Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Second Edition Reviews

Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Second Edition

Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Second Edition

We are hearing a LOT about renewable energy these days! But unlike most available resources on alternative energy that focus on politics and economic impacts, da Rosa’s practical guide, Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, is dedicated to explaining the scientific and technological principles and processes that enable energy production from safe, renewable, clean sources.

Advances in the renewable energy sphere are proceeding with an unprecedented speed, and in order for the world’s alarming energy challenges to be solved, solid, up-to-date resources addressing the technical aspects of renewables are essential.

This new, updated 2e of da Rosa’s successful book continues to give readers all the background they need to gain a thorough understanding of the most popular types of renewable energy-hydrogen, solar power, biomass, wind power, and hydropower-from the ground up. The latest advances in all these technologies are given particular attention, and are carefully

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3 Responses to “Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Second Edition Reviews”

  1. Scott C. Locklin "Selectos nisi das mihi libe... Reply January 14, 2013 at 7:38 am
    28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Idiosyncratic survey course, August 8, 2009
    By 

    This review is from: Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Second Edition (Hardcover)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    When I review reference books, I like to think about what they’re supposed to be used for. This book is apparently used for a course in Stanford. Now, I ask myself … what is this course used for?

    This book is a wide-ranging collection of more or less stand alone chapters. Upon first scan, I was tempted to simply echo the other “wow -very complete; I feel smarter already,” reviews already in place. But I am afflicted with this thing called “a conscience” so I actually read a few chapters rather than looking at the table of contents and declaring Professor da Rosa a genius, as well as myself by association. The first indication something is seriously awry here is the first chapter, which includes a lengthy defense of the cold fusion work of Pons & Fleischmann, which is, well, wrong. I feel qualified to comment on this, as I know several researchers who actually attempted to reproduce their results, have attended several talks which debunk their claims, and maintain a journeyman interest in the subject which apparently surpasses that of the author of this book. This is admittedly a short section of a chapter, so I move on. I come to the section on mechanical heat engines, where the author makes the outrageous claim that, had early automobile manufacturers gone with the Stirling engine rather than the Otto or Diesel engines which were used, vehicles today would be “more efficient and less polluting.” This statement is so wrong, it makes my head spin. I’m reviewing a book here, so I can’t get into why this is wrong, but it is absurdly wrong. A giant hint as to why it is a silly statement should come from the fact that nobody in the early development years of motorized vehicles ever bothered sticking a Stirling engine into a vehicle, despite people trying things like electric, steam and even compressed air were actually deployed in real, useful vehicles. Rather than blurting out something that incorrect, a more useful discussion might be why something like a Stirling engine wasn’t a useful device for vehicle power, and/or why this is different now. Perhaps a little discussion of the history of the Stirling engine, and why it was never even a serious competitor even to other external combustion engines (aka steam engines) might also be useful.

    Moving on, the chapters on thermoelectric and thermionic power are fairly informative. I’m familiar with the physics of this sort of thing, as I’ve worked with things like klystrons, and have collected antique radios for the last 24 years or so. I’m not familiar with thermionic generators being any kind of “renewable” energy transforming device, though I suppose it is vaguely possible. I have seen clever corner applications of things like thermionics and thermoelectrics to generate power in remote locations (spacecraft, and Siberia, believe it or not), but for large scale industrial purposes, I’ve never heard of such a thing. I find it a little weird that he never compares these odd corner cases to conventional ways of generating power, such as plain old turbines and electric generators, but I guess this isn’t really a book about “renewable energy” -it’s a book about “weird ways to obtain energy that you haven’t heard of.” I mean, why not mention Faraday disk generators? Faraday disks are simple, cool, and they’re actually useful in interesting places.

    When I first read chapter 8, I figured the author had completely lost his mind, but really, people do use radio-noise generators. I had a key card from my days at Larry Berzerkeley Labs which was powered by such a thing. Of course, there is nothing “renewable” about this; it’s just a way of powering something very small by using radio waves. The thing is, this chapter is just chucked in there next to thermionic generators and before hydrogen power, and various hints are given that this could figure into some kind of large scale energy generating scheme. Huh? Obviously this is not true. Maybe it’s OK for “renewable energy” students to know about this. Maybe it will give them some idea for obtaining energy in some RF rich environment. No hint is ever given as to where this RF rich environment might be. Solar powered satellites beaming microwave energy to earth, a la Gerald O’Neill? Nikola Tesla like magnifying transmitter technology? Who knows: the author never tells.

    Next, the author gets into “hydrogen power.” Helpfully, he includes what most people call “batteries” in the chapter on fuel cells, because that’s all a fuel cell really is: a fancy battery. I also agree that fuel cells of all kinds do belong in the hydrogen chapter, despite the fact that they sometimes have nothing to do with hydrogen: even carbon fuel cells (which he manages to avoid mentioning for some reason) can be thought of as a way to store hydrogen-like things. I was getting pretty comfortable and having a good time reading this chapter until he claimed that the only reason we don’t have fuel cell powered…

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  2. William Bretz "Bill Bretz" Reply January 14, 2013 at 7:46 am
    23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Book is finally in print!, September 16, 2005
    By 
    William Bretz “Bill Bretz” (Las Cruces, NM) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Took Dr. da Rosa’s classes at Stanford last year (EE293A and B). These classes were based on this text in “reader” format, or perhaps better said, this book represents the lectures and the knowledge that was given to the students in these classes.

    Dr. da Rosa is a recogonized expert in renewable energy. The classes were structured not only to make you learn about renewable energy sources, but also to think about other energy sources that are in vogue, and hyped as the future.

    I’m finished with the classes, but I feel that I need a copy of the text as a reference so that I can have a source to defend my arguements to others about renewable energy sources.

    If you are really interested in renewable energy processes from a practical, engineering standpoint, you must review this book. Even better would be to take the classes! (They are offered as Distance Learning on the internet.)

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  3. 2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    wide survey of the field, July 25, 2009
    By 
    W Boudville (Terra, Sol 3) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes, Second Edition (Hardcover)
    Customer review from the Amazon Vine™ Program (What’s this?)

    If you have any interest in alternative energy sources, then this updated 2nd edition [2009] should be of interest. da Rosa writes for an engineering reader and uses simple undergraduate level physics as the basis for an extended survey across all the proposed energy sources.

    There are a couple of chapters on basic thermodynamics and heat engines. These are seen in most starting books on thermodynamics and could perhaps have been omitted here, but the author chose to include them as a foundation for the bulk of the text.

    The topics include thermoelectricity, thermionics, fuel cells [mostly hydrogen based] and solar cells. For the latter, we see a division into photovoltaic [ie. for electricity generation] and for heat generation. Most of the coverage here is for photovoltaic. There is a brief foray into the theory of semiconductor heterojunctions, where the electron hole pairs are generated by incident photons. Efficiencies are still somewhat low. But perhaps if you are thinking of going into research in this field, this is inspiration!

    The last section of the book delves into wind and water sources. The details should suggest that windmills are simpler to build and maintain. Whereas the extraction of energy from tides and waves involve much more mechanical stresses on the equipment, and greater corrosion effects.

    It is a good measure of the book’s sweep that the author included an appendix to one chapter that was on batteries. Strictly, the study of alternative energy sources has nothing to do with batteries. The latter are about storing energy that we get from some source. But as a practical matter, there is also a need for more efficient batteries, whatever the sources of energy for these. One very specific case is for reducing the use of oil in vehicles. A vital global need, especially to head off global warming. Many proposed alternatives involve batteries for cars. The book shows that much work needs to be done.

    As a throwaway mention, the book has several pages talking about cold fusion, starting with the Pons and Fleischmann results from 1989. It emphasises the lack of anyone else to duplicate the original results. But suggests from ongoing low level work by others that there might be something in this after all. The discussion of cold fusion is a good synopsis of 20[!] years of controversy and research. The treatment here is a far soberer alternative than perusing some way out websites peddling woo woo tripe on the subject.

    Another minor section talks about radio noise generator. A fundamentally simple concept of converting heat directly into electricity by hooking two resistors in parallel and having them at different temperatures. A current will flow from the hotter to the colder, and the current can be used for any task. Alas, the analysis shows severe drawbacks for any practical implementation.

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