The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course introduces the student to contemporary issues in energy in Australia. Provision of energy for residential, industrial and transport use in an environmentally responsible way to both urban and remote areas provides a severe test for Australia. The course will examine the tradeoffs necessary in providing the mix of strategies for energy delivery by outlining the physics and chemistry underlying energy provision, energy storage and environmental effects as well as critically examining material from a variety of sources, including web-based information and government commissioned reports, on contemporary energy options.



  • Trimester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

1. Understand the scientific background to energy production and utilisation

2. Make reasoned judgements on the economic, environmental and technological advantages and disadvantages of different methods of energy production.


The course will cover

  • the basic science and application of conventional and alternative energy sources ie coal, hydroelectric, wind and wave, photovoltaic, solar-thermal, nuclear.
  • the basic science related to energy storage batteries and hydrogen
  • the science underlying issues arising from the above energy sources ie the greenhouse effect and CO2 sequestration, environmental degradation, storage of nuclear waste.

Assumed knowledge

Arithmetic and algebra up to and including logarithmic and exponential functions. Knowledge of calculus is not required.

Assessment items

Online Learning Activity: Online discussion participation and contribution in Email Discussion Group

Written Assignment: Essays / Written Assignments

Contact hours


Online Activity

Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

As a WEB based course there are no formal contact hours. Students are however expected to participate in on-line discussions on blackboard. Overall, students should spend about 10 hours per week on this course.