22.081J | Fall 2010 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Introduction to Sustainable Energy

Lectures and Readings

Readings are assigned from the course text:

Buy at MIT Press Tester, Jefferson W., Elisabeth M. Drake, Michael J. Driscoll, Michael W. Golay, and William A. Peters. Sustainable Energy: Choosing Among Options. 2nd edition. MIT Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780262017473.

Additional readings are listed on the Related Resources page. All lecture slides posted below are used with permission of the authors. Many lecture sessions are split in two, with separate lecturers, presentations, and readings for each part.

Part I: Energy in context
1a Golay


- Historical context 

(the post steam engine evolving growth of the developed countries, superimposed on the growing energy needs of the less-developed countries)

- Energy sources for a more sustainable future

Overview and administration (PDF)

Energy uses in different countries 

(PDF - 9.4MB)

(PDF - 8.9MB)

Chapter 1
1b Wright

Overview of energy use and related issues

- Major energy options; issues of supply and demand

- Overview of units and dimensions for global energy flows (Quads, MMBOE, MW, EJ, etc.); energy conversions (chemical to thermal, chemical to electric, etc.); and economic considerations

(PDF - 1.3MB) Chapter 9
2 Ronald Prinn, MIT Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

“Climate Change: Science, Economics, and Policy.”

Global climate change issues and responses

- Greenhouse gas emissions and potential effects

- Modeling of atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial effects

- Effects on ecology and biodiversity (local-regional-global)

- Responses to CO2 build-up

- Mitigation?

(PDF - 1.8MB) Sections 4.1-4.3
3a Field

Toolbox 1: Energy transfer and conversion methods

- Energy sources and uses

- Survey of conversion processes

- Conversion efficiency and rate considerations

- Conversion case study

(PDF) Chapter 3
3b Golay

Drake, Elisabeth. “Energy and Sustainability Issues.” 10.391J, January 2007.

Sustainability, energy, and clean technologies in context

- Frameworks for evaluation

- Sustainability attributes

- Time and space scales

- Population and consumption growth

- Tradeoffs and choices

- Uncertainty

(PDF) Sections 6.1, 6.4-6.6
4a Wright

Recitation 1: Discussion of sustainability issues

- Energy footprints

- Opportunities and barriers; timing issues

- Drivers of change

4b Golay

Toolbox 2: Resource evaluation and depletion analyses

- Present energy sources (fossil, nuclear, hydro)

- Major energy alternatives (solar, geologic, ocean)

- Resource base – uncertainties, grade/quality issues, resource vs. reserve estimates, economic evaluation frameworks

- Other resource constraints that affect sustainability (esp. land, water, labor)

(PDF) Chapter 2
5a Field

Toolbox 3: Energy conversion, transmission, and storage

- Matching supply and demand to minimize losses

- Energy storage and transmission issues

- Energy chains and connected efficiencies

- Storage modes

- Ragone plot

- Transmission of fossil fuels and electricity

(PDF) Chapter 16
5b Katherine Dykes, MIT Engineering Systems Division “Wind Power Fundamentals.” (contributions from Alex Kalmikov and Kathy Araujo) (PDF - 3.8MB) Chapter 15
6a Wright

Toolbox 4: Systems analysis methodologies

- Scoping analysis; simulation models; economic models; life cycle analysis; systems dynamic models; decision models

- Selecting system boundaries

(PDF) Section 6.2, 6.3
6b Golay

Toolbox 5: Energy supply, demand, and storage planning

- Matching energy density of supply and demand

- Temporal and geographical distributions

- Energy transmission and distribution (pipelines, tankers, rail, power lines)

- Role of energy storage; intermittency; influences of pricing during demand peaks and valleys

7a Stephen Fairfax, MTechnology, Inc.

“Changes in the Electric Power Sector.”

The electric power system and requirements for success

(PDF - 1.6MB) Chapter 17
7b Tim Heidel, MIT Energy Initiative

“New Challenges and Opportunities for the Electric Grid.”

Historical factor and prospects for change in the electric power grid

(PDF - 2.2MB)  
8a Wright Toolbox 6: Electrical systems dynamics (PDF)  
8b Wright

Toolbox 7: Economic feasibility assessment methods

- Engineering, capital, and investment costs

- Matching energy density of supply and demand

- Temporal and geographical distributions

- Energy transmission and distribution (pipelines, tankers, rail, power lines)

- Role of energy storage; intermittency; influences of pricing during demand peaks and valleys

(PDF) Chapter 5
9a Field

Toolbox 8: Thermodynamics and efficiency calculations

- First and second laws

- Availability

- Power cycles and heat pumps

- Topping and bottoming cycles

(PDF) Chapter 3
9b Robert Stavins, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

“International Climate Change Policy: From Copenhagen to Cancún, and Beyond.”

Carbon limitation policy options

- Cap and trade

- Carbon tax

- Command and control

Part II: Specific Energy Technologies
10 Golay Nuclear energy I: Basics and current status (PDF - 1.8MB) Chapter 8
11a Field

Fossil energy I

- Fuel conversion, power cycles, combined cycles

- Advanced technologies

(PDF) Chapter 15
11b Green

“The Dominant Piece of the Energy System: Fossil Fuels.”

Fossil energy II

- Types and characteristics

- Technologies

- Associated economics and impacts

- Fossil fuel switching (synfuels, LNG, carbon sequestration)

(PDF - 1.1MB)  
12a Craig Olmsted, Cape Wind Cape Wind energy and offshore wind projects none Chapter 7
12b Ernest Moniz, MIT Physics / Engineering Systems Division Current energy policy (PDF - 3.0MB)  
13a Ralph Gakenheimer, MIT Urban Studies and Planning

“Transport Issues and the Environment in Latin America.”

Transportation in developing countries

(PDF - 2.3MB)  
13b Green

Fossil energy III

- Alternative transportation fuels

- Emission performance improvements

- Connections to new engine technology

- Cleaner fuel

(PDF - 1.2MB)  
14a Ralph Izzo, PSEG Electricity generation options none Chapter 12
14b Golay Nuclear energy II: Waste disposal and Yucca Mountain (PDF - 5.5MB)  
15a Golay Nuclear energy III: Expansion of civilian nuclear power and proliferation (PDF - 1.9MB)  
15b Wright Fusion as a future energy source? (PDF - 3.1MB)  
16a Michael Fehler, MIT Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Carbon management options none  
16b Michael Fehler, MIT Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Geothermal energy

- Resources, types, magnitudes

- Technical, environmental, societal, and economic issues

- Drilling technologies

- Subsurface reservoir systems

- Heat and power conversion techniques

none Chapter 11
17 Vladimir Bulovic, MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

“Capturing Solar Energy.”

Solar photovoltaics and thermal energy

none Chapter 10
18 Hussein Abdelhalim, Mark Artz, et al. Recitation 2: Carbon limitation options / critique (student-led discussion) (PDF)  
19a Green

Biomass I: Resources and uses

- Resource types and requirements

- Technical and environmental issues

- Utilization options

- Economic projections

19b Green Biomass II: Producing liquid fuels (PDF - 1.3MB)  
Part III: Energy end use, option assessment, and tradeoff analysis
20a Don MacKenzie, MIT Engineering Systems Division

“Automotive Technologies and Fuel Economy Policy.” (contributions from Irene Berry)


- Technology issues

- Timescales for change

(PDF - 2.2MB) Sections 18.4-18.6
20b Addison Stark, MIT Mechanical Engineering

Lifecycle analysis of biomass conversion

- Land use issues (ecological stress, competition with food, water use, topsoil erosion, occupational hazards)

- Net energy balance and energy integration opportunities

21a Katherine Dykes, MIT Engineering Systems Division

“Systems Dynamics & Sustainable Energy.”

Wind system dynamics, barriers to entry

(PDF) Chapter 17
21b Donald Sadoway, MIT Materials Science & Engineering

“Electrochemical Approaches to Electrical Energy Storage.”

Electrochemical energy conversions

- Fuel Cells

- Batteries

(PDF - 4.6MB)  
22a Leon Glicksman, MIT Architecture / Mechanical Engineering

“The Energy Crisis: A Neglected Solution.”

Sustainable buildings in developing countries

(PDF - 4.6MB) Chapter 20
22b Golay Toolbox 9: Probabilistic risk analysis (PDF - 3.2MB)  
23 Edward Alfano, et al. Recitation 3: Current energy policy / critique (student-led discussion) (PDF)  
24a John Reilly, MIT Sloan School of Management

“Why So Little Progress on International Climate Negotiations?”

Corporate and international efforts to abate global climate change; sustainability and global business

24b Golay Hydropower (PDF - 2.6MB)  
25a Robert Stoner, MIT Energy Initiative

“Sustainable Energy: Options for Africa.”

Challenges and options for electricity systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

(PDF - 7.9MB) Chapter 12
25b Golay/all Course summary, panel discussion