About the content
Learn how sustainable energy from the Greek elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – can replace fossil fuels and nuclear power. This course is intended for those with an interest in renewable energies, climate change and sustainable energy technology, and does not require any previous experience of studying the subject.
In recent decades there’s been increasing global concern about the sustainability of our use of fossil fuels and nuclear power, which has led to increased interest in more sustainable renewable energy sources.
These ‘renewables’ have been utilised for centuries, in water mills, windmills and wood stoves, but in recent years we’ve developed the technology to utilise these natural power sources on a much larger scale.
During this free online course, we’ll study renewable energy using the four Greek elements as our weekly themes:
- Earth – here we introduce the Earth’s renewable energy sources, most of which are derived from power delivered by the Sun.
- Air – here we look at wind power.
- Fire – here we focus on the direct power of the Sun.
- Water – here we look at hydropower.
When you’ve completed this course you should have an improved understanding of how some key renewable energy technologies work and the contribution they might make to world needs.
I'm Emeritus Professor of Renewable Energy at The Open University and lead educator on the Elements of Renewable Energy course.
The Open University (OU) is a public distance learning and research university, and one of the biggest universities in the UK for undergraduate education. The majority of the OU's undergraduate students are based throughout the United Kingdom and principally study off-campus; many of its courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) can also be studied anywhere in the world. There are also a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48-hectare university campus where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1000 members of academic and research staff and over 2500 administrative, operational and support staff.
The OU was established in 1969 and the first students enrolled in January 1971. The University administration is based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, but has regional centres in each of its thirteen regions around the United Kingdom. It also has offices and regional examination centres in many other European countries. The university awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates or continuing education units.
FutureLearn is a massive open online course (MOOC) learning platform founded in December 2012.
It is a company launched and wholly owned by The Open University in Milton Keynes, England. It is the first UK-led massive open online course learning platform, and as of March 2015 included 54 UK and international University partners and unlike similar platforms includes four non-university partners: the British Museum, the British Council, the British Library and the National Film and Television School.