Energy Transformations and Living Off-The-Grid

Larry Rome
Course Code: 
Energy Conservation

The course will examine major sources of energy on earth: sunlight, mechanical, chemical and biological, and how this energy is transformed into useful energy for humans—typically electrical energy, heat, mechanical power or food. Considerable emphasis will be on forms of regenerative energy that can be used when living off the grid. As a case study, we will examine some approaches taken by the U.S. military to provide energy capability for dismounted Marines operating on foot in austere environments. Faculty lectures will be supplemented by guest lectures from leaders in government and industry.

A major goal of the course is for students to develop an awareness of the amounts of energy they use in their daily lives, and how they might reduce usage. As an exercise, students will measure how much energy their smart phones and laptops use in a day and try to generate a comparable amount of energy through physical effort.

The course will include lectures, discussion, guest expert lectures, and laboratory measurements.