At the beginning of the 21st century, the general topic of energy, both in France and worldwide is a major concern. It will require the tackling of numerous challenges in the coming years, such as the dwindling of fossil fuel resources and the impacts of global warming. Understanding energy-related concepts, from the most fundamental aspects to the various forms of energy and their numerous uses, has become an essential part of an engineer's training. Environmental impacts, climate changes, the fair use of fossil fuel resources and alternative solutions must also be part of the engineer's key concerns.
This course is mainly a general physics course. Nevertheless, it introduces and develops numerous multidisciplinary concepts linked to energy, the economy and the environment. It will act as an introductory course for students contemplating doing a master's degree for a career focused on energy issues and sustainable development. It will give other students a general but precise overview of a subject which is essential to understand our society and its challenges.
The course comprises three more or less equivalent parts:
Energy and its use.
Historical context. Definitions. First and second principles. Order of magnitude.
The various forms of energy. Useful energy and outputs.
Dwindling of resources. The French and global situations.
Impacts on the climate. The Kyoto accords.
A French example: nuclear energy.
Principles of the current reactors and future 4th generation reactors.
The fuel cycle. The dwindling of resources. Geopolitical context.
Current state of the research concerning waste. Prospects of fusion.
Various solutions: hydraulic power, windpower, solar power, biomass and other energies.
Their technical, environmental and economic stakes.
The recent improvement in fossil fuel industries.
CO2 storage and other research topics
Last Modification : Tuesday 10 April 2012