72584 - Physical principles of energy and environmental monitoring

Course Unit Page


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

Affordable and clean energy Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student knows the theoretical fundamentals and applicative techniques for the energy and environmental  monitoring , with particular attention to what is required by the applicable laws and technical regulations in the sector. The student acquires knowledge about the processes of energy production, both in civilian and industrial field and the detailed mechanisms of emission, dispersion and reaction of pollutants in different environmental compartments. The student acquires skills in the field of risk assessment in engineering and environmental areas, useful for the proper monitoring of the efficiency of the processes, their safety and their environmental impacts. He understands, also through examples and experiences in the field, the theoretical tools and application knowledge for the design of efficient networks for energy and environmental monitoring.

Course contents

Program: Elements of basic physical laws of heat transmission. The environmental pollution produced by the energy systems and the techniques of environmental mitigation. Notes on the basic principles of the physics of thr nuclear fusion reactors. Analysis and discussion of the Three Miles Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents. The greenhouse gases, global warming and systems nuclear dynamic modeling of environmental and climatic problems. References to the EPA, to the European directives and Italian legislation on pollution control. Standards on sampling methods, design of monitoring networks. The indoor pollution and its relationship with the outdoor one. Elements, techniques and electronical instruments for: the termographical analysis in the engineering field, the sampling and the analysis of environmental pollutants. The fundamental equations of fluid dynamics. Elements of the physics of the low atmosphere (troposphere). Theory of the "Gaussian type" simulation models. Notes on the indoor dispersion of pollutants and pathogens. Design techniques and electronical instruments for the emissions remote sensing and environmental monitoring networks. Basic concepts of general theory of the sensors.


The use of lecture notes and teaching materials made available online is fundamental.

For further information we recommend:

- Y. A. Cengel, J. M. Cimbala, R.H. Turner, "Elementi di fisica tecnica. Termodinamica applicata. Meccanica dei fluidi. Trasmissione del calore" 5° Ediz., McGraw-Hill Education, Milano 2017

- M. Bianchi, A. de Pascale, A. Gambarotta, A. Peretto, "Sistemi energetici", Vol. 3 - Impatto Ambientale, Pitagora Editrice, Bologna 2008

- P. Zannetti, “Air Pollution Modeling. Theories, Computational Methods and Available”. Springer, 1990. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4757-4465-1 (In particular, Chapters: 1-3)

- M. J. Deaton, J. J. Winebrake, "Dynamic Modeling of Environmental Systems", Springer-Verlag, New York, 2000

- J.M. Wallace, P.V. Hobbs, “Atmospheric Science. An Introductory Survey", Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., II Edition, 2006.

- S.R. Hanna, G.A. Briggs, R.P.Hosker Jr., Handbook on Atmospheric Diffusion”, U.S: Dept. Of Energy, NTIS, 1982, http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/www/DPFSERA/documents/workbook.pdf

- R. Sozzi et al., “La micrometeorologia e la dispersione degli inquinanti in aria”, http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/files/aria/micrometeorologiadispersioneinquinanti.pdf

- B. Gates, “Clima come evitare un disastro. Le soluzione di oggi. Le sfide di domani“, La Nave di Teseo, 2021.

- S. Levantesi, “I bugiardi del clima. Potere, politica, psicologia di chi nega la crisi del secolo “, Editori Laterza, 2021.


Teaching methods

The course is organised into lectures in classroom, where the basic theoretical elements are presented. The theoretical presentation of each topic is followed by lessons devoted to the solution of specific problems, theoretical exercises, pratical exercises with specific instruments and discussion of case studies that emphasize the applied nature of the discipline.

This approach shows, also, the details and the methods of using and applying the concepts discused in the lectures.

Assessment methods

The learning assessment of learning is verified through a final oral examination. It starts with a topic chosen by the student, between those presented in the lectures, possibly structured in a brief written dissertation, that the student can prepare and expose  at the exam. The exam is completed by  some others  questions to ascertain the acquisition of scientific knowledge and techniques presented during the course.

Teaching tools

Overhead projector, PC projector.

The lesson material presented in class is made available to the student in electronic format on the WEB site of the teacher.

Class exercises and computer simulations on cases of particular interest will be carried on.

Some topics covered in the course, of particular relevance and topicality, will be introduced through the reading and discussion  of recent, specific, scientific articles.

Educational videos, illustrative of some specific topics, interesting in terms of their technical/scientific contents, will be shown, too.

It is also planned, if authorized, a visit to a control centers and air quality monitoring networks of the Emilia Romagna Region.

Office hours

See the website of Massimo Andretta