The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


This course examines energy generation and useage, considers the major related environmental issues and also focuses on the search for sustainable solutions. It complements ENVS1001 Environmental Concepts and Methods and also addresses the non-living component of environmental concepts. The course investigates the scientific principles relevant to energy and energy resources, including aspects such as thermal, nuclear, solar, wind and hydroelectric power generation, atmospheric pollution, coal mining, and waste disposal associated with the various energy sources.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2019


  • Semester 2 - 2019

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): ENVS2001. Students who have successfully completed ENVS2001 are not eligible to enrol in PHYS2300.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the different energy sources and discuss the costs and benefits of each in an environmental and societal context;

2. Quantitatively analyse and compare the different energy sources;

3. Communicate scientific principles by reasoned argument;

4. Search for, comprehend and report on scientific findings relating to energy production, usage and environmental consequences;

5. Demonstrate competency in laboratory techniques, data recording and analysis;

6. Critically assess the reporting of energy issues in the media.


  • Thermodynamics: thermal energy, heat transfer and efficiency in the generation of electricity;
  • Current and best practice in non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear energy, management of relevant waste streams and environmental impacts;
  • Current developments in renewable energy sources (geothermal, wind, solar, hydroelectricity) in the Australian environment and worldwide, and the political and technological factors influencing development or deployment;
  • Renewable energy in practice and comparison of the capacity of these modes to produce baseload electricity;
  • Combustible fuels and transport;
  • Emerging technologies in energy generation and use.


This course replaces ENVS2040 and ENVS2001. If you have successfully completed ENVS2040 or ENVS2001, you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

ENVS1001 Environmental Concepts and Methods

Assessment items

Essay: Essays - Discussion of Nuclear Australia - Draft version

Formal Examination: Examination: Formal

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory Exercises

Written Assignment: Essay - Discussion of Nuclear Australia - Final Version

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks