Environmentally Friendly Technologies

This course is part of the programme
Bachelor's programme in Environment (first cycle)

Objectives and competences

• Knowledge of basic concepts and principles from the field of renewable energy exploitation in different technologies
• Understanding of operation principles of some relevant devices/technologies such as: technologies for carbon capture, sequestration and storage, wind turbines, solar systems, photovoltaic cells of different types, hydroelectric power plants, tidal power plants, devices for exploitation of wave and sewater flow energy, devices for ocean thermal energy conversion, technologies for harnessing salinity power, technologies for geothermal energy exploitation (hydrothermal and geopressured exploitation, deep heat mining systems), hydrogen production with photoelectrolysis and its conversion to electricity in fuel cells of different types, Li-ion batteries, electrochromic and photoelectrochromic devices, photocatalytic systems for water and air cleaning, photocatalytic self-cleaning, fission and fusion nuclear reactors
• Gaining certain experimental skills used in the laboratory, related to devices for renewable energy exploitation
• Ability to identify exemplary cases and to judge critically the existing technologies in the field of renewable energy exploitation


Prerequisite knowledge of general chemistry and physics.


The following topics from the fast growing field of environmentally friendly technologies that mainly exploit renewable energy sources are covered: the introduction to energy problematics and the importance of sustainable energy, technologies for carbon capture (sequestration and storage), wind energy, solar energy (for heating and cooling, photovoltaics), bioenergy, hydroenergy (hydroelectric power plants, sea and ocean energy), geothermal energy, fuel cells and hydrogen economy, advanced batteries and electrochromic and photoelectrochromic devices, photocatalysis, nuclear energy.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Students understand and can explain basic concepts in the field of sustainable energy exploitation and other related technologies: (i) wind energy conversion (they are familiar with wind turbine characteristics, its power as a function of wind velocity, they know trends of installed power in the recent years, various types of wind turbines and their advantages/disadvantages, possibilities of surface processing against icing, insects, erosion), (ii) solar energy conversion in different systems (they are acquainted with solar spectrum, solar constant, measuring devices of solar irradiation, types of heat solar systems, cooling with solar energy, principle of photovoltaic conversion, appropriate semiconductors, solar cell characteristics, functioning of the standard silicon solar cells and various later technologies such as DSSC and organic solar cells), (iii) bioenergy conversion (they know forms of biomass, their thermal properties, technology of biomass burning in four phases, production of bioethanol and biodiesel, impacts to environment), (iv) hydroenergy conversion (they get knowledge about the development of hydroelectric power plants, can describe and schematically present the functioning of some types of hydropower stations, distinguish between the two turbine concepts, can explain tidal phenomenon and the exploitation of this energy, know technical performances of devices for harnessing wave energy, water flow, differences in heat and salinity), (v) geothermal energy conversion (they are familiar with potentials and ways of exploitation, geothermal power plants based on dry steam cycle, flash steam cycle and binary cycle, know other applications of geothermal energy), (vi) hydrogen production, storage and conversion (they are acquainted with sustainable paths to hydrogen via photoelectrolysis in different device concepts, know three basic possibilities of hydrogen storage, can explain conversion to electricity in fuel cells PEMFC and SOFC, know disadvantages and advantages of hydrogen as an energy carrier), (vii) nuclear energy conversion (they are familiar with the history of development, radioactivity and its units, the principle of nuclear fission and controlled chain reaction in the power plant, the structure of the reactor core, safety measures, nuclear reactor types, dealing with used fuel and waste issues, principle of nuclear fusion and fusion reactors), (viii) photocatalytic conversion (they understand the processes of pollutants degradation by using semiconductor catalyst and ultraviolet irradiation, understand the functioning of self-cleaning surfaces on the basis of photoinduced superhydrophilicity and photocatalysis), (ix) they know the technologies for carbon capture, sequestration and storage since the use of fossil fuels in energy supply is (and will be) still inevitable. Through the seminar work students learn to present one of the issues from the topics outlined above and discuss it with other students. During the tutorial students get familiar with fundamental physical calculations in relation to solar systems (e.g. low-energy architecture, yields of solar cells), construct and measure device performances (for example with the use of solar cells electrolysis of water is achieved, hydrogen produced is converted to electricity in a fuel cell), have an insight in a case of good practice in Slovenia (excursion).


• Sustainable Energy Technologies: Options and Prospects, eds. K. Hanjalić, R. van de Krol, A. Lekić, Springer, 2008. E-version
• Renewable Energy, ed. G. Boyle, Oxford University Press, 2004. Catalogue E-version
• Varstvo okolja in obnovljivi viri energije, S. Medved, P. Novak, Univerza v Ljubljani, Fakulteta za strojništvo, 2000. Catalogue
• Energija in okolje: obnovljivi viri energije, S. Medved in C. Arkar, Univerza v Ljubljani, Zdravstvena fakulteta, 2009. Catalogue
• Slides for the lectures, U. Lavrenčič Štangar in B. Šarler, Univerza v Novi Gorici, updated every year.

More detailed literature for certain chapters:
• Issues in Environmental Science and Technology, Editors: R. E. Hester and R. M. Harrison, Carbon Capture, Sequestration and Storage, published by The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2010.
• N. Dalili, A. Edrisy, R. Carriveau: A review of surface engineering issues critical to wind turbine performance, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13 (2009) 428–438. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2007.11.009 E-version
• D. Rajver, A. Lapajne, N. Rman: Možnosti proizvodnje elektrike iz geotermalne energice v Sloveniji v naslednjem desetletju / Possibilities for electricity production from geothermal energy in Slovenia in the next decade, Geologija 55 (2012) 117-140. E-version
• S. Thomas, M. Zalbowitz: Fuel Cells – Green Power, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA. E-version
• Mills, S. K. Lee: A web-based overview of semiconductor photochemistry-based current commercial applications, Journal of Photochemistry and Biology A: Chemistry 152 (2002) 233-247. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1010-6030(02)00243-5 E-version
• K.-H. Heckner, A. Kraft: Similarities between electrochromic windows and thin film batteries, Solid State Ionics 152-153 (2002) 899–905. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-2738(02)00446-0 E-version


Written test from the tutorial exercises part (30 %), oral presentation of the seminar work (10 %), written examination (60 %)

Lecturer's references

Associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nova Gorica.

GJERKEŠ, Henrik, MALENŠEK, Jože, SITAR, Anže, GOLOBIČ, Iztok. Product identification in industrial batch fermentation using a variable forgetting factor. Control engineering practice, ISSN 0967-0661. [Print ed.], Oct. 2011, vol. 19, iss. 10, str. 1208-1215, doi:10.1016/j.conengprac.2011.06.011. [COBISS.SI-ID 11995931]

GOLOBIČ, Iztok, PETKOVŠEK, Jure, GJERKEŠ, Henrik, KENNING, D.B.R. Horizontal chain coalescence of bubbles in saturated pool boiling on a thin foil. International journal of heat and mass transfer, ISSN 0017-9310. [Print ed.], Dec. 2011, vol. 54, iss. 25/26, str. 5517-5526, doi:10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2011.07.039. [COBISS.SI-ID 11996187]

GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Harmonizacija ekologije, ekonomije in sociale na energetski način. Didakta, ISSN 0354-0421, feb. 2013, letn. 22[!], št. 160, str. 14-16, ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 2677755]

GJERKEŠ, Henrik, PAPLER, Drago, ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana. Sustainable development of power generation in Slovenia. V: GOLOBIČ, Iztok (ur.), CIMERMAN, Franc (ur.). Development and implementation of enhanced technologies 2011 : proceedings of the 3rd AMES International Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 29th-30th, 2011. 1st ed. Ljubljana: Association of Mechanical Engineers of Slovenia - AMES, 2011, str. 51-58. [COBISS.SI-ID 2052603]

ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana, GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Sustainable energy networks : a hub for nearly zero energy buildings : presented at 3rd International Exergy, Life Cycle Assessment, and Sustainability Workshop & Symposium (ELCAS-3), 07-09 July, 2013, Nisyros, Greece. Nisyros: ELCAS-3, 9. jul. 2013. [COBISS.SI-ID 2911483]