Module ICL-3012:
Sustainable Renewable Energy

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of renewable energy supplies, the engineering that supports them and related concerns.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

Sustainable energy

  • Understand the principles of operation of sustainable energy conversion by wind; wave; tidal; solar; bioenergy; hydropower; and other technologies.
  • Understand and be able to apply the principal aspects of engineering design underpinning these technologies including basic quantitative techniques.
  • Understand the constraints on each technology, both imposed by physical fundamentals, and by current levels of technology and market.
  • Understand the fundamentals of grid integration of renewable energy and the problems and constraints associated with this.
  • Understand the fundamentals of economic analysis as applied to renewable energy technologies.

Wind energy

  • Perform a basic wind resource estimation and site assessment.
  • Understand the fundamentals of wind turbine design and operation.
  • Understand issues related to integrating wind energy into an electricity distribution network.
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of wind energy in an economic and political context.

Marine energy

  • Understand the nature of the both the wave and tidal current resources and be able to perform preliminary resource assessments based upon oceanographic data.
  • Understand the principles of design and operation for both wave and tidal current energy systems.
  • Perform preliminary technology assessments for both wave and tidal energy.
  • Develop preliminary exploitation plans for defined regions considering the resource, technology and environmental/social limitations.

Solar energy

  • Understand the nature of the solar energy resource.
  • Understand the mechanisms and technologies of solar energy conversion including photovoltaics, passive and active solar heating and concentrated solar thermal power generation.
  • Undertake the dimensioning and system design for a solar thermal and/or photovoltaic array.
  • Appreciate the market dynamics and the economics of solar energy.
  • Understand the differences between grid-connected vs. isolated systems and the implications of energy storage.

Nuclear energy

  • Understand the engineering, scientific and safety aspects of nuclear power.
  • Understand current nuclear technology policy together with relevant business and policy awareness.
  • Understand the wider policy contexts of nuclear electricity generation in the 21st century.
  • Understand the principles of reactor physics, including core physics and shielding – steady state power and shapes, depletion control elements and use of poisons, core kinetics and system control.
  • Understand the principles of reactor engineering and thermal-hydraulics, including coolant types, thermal cycles, heat transfer, thermal limits and Reactor systems, their optimisation and operating characteristics including normal operation and how to address main types of fault condition.
  • Understand the different materials used for nuclear fuel and reactor materials, including selection, safety and life issues (radiation behaviour and damage, structural integrity and fracture mechanics).
  • Understand the whole nuclear fuel cycle, including waste and decommissioning, mining for waste and how waste is managed, and the principles of decommissioning.
  • Understand the principles and practice for nuclear safety, including an ability to recognise key design and safety issues and how they might be addressed, including the principles and practices of reactor safety as it affects design, operation and justification of modern reactors.
  • Understand the history of nuclear practice, globally, within the UK and in Wales, considering important past events on the current prospects and issues that affect the sector.
  • Understand the basic theory and methods in computational reactor physics and apply computational reactor modelling for simulation of nuclear systems.
  • Understand the principles of advanced Fission and Fusion reactor systems, why they are being pursued, their advantages and their difficulties in proceeding to become commercially viable designs.
  • Additionally, an introduction to the main ideas behind nuclear fusion for energy, focusing on the basic ideas and concepts and the practical issues of bringing fusion to market, will be provided.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.

Learning outcomes

  1. Explain the business models and design behind renewable energy sources.

  2. Describe the principles behind Nuclear Power and the current trends towards this form of energy.

  3. Identify the principles behind sustainable energy.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Controlled Assessment

Time-constrained controlled assessment.

CASE STUDY Industrial Case Study

Individual written case study on an industrial context.

EXAM Unseen Examination

End of module unseen examination.


Teaching and Learning Strategy

Practical classes and workshops

A series of interactive lectures, seminars, workshops, web-based learning, problem solving exercises, individual and group activities and linked tutorials. Consideration of case study materials, journals and guest speakers will form an important part of the delivery illustrating the application of themes to real-world situations.

Private study

Tutor-directed private study, including individual assessments.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.

Subject specific skills

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Systematically review factors affecting the implementation of a project, including safety and sustainability;
  • Appreciate the importance of designing products with due regard to good laboratory practice, health and safety considerations and ethical issues.
  • Access and synthesize information and literature sources;
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Communicate proposals persuasively and respond positively to feedback;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of current advances and contemporary approaches in the discipline and have strategies for keeping that awareness current;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the need to work safely and comply within relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks;

Courses including this module