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Energy and the Environment

Code: AMB2001     Acronym: AMB2001     Level: 200

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Environmental Sciences

Instance: 2021/2022 - 1S Ícone do Moodle Ícone  do Teams

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Geosciences, Environment and Spatial Plannings
Course/CS Responsible: First Degree in Environmental Sciences and Technology

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
L:CTA 53 Plano estudos a partir do ano letivo 2016/17 2 - 6 56 162

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Bruno Renato Valério Valentim
Manuel António Salgueiro da Silva

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 2,00
Theoretical and practical : 2,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 2,00
Bruno Renato Valério Valentim 0,60
Manuel António Salgueiro da Silva 1,40
Theoretical and practical Totals 1 2,00
Bruno Renato Valério Valentim 1,20
Manuel António Salgueiro da Silva 0,80
Mais informaçõesLast updated on 2021-10-21.

Fields changed: Learning outcomes and competences, Bibliografia Obrigatória, Programa, Métodos de ensino e atividades de aprendizagem

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


This course aims to provide basic training on existing energy sources and on the environmental impacts of their use.

Learning outcomes and competences

After completion of the course the student is expected to:

- understand the physical principles associated with the production, conversion, conservation and transfer of energy;

- understand the physical aspects underlying Solar Thermal, Solar Photovoltaic, Wind and Geothermal renewable energies, and related technologies;

- understand the operation of heat engines, refrigerators and heat pumps;

- understand the concepts of thermal efficiency and coefficient of performance;

- understand the process of heat transfer by conduction, convection and radiation;

- understand the concepts of thermal resistance and equivalent thermal resistance;

- analyze and solve problems in the field of Physics of Energy and Environment;

- quantitatively analyze geothermal processes at different scales and enthalpy levels for power generation;

- to recognize the different energy sources and to be able of searching key global energy statistics;

- to explain ao fossil fuels formed, reognize combustion and mitigation technologies, and the related envirionmental impact;

- to recognize that the hidrogen production is closely related with the fossil fuels and their markets and infrastructures;

- identify alternative geological energy resources to fossil fuels;

Working method




1. Energy in the Universe.
    Principle of conservation of energy.
    Forms of energy and their applications
2. Renewable Energies.
3. Heat transfer.
    Thermal conduction. Convection. Thermal radiation.
    General characteristics of thermal radiation emitted by a body.
    Thermal resistance of conduction, convection and radiation.
    Interior heating and insulation.
4. Conversion of heat into work.
    Thermal efficiency. Thermal machines.
    Heat pump and refrigerator. Coefficient of performance.
5. Solar energy.
    Solar spectrum and solar constant.
    Effect of the tilt of Earth rotation axis on annual insolation variations.
    Calculation of solar insolation versus time and latitude.
    Energy transport between the tropics and the poles.
    Solar thermal energy.
    Solar Collectors: constitution, radiative selectivity, heat power captured and extracted. Efficiency of a solar collector.
    General principle of thermal use of solar energy.
    Thermosyphon. Forced convection systems.
    Integrated residential installation.
    The solar pond.
    Conversion of solar thermal energy into electric energy.
    Mirror concentrators.
6. Wind energy.
    Mechanical power of the wind.
    Resistance force of a turbine.
    Mechanical power extracted by a turbine.
    Coefficient of performance and Betz limit.
    Power curve of a wind turbine and dependence factors.
    Effect of altitude and orography.
    Constitution of a wind turbine.
7. Photovoltaics.
    Physical principle of operation of a photovoltaic cell.
    Characteristic curve and point of maximum power.
    Modules and photovoltaic panels. Photovoltaic efficiency.

2.1 Terminology of energy sources and statistics on energy and associated emissions.
2.2 Fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas)
2.2.1 The formation of fossil fuels
2.2.2 Use of coal, oil and natural gas. Blast furnaces, industrial and domestic heating, electricity generation. Coal combustion technologies (classic and HELE) and mitigation of environmental impact resulting from combustion.
2.2.3 Environmental impact of fossil fuels on exploration, transport, transformation and use (hydrocarbons, CO, NOx, SOx, Tar, PM).
2.2.4 By-products of coal combustion (slag, ash and gypsum) and oil refining (paraffins, sulfur and tar)
2.3 Hydrogen production from fossil fuels
2.4 Alternative geological energy resources to fossil fuels
2.4.1 Geothermal alternative
Geothermal system and the main types of geothermal resources. Geothermal fields. High and low enthalpy geothermal and its characteristics. Techniques for exploiting geothermal resources and usage constraints.
2.4.2 Nuclear alternative Uranium and its applications. Uranium exploration in Portugal. Environmental impact of nuclear energy: in exploration and use (spent fuel and accidents)
2.4.4 A World with high-tech renewable energy and batteries Origin of minerals and elements that go into the composition of the wind turbines (steel structures and supermagnets), solar panels, batteries (Si, REE, CF-Al-PS binders, bituminous masses and petroleum coke, graphite, Li, Pb, Ni, Co). Environmental impact and recycling.

Mandatory literature

M. A. Salgueiro da Silva; Apontamentos das aulas do módulo de Física., 2015
Iuliu Bobos Radu, Bruno Renato Valério Valentim; Apontamentos das aulas do módulo de Geologia,, 2015
Godfrey Boyle; Renewable Energy – Power for a Sustainable Future, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2004
Volker Quasching; Understanding Renewable Energy Systems , Earthscan, London , 2005
Egbert Boeker, Rienk van Grondelle; Environmental Physics , Willey & Sons , 1999
Marion Jerry B.; Energy in perspective. ISBN: 0-12-472275-X
Hélder Gonçalves, António Joyce, Luís Silva; Energias Renováveis em Portugal – FORUM, ADENE-Agência para a Energia
Yoichi Kaya and Keiichi Yokobori; Environment, Energy, and Economy – Strategies for Sustainability , United Nations University Press, 1997
Stober, I., Bucher, K. ; Geothermal Energy: From Theoretical Models to Exploration and Development, Springer Verlag, 2013
Taylor, G.H., Teichmüller, M., Davis, D., Diessel, C.F.K., Littke, R. & Robert, P.,; Organic Petrology, 704 pp, Gebrüder Borntraeger. Berlin, Stuttgart, 1998
Tissot B.p.; Petroleum Formation and Occurrence
International Energy Agency. ; KEY WORLD ENERGY STATISTICS, IEA Publications, 2020
Adams, D.M.B., et al.,; Coal combustion technologies, IEA Clean Coal Centre , 2007
Carpenter, A.M., et al., ; Fundamentals of coal combustion, IEA Clean Coal Centre , 2007
Adams, D.MB., et al., ; Greenhouse gases – emissions and control, IEA Clean Coal Centre , 2008
Sloss, L., Loria, E.; Understanding the role of coal in the energy trilemma, IEA Clean Coal Centre , 2008
Alexandre Chagnes Jolanta Swiatowska; Lithium Process Chemistry: Resources, Extraction, Batteries, and Recycling , Elsevier, 2015. ISBN: 9780128016862
Michel Cuney, Claude Valsardieu; Regards sur l'uranium. Tome 3 : Les concentrations naturelles d'uranium, ESKA , 2001. ISBN: 9782869118027
IEA; The future of hydrogen. Seizing today’s opportunities, IEA Clean Coal Centre , 2019 (Report prepared by the IEA for the G20, Japan)

Teaching methods and learning activities

Lectures and theoretical-practical classes.

Physics Module:

The classes will be online. The didactic content, including resolutions of problems of theoretical-practical classes and tests and exams of previous years, will be made available in Moodle e-learning platform.

Discussion forum in Moodle e-learning platform to resolve doubts.

Geology module:

Presentation and discussion of the contents using case studies. Theoretical lectures will use Powerpoint presentations (including the analysis and discussion of graphs, diagrams, images, photographs and field photos). For the practical component, hand samples of carbonaceous rocks will be used, and also key stats reports of the IEA and DGEG.

Whenever possible, classes will be enriched with lectures by invited experts, webinars, field trips, and study visits to laboratories and industrial units for processing and / or conversion.

Evaluation Type

Evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

designation Weight (%)
Exame 100,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 106,00
Frequência das aulas 56,00
Total: 162,00

Eligibility for exams

Students must attend at least 3/4 of the scheduled problem-solving classes.

Students who have attended the course in the previous year and who have obtained attendance may request exemption of problem-solving classes.

Calculation formula of final grade

Final grade = 0.5*Grade(Module I) + 0.5*Grade(Module II)

Minimum grade at each module: 7.0
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