Alternative Energy Technologies : An Introduction with Computer Simulations book cover
1st Edition

Alternative Energy Technologies
An Introduction with Computer Simulations

ISBN 9781482217032
Published December 16, 2014 by CRC Press
302 Pages - 137 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Alternative energy sources are becoming increasingly important in a world striving for energy independence, clean air, and a reprieve from global warming. Solar cells, wind power, and biofuels are some of the competing alternative energy sources hoping to gain a foothold in our future energy mix, and the economic advantages of these technologies are continually increasing as costs are reduced and efficiencies increased.

Alternative Energy Technologies: An Introduction with Computer Simulations explores the science and engineering behind a number of emerging alternative energy technologies, including polymer solar cells, algae biofuels, and artificial leaves. It also addresses the environmental need for these technologies. However, unlike its predecessors, this book employs simple computer models implemented within spreadsheet environments to simulate different aspects of the alternative energy technologies and therefore teach the subject matter.

This unique approach:

  • Provides a dual introduction to alternative energy technologies and computer simulation
  • Elucidates the fundamental behaviors and complex interactions within the alternative energy systems
  • Makes computer simulation straightforward and accessible to readers with no prior programming experience

Featuring investigative exercises that deepen understanding and inspire further research, Alternative Energy Technologies: An Introduction with Computer Simulations makes an ideal introductory textbook for undergraduate students and a valuable professional reference for experimental researchers.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Alternative Energy Sources

Global Warming


Solar Cells

Wind Power


Hydrogen Production and Fuel Cells

Introduction to Computer Modeling

Brief History of Computer Simulations

Motivation and Applications of Computer Models

Using Spreadsheets for Simulations

Typing Equations into Spreadsheets

Functions Available in Spreadsheets

Random Numbers

Plotting Data

Macros and Scripts

Interpolation and Extrapolation

Numerical Integration and Differentiation

Solving Linear Systems

Non-Linear Equations

Monte Carlo Simulations


Global Warming and Pollution

Global Warming: Global Energy Balance Model

Global Warming: Zonal Energy Balance Model

Global Warming: Radiative Model of a Cloud

Pollution: Gradient Transport Theory

Pollution: Gaussian Plume Model

Pollution: Gaussian Plume Model with Settling of Pollutants

Pollution: Gaussian Plume Model with Deposition of Pollutants


Solar Cells

Equivalent Circuit of Solar Cells

Drift-Diffusion Model of Photovoltaics

Drift-Diffusion Model: Polymer Solar Cells

Drift-Diffusion Model: Nonuniform Exciton Dissociation

Monte Carlo Model of Photovoltaics

Finite-Difference Time-Domain of Solar Cells Optics


Wind Power

Betz Limit

Blade Element Momentum Model

Wake Models

Elastic Deformation of a Wind Turbine Blade



Droop Model

Photosynthetic Factory of Algae Growth

Cellular Automata Model of Wood Combustion


Hydrogen Production and Fuel Cells

Photovoltaic and Electrochemical Equivalent Circuit Model

Simple Electrochemical Model of Fuel Cells

Continuum Mathematical Model of Fuel Cells

Fluid Dynamics and the Lattice Boltzmann Model



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Gavin A. Buxton is assistant professor of physics in the Science Department at Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania, USA. Previously, he was visiting assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; postdoctoral research associate at Durham University, UK; and postdoctoral research associate at University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. He holds an M.Sci in engineering physics (hons) and a Ph.D in computational physics from Sheffield Hallam University, UK. His work has been published in numerous prestigious journals and books including Soft Matter, Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology, Langmuir, and The Journal of Chemical Physics, among others.


"This book seamlessly meshes modeling concepts with alternative energy concepts and provides the reader with interesting real world simulation examples and exercises. The use of Excel as a modeling platform provides beginners with an easy-to-use framework from which they can visualize each step in the simulation process while checking their results for each step."
–Dr. Tony Kerzmann, Robert Morris University, Moon Township, Pennsylvania, USA