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Energy Science


Admission requirements


  • Energy and Resource Management


  • Physics (high school level or the LUC 100-level course)


For the past century, our modern world has thrived upon the incredible energy density of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the bedrock of our society, providing mobility, food, housing, and long lifespans to a growing population. Unfortunately, fossil fuel usage also releases gases into the atmosphere that warm the planet. Global warming is arguably the most critical problem facing humanity; it will continue to influence our civilization for many decades – and even centuries – to come. Developing alternatives to the continued exploitation of oil, gas, and coal is crucial if we are to mitigate the impacts of climate change on human communities and the ecosystem.

This course will lay the scientific foundations of energy generation. First, we will investigate the physics of energy and power. Then, we will investigate why fossil fuels have been so successful in developing and sustaining our modern lifestyle. The core of this course will be an analysis of the varied types of renewable and sustainable energies. We will profile wind, wave, tidal, hydro, solar, and geothermal energies. We will also investigate biofuels, and nuclear energy options. In doing so, we will assess the opportunities, advantages, and disadvantages of each energy type; always keeping in mind the scientific, social, and environmental plausibility of each energy source.

Course Objectives

This course aims to give students a scientific understanding of energy and energy conversions. Students will develop the confidence to use and manipulate the governing equations of energy. In this context the broader issues will be discussed. The course will give a detailed explanation of the varying energy conversion types (wind, wave, etc.), their importance and future contribution to anthropogenic energy uses.

  • Students will develop comprehension of energy issues

  • Students will be able to recall the major types of renewable energies, their origin, and the technologies used in their use

  • Students will be able to apply their mathematical skills in investigating renewable energy types and yields


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This course will consist of structured lectures including class discussions, demonstrations, and example calculations. We will develop models for examining energy contributions

Assessment Method

  • Assignment 1: Individual Research 12.5 %

  • Assignment 2: Individual Problem Solving 12.5%

  • In class test 25%

  • Course Participation 10%

  • Final Exam 40%

Reading list

Compulsory Equipment:

You must have a calculator for this course, purchase one as soon as possible. A standard scientific calculator is sufficient, and should cost no more than 15 Euros. An example calculator is the Casio FX82.

Compulsory Readings:

A number of readings will be made available throughout the course and will be provided through blackboard. These will include journal publications and news coverage of energy science and issues.

Recommended Readings:

  • McKay, D., 2008, Without the hot air, UIT (ISBN: 978-0954452933), 384pp (a great primer on modern energy issues in the UK, and free at

  • Incropera, F. P., Climate Change: A Wicked Problem, Cambridge University Press, (ISBN: 9781107521131). A fantastic book at a great price point (20EUR).

  • Everett, E., Boyle G., Peake, S., and Ramage, J., Energy Systems and Sustainability, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0-19-959374-3, 672pp (a textbook-style treatment of energy issues with introductory equations).


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr Paul Behrens, (Semester 1, Block 2)
Dr. Marco Cinelli,, Semester 2, Block 3)