This is the website for the 2010 version of GEOS24705. Solutions to problem sets have been removed. For the ongoing 2011 class (with solutions), click here.
GEOS 24705 / ENST 24705: Science, Technology, and Human Usage of Energy
GEOS 24705 / ENST 24705: Science, Technology, and Human Usage of Energy
Prof: Liz Moyer
TAs: Steph Aho, Esther Bowen
Field trip coordinator: Jarrod Wolf
Course description is
and syllabus (with schedule of field trips and labs) is
here. See here for recommendations on which field trips might suit which interests.
INFO (see also syllabus document): The course meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-3:00 PM in Harper Library 103. Lab sections will be held in Hinds Geophysical Laboratory 5th floor conference room (561) at 11:30 AM-12:30 PM on Wednesdays (Steph) and 3:30-4:30 PM on Thursdays (Esther).
Steph's office hours are M. 11:30 AM-12:30 PM in Hinds 477. Esther's office hours are 3:30-4:30 PM on Tuesday in Hinds 437. Liz's office hours are tentatively Wed. at 5 PM in Hinds 405 (may change week to week, check for announcements on Tuesday). Note that Hinds is locked at 5:30 PM.
Field trips will generally leave on Friday mornings. All pickups by bus are from Chicago Booth 5807, South Woodlawn Avenue.
Check the syllabus and website for times and dates. Since facilities have different requirements, field trip information may change; be sure to check the week of each trip.
There is no textbook to purchase for this class, as there is no single book that is appropriate for the range of material and we don't want to ask you to buy several books. Instead we will assign readings to be done before certain lectures and will post those on this site in pdf form. (When readings are assigned, it's important to do them before lecture, as you may otherwise have difficulty following. Anything optional or recreational will be marked as such). We will also put a range of books that contain useful background material on reserve at Crerar Library (behind the Hinds Geophysical Laboratory building). Some of the best background material for people coming in without college-level physics is a new book by Prof. David McKay of the University of Cambridge (U.K.) that is available for free
download in pdf format. For a broad perspective I also recommend any of the many books by Vaclav Smil (e.g. Energy at the Crossroads, Energy in World History, or Energy Transitions: History, Requirements, Prospects) who writes prolifically about energy. He is cantankerous and brutally pragmatic but probably right.
Course notes, materials, and assignments
Lecture 1: Energy flows on Earth
Lecture 1 notes from Steph
and from Esther.
Problem set 1. Due Thursday April 1. And
Lecture 2: Capturing energy flows during the cascade to heat
Lecture 2 notes from Steph and
Problem set 2. Due Tuesday April 6. And
Lecture 3: The human engine
Diderot and d'Alembert, L'Encyclopedie, 1769-1772.
Pre-reading for Lecture 3. Read before lecture on Tues. April 6.
For those who had trouble downloading, here is a more
Pre-Industrial-Revolution growth in human energy use (15th-18th centuries): a chapter from "The Structures of Everyday Life", by the historian Fernand Braudel.
Read this to get a feel for humans' appetite for labor-enhancing devices over history, the rise in humans' need for energy even before the Industrial Revolution, and the extent to which the European economies were primed to explode if only certain technological improvements could be made (cf p. 371). Note various resource crises, including especially the gradual depletion of wood in Europe. Get a feel for what the mix of energy sources was for Europeans at the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Note how much technological change took place even before the widespread use of fossil fuels.
NOTE: This is mandatory reading, but read for the ideas rather than the numbers. You don't need to memorize/learn/remember specific numbers Braudel cites; you can skim (and skim very lightly over the long section on animal power). Read the concluding remarks (p. 371-372) very carefully.
Lecture 3 notes from Steph
and Esther, and Lecture 3
Problem set 3. Due Thursday April 8. And
Lecture 4: The steam engine
From a 1781 patent application by Jonathan Hornblower for a compound steam engine.
For some background on steam engines (just in case you want a head start; we'll cover in class), the best source is this page
by a Michigan State professor.
Required pre-reading for Lecture 4: You need to pre-read about the fundamental theory behind heat-to-work, first laid out by Carnot, before lecture. You can get your infor
mation from any of these three sources - whatever works best for you:
- Carnot's original 1825 paper. A section from Carnot's "Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire and on Machines Fitted to Develop that Power". Read with decreasing focus as the paper goes on. Mostly make sure you understand all the sentences in bold-face (Carnot's original emphasis). When you read, remember that at the time Carnot is writing, in 1825, steam engines have been in existence for 125 years, in broad use for 50, and have been undergoing steady improvement, but no one has yet deduced the fundamental physics of how they work. Also note that Carnot still does not know what heat is; he thinks it is a fluid called "caloric". Which surprisingly, doesn't stand in his way at all of basically inventing engineering thermodynamics. Pages 1-5 are very clear and worth reading by everyone.
- A summary of Carnot's contributions, written
by a physicist.
- A summary in more colloquial language, from a great book called "The Refrigerator and the Universe". I highly recommend this for most people in class. I'm posting a 35 page chapter but the most important part is just up to p. 123.
Pre-thinking: If it's been awhile since you had any physics, dust off your memory of the ideal gas law and of adiabatic expansion or compression. What happens if you compress air, as in a piston? What happens if you open the vent on a cylinder of compressed air and let the air expand into the room?
Background reading on physics of steam (useful especially for the optional problems on PS4).
Lecture 4 notes from Steph
and Esther, and
Problem set 4. Due Tuesday April 13. No heat pump questions - we'll leave that for the Tuesday problem set. Just steam engines and Carnot efficiency. And solutions.
Lecture 5: Ideal engines and the Carnot efficiency limit
Lecture 5 notes from Steph
Problem set 5. Due Thursday April 15. And
Lecture 6: The Industrial Revolution and the transition to the modern energy system
Photo of child workers in in the Bibb Mill in Macon, GA., between 1908-1912, shot by Lewis Hine
Pre-lecture readings on the Industrial Revolution and the growth of energy use, for Lecture 6. Read the summary webpage and at minimum skim the primary-source readings, reading at least one in depth to get a flavor for the times. I recommend reading them all carefully, actually; they're fun and a fast read.
Lecture 6 notes from Steph
Problem set 6 and the energy conversion grid you'll need. Due Tuesday April 20. And
The energy conversion grid.
Field trip, Fri. April 16th Museum of Science and Industry for cogeneration demonstration (and possibly steam locomotives). Meet in lobby of MOSI at 8 AM.
Lecture 7: Electricity generation
660 MW generator, stator end windings (photo lifted from referenced website).
Pre-lecture reading on electricity and the basics of electrical generation. For those who are ready for more, there's not much out there that is in between either too basic or too specialized, but this chapter from Klempner and Kerszenbaum's "Operation and Maintenance of Large Turbo-Generators", is somewhat useful.
Lecture 7 slides and notes from
Problem set 7. Due Thursday April 22. And
For Thursday's lecture and the field trip to Crawford, everyone should read the relevant part of chapter 5: "Power Plants" from a great book called "Infrastructure: A Field Guide to the Industrial Landscape" by Brian Hayes. Read from the beginning (p. 186) to the top of p. 201.
Lecture 8: Electricity generation II
Coal-fired power plant, diagram from Tennesse Valley Authority.
Lecture 8 notes from Steph.
Problem set 8. Due Thursday April 29.
Lecture 9 (makeup time): Power plants and steam and gas turbines
Steam turbine CAD drawing, from Mechanical Engineer's Weblog.
NOTE: Second version of Lecture 9 to be held Monday morning April 26, 8:30 AM default (possibly 9:30, check with Steph if needed).
Lecture 9 slides
and notes from Steph.
For those who want to know more about the history of the steam turbine, see this reproduction of a 1942 book about Sir Charles Parsons, its inventor, with good text and old photos. And to round out the Edison/Tesla dispute, see this article from the New York Times reporting the shut-down of the last DC power generation from Edison's original New York system (in 2007!). There is also a link to the orginal 1882 article describing the first Edison plant's opening and the first electric lights in the Times building.
Problem set 9. Due Thursday April 29. No calculations, just thinking.
Crawford Power Plant, photo source unknown.
Field trip, Fri. April 23rd Crawford Coal Plant. Pick-up time: 7:15 AM. Expected return: 11:00 AM
No lecture on Tuesday April 27
Lecture 10: Nuclear power
Nuclear cooling towers, Coferentes, Spain. Photo: Roberto Uderico, source: Wikimedia Commons.
Laural Briggs from Argonne (PhD, Nuclear Engineering) will give a guest lecture today about nuclear power plants.
on electric motors is preparation for this week's lab (Electric Motors II). For those who want more this short
review may also be helpful.
Problem set 10. Due Tuesday May 4. And the
ComEd rate book you will need to get electricity prices for selling back to the grid. And
Field trip, Fri. April 30th U. Chicago steam plant. Self-transport, meet at 8 AM.
Lecture 11: Mechanical energy -> mechanical energy I: hydro
Inlet scroll of one of the Francis turbines of the Grand Coulee Dam, during construction.
Pre-reading for class: the hydro and wind section of the Hayes book
chapter 5: "Power Plants"
Read from p. 212 to p. 221. I should have assigned the nuclear reading just before the hydro section for last week's nuclear class; do read it if you're interested.
Lecture 11 slides, notes from
reading on the Bernoulli equation.
Problem set 11. Due Thursday May 6.
You may need the reading for the problem set.
Lecture 12: Mechanical energy -> mechanical energy II: wind
Growth of wind turbines over last 25 years (Vestas)
Lecture 12 notes from
Steph, with a clearer explanation (though not yet a proof) of Betz' law.
Problem set 12. Due Tuesday May 11. If you are doing problem 2.1, here is the
on the turbines for the Gilgel Gibe hydro project, and a relatively balanced
of African dam issues from the Economist that mentions Gilgel Gibe. If you are doing problem 2.2, you may want to read this
review of velocities in rotating systems,
and for 2.2 A, here are
hint 1 and
Field trip, Fri. May 7th, BP Whiting oil refinery
Pick-up time: 7:15 AM, Chicago Booth 5807 South Woodlawn Avenue. Expected return time: 11:30 AM
Pre-reading for the field trip: read this
of the refining process and the oil refinery part of the fossil fuels
from the Brian Hayes book, pages 169-177.
Lecture 13: Mechanical energy -> mechanical energy III: wind and connection to the grid
U.S. wind resources (NREL)
Lecture 13 slides.
Problem set 13. Due Thursday May 13. And a
version with hints.
See this site for a fun time-lapse video of the construction of a wind turbine (see bottom of page) and
here for a video of an overspinning turbine failure.
Optional readings on wind: If you want more technical information about wind, a great resource is the
website of the Danish wind industry organization, which is a very thorough and very readable review.
of the book "Wind Energy Explained" (J. Manwell, J. McGowan, and A. Rogers) covers the aerodynamics of wind turbines, including the derivation of Betz' law. For an overview of some common wind turbines, here is a
brochure for GE's 1.5 MW turbine, one of the most widely used, and for something less standard, a
brochure for the new Clipper Liberty variable-speed wind turbine.
For a (more technical) review of variable-speed wind turbines and understanding of why they aren't yet the dominant technology, see this paper by three authors from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Carlin, Laxson, and Muljadi, "The History and State of the Art of Variable-Speed Wind Turbine Technology", Wind Energy 6,129-159, 2003).
For issues with grid integration if wind becomes a larger fraction of electricity generation, here is a
report for ISO_NE on grid integration policy recommendations, a
report for the IEA on reliability isuses with large-scale wind, and a
proposal from Oak Ridge National Laboratories on charging for reactive power management.
Field trip, Wed. May 12, U. Chicago Steam Plant. Meet at site, 8 AM.
Lecture 14: The grid
From "Infrastructure", Brian Hayes
Pre-reading for lecture 14: For the physical infrastructure of the grid, another chapter from the Hayes book: Chapter 6: The Grid. This is fairly accessible reading. There is no accessible reading that I know of on grid regulation. For a neat hyperlinked explanation of household wiring click
here. (From here, click on "practical circuit concepts" to get a range of electricity tutorials).
Lecture 14 slides.
Problem set 14. Due Tuesday May 18.
Lecture 15: Fossil fuels
Distillation column for crude oil refining. From Institute of Petroleum.
Pre-reading for class. Read the oil & gas
chapter of the Hayes book.
Problem set 15. Due Thursday May 20.
Lecture 16: Internal combustion engines and the automobile
Gasoline-powered car, 1886, Karl Benz.
Slides from lecture.
Problem set 16. Due Tuesday May 25.
Field trip, Fri. May 21,
Argonne National Laboratory (Advanced Auto Lab + visit to nuclear museum + possibly locomotive engine lab). Pick-up time: 6:15 AM. Expected return: 12:15 PM.
Lecture 17: Fossil fuels 2
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, May 17, 2010. Image: NASA, Terra satellite.
Slides from the two fossil fuel lectures.
Problem set 17. Due Thursday May 27.
For labs this week, meet at the athletic fields behind Ratner Gym.
Lecture 18: Fossil fuels 3, industrial energy, semiconductors
Industrial energy use breakdown, California Energy Commission.
for the last fossil fuels part (coal to liquids, alternative liquid fuels) and
main lecture slides.
Problem set 18. Due Tuesday June 1.
Field trip, Fri. May 28, Dresden Nuclear Generating Station.
Pick-up time: 6:00 AM. Expected return: 12:30 PM. (The length is mostly the drive, bring work or something to read). Location: near 8002 County Road 4000 N, Coal City, IL [exact location withheld for security reasons].
Lecture 19: Building efficiency, lighting, summary and wrap-up
LED light fixtures, photo from Gizmodo
Field trip, Thursday June 3rd: Grand Ridge wind farm. Pick-up time: 6:15 AM. Expected return: 12:30 PM. Location: Grand Ridge Wind Energy Center 2192 E 25th rd. Marseilles, IL 61341.
Field trip, Friday June 4th: Gas Technology Institute.
Pick-up time: 7:00 AM. Expected return: 12:00 PM. Location: 1700 South Mount Prospect Road, Des Plaines, IL.
.....  Final presentations: Tues. June 7th, 1:30-3:30, Harper 103   .......
Defections and reshuffling are allowed, just keep TAs informed of changes. If you are going to request funds for a build, get a draft budget to TAs as soon as you can. If you're all-Harris you need to recruit a non-Harris student.
- RPS standards: Jake, Karen, Anna, Stacy, Sean, Cecilia
- Wind analysis: Matej, Irene, Martin, Jenny
- Waste-to-energy: Megan, Abby, Tyler, Kristen
- Wind turbine (build): Madelyn, Kelvin, Emily, Michael, Madeleine, Trevor, Boris
- Renewables policy review for Latin America: Diego, Reid, Marcelo, Clayton
- Human engine (build): Gray, Katie L., Andrew
Email to request version with your name
Problem set average = 0.81
Undergraduate problem set average = 0.80
Harris problem set average = 0.83
Copyright 2010 Elisabeth Moyer