of two parts: written and oral.
The written exam will consist of two problems and 10 multiple choice questions (examples will be provided on the course website). During the written test, which lasts a maximum of two hours, computers and texts will be admitted.
The oral part of the exam will be based on the correction of the written test and on the discussion of a topic concerning the course chosen by the student, on which an in-depth study will be made with a short written paper (examples will be provided on the course website) to be delivered at least one week before the oral (preferably in electronic format). For the discussion of the chosen topic, the student can use, if desired, transparencies and / or graphics.
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Alimonti Gianluca