Renewable Energy Resources by John Twidell & Tony Weir

By Paul Gipe

Massive. That’s the first word that comes to mind when picking up the 600-page tome by John Twidell and Tony Weir. Of course the broad subject of renewable energy deserves the treatment and I can’t think of any better academic team to take on the task.

I’ve known John Twidell for decades now. He’s one of Britain’s renewables pioneers – and he has the scars to prove it. At one time Twidell owned or at least operated the abandoned WEG LS1 (Wind Energy Group Large Scale unit 1) on the Isle of Orkney. This was a behemoth of its day, a 60-meter, 3 MW two-bladed monster. Now that’s hard core.

Twidell edits the long-running, peer-reviewed Journal of Wind Engineering . (Wind Engineering is one of the few, if not only remaining peer-reviewed journals on wind energy.) He knows his stuff and the book shows it.

Intended as a text book for masters students in engineering and science, Renewable Energy Resources is chocked full of equations, diagrams, charts, and tables that will give anyone a thorough technical grounding in renewable energy. The book can also be a useful reference for practicing professionals and energy policy analysts who need quick access to the technical foundations of each technology.

As a textbook, each chapter includes problems for solutions. But unlike the old days when you had to order the key separately, Renewable Energy Resources includes the solutions as part of its extensive appendix.

Each chapter also includes a thorough bibliography and a list of journals, magazines, and web sites in English. While the latter is often not complete, it is a good starting place for finding additional information on the technology of choice.

One weakness that is difficult for Anglophones to avoid is often to only reference background materials in English. Similarly, the examples cited are often in the Anglophone world: Britain, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Though the fundamental physics of the technologies are universal in any language, the intellectual and development momentum has definitely shifted to Japan and Germany for photovoltaics, and to Germany and Denmark for wind energy.

Nevertheless, British academics and practicing engineers have been producing some genre leading works on renewable energy, notably the Wind Energy Handbook by Tony Burton, et al. Twidell and Weir are masters of their subject and join the ranks of accomplished authors who have made a powerful contribution to the field. Renewable Energy Resources is a superb reference work.

Renewable Energy Resources, Second Edition, John Twidell & Tony Weir, 2005, Taylor and Francis, paper, 601 pages, illustrations, index, 234×156, ISBN 0-419-25330-0, £29.99. For U.S. orders: phone 1-800-634-7064; for international orders, phone (561) 994-0555.




List of symbols

1 Principles of renewable energy

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Energy and sustainable development

1.3 Fundamentals

1.4 Scientific principles of renewable energy

1.5 Technical implications

1.6 Social implications



2 Essentials of fluid dynamics

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Conservation of energy: Bernoulli’s equation

2.3 Conservation of momentum

2.4 Viscosity

2.5 Turbulence

2.6 Friction in pipe flow

2.7 Lift and drag forces; fluid and turbine machinery



3 Heat transfer

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Heat circuit analysis and terminology

3.3 Conduction

3.4 Convection

3.5 Radiative heat transfer

3.6 Properties of ‘transparent’ materials

3.7 Heat transfer by mass transport

3.8 Multimode transfer and circuit analysis



4 Solar radiation

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Extraterrestrial solar radiation

4.3 Components of radiation

4.4 Geometry of the earth and sun

4.5 Geometry of collector and the solar beam

4.6 Effects of the earth’s atmosphere

4.7 Measurements of solar radiation

4.8 Estimation of solar radiation



5 Solar water heating

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Calculation of heat balance: general remarks

5.3 Uncovered solar water heaters: progressive analysis

5.4 Improved solar water heaters

5.5 Systems with separate storage

5.6 Selective surfaces

5.7 Evacuated collectors

5.8 Social and environmental aspects



6 Diverse solar thermal applications

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Air heaters

6.3 Energy efficient buildings

6.4 Crop driers

6.5 Space cooling

6.6 Water desalination

6.7 Solar ponds

6.8 Solar concentrators

6.9 Solar thermal electric power systems

6.10 Social and environmental aspects



7 Photovoltaic generation

7.1 Introduction

7.2 The silicon p-n junction

7.3 Photon absorption at the junction

7.4 Solar radiation absorption

7.5 Maximising cell efficiency

7.6 Solar cell construction

7.7 Types and adaptations of photovoltaics

7.8 Photovoltaic circuit properties

7.9 Applications and systems

7.10 Social and environmental aspects



8 Hydro-power

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Principles

8.3 Assessing the resource for small installations

8.4 An impulse turbine

8.5 Reaction turbines

8.6 Hydroelectric systems

8.7 Social and environmental aspects



9 Power from the wind

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Turbine types and terms

9.3 Linear momentum and basic theory

9.4 Dynamic matching

9.5 Blade element theory

9.6 Characteristics of the wind

9.7 Power extraction by a turbine

9.8 Electricity generation

9.9 Mechanical power

9.10 Total systems



10 The photosynthetic process

10.1 Introduction

10.2 Trophic level photosynthesis

10.3 Photosynthesis at the plant level

10.4 Thermodynamic considerations

10.5 Photophysics

10.6 Molecular level photosynthesis

10.7 Applied photosynthesis



11 Biomass and biofuels

11.1 Introduction

11.2 Biofuel classification

11.3 Biomass production for energy farming

11.4 Direct combustion for heat

11.5 Pyrolysis (destructive distillation)

11.6 Further thermochemical processes

11.7 Alcoholic fermentation

11.8 Anaerobic digestion for biogas

11.9 Wastes and residues

11.10 Vegetable oils and biodiesel

11.11 Social and environmental aspects



12 Wave power

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Wave motion

12.3 Wave energy and power

12.4 Wave patterns

12.5 Devices

12.6 Social and environmental aspects



13 Tidal power

13.1 Introduction

13.2 The cause of tides

13.3 Enhancement of tides

13.4 Tidal current power

13.5 Tidal range power

13.6 World range power sites

13.7 Social and environmental aspects of tidal range power



14 Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC)

14.1 Introduction

14.2 Principles

14.3 Heat exchangers

14.4 Pumping requirements

14.5 Other practical considerations

14.6 Environmental impact



15 Geothermal energy

15.1 Introduction

15.2 Geophysics

15.3 Dry rock and hot aquifer analysis

15.4 Harnessing geothermal resources

15.5 Social and environmental aspects



16 Energy systems, storage and transmission

16.1 The importance of energy storage and distribution

16.2 Biological storage

16.3 Chemical storage

16.4 Heat storage

16.5 Electrical storage: the lead acid battery

16.6 Fuel cells

16.7 Mechanical storage

16.8 Distribution of energy

16.9 Electrical power

16.10 Social and environmental aspects



17 Institutional and economic factors

17.1 Introduction

17.2 Socio-political factors

17.3 Economics

17.4 Some policy tools

17.5 Quantifying choice

17.6 The way ahead




A Units and conversions

B Data

C Some heat transfer formulas

Solutions to problems