Course Description

420.616 - Environmental Consequences of Conventional Energy Generation

Environmental consequences of conventional energy generation will explore the energy resources that have driven and are projected to be the primary energy sources worldwide for the next several decades. Specifically, this course will focus on the historical and future role of conventional energy sources such as those derived from fossil fuels, focusing on their geologic genesis and the consequences of resource extraction which will invite comparisons to more recent trends in energy generation. Students will be exposed to the nexus of social, technical, engineering and environmental challenges of providing energy supplies to an increasingly urban and technologically connected global population. Topics include petroleum, traditional natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, and geothermal supplies as well as recent trends in shale hydrologic fracturing methods of obtaining petroleum resources. Environmental impacts will focus on mining, resource extraction, soil and groundwater contamination as well as particulates, smog, acid rain, and global warming. Global production, distribution, usage and impacts of these resources will be considered. Offered online, annually. Prerequisites: none.