Courses Catalogue

Energy, Environment And Climate Change

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Environmental Science
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Elective
PROGRAMME TYPE: Postgraduate

Course Content and Outline

Unit 1: Evidence of Climate Change, Causes and Contributors, Consequences                                                                                                                                    (10 Hours)

  • Incontrovertible evidence of climate change and its seriousness
  • Fossil fuels producing CO2 as the cause of climate change. The extraction and transport of coal, some natural gas; Transportation issues; Processing of crude oil; Extraction of crude oil and natural gas
  • Sustainability – what does it mean, what is its significance in the generation and distribution of electricity and understanding of our present energy overview: Energy Consumption in various forms, Global Warming and Climate Change,

Unit 2: Electricity as a possible solution to combat climate change        (6 Hours)

  • Consider energy use and sources to produce electricity
  • Overview of energy technologies

Unit 3: Energy from Conventional Fossil Fuel Source                             (6 Hours)

  • An understanding of traditional sources of electricity generation: coal, natural gas, hydro, nuclear. Environmental impact of conventional sources of electricity generation, how these compare to renewable sources, e.g.: wind versus natural gas in producing greenhouse gases.

Unit 4: Nuclear Power                                                                                  (6 Hours)

  • Role of existing nuclear plants in the interim without producing carbon
  • Fission versus fusion
  •  How do nuclear plants work
  • The problem of storing radioactive waste – will it ever be solved?

Unit 5: Hydroelectric systems                                                                      (6 Hours)

  • Principle of hydro in generating electricity and its potential
  • How much run-of-the-river hydro plants have the potential to generate electricity

Unit 6: Wind: on-land and offshore (10 Hours) Fundamentals of harnessing energy from wind – Betz’s Law

  • On-land and offshore resources
  • Structure and efficiency of wind turbines
  • Correlation between wind and utility load
  • Cost of wind electricity in relation to other sources
  • Challenges to the grid because of wind variability
  • Wind forecasting in day-ahead and real-time markets

Unit 7: Solar: PVs - Residential, Community Solar and Utility-Scale    (8 Hours)

  • Fundamentals of harnessing electricity using PVs
  • Structure and efficiency of solar cells
  • Cost of solar cells and the balance-of-system
  • Cost of solar-electricity in relation to other sources
  • Solar gardens
  • Correlation between PV-generated electricity and utility load
  • Challenges to the grid because of PV variability
  •  PV forecasting in day-ahead and real-time markets

Unit 8: Electrifying transportation                                                                         (8 Hours)

  • Possibility of Electrifying Transportation powered by renewables
  •  Electric and Hybrid-electric vehicles
  • Batteries and Super capacitors for automotive application
  • Fuel cell fundamentals and types of fuel cells: pros and cons
  • How does the efficiency of fuel-cell systems compares with natural-gas turbines


The course is largely participatory in nature; it includes lectures and tutorials. Students are required to make presentations (either individually or in groups) on assigned readings and a critical analysis of those readings. Additionally, the following delivery modes shall also be used:

  • Lectures/Seminars
  • Reading assignments
  • Revision tutorials/ self studies
  • Demonstrations/documentaries and video material when appropriate
  • Practical assignments
  • Computer design laboratories
  • A web site with access to in-depth materials
  • Field trips/case studies


  • Whiteboard and Markers
  • Flip Charts
  • LCD Projectors
  • CDs, DVDs and Tapes