78498 - Energy, Hydrocarbons and Environment

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Responsible consumption and production Climate Action

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student has the basic knowledge for the critical analysis of the technical and organizational peculiarities of the industrial sector of primary energy production (oil, gas, coal, geothermal energy, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass) and the resulting interactions between energy consumption and conservation. In particular, the student is able to:

- Examine independently the various aspects of technology management, environmental and safety activities in the field of industrial production and transport of primary energy sources.

- Carry out a comparative assessment of the activities and interactions related to environmental projects or industrial plants of the above industrial sector.

- Critically evaluate the main types of anticipated environmental impact (also in terms of costs/benefits) and the main safety requirements of such projects.

Course contents

Requirements and Prior knowledge

A prior knowledge and understanding of Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Hydraulics is required to attend with profit this course. In addition, students should master the typical mathematical methods for Engineers and Scientists (Calculus and Probability) and the International System of units.

Fluent spoken and written Italian is a necessary pre-requisite: all lectures and tutorials, and all study materials (and exam) will be in Italian.

Course content

The physical concept of energy/work, energy efficiency, power. The concepts of primary energy, secondary energy, final energy, useful energy. Benchmarking and deployment/development scenarios of the main energy sources. Fossil fuels: crude oil, natural gas, coal. The Italian and worldwide oil and gas energy sector. The National Energy Balance.

Worldwide distribution of hydrocarbons: consumption and reserves definition. The fundamentals of energy markets and the price of oil. The industrial phases of oil & gas exploration and production projects. The Italian legislation and licensing of hydrocarbon projects: safety issues, environmental regulations and assessment.

Crude oil, natural gas and coal: properties, utilization, transport and environmental issues. Energy production by natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

The nuclear dilemma: principles and problems of electricity generation by nuclear power plants.

Renewable (alternative/sustainable/durable) sources of energy: the fundamentals of wind, solar (thermal and photovoltaic), hydroelectric, biomass/bioenergy technologies and current industrial applications.

The production of geothermal energy from high, medium and low enthalpy; future perspectives of geothermal heat pump techniques for civil and industrial applications.

The industry of natural gas: underground storage, gas transportation by pipeline and fundamentals of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) industry. Crude oil transportation (pipeline and tankers); oil dispersion mechanisms in the marine environment. Non-conventional hydrocarbons and the shale gas revolution.

Fossil fuels and climate changes; possible mitigation of greenhouse effect and global warming issues. Fundamentals of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). Study of land subsidence due to underground fluids production. Social acceptability of hydrocarbons production.


Selected study materials (available online, AMS Campus website)

Maugeri L: Con tutta l’energia possibile, Sperling & Kupfer, Milano, 2011.

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures, seminars and/or workshop by industry professionals or experts from research institutions. Possible field trips to industrial plants. The lectures will be supplemented with practical exercises and discussions on current topics in the energy industry, in order to develop the critical thinking of the students, to recognize and enhance the interdisciplinarity with other subjects, in order to carry out the most effective engineering solutions to the theoretical and management issues outlined during the lectures.

Assessment methods

Student must sit a final exam to assess her/his critical and methodological skills, including a series of questions to verify students’ understanding of the theory of the technological and design/management principles presented during the lectures, and illustrated in the study material. The exam consists in carrying out a written test (about 2 hours without the aid of notes, books or digital/web support). The test is normally composed by 2 general open-ended questions (maximum one page of text per question) and a number of multiple-choice questions (usually 20 to 25 questions, some of which can contain simple mathematical calculations). The final mark is the sum of the result of open-ended questions and of multiple-choice questions.

Passing the exam will be granted to students who demonstrate mastery and operational capacity in relation to the key concepts discussed during the classes. The achievement of an organic vision of the issues addressed during the classes and their critical use, which demonstrate ownership of a mastery of expression and specific language, will be assessed with marks of excellence. Mechanical and/or mnemonic knowledge of the course content, fair synthesis and analysis skills and/or correct language but not always appropriate will lead to discrete assessments; training gaps and/or inappropriate language - although in a context of minimal knowledge of the course content - will lead to marks that will not exceed the sufficiency. Training gaps, inappropriate language, lack of guidance within the reference and study materials offered during the course will lead to failed final exam.

HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE EXAM. Please, register using the online procedure Almaesami using the University credentials. Remember that it is always possible, until the day of the examination, unsubscribe from the list if you do not wish to participate in the exam by checking the appropriate box in Almaesami web page.

HOW TO KNOW THE RESULT OF THE EXAM. The final mark will be published online in AlmaEsami. Display example: Sostenuto (28), it means that the teacher has just published the mark. Verbalizzato: 28, means that the teacher has also approved and transmitted the mark in the student’s Academic transcript. The negative assessment does not include the assignment of a mark. It is recorded by means of a judgment on the record (as appropriate: withdrawn or rejected), is not included in the curriculum of the student, therefore, it does not affect the average for the final grade (Academic Regulations of the University of Bologna, art.16 paragraph 7).

If a positive evaluation does not meet the expectations of the student, it is allowed the opportunity to “reject the vote”, completely canceling the result of the evaluation (finalized as withdrawn).

Teaching tools

Slide presentations. This material is normally made available on-line.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Macini