Asee peer logo

Energy: Properties And Policy Issues

Download Paper |

Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids, and Heat Transfer-Part I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

5

Page Numbers

15.464.1 - 15.464.5

DOI

10.18260/1-2--16157

Permanent URL

https://cms.jee.org/16157

Download Count

24

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Robert Chasnov

visit author page

Dr. Chasnov is a Professor of Engineering and registered Professional Engineer in the state of Ohio. As an expert metallurgist, he provides testimony for a local forensic corporation in cases involving material failures. His research interests include failure analysis, materials characterization, energy systems, climate change, recycling of materials, and engineering ethics.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Energy: Properties and Policy Issues

Abstract

Students following a curriculum designed to provide a degree in mechanical engineering (ME) inevitably take one or more courses in Thermodynamics along the way. One of the many keys being addressed in such courses is the Principle of Conservation of Energy, otherwise known as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Whereas one of the program accreditation requirements specifically addresses the need to incorporate design of components or processes of thermal systems1 into the curriculum, does this necessarily include all (or any) of the following: fossil fuel combustion, greenhouse gas production, alternative energy sources, energy conservation, or energy policy?

It is our contention that, in light of the demand for global solutions to environmental problems which include unsanitary drinking water, inappropriate recycling of heavy-metal laden used electronics, and the free release of toxic gases due to the combustion of mixed-waste streams (just to name a few), mechanical engineering students should be required to incorporate energy policy issues into their required thermal designs.

This paper assumes that the reader has an introductory knowledge of Thermodynamics and thus understands the definitions of heat, work, internal energy, enthalpy, and entropy. Though textbook examples and end-of-chapter problems are designed to move students from knowing the principles to problem-solving, components such as the piston-cylinder device or the adiabatic compressor are isolated from their power sources. In an effort to complete the picture for our students, design of power plants was added to the course content of thermodynamics for mechanical engineering students (MEs). The Single Rankine Reheat power plant will be considered here for our discussion. Efficiencies along the energy conversion path are computed and projections are made for the use of alternative fuels in the supply chain.

Students, rather than simply learning how to compute entropy changes for individual process steps, learn how to place a “value” on their thermal systems. By design, the “value” is based both on economics and ethics.

Introduction

Mechanical Engineers are facing a challenge in today’s marketplace in areas of energy production and delivery. Coal power plants are being considered major polluters due to their large carbon dioxide (CO2) output.2 Nuclear power plants, though “carbon-free”, are seen by some as potentially dangerous to the environment due to the lack of a proper burial site for spent fuel rods.3 Thus, alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, or even natural gas are being considered more highly favored for their “green” nature.

But what are the trade-offs? Cost is clearly on the minds of persons across the globe due to the tough economic times in which we find ourselves. How much will converting to green technologies push those already struggling to survive past their limit to afford energy and goods?

Chasnov, R. (2010, June), Energy: Properties And Policy Issues Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16157

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015