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MAS502 Energy resources & conversion devices

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

To ensure a basic quality of life there is a fundamental need to provide access to affordable and reliable sources of energy. Delivering this resource in a way that is sustainable, reduces the man-made effects of climatic change and provides energy for all which is an essential pre-requisite to a future living in harmony with  our planet and its ecosystems. This need is directly coupled with our consumption and production demands. There is a requirement to concentrate efforts in scaling up our ability to deliver sustainable energy and also to curtail its use.

Students are expected to initially gain an appreciation of the underlying need for energy; understanding the nature, location and quantity of the various resources that can potentially satisfy this and future demands.  Given this overall perspective the course will then address each resource in turn covering the basic underlying physics, harnessing technologies and devices for the conversion of: light - thermal and electrical, water current - tidal barrage and stream, wave energy, wind energy, water flow - hydro, bioenergy, geothermal, nuclear fission and fusion along with aspects of proliferation. Also, the extraction of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) along with their processing ready for subsequent use. Additionally, the physics and chemistry of combustion will be introduced leading to the formation of pollutants; with the principals of internal combustion engines (reciprocating and turbo) along with possibilities for heat recovery, and then the impact of the products of combustion on the environment.

A common theme is that the student will be given an explanation of the physics pertaining to current energy harnessing devices and factors that affect their design, their efficiency, their technology maturity along with their potential for improvement, and future technologies with possible implementations.

Learning Outcome


The student…

  • understands and can describe the physics of various energy conversion processes.
  • can demonstrate an expanded knowledge on various topics and challenges related to all stages between the sourcing and the harnessing of various sources of energy.
  • shows a critical awareness of and be able to explain societal aspects of energy conversion including health and environmental issues.
  • understands the importance of reducing demand for energy in the context of a huge growth in the affluence of the world’s population.


The student…

  • critically understands the principals which govern the design of energy harnessing devices and, on a basic level, is able to offer design evaluations.
  • can make assessments through calculation or otherwise of the energy available or produced from a system or device in various scenarios.

General competency

The student…

  • can communicate with engineers, technologists and scientists about the physics and design of energy conversion equipment in a critical and informed manner.
  • is able to relate and discuss concepts of sustainability in connection with global energy consumption.

Entry requirements


Recommended previous knowledge

Requirements for the study programme.

Teaching methods

The course will be delivered by subject/discipline specialists and, where appropriate and/or beneficial, from industry. The course will consist of a combination of lectures and tutorials as deemed appropriate by each subject specialist. There will typically be the inclusion of practice/example calculations interspersed within the lectures and discussions of topics addressed.

Compulsory learning activities

During the delivery of the course the student will be required to complete and pass 8 tasks.

The tasks need to be passed by the student to evidence engagement with the course and a basic level of comprehension. A task can consist of online (or otherwise) quizzes and/or additional exercises which can be, for example, calculations or writing a synopsis of a subject (as deemed appropriate by the subject specialist).


Written school exam for 4 hours.

Typically, there will be a choice of questions in the examination.

Grading scale is A-F, where F is fail.

Examination support material

Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations

More about examination support material