Session 1

Basics on Energy


The Session 1 introduces the physical definition of energy, the essential role of energy in our life, society and industrialized economy illustrated by the worldwide Energy Mix since 1800.

Course Outline

Quiz on Energy
Basics on Energy

Key Learnings

A very fast growth for 200 years

  • Energy consumption multiplied x30 since 1800.
  • Very large diversification of the energy sources enabled this growth.
  • Very fast growth of energy consumption since 2000: +40%.
  • Coal is the fastest growing source of energy since 2000.

Fossil fuels = 80% of the Energy in the world

  • Fossil fuels are oil, coal and natural gas and the top 3 sources of energy.
  • Fossil fuels represent 80% of the world primary energy mix.
  • Oil: 31%, Coal: 25%, Natural Gas: 23%
  • Traditional Biomass: 6%, Hydro: 6%, Nuclear: 4%, Wind: 2%, Solar: 1%.

Energy Mix

France Energy Mix:

  • Oil is the 1st source of energy in France, 42%.
  • Natural Gas is the 2nd source in France, 21%
  • Nuclear is the 3rd source, 17%. It is the 1st source of electricity, 70%.
  • Electricity accounts for 24% of France final energy consumption.

Common Misconceptions:

  • Sources of energy have not replaced each other, they added up.
  • No energy is "clean": all generate pollutions & risks.
  • Natural gas is a fossil fuel: its exploitation emits much CO2 and CH4.
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Energy Conversion Table

Human activities do not "produce" nor "consume" energy.

Human activities convert energy from one form to another.

Energy & Economy Correlation

There is a very strong correlation between the GDP and the quantity of energy input in the economy.

The Toaster Challenge

How much energy does it take to toast a slice of bread? Human body ability to generate energy is very small compared to our daily 'consumption': how many Roberts do you need ?

Energetic Slaves

Massive economic gains were enabled thanks to the quantity of energy mobilized by machines vs. human work and their low-cost compared to human cost.

"Energetic slaves" is a provocative concept developed by Jean-Marc Jancovici illustrating them well: the individual average energy consumption in rich countries is such that it would require several hundred energetic slaves, had it been produced by human beings.

Steam, Electric & Combustion Engine

The 3 major engines are: steam, electric and internal combustion.

Discover how these engines work in motion!

Student Projects

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Pedagogical Note

The Session 1 alternates many formats to create a dynamic and interactive course for the students: quiz, video and lectures.