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Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources

Jim Newton, P.E., BCEE

Course Outline

The water and wastewater industry relies heavily on electricity and other fossil fuels to provide the energy necessary to treat drinking water and wastewater.  Fossil fuels are limited in the available quantities and non-renewable and at some time will be depleted.  This course will look at the issue of fossil fuels and provide an understanding of the alternative, renewable energy sources that are available for use at water and wastewater facilities.   It will also include a discussion of key engineering and other factors needed to adopt some or all of these alternatives as energy sources.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will be able to:

Intended Audience

The intended audience for this course is any professional who is interested in alternative or renewable energy sources.

Benefit to Attendees

Attendees of this course will under stand the basic concepts of alternative and renewable energy sources.

Course Introduction

For the planners of the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair, a key element in the plan for a successful fair; one that would meet or exceed its predecessor a generation earlier (the 1939/40 NYWF), there had to be a “Theme Center” that would be instantly recognizable and symbolically represent the overall theme of the fair: Peace Through Understanding in a Shrinking World and an Expanding Universe. That alone was not an easy task to resolve, but add to it the burden of one of the most successful and well-remembered theme centers of any previous world’s fair – the Trylon and Perisphere, theme center of the very fair being emulated (and in the very same spot to boot) and the task seemed insurmountable. When Robert Moses became fair president in 1960, he made the selection of an appropriate theme center his top priority. Designs by prominent figures such as Walter Dorwin Teague and architect Paul Rudolph were considered but rejected by Moses. In the end, it would be an old, reliable colleague – in fact the landscape architect for the 1939/40 fair; Gilmore D. Clarke, who would come up with a simple but elegant design for a large scale structural sculpture representative of the earth, its land masses (with mountain ranges in exaggerated relief) and orbit rings (representing early space flights) that won the day. Though the idea was simple and true to the “space age” ideals of the fair, engineering and erecting a “Unisphere” would be a monumental task since nothing like it had ever been built before. With the United States Steel Company acting as sponsor, designer, fabricator and erector, the task was made easier than it would otherwise have been. Their vast experience and engineering expertise made possible – with the help of computers, the “Biggest World on Earth’ – Unisphere.

Course Content

You need to view and study the following materials for this course:

1. Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources (slides handout in PDF, 19 pages, 3.2 MB)
2. Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources (video) (Request the link to video)

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right-clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader from your computer.

Course Summary

This course discusses basic alternative or renewable energy sources and concepts with basic design criteria.

Related Links

For additional information related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:
Barnes and Nobles


You need to print the quiz questions prior to viewing the videos. At the end of the viewing, you must complete the quiz and submit your answers online to obtain your PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.