The University of Southampton
Courses

FEEG6028 Global Energy Systems

Module Overview

The CPE604 module introduces students to historical energy systems, fuels and energy use. There is a focus on the UK system combined with an international perspective on supply chains and primary energy demand. The module introduces fossil-fuels (oil, coal and natural-gas); their creation, exploitation and drivers of demand. Sessions on smart grids, low carbon energy generation (nuclear, wind, PV and bio-energy), the provision of heat (gas & oil, biomass, combined heat & power and heat pumps), and a site visit to Drax power station provide a comprehensive overview of the system challenges of transitioning to lower carbon energy.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The broad academic aims and principles of the module are to introduce students to the major technical, environmental, economic and social factors of humanity’s demand and supply of energy. The module helps students develop an overview of the historical sources of primary energy and their supply chains at a global and Great British level, and the challenges of matching supply and demand using different energy vectors and various forms of storage. Students are also introduced to the major challenges of decarbonising energy systems at a global and national level, and the particular challenges of providing low-carbon heat in Great Britain.

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the major policy challenges of decarbonising energy systems (electrical, natural-gas and liquid fuels).
  • Explain the major technical challenges of decarbonising energy systems (electrical, natural-gas and liquid fuels).
  • Explain the major infrastructure and control strategies thought to be helpful to decarbonise energy systems e.g. whole systems balancing, interconnectivity, smart grids and storage, and their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the major sources of primary energy at a global and Great British level, and their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
  • Describe the major demands for energy at a global and Great British level.
  • Describe the systems that connect primary energy sources and energy demands; the physical infrastructure and its control, and their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
  • Describe the major technology types for low-carbon electrical generation, and their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the existing types of heat generation, various methods to provide lower-carbon heat generation, and their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
  • Describe the comparative advantages and disadvantages of a number of types of energy storage for future decarbonised energy systems e.g. heat storage, electrical storage.

Syllabus

• Introduction to energy systems, oil, gas & coal • Bio energy, Nuclear, Wind & Solar Power • The challenge of decarbonising heat • UK heat and a centralised supply • Distributed heat and storage • Balancing Grids • Smart Grids • Visit to coal/gas fired power station (Drax)

Special Features

This module will be delivered to only CDT Energy Storage Year 1 students only, in a concentrated timeframe to suit the needs of the split site (Sheffield/Southampton). Students undertake a field trip to Drax Power Station on one afternoon.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Independent study: Students will be provided via the virtual learning environment with reading material prior to the lecture week. In addition a textbook - Energy Systems and Sustainability: Power for a Sustainable Future by Everett et al. (2011) will be used as a basis for parts of the module. The reading materials are expected to be read prior to the lecture week and provide an historical context to the growth in demands of coal, oil and natural-gas, as well as background information on electrical system balancing and the provision of heat in Great Britain, which directly relate to the unit aims and learning outcomes. Lectures: The lectures relate to the learning outcomes by providing more recent information on the demands of the major primary energy sources, with an recap of their creation, exploitation, infrastructure, demand, and comparative advantages and disadvantages. Field Work: The visit to DRAX power station provides students with a practical sense of scale of centralised power generation and the infrastructure needs of this biomass pellet / coal power plant. Group project: The group project allows students to explore the data requirements and data gaps for a real scenario. This helps with the aim of the module to explore the challenges of matching supply and demand in energy terms, and a wider appreciation of the non-energy challenges that impact and constrain engineering choices.

TypeHours
Seminar18
Project supervision8
Fieldwork8
Independent Study116
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bob Everett (Editor), Godfrey Boyle (Editor), Stephen Peake (Editor), Janet Ramage (Editor). (2011). Energy Systems and Sustainability: Power for a Sustainable Future. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Referral Method: Overall combined assessment percentage must be 50% minimum to pass the module.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation 30%
Exam  (120 minutes) 50%
Group report 10%
Oral presentation 10%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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