Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Energy physics and Technology

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

This course aims to provide an insight into the physics behind various energy technologies. It allows students to gain knowledge pertaining to practical energy conversion devices, their efficiency, their technology maturity along with their potential for improvement, and future technologies with their prospects; also a consideration of the sustainable use of materials in order to reduce the demand for energy in manufacturing.

During the semester students are expected to deepen their subject knowledge in: the extraction of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) along with their processing ready for subsequent use, the physics and chemistry of combustion including thermodynamic laws and energy concepts, the formation of pollutants, internal combustion engines (including steam turbines and heat engines) along with possibilities for heat recovery, the impact of pollutants on the environment, the conversion of light into electrical power and associated solar technologies, the design and aerodynamics of wind energy devices, nuclear and fusion reactor physics and aspects of proliferation and, the energy demands that the use of materials creates. A common theme is that the student will be given a comprehensive explanation of the physics pertaining to current devices and factors that affect their design, the state of current knowledge, and future predictions with possible implementations.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student

  • understands and can describe the physics of various energy conversion processes
  • can demonstrate an expanded knowledge on various topics and challenges related to all stages between the sourcing and the harnessing of various sources of energy; and
  • shows a critical awareness of and be able to explain societal aspects of energy conversion including health and environmental issues


The student

  • critically understands the principals which govern the design of energy harnessing devices and, on a fundamental level, be able to offer design evaluations including a consideration of the embedded energy and energy required to manufacture a device
  • make assessments through calculation of the energy available or produced from a system or device in various scenarios

General competence

The student:

  • can communicate with engineers, technologists and scientists about the physics and design of energy conversion equipment in a critical and informed manner

Required Previous Knowledge

MAT111 Calculus 1 or equivalent

Recommended Previous Knowledge

PHYS113 Mechanics 2 and Thermodynamics/KJEM210 Chemical Thermodynamics, or equivalent, and KJEM110 Chemistry and Energy or equivalent

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered by subject specialists from academia and, where appropriate, from outside academia. Normally, the course will consist of a combination of lectures and tutorials as deemed appropriate by each subject specialist; but will typically consist of 1 x 2hour lecture and 1 x 2 hour tutorial each week. The exercises will normally include practice in calculations and discussions of topics addressed in the lectures; however, for broader topics there may be 2 x 2hours of lectures in a week with calculation interspersed within the lectures.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

There are no mandatory in-course assignments.

Forms of Assessment

Written formal closed book examination 4 hours. Typically, there will be a choice of questions in the examination.

Examination Support Material

Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations. In addition hand-written notes.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department

Normally, referents groups will be used each year.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.


Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    07.06.2023, 09:00
    4 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam