Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

Energy and the Environment



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Engenharia Mecânica e Industrial



Teacher in charge

Daniel Cardoso Vaz, José Fernando de Almeida Dias

Weekly hours


Total hours


Teaching language



At the end of the course the student should have attained: 

The ability to discuss the tricotomy energy-society-environment.

Knowledge and the ability to apply in discussions the statistics of fossil and renewable energies concerning Portugal and a number of notable cases in the World. The ability to discuss the finitude of fossil fuels.

Knowledge of: combustion fundamentals; pollutant formation mechanisms; techniques and equipments for the conversion of solid, liquid and gaseous fuels, aiming at improved environmental and energy efficiency performances.

Understanding of the fundamental principles and techniques inherent to conventional and alternative sources of energy: combustion, nuclear, biomass, solar, wind, hydro, tidal, wave, geothermal. The ability to discuss the applicability and limitations of energy storage techniques.

Notions of the economics of energy production and of the financing of energy investments.

Skills of information processing, both autonomous and self-learning, and meeting goals.


It is assumed the knowledge of some of the matters dealt with in: Física II, Dinâmica dos Fluidos I, Termodinâmica Aplicada.

The written evaluations have implicit that the student is able to express his/hers train of thought intelligibly, either in portuguese or english, and to apply the mathematical tools that are used in the course.

Subject matter

1-Energy use in the technological society. Fossil, renewable, and nuclear resources limitations.

2-Fossil fuels. Pollutants. Clean combustion techniques.

3-Renewables. Biomass: gasification, anaerobic digestion, alcohols and biodiesel. Solar: thermal, photovoltaic, termoelectric, and passive. Wind: the resource, technologies, equipments operation. Hydropower: types of facilities and turbines. Waves: the various technologies. Other renewables. Geothermal: electricity and direct use.

4-Nuclear. Global scenario. Bounding energy. Isotopes chart. Fission and fusion. Conventional reactors, moderators and uranium enrichening. Safety and environmental impact. Fast neutron breed reactors.

5-Other topics considered timely and relevant.


1. "Energy Science - Principles, Technologies, and Impacts", J. Andrews and N. Jelly, Oxford University Press, 2007.

 2. "Energia e Ambiente - apontamentos do docente"and "Energia e Ambiente - exercícios de aplicação", D.C. Vaz, FCT, 2013. -- to be made available in CLIP.

3. Chapters 11 to 13 of "Mechanical Engineer’s Reference Book", 12th ed., Edited by E.H. Smith, Butterworth-Heinmann, 1994. -- electronically available from within the Campus.

4. "Energy and Problems of a Technical Society", J.J. Kraushaar and R.A. Ristinen, John Wiley & Sons, 2nd. ed., 1993.

Teaching method

(If required, lessons of one of the classes can be taught in english). 

The lectures are theorectical-practical. The study matter is presented will be as interactive with the students as possible. The students are encouraged to raise questions about the topics being discussed in a lecture. Whenever found appropriate, exercises are proposed to the students with the goals: to exercise their critical thinking and ability to discuss ideas, to consolidate their use of terminology, as well as to prepare for an evaluation test.

The slides are schematic, in order to promote the importance of the sudy of the bibliographic sources; it can be said that the main study aid for this subject is the notes that the student makes for him/herself in the classroom, therefore being important to come to the classes. 

Nowadays, students have the opportunity to develop their personal work method when searching for information in "conventional" libraries, electronic libraries, or simply through navigation in the internet (webpages of well-know institutions such as IEA''''''''''''''''s,www.iea.org/Textbase/stats/index.asp).

Evaluation method

1 - Assessment mode: continuous, through 3 minitests (theoretical-practical component) globally weighing 100% to the final classification.

2 - Assessment consists in 3 short tests or in the final exam as described in no. 3, art. 3 of the «Regulamento de Avaliação de Conhecimentos» (RAC).

3 - Final grade: NF = 30% MT1 + 40% MT2 + 30% MT3 (the terms enter rounded to the first decimal place), which should be equal or greater than 9,5 for approval. In the exam route, if EX < 9,5 then the student fails with NF=EX.

4 - The sort tests and exams are closed-book and the use of text-memory calculators is not allowed. Formulae found necessary will be given. Transgressions are subjected to what is foreseen in art. 9 of the RAC.