2022 Introduction to scientific principles of energy

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Academic unit or major
School of Materials and Chemical Technology
Arai Hajime  Satoh Kotaro  Hayashi Miyuki  Matsumoto Hidetoshi  Miyauchi Masahiro  Ueda Mitsutoshi  Wada Hiroyuki  Yamaguchi Akira 
Class Format
Lecture    (Livestream)
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Course description and aims

To introduce scientific principles of energy mainly in the field of materials and chemistry, aiming at the goal to autonomously identify and solve energy-related issues from polyphyletic viewpoints and to lead innovation.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will able to:
1) Understand the basics of thermodynamics and kinetics that are essential for usage and conversion of various energy forms including electricity, heat and light.
2) Understand the working principles and current status of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells that convert electrical energy to chemical energy and vice versa.
3) Understand the basics of semiconductors and principle of energy conversion devices from light, such as solar cells, light-emitting diodes, and photosynthesis.
4) Understand the fundamentals and applications of high temperature processes and metallic materials related to energy as well as those of organic and polymeric materials as charge carriers.


Utilization of energy, energy conversion, energy storage, thermodynamics, equilibrium, kinetics, rechargeable battery, fuel cell, photochemistry, solar cell, high-temperature process, green chemistry

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

For effective learning, students are encouraged to look through the class description and review the class content afterwards (including assignments) by referring to the course materials and the related textbooks.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to energy science Understand the concepts of thermodynamics, equilibrium and kinetics as well as energy conservation law, reversible processes, energy conversion efficiency, energy levels, and the relationship between various energy forms such as electricity, heat and light.
Class 2 Electrochemistry (1) Understand the basics and current status of rechargeable batteries including lithium-ion batteries, all-solid-state batteries and metal air batteries. Understand the relationship between thermodynamics and charge-discharge reactions, that between phase transitions and potential profiles, and that between close-packed structures and electrode materials, together with electrochemical measurements to clarify the behavior of the batteries.
Class 3 Electrochemistry (2) Understand the basics of thermodynamical equilibrium and kinetics of electrochemical reactions, those are essential for chemical batteries. In addition, understand the working principle and current status of hydrogen fuel cells for the future hydrogen supply society.
Class 4 Energy conversion materials and devices based on semiconductors Understand the basics of semiconductors and their device structure like solar cells, which are essential for photovoltaics and/or thermoelectric conversion. Understand energy band structure of semiconductors, impurity doping for p- or n-type semiconductors, p-n junction, and device structures of photovoltaics and light-emitting diode. Further, understand the applications of semiconductors-based energy conversion devices, such as solar cells, thermoelectric conversion, lighting apparatus, and sensors.
Class 5 Photochemistry Understand the basics of photochemical reactions based on the interaction between molecules and light, and their applications. Understand what happens when a molecule is irradiated with light, while learning about the electronic state of the molecule, electronic excited state, absorption and emission of photons, and wave functions. Understand observation and analysis methods of photochemistry and experimental equipment. Widely understand the applications of photochemistry, including photosynthesis in nature, solar cells, electronic devices such as displays and image sensors, optical communications, and lithography.
Class 6 Metals and energy High-temperature processes such as iron and steelmaking process and energy conversion processes such as thermal power generation are essential technologies in a carbon-neutral society, and it will be necessary to make these processes low-carbon and highly efficient in the future. In this lecture, we will introduce some of the efforts in the development of these processes and deepen our understanding of the related basic studies.
Class 7 Organic-/polymer- materials and energy Understand the chemical and high-order structures of organic and polymeric materials required for conduction of charge carriers (hole, electron, and ion). Understand the energy device applications of organic and polymeric materials such as solar cells, fuel cells, and secondary batteries. In addition, understand the relationship between energy/environmental issues and polymer materials by studying environment-friendly polymers, such as biodegradable polymers, bio-based polymers, and recyclable polymers, as well as their production with low environmental load.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

The course materials are delivered through the T2SHOLA system. The students should be ready for the class by downloading the materials (and printing them if necessary) prior to the class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' understanding will be assessed by mini-exercises (quizzes) and reports.

Related courses

  • None

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Not required but the fundamental knowledge on physical chemistry (thermodynamics and kinetics) is desirable.

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