AET100 - Energy Resources (Alternative Energy)

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:26:38.507
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:26:45.568

Subject Title
Energy Resources (Alternative Energy)

Subject Description
This subject deals with the issues of traditional and non-renewable energy sources such as crude oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy as well as renewable energy sources like hydroelectricity, solar, ocean, geothermal and wind energy. Students obtain a broad understanding of current resources, technologies and their limitations, and a realistic appreciation of what energy sources and technologies may be feasible in the future.

Credit Status
One credit toward the Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Certificate Program also Credit towards the Environmental Management Certificate Program

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Discuss world energy requirements and the problems associated with its generation, storage, transportation (or transmission) and use.

2. Analyze information about conventional energy production from fossil fuels and nuclear energy and evaluate their environmental impacts and economics.

3. Examine information about energy production from renewable sources of energy such as wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and hydroelectricity.

4. Compare sources of energy-conventional and non-conventional-for different applications; i.e., heating and cooling, with emphasis on the technical, environmental and economical aspects of each technology/source.

5. Do simple calculations regarding the cost of energy usage and the required infrastructure to deliver a certain amount of power.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline
Unit Objectives

Unit I  Introduction

1.1  Explain the physical concepts force, energy and power
1.2  Describe basic energy concepts such as different forms of energy, energy consumption and efficiency, energy conversion, "primary energy: and quantities of energy
1.3  Discuss global warning and the "Greenhouse" effect
1.4  Distinguish among uses of energy: agriculture, domestic energy, industry, transport and services
Unit II  Non-Renewable Energy Sources: Coal
2.1  Explain the origin and types of coal and reserves, production, transportation and consumption of coal in North America and the rest of the world
2.2  Describe coal structure, combustion of coal and combustion products, coal gasification and power station boilers
2.3  Discuss environmental, economic and political impacts and considerations
Unit III  Non-Renewable Energy Sources: Oil and Gas
3.1  Explain the origins and geology of petroleum, formation of petroleum, recovery of petroleum, petroleum reserves and demand, and the origins of the oil and gas industry
3.2  Describe many products of petroleum, petroleum refining and distillation, various types of engines: diesel, spark ignition and stirling engines
3.3  Explain the popularity and wide-spread use of petroleum: cheapness, availability and ease of distribution, storage and use
3.4  Interpret the social, economical, political and environmental implications of its use
3.5  Analyze future supply and demand
Unit IV  Non-Renewable Energy Sources: Nuclear
4.1  Explain atomic number, isotopes, nuclear fission, radioactive decay and half-life
4.2  Discuss Uranium reserves, types of reactors, nuclear waste disposal management, and security issues
4.3  Discuss the social, economical, political and environmental implications of nuclear energy use
Unit V  Renewable Energy Sources: Solar Thermal Energy
5.1  Discuss the nature and availability of solar radiation, domestic water and space heating, greenhouse effect, daylighting and passive and active solar heating
5.2  Analyze its economic, social and environmental impacts
Unit VI  Renewable Energy Sources: Photovoltaics (PV)
6.1  Explain the history of its manufacturing and use, basic operating principles and costs of energy from PV
6.2  Discuss social, economic and environmental impacts, safety, resources and future prospects of PV systems
Unit VII  Renewable Energy Sources: Wind
7.1  Describe energy concepts associated with wind energy and various types of wind turbines and their respective characteristics
7.2  Explain social, economic and environmental benefits and impacts of electricity generation by wind energy
Unit VIII  Renewable Energy Sources: Bioenergy
8.1  Explain biomass as a fuel, its conversion efficiency, sources and use
8.2  Describe its by-products, environmental benefits and impacts, land use and atmospheric emissions
8.3  Discuss electricity generation from biomass, fermentation to produce ethanol and production of other commodities
Unit IX  Renewable Energy Sources: Geothermal
9.1  Explain the physics of geothermal resources, the sources of heat and various technologies for geothermal resource exploitation
9.2  Discuss the implications of geothermal energy with respect to the social, economic and environment and the true potential of such a technology
Unit X  Renewable Energy Sources: Hydroelectricity
10.1  Explain the origins and utilization of hydroelectricity throughout human history
10.2  Analyze the world's resources, capacity and output, and different types of hydroelectric plants
10.3  Examine critically hydrological, ecological, social and economic implications of both large and small-scale hydroelectricity plants
Unit XI  Renewable Energy Sources: Hydrogen Fuel Cells
11.1  Explain the basic operational principles of fuel cells
11.2  Identify and classify various types of hydrogen fuel cells
11.3  Discuss electrodes and electrode structure
11.4  Expound the role of "hydrogen" in the global economy
Unit XII  Renewable Energy Sources: Integration and Energy Conservation Measures
12.1  Analyze the existing energy systems in North America
12.2  Predict how much renewable energy is available both domestically and globally
12.3  Discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wave and tidal power

Mode of Instruction
On-Line Delivery
This subject is delivered online. This may involve the use of digital materials and/or a text, group discussions, interaction with your instructor and online activities.

Prescribed Texts


Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

  • Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the due date.
  • A late penalty of 10% per day is assessed for late assignments, including those not handed in at the beginning of class when due.
  • Material will not be accepted after one week following the due date and/or when the marked material is returned to students, whichever comes first.
  • Assignments are to be prepared by computer.
English Proficiency
  • All written work should demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
-writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
-spelling and punctuation are correct
-sentences are structured correctly
-main ideas are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
-work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs
-work is arranged in correct format (e.g., as a report, essay)
-up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all work if the above English competencies are not met.

Format for Assignments
  • Students must use the standard, APA style for quoting sources.   Help is available at:
Student Evaluation

Students will be graded on a series of quizzes and assignments, a mid term, a team project and a final exam. Students must obtain passing grades on the final exam and all lab reports.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Quizzes (best 5/6) 15%
Assignments (4) 15%
In Person - Mid Term Test 20%
Project-Progress Reports (2) 5%
Project-Final Report
In person - Final Exam 35%

The final exam must be written at the Test Centre of the College at which you registered. If you are unable to do so, please make alternative arrangements through the College at which you registered.

All the academic policies of the College at which you registered apply. This includes, but is not limited to policies related to grading, supplemental exams, deferred exams and accommodations.


Approved by: Sharon Estok