Generation of renewable energy is growing worldwide. This expansion can be illustrated by that fact that 60% of Fortune 100 companies have renewable energy policies, and 81% of global companies have committed to 100% use of renewable energy. A growing number of professionals trained in renewable energy is needed to support the existing energy generation facilities, sustain the industry growth, and develop new energy solutions. The proposed project is to develop a course to train undergraduate and graduate students in fundamentals of renewable energy. The proposed course will serve at least three different academic curricula. This multi-program setting, The University of Iowa support, and the enthusiasm of students about the renewable energy will guarantee the course sustainability for years to come. The materials developed in support of the course will be widely available to the public.
At present there are three major forms of renewable energy that experience growth, wind, solar, and biofuels. The latter category includes biomass, biogas, ethanol, and biodiesel. Wind and solar energy dominate the renewable electricity generation. Biomass is either used for combustion or production of biogas or ethanol. Each of the three energy forms offers unique characteristics that will be discussed in the course. For example, if not consumed, wind and solar energy require dedicated storage. Biofuels offer an added advantage of storage as they are portable. Other forms of renewable energy generation (e.g., hydro) and storage (e.g., batteries, mechanical storage) will be also covered.