In this course, you will explore some of the science, math, and technology that is used to extract energy from renewable resources.
The demand for energy is expected to grow 30% by 2040. Today, most of the energy harvested originates from non-renewable sources. What role can engineers play in developing renewable energy technology to meet the anticipated demand? What does it take to become an engineer in this field? In this course, you will explore in detail, the increasingly innovative potential of wind and solar energy. This will be done by hands-on activities and experiments that will lead you to your final project of constructing a plan, using the latest technology, for providing wind and solar energy to a geographical area of your interest.
At the end of the course you will be able to:
Recognize energy basics and different forms of energy and to distinguish differences between energy and power.
Explain key differences of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.
Demonstrate how wind energy is harvested from the modern wind turbines.
Explain how solar energy is harvested by solar panels and by concentrated solar power plants.
Design, build and test simple home-made devices to capture solar and wind energy.
Report the outcomes of your renewable energy experiments by preparing a written college-level scientific report that is well-documented and appropriately referenced.
"I really enjoyed all of the interactive animations assigned during the wind power module, with which we could see how various parameters directly affected power output. The final project was my other favorite part, and I enjoyed the freedom to take it how I wanted."
- Renewable Energy Engineering student, Summer 2015
Be sure to allow adequate time for shipping of required materials so that you have them in hand by the start of the course.
Supplementary materials: approximately $50
Time commitment: Your course will open on a Monday, two days in advance of the Wednesday course start date to give you time to get to know Canvas (Brown's learning management system), review course expectations and strategies for your success, learn about your instructor, and help us to learn a bit about you. These introductory activities should take you just a few hours to complete.
Plan to spend approximately 10 hours per week on coursework. To be successful in this course, you must have reliable internet access, and will be expected to participate in the course multiple times each week.
Computer with reliable, high-speed internet connection | Note: Mobile devices (smart phones, tablets) are also supported, but may be less than optimal for some required assignments. We recommend using these as supplemental access points in addition to your computer. We also recommend downloading the Canvas Mobile App for iOS or Android devices for the best experience on mobile devices.
Up-to-date Internet browser supported by Canvas, Brown's learning management system
Headphones, earbuds or speakers
Webcam and microphone
Adobe Flash Player browser plugin (Course elements may require Flash and will not work on an iPad.)
Word Processing application to save and open Microsoft Office formats (.doc,.docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx)
Prerequisites: None. Please note that students who have basic algebra skills are best prepared to participate in this course.