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Introduction to Ocean and Geothermal Energy

This free online course will teach you about the energy obtained by the heat that comes from the interior of the earth.

Publisher: NPTEL
This course will introduce you to an alternative energy source using ocean and geothermal energy. This will include the basic concepts and terms and the types of geothermal reservoirs. You will learn how to obtain geothermal and tidal energy. You will study the benefits and uses of this clean energy source. Finally, you will study biomass as an alternative source of energy including how it is obtained and its uses.
Introduction to Ocean and Geothermal Energy
  • Duration

    4-5 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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This free online course will give you an overview of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), which is the energy that is obtained by harnessing the tides. It is generated by using an alternator and this system can be used to generate electricity, thus transforming tidal energy into electrical energy, which is considered a safe and profitable form of energy. You will learn about the challenges encountered when taking advantage of this energy and the by-products of OTEC energy. It is considered a clean energy source because the primary energy source is not depleted by its exploitation and it is not produced in a way that creates polluting by-products of any kind. The current challenges of this form of energy are pointed out in this course. This includes that the relationship between the amount of energy that can be obtained with current means and the economic and environmental cost of installing the devices for its process has prevented a massive implementation of this energy source across the globe.

Later, you will study geothermal energy, another form of clean energy, which can be extracted directly from the ground without the need for sophisticated technologies or purification through hot rock bodies or conduction and convection. You will learn where geothermal energy is available. There are different levels of heat depending on the prospecting that has been carried out and you will study the first stage of geological analysis which also includes the use of geological, geophysical and geochemical tools to locate anomalies that can reduce the search area. You will study the challenges that this form of energy presents, such as the availability of reservoirs and the fact that some geothermal sources do not have a high enough temperature to produce steam. Instead, these zones of lower temperature can provide energy for the air conditioning of buildings. We will discuss the three levels of water forms based on location which are supersaturated steam, superheated steam, and hot water. You will study the technologies involved in these processes. The advantages of geothermal energy in contrast to OTEC-based energy are listed within the course for you to analyse.

Finally, you will study biomass energy and evaluate your position on whether it is clean energy or not. The process by which plants transform the radiant energy of the sun into chemical energy through photosynthesis is discussed which will include how part of that chemical energy is stored in the form of organic matter. Chemical energy from biomass can be recovered by burning it directly or turning it into fuel. The pros and cons of extracting energy from biomass are discussed. One advantage is that it could provide substitute energies for fossil fuels, thanks to liquid, gaseous or solid agrofuels, however, this depends on not using more biomass than the net production of the exploited ecosystem. Considerations must be made on whether any other fuel consumption is incurred in the transformation processes and that the energy conversion is the most appropriate use compared to other possible uses, such as fertilizer and food. It will study the way in which biomass provides complementary fuel to fossil fuel, helping the growth of world consumption and its corresponding environmental impacts, especially in the transport sector. You will know the processes by which it is obtained and the classification of the 10 countries that most use this alternative form of energy. This course would be of benefit to those in the agricultural industry, those that are interested in supplementing their current fossil fuel energy consumption with a more durable alternative or students studying environmental science and energy. Why wait? Start this course today!

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