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The University of Southampton

SESG6041 Introduction to Energy Technologies, Environment and Sustainability

Module Overview

This module covers energy conversion fundamentals and technologies whilst relating these elements to sustainability. This module looks at energy from social, environmental and economic perspectives.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Fundamentals of energy and principles of energy conversion. [SM7M]
  • Principles of heat engines, fuel cells, photovoltaic cells, electromechanical generators. [SM7M, EA5M]
  • Pros and cons of different renewable energy technologies. [SM8M, EL11M]
  • Environmental and social impact of energy technologies. [EL8M, EL9M]
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Search and critically review technical literature
  • Analyse complex energy systems. [P12M]
  • Compare different engineering technologies from various perspectives. [EA7M, P10m]
  • Write an essay on a technical topic. [EA7M]
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Think, observe, communicate, evaluate information and data, analyse and solve problems. [G1]
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Possess the basic skills to work in energy and related industry or the government. [P10m]


WEEK 0 (16 Lectures) – introduction and fundamentals: ? Intro – Module Explanation. Context – Where We Are Now … Urbanisation, Petropolis …Pollution etc – Concept of Sustainability (Social, Economic and Environmental) - CO2 (3). ? Energy Fundamentals + Heat Engines (5) Definition of heat engines. Principles of heat engines. Types of heat engines: steam engines, internal combustion engines, gas turbine engines, etc. Heat, mechanical work and entropy. Ideal and real engine cycles. Cycle efficiency. Cogeneration. Combustion fundamentals. ? Electrochemical, Electromechanical and Solar Energy Conversion (4) Definitions of batteries, fuel cells, redox flow cells. Principle of fuel cells. Principles of electromechanical energy conversion. Efficiency of electrical networks. Solar radiation. Electromagnetic energy. Solar spectra. Scattering and absorption. The greenhouse effect. Types of solar energy conversion: photosynthesis, thermal electrical conversion, photochemical conversion, photoelectrical conversion. Introduction to photovoltaic cells. Energy storage. ? Energy from the Environment (4) Importance of renewable energies. Wind power. Hydropower and tidal power. Nuclear fission and fusion. Biomass. Geothermal power. Economics of energy technologies. Social and environmental impact. Review of fundamental fluid mechanics associated with environmental flows from wind, wave and tide. WEEK 1-4 (14 Lectures or Equiv.) – policy and economics in energy: ? The Politics Perspective (Clare Saunders, Uni. Exeter). ? Government Policy. ? Other Speakers On Policy. ? Economics of Energy (Guest Lectures / Transport Economics).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching methods employed in the delivery of this module include: ? Lectures. ? Seminars. ? Demonstrations and video material when appropriate. ? Scheduled tutorials for student groups to develop assignment study. ? Guest lectures. The learning activities include: ? Individual reading of background material and course texts, plus work on examples. ? Web based problems (via Blackboard). ? Field trips if these can be scheduled with the level of student numbers.

External visits5
Completion of assessment task20
Wider reading or practice50
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.

JB Heywood.?Internal Combustion Engine Fundamentals.?

BE Milton.?Thermodynamics, Combustion and Engines.?

T. Markvart.?Solar Electricity.?

Twidell, J. & Weir, A.,?(2006).?Renewable energy resources.?



MethodPercentage contribution
Group Assignment?50%
Group energy challenge?15%
Group Report Presentation?15%


MethodPercentage contribution

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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