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MEC4104 Renewable Energy Technology

Semester 2, 2021 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Renewable Energy Technology
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 030799 - Mechanical, Industrial Enginee
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 17 April 2021


Examiner: Byrenn Birch


Pre-requisite: ((MEC2101 and MEC3102) or MEC2106) or Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCEN or GCNS or GDNS or METC or MENS or MEPR


Over the next decade or so, environmental concerns plus the depletion of the world's fossil fuel reserves accentuated by the industrialisation of developing countries, are going to force a reshaping of our use of energy.

This course prepares the student to play an informed and constructive part in that reshaping by studying the various forms of renewable energy and the engineering challenges involved in implementing them.


Students will investigate the wide range of renewable energy resources available to society and how engineers can implement them. Transitioning from fossil fuels to biofuels is an important component because many processes require the output of combustion to function efficiently; the inherent challenges involved are studied. Solar power is so abundant that it could easily satisfy the world's energy needs if storage and transmission challenges are overcome; how solar energy can be used for photo-voltaic or thermal applications is examined. The design considerations for harnessing wind and hydro energy are explored. The key issue of storing renewable energy when there is an over-abundance so that it can be supplied when there is insufficient is studied along with how the energy can be distributed to society. Some of the other forms of renewable energy which an engineer can utilise will also be studied.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. analyse renewable energy systems using appropriate tools from the fields of thermofluids, heat transfer, and dynamics;
  2. critically compare and contrast various combustion and renewable energy systems;
  3. evaluate the potential of renewable energy technologies as a replacement for fossil fuel combustion energy technologies;


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction and social implications 5.00
2. Solar energy 25.00
3. Reacting flows 5.00
4. Biofuels 15.00
5. Wind energy 15.00
6. Hydro energy 15.00
7. Ocean thermal energy & geothermal 10.00
8. Energy storage and distribution 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Twidell, J & Weir, T 2015, Renewable Energy Resources, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Duffie, JA & Beckman, WA 2013, Solar engineering of thermal processes, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
Fleming, D 2016, Wind Energy: Developments, Potential and Challenges, Nova Science Publishers Inc.
Kreith, F & West, RE (eds) 1996, CRC handbook of energy efficiency, CRC Press, Boca Raton.
Turns, SR 2012, An introduction to combustion: concepts and applications, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.
European Wind Energy Association 2009, Wind Energy – The Facts: a guide to the technology, economics and future of wind power, London.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 18.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 85.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
Quiz 1 100 10 04 Aug 2021 1
Assignment 1 150 15 18 Aug 2021 1,2,3
Quiz 2 100 10 01 Sep 2021 1
Assignment 2 150 15 22 Sep 2021 1,2,3
2 Hr Restricted Examination 500 50 End S2 1,2

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. Students do not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to be awarded a passing grade in this course. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Restricted Examination, candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); non-programmable calculators (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination); one A4 sheet of paper with any formulae or other information the student chooses to list (both sides of the sheet may be used).

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at

Date printed 17 April 2021