Introduction to modern technological systems

Objectives and competences

This course is designed to teach students the basics of modern, fast developing and innovative technological systems. The course syllabus includes a systematic approach to structural definition of a sustainable system and robust definition of sustainable development and its multiplicative effects. Modern technological systems are placed in the context of sustainable development, where students gain an understanding of both positive and negative impacts of each technology on economic, environmental and social aspects of development.
Students will acquire following competences:
• Basic understanding of modern technologies, their principles and methodologies used, which contributes to the basic general and particular erudition of graduates profile;
• Understanding of the concept of sustainability and sustainable development, with emphasis on the role of modern technological processes.
The basic objective of this course is to enable students to understand assessing of the sustainability state and potential of individual modern technologies, and engineering in general.


  1. Introduction to course
    • Aims and purpose of the course
    • Syllabus presentation
    • Presentation of teaching tools, resources and course execution
    • Students' obligations
    • Study guidelines
  2. Sustainability and sustainable development
    • The concept of sustainability
    • Biocapacity and ecological Footprint
    • Sustainable development concept
    • 4 laws of ecology and eco-industrial principles
    • Local self-supply
  3. Sustainable development of local communities
    • Regional policy
    • Decentralized transformation of energy
    • Territorial metabolism
    • Endogenous resources
  4. Circular economy
    • Circular economy concept
    • Implementation and case studies
  5. Information technology
    • Features and functions of information technology
    • Components of information system
    • Overview of hardware
    • Web technologies and applications
    • Artificial intelligence
  6. Modern mass production
    • Technology of tools and robots
    • Industrial and military use
    • Rapid prototyping
    • Composites
    • Process technologies
  7. Biotechnology
    • Development and fundamentals of modern biotechnology
    • Genetics
    • Biotechnological products
    • Pharmacological Genetics
    • DNA analysis
    • Bioremediation
  8. Nanotechnology
    • The development and state of the art of nanotechnology
    • Diamond and nanotubes
    • Products and use of nanotechnology products
  9. Space and Communications Technologies
    • Remote sensing
    • Wireless technologies and protocols
    • AD and DA conversion
    • GPS
    • Telephony
  10. Environmental technologies
    • Transforming renewable sources into energy
    • Biomass and waste potential
    • Plasmatic burning
    • The process of gasification
    • The process of depolymerisation
  11. Study excursion
    • Visit to a selected company applying advanced technologies

Intended learning outcomes

After the completion of the course, students will mastered a systematic knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the difference between sustainability and sustainable development, and the role of modern technologies in this. They will understand the concept of sustainable development and the importance of harmonization of environmental, social and economic aspects of development. They will be familiar at the basic level with the state of the art of the most important modern technologies (bio-, nano-, environmental, information, ...), which strongly influence or is expected to influence on the development of human society, quality of life and geo-political conditions on our planet.


  • GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Uvod v sodobne tehnološke sisteme : zapiski predavanj : verzija 1.1. Nova Gorica: [H. Gjerkeš], 2009. 1 optični disk (CD-ROM). Catalogue annual updates
  • GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Koncept krožnega gospodarstva, gradbeništvo in primer občine Kočevje. V: VOLFAND, Jože (ur.), et al. Prehod v trajnostno gradnjo in življenjski cikel stavbe : priročnik za krožno gospodarstvo. Celje: Fit media, 2020. Str. 56-61, ilustr. ISBN 978-961-6283-60-1. E-version
  • ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana, TOMŠIČ, Miha, GJERKEŠ, Henrik, POTOČAR, Erik. Implementation of the EPBD in Slovenia : status in 2020. [Brussels: European Union, 2021]. 1 spletni vir (1 datoteka PDF (27 str.)), ilustr. E-version
  • D. Mulhall, Our molecular future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence will Transform our World, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 2002. Catalogue E-version
  • K.E. Drexler, The Engines of Creation: The Comming Era of Nanotechnology, Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1986.Catalogue E-version
  • Mobasser, Shariat & Firoozi, Ali. (2016). Review of Nanotechnology Applications in Science and Engineering. Journal of Civil Engineering and Urbanism. 6. 84-93. E-version
  • William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2013). The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability - Designing for Abundance. North Point Press. Catalogue
  • BIO 2005-2006-Giude to Biotechnology, Biotechnology Industry Organisation. E-version


• Seminar with oral presentation and discussion; report from the scientific evening; proactivity. • Written exam 30/70

Lecturer's references

Adjunct Professor Henrik Gjerkeš, rank Assoc prof., hab. field mechanical engineering

Biography: Henrik Gjerkeš graduated at the Faculty of Technology in Maribor. He finished his Masters and in 1999 PhD study at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana, where he worked as a researcher and assistant until 2006, when he started work as a fellow researcher and university professor – assistant professor at the School of Engineering and Management and the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Nova Gorica. His scientific-research work is supplemented with cooperation in national and international project activities in the field of sustainable development and innovative systems for renewable energy sources utilisation, in cooperation with economy, local and regional communities, non-government organisations and/or government offices. From 2009 to 2011 he was Minister for self-government and regional policy in the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Since 2011 he is employed at the University of Nova Gorica and at the Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZRMK in Ljubljana.
Role: Henrik Gjerkeš is a lecturer of the subject Introduction to the modern technological systems at the School of Engineering and Management, and the subject Optimization procedures in environmental protection at the School of Environmental Sciences. He is a mentor to numerous graduates, and a member of the Study affairs committee at the School of Engineering and Management.
Working and research areas: heat transfer, process engineering, sustainable development, renewable energy sources, efficiency energy use, environmental technologies, measurement techniques, modern technological systems, regional development, European cohesion policy.

Selected bibliography

GJERKEŠ, Henrik, MALENŠEK, Jože, SITAR, Anže, GOLOBIČ, Iztok. Product identification in industrial batch fermentation using a variable forgetting factor. Control eng. pract.. [Print ed.], Oct. 2011, vol. 19, iss. 10, str. 1208-1215, doi:10.1016/j.conengprac.2011.06.011. [COBISS.SI-ID 11995931]
GOLOBIČ, Iztok, PETKOVŠEK, Jure, GJERKEŠ, Henrik, KENNING, D.B.R. Horizontal chain coalescence of bubbles in saturated pool boiling on a thin foil. Int. j. heat mass transfer. [Print ed.], Dec. 2011, vol. 54, iss. 25/26, str. 5517-5526, doi: 10.1016/j.ijheatmasstransfer.2011.07.039. [COBISS.SI-ID 11996187]
GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Harmonizacija ekologije, ekonomije in sociale na energetski način. Didakta, feb. 2013, letn. 22, št. 160, str. 14-16. [COBISS.SI-ID 2677755]
GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Energetska tranzicija lokalnih skupnosti. EGES, Energ. gospod. ekol. Slov., 2012, leto 16, [št.] 3, str. 12-15. [COBISS.SI-ID 2533115]
ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana, SKUBIC, Marta, RAKUŠČEK, Andraž, GJERKEŠ, Henrik, POTOČAR, Erik. Practical implementation of cost-optimal regulation for establishing national minimum requirements of Slovenia. V: World Sustainable Energy Days, Wels, 29 February - 2 March , 2012. Proceedings. Wels: [O. Ö. Energiesparverband, Linz], 2012, [13] str. [COBISS.SI-ID 518627097]
GJERKEŠ, Henrik, PAPLER, Drago, ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana. Sustainable development of power generation in Slovenia. V: GOLOBIČ, Iztok (ur.), CIMERMAN, Franc (ur.). Development and implementation of enhanced technologies 2011 : proceedings of the 3rd AMES International Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 29th-30th, 2011. 1st ed. Ljubljana: Association of Mechanical Engineers of Slovenia - AMES, 2011, str. 51-58. [COBISS.SI-ID 2052603]
ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana, PAPLER, Drago, TOMŠIČ, Miha, GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Building sustainability for nearly zero energy buildings. V: GOLOBIČ, Iztok (ur.), CIMERMAN, Franc (ur.). Development and implementation of enhanced technologies 2011 : proceedings of the 3rd AMES International Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 29th-30th, 2011. 1st ed. Ljubljana: Association of Mechanical Engineers of Slovenia - AMES, 2011, str. 43-50. [COBISS.SI-ID 2052347]
GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Energy perspective of Slovenia in the light of the new National energy plan. V: Dal burden sharing al piano energetico regionale : convegno internazionale, Udine, 27 gennaio 2012. Gorizia: CETA, 2012, 16 prosojnic. gid=199&lang=it. [COBISS.SI-ID 2150395]
ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana, GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Sustainable energy networks : a hub for nearly zero energy buildings : presented at 3rd International Exergy, Life Cycle Assessment, and Sustainability Workshop & Symposium (ELCAS-3), 07-09 July, 2013, Nisyros, Greece. Nisyros: ELCAS-3, 9. jul. 2013. [COBISS.SI-ID 2911483]
Energetska učinkovitost in energetska izkaznica stavb. ŠIJANEC-ZAVRL, Marjana, BUTALA, Vincenc, GALONJA, Saša, KAPLAR, Jože, KUNIČ, Roman, MEDVED, Sašo, POTOČAR, Erik, PRAZNIK, Miha, PREK, Matjaž, SELAN, Boris, TOMŠIČ, Miha, ZUPAN, Matjaž, KOPORČIČ, Darko, PRAVIČEK, Maja, GRABNER, Sabina, GROŠETA, Robert, GJERKEŠ, Henrik. Maribor: Forum Media, 2010-2013. ISSN 1855-9670. [COBISS.SI-ID 252656384]