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Renewable Energy Systems


Admission requirements

This course is obligatory for students of the master’s programme Industrial Ecology.

We expect the students to have approximately high school knowledge of thermodynamics, chemistry, physics and electricity. For students with a non-technical background, it is highly recommended to study the material found here:


Renewable energy and sustainability are hot topics in public debate. How can we try to answer questions such as: Can wind mills replace the production of coal power stations? How can we reduce CO2 emissions? Can we survive on renewable energy? In this course, you will obtain the basic knowledge and skills to address such questions.

The course provides an introduction to technical and societal aspects of renewable energy (RE). Topics include:

  • different types of renewable energy sources;

  • the usage of these types of energy in buildings, industry and transport;

  • general principles and methods of RE conversion and integration;

  • fundamental and practical limitations of RE technologies;

  • market, policy and ethical perspectives on RE technologies.

Course objectives

After completion of this course:

  1. students can describe basic principles of energy sources and energy system and compare them.
  2. students can explain the general mechanism of a range of renewable energy technologies.
  3. students can perform basic calculations to give a quantitative analysis of the efficiency, sustainability and viability of RE options.
  4. students can evaluate and discuss technical, environmental and societal aspects of renewable energy.


See Brightspace TU Delft.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of (i) a series of guest lectures by researchers who specialize in various topics related to renewable energy, and (ii) video lectures and other course material from the TU Delft MOOC “Sustainable Energy” (module manager Arno Smets, TU Delft). Due to the use of the MOOC, there will be a substantial amount of self-study.

Assessment method

The final grade is determined by a written exam (‘closed book’). In addition, there will be a number of exercise sets. If all exercise sets are submitted on time and are evaluated as being satisfactory, then 0.5 bonus point will be added to the final exam grade.


We will use Brightspace TU Delft to distribute course material and to communicate with students.

Reading list

The main textbook is “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air” by David
Mackay, which is available for free at In
addition, some of the lectures will be based on the book “Introduction to Energy Analysis” by Kornelis Blok which provides a more detailed introduction to energy analysis. Additional course materials for
specific topics will be provided on Brightspace TU Delft.


Because this course is part of a programme of Leiden University and TU Delft, all students have to be enrolled to both universities.

All students have to enroll for course and exam at the start of the course via uSis, Leiden University (see:

Students who are not enrolled to the master’s programme Industrial Ecology have to ask permission from the study advisor of Industrial Ecology ( least one month before start of the course by use of this form:

Exchange students can only enroll for this course if their home university has an Exchange agreement with both Leiden University and TU Delft. Exchange students have to ask permission from the studyadvisor of Industrial Ecology ( as soon as possible, preferably six months before the start of the course.

Contact information

Mrs. dr. H.H.Hansen


More information and the description of the course is published in the e-studyguide of TU Delft.