The University of Southampton

ELEC6223 Fundamental Principles of Energy

Module Overview

This module covers: - 'Review of Power Systems Fundamentals' (12 lectures) - Energy Fundamentals - Principles of Energy Conversion and Energy Systems - Heat Engines - Electrochemical Energy Conversion - Thermoelectric Energy Conversion - Solar Energy Conversion - Other Renewable Energy Systems

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To present the fundamental principles of energy.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The relationships between energy, work, force, power and efficiency, and the fundamental types of energy
  • The importance of energy conversion
  • An appreciation on the fundamentals of current and future energy/power production methods
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • The selection of the 'right' energy source to match the user/load needs, and energy matching
  • Revision and review of fundamentals of electrical power systems


Review of Power Systems Fundamentals' (12 lectures) Review of the 3-phase a.c. circuit fundamentals, Phasor notation and use of complex quantities, Phasor diagrams, Impedance triangle, Power in a.c. systems: complex, apparent, active, reactive, Power factor, Three-phase systems and connections, Star-delta transformations, Unbalanced systems and the method of symmetrical components, Phase sequence networks, Harmonics. Elements of power systems, Power system components, Representation of components (equivalent circuits), Transformers, Generators, Transmission lines and cables, Switchgear, Simplified equivalent circuits, Per unit system and its use, Parallel operation of transformers, Autotransformers, Tap changing. The rotating field principle, Operation of generators on infinite busbar, Motor characteristics. Load flows, Review of balanced and unbalanced faults, Fault current limiters. Steady state and transient stability, the equal area criterion. Energy Fundamentals Energy Overview. Definition of energy : Energy quality, density and intensity. Sources of energy: fossil fuels and renewables. History of energy technology. Importance of energy. Energy demands, consumption and future trends. Principles of Energy Conversion and Energy Systems : Forms of energy: kinetic, potential, heat, chemical, bio, electrical, electromagnetic, nuclear, etc. The law of energy conservation. The second law of thermodynamics. Energy Conversion efficiency. Introduction to energy systems. System efficiency. Energy sustainability. Heat Engines : Definition of heat engines. Principles of heat engines. Types of heat engines: steam engines, internal combustion engines, gas turbine engines, etc. Heat, mechanical work and entropy. Ideal and real engine cycles. Cycle efficiency. Cogeneration. Combustion fundamentals. Engine emissions and regulations. Electrochemical Energy Conversion : Electrochemical vs. conventional energy conversion routes. Types of electrochemical cells for energy conversion. Definitions of batteries, fuel cells, redox flow cells. Principle of fuel cells. Types of fuel cells. Examples of applications. Thermoelectric energy Conversion : Thermoelectric effects, Seebeck, Thomson and Peltier, Thermoeelctric materials and figure of merit. Thermoelectric conversion device and radiosotope thermoelectric generators Solar Energy Conversion : Solar radiation. Electromagnetic energy. Solar spectra. Scattering and absorption. The greenhouse effect. Types of solar energy conversion: photosythesis, thermal electrical conversion, photochemical conversion, photoelectrical conversion. Introduction to photovoltaic cells. Energy storage. Applications: domestic, industrial and space. CHP. Other Renewable Energy Systems : Importance of renewable energies. Wind power. Hydropower and tidal power. Nuclear fission and fusion. Biomass. Geothermal power. Economics of energy technologies. Social and environmental impact. Review of fundamental fluid mechanics associated with environmental flows from wind, wave and tide. Overview of propulsive power.

Learning and Teaching

Completion of assessment task21
Wider reading or practice119
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Solymar L and Walsh D (1993). Lectures on the Electrical Properties of Materials. 

On-line resources. Much of this course aims to provide a research-related view of the current "state-of-the-art". As such, it draws upon many different sources, particularly, a range of scientific and engineering journals. In particular, the assignments will require familiarity with the Web of Knowledge data base.

Young R J (1989). Introduction to Polymers. 

Nalwa, H S (1997). Handbook of Organic Conductive Molecules and Polymers. 

Collings P J and Hird M, (1997). Introduction to Liquid Crystals. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 85%
Test 15%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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