The Energize the Future course provides a broad understanding of the energy we produce and consume today. Students that take this course will learn how we define and measure energy, primary versus secondary energy, what power is, and how energy impacts our everyday lives and the world around us. Students will also gain a thorough understanding of our global energy sources, learning how to differentiate fossil fuels and modern renewables. Within the course, students will complete a hands-on, engaging lesson to grasp the luxury of energy intensive activities that we pursue in our daily lives, such as a 20-minute hot shower. The lesson will walk the students through a series of quantitative steps to determine the energy consumed for a shower and relate that back to how many times a student would have to lift a 5-pound sack of potatoes 5 feet to sufficiently store the energy required.
The Energize the Future course also addresses the history of inefficiencies and complications to energy production/consumption, such as global political tensions and climate change. As we move into the future, we will be required to rely more on electricity as we proceed in reducing our intake from fossil fuels, specifically in the transportation sector. However, is it possible to fill that gap? The answer isn’t simple and this course will take an in-depth look at what primary energy sources could be used to meet the demand of increased power generation if we were to eliminate fuel-combustion engines in the United States. Through this evaluation students will gain a detailed understanding of power generation and capacity, as well as several primary energy sources, including natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar. Students will also be tasked with completing a design project, using the information they’ve been given to create their own power mix, satisfying the energy demand as we move towards an electric future.