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10333 Physics of Sustainable Energy

Danish title:

Fysikken i vedvarende energi


Point( ECTS )


Course type:

Technological specialization course, MSc. Eng., Physics and Nanotechnology
Technological specialization course, MSc. Eng., Sustainable Energy


E4B (Fri 8-12)


Campus Lyngby

Scope and form:

Lectures, assignments, journal club

Duration of Course:

13 weeks

Date of examination:

E4B, and after agreement

Type of assessment:



Recommended prerequisites:

General course objectives:

To give the student insight into the physics behind different sustainable energy technologies for energy harvesting, storage and conversion, and their limitations determined by the laws of nature.

Learning objectives:

A student who has met the objectives of the course will be able to:
  • Describe the possible sources of sustainable energy and analyze the amount of energy available in them
  • Describe the climate models and identify the assumptions behind
  • Explain the principles behind different energy harvesting methods
  • Describe different methods for energy storage and conversion and explain the principles behind them
  • Estimate and calculate the limitations of e.g. storage capacity and energy conversion efficiency based on physical principles
  • Critically read, understand and analyze current literature to a level where you can evaluate its findings
  • Formulate your own project related to sustainable energy and determine the relevant data for the analysis
  • -


The course will provide an overview of the energy situation, energy sources and demand. It will go into detail with solar spectrum, climate, harvesting of solar energy, photo synthesis, fuel/energy conversion and energy storage. For understanding the principles behind we will apply elements of quantum mechanics, thermo dynamics, classical mechanics, material science, semi-conductor physics and surface science.


Main text: Environmental Physics by Egbert Boeker and Rienk van Grondelle, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-99780-3.
Supporting text: Sustainable Energy: Without the hot air by David JC MacKay. Download a free copy at the author’s website: http:/​/​www.withouthotair.com

Green challenge participation:

Please contact the teacher for information on whether this course gives the student the opportunity to prepare a project that may participate in DTU´s Study Conference on sustainability, climate technology, and the environment (GRØN DYST). More infor http://www.groendyst.dtu.dk/english


Ib Chorkendorff , Lyngby Campus, Building 312, Ph. (+45) 4525 3170 , Ibchork@fysik.dtu.dk
Brian Seger , Lyngby Campus, Building 307, Ph. (+45) 4525 3130 , brse@fysik.dtu.dk


10 Department of Physics

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Last updated: 30. april, 2015