Topic outline

  • Course Synopsis

    A course in renewable energy resources will be useful to final year undergraduate in engineering programs and multidisciplinary postgraduate that relates the world energy scenario, motivations, policies and practices in managing energy demand and addressing the environmental impact pertaining to solar thermal energy, solar thermal collectors, geothermal energy, wind energy, biomass energy, ocean tidal energy, ocean wave energy, ocean thermal energy and fuel cells. However, the section on photovoltaic has been omitted due to its specialized nature and hydroelectric is also not included in accordance with the nation renewable energy agenda. Emphasis on economic considerations to harness energy from renewable sources have been made to highlight the present state of technologies and impress the importance of developing renewable energy sources as cost-effective power generation alternatives. Important basic principles are revised at the end of every chapter in the form of solved problems and discussion on recent developments and case studies.

  • Chapter 1

    The widespread use of fossil fuel began during the 20th century, with the advent of modern and bulk transportations and big industries. Energy utilization got further enhanced with the invention of electricity and development of electrical power stations. Access to cheap energy is essential to function in modern economy and energy security. This chapter will discuss the rationale and to understand the policies and practices in managing energy demand with regards to the world energy scenario, energy resources, environmental impact and climate change, need for utilization of renewable resources, classification of renewable resources, energy resources in Malaysia, energy efficiency governance in Malaysia.  Important basic principles are revised at the end of the chapter in the forms of discussions on recent developments and case studies, and simple calculation.


    Sun is hydrodynamic sphere body of hot gaseous matter; swirl, flow under gravity and magnetic spewing enormous quantities of energy releases from nuclear fusion. Solar radiations pass through the earth's atmosphere and are subjected to scattering and atmospheric absorption. A part of scattered radiation is reflected back into space. Solar radiation varies in intensity at different locations on the earth, which revolves elliptically around the sun. Harnessing of the solar energy requires basic understanding of its origin and characteristics on how to use and estimate the solar thermal energy, solar radiation component, diffuse, beam, solar constant, to measure insolation (solar radiation) base on the sun – earth relationships, solar radiation geometry including calculation of solar radiation. Discussion on photovoltaic cell is not included in this section due to its specialized nature.


    A solar thermal collector is an equipment to collect solar energy by absorbing radiation in an absorber and then transferring to a fluid. Generally, they are categorized either as non-concentrating type with low efficiency and temperature not exceeding 100°C or the concentrating type for higher temperature almost up to 500°C. For better performance, the collector is mounted on a tracking equipment to always face the sun with its changing position. This chapter discusses various technologies to harness and utilizes solar thermal energy which includes the construction and limitations of solar flat plate collector, the thermal losses in solar flat plate collector and types of solar concentrators. The basic principles are revised at the end of the chapter in the deliberation of recent development in solar thermal application and solve problems.

    Geothermal energy can regarded as a cost-effective form of energy that neither contribute to global warming nor threaten national security. It is the only form of renewable energy independent to the sun.  Its ultimate source is from the center of the earth where temperatures are approximately 6000°C. This chapter explains its utilization, environmental impact, application, estimation and recent development including Malaysia and concludes with simple calculation.


    Wind is the air-in-motion and the energy in the wind is converted into rotary mechanical energy by the wind-turbine. Wind power is an attractive solution in the search for clean, safe and renewable energy sources. It exist in abundant supply which can be easily harnessed as explained from the overview, formation of wind, classification of wind, factors affecting wind speed, aerodynamics of wind turbine, classification of wind turbines, configurations of wind turbine, wind turbine design wind turbine generator, recent development in wind energy and illustrated with simple calculation.


    Biomass energy sources principally are solid carbonaceous material derived from plants, algae, animals, urban, rural and agricultural waste which can be burnt or fermented. Urban waste, disposed at incineration power plants, segregated and the combustible part is burned for hot water district heating and steam to generate electricity. Urban waste in landfills produces biogas as a fuel for domestic and industrial use. This chapter explains various energy conversion technologies as biomass resources and biofuels through gasification, anaerobic digestion, production of ethanol and biodiesel from biomass worldwide and in Malaysia with simple calculation.


    Ocean represents a huge reservoir of an incredible amount of clean renewable energy. The various ocean energy conversion technologies are presently in infant stage and the cost is prohibitively high to harness the energy commercially from systems of tidal barrages and basins to generate electricity. Hence, present use is negligible and interest has been revived and likely to gain a significant importance during the coming decades as fossil fuel sources is rapidly depleting combined with the adverse environmental impacts. With prior understanding of characteristics of the tidal energy, tidal energy conversion and estimate, tidal power plants, economics of tidal power and recent development in Malaysia with simple calculation.


    The ocean is a big collector of energy transferred by wind over a large surface area which is stored as wave energy. Wave energy is more concentrated compared to wind energy, which is thinly distributed and if harnessed with improved technology, can prove to be a large dependable source of renewable energy. A host of devices are presented to harness the power of the waves which is somewhat erratic as discussed in its characteristics and formation of waves, mathematical analysis and empirical formula, wave energy resources, wave energy technologies, environmental impact and economics, advantages, and disadvantages of wave energy, wave energy plants of the future and application in Malaysia and sample calculation.


    Ocean covers approximately 70% of earth's surface and represents a huge reservoir of various useful and renewable energy resources, only a small frac­tion can be recovered economically. Present use is negligible and interest in ocean energy has been revived after the energy crisis of 1973 and likely to gain a significant importance during the coming decades as fossil fuel sources is rapidly depleting combined with the adverse environmental impacts. This chapter provides better understanding of the working principle in ocean thermal energy conversion plant (OTEC), close-cycle OTEC, closed systems OTEC, hybrid OTEC system, thermoelectric OTEC, bio-fouling in OTEC, location of OTEC plants, economic benefits and solve problems.

  • CHAPTER 10

    Fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy of a fuel into electricity without the need for combustion to replace internal combustion engines and a good substitute for storage batteries and primary cells. This section explains the operating principle and configuration of a fuel cell and the need for a fuel processor, hydrogen from renewable resources and methanol fuel cell. The types of fuel cells and advantages of fuel cell power plant included to enhance the hydrogen fuel cell analysis, operating characteristics, potentials of fuel cell and simple calculation.