Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Groningen's online course, Solving the Energy Puzzle: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Energy Transition. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Hello. I’m Gerard Dijkema, professor of energy systems and industrial ecology. In this week I will introduce you to energy systems. Here you see 1,000 megawatt power plant located in the Netherlands. It generates electricity for Dutch households, for companies, and for industry. In this case, it combusts coal, and thus emits carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This power plant is an energy system. Of course, mankind’s energy systems do not only run coal, oil, or gas. They can also run on renewable sources. A windmill, for example, uses the energy of wind to create a rotational shaft motion which drives a generator, that then supplies us with electricity.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds Grouped and connected, many windmills make up a single energy system on a much larger scale– a wind farm. In agriculture, one uses land, water, and fertiliser. Production on a farm requires the input of labour, which can also be delivered by machines that use fuel and electricity. A farm is also an energy system. The world’s transport runs on oil products– gasoline, diesel for cars, kerosene for airplanes, and fuel oil for ships. An oil refinery, a tanker, trucks, and trains are energy systems.

Skip to 1 minute and 39 seconds Many a household is connected to an electricity grid. And many of you probably take the availability of electricity for granted. You are electricity consumers. And if you have sufficient solar panels on your roof, you have created an energy system that may also deliver electricity to the grid. You are a prosumer. All these energy systems are tied together in a single, large-scale energy system. In many countries energy systems fueled by oil, gas, and coal have become a fabric to support society, if not our way of life. It’s difficult to imagine a world without it. Energy systems can be independent, or connected to a grid. And the electricity grid also is an energy system.

Skip to 2 minutes and 26 seconds Its purpose is to transport energy and link producers to consumers, to make sure electricity is available where we need it, when we need it. So there are many kinds of energy systems. On a large scale, your country, our planet, are also energy systems. The Earth for example, takes in energy as radiation from the sun. And it emits energy as invisible infrared radiation to the universe. The next lecture we will define energy systems. And we will have a closer look at their characteristics.

Energy systems, what the heck?

Gerard Dijkema, Professor of Energy Systems and Industrial Ecology will introduce you to energy systems. Through a series of examples, you are stimulated to think about this concept.

Much to our regret and sadness Gerard passed away earlier this year – we are grateful to be able to continue including his contribution to this course of which we know he was truly dedicated to and so happy to participate in.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Solving the Energy Puzzle: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Energy Transition

University of Groningen