CHEM 750/7500-01 - Energy and Environment

Semester: Fall 2023

Professor: K. Ghandi | Discipline: Physical | Campus: Guelph


By the end of this course students are expected to

  1. explain the details of at least one type of energy industry in depth,
  2. use effective communications skills for oral presentations while strengthening their skills in working with different sources to develop research and analytical skills in energy industry,
  3. write a research proposal to address problems in industry.
  4. analyze the modern literature on issues related to application of Energy and Environment,
  5. evaluate the environmental impacts of Energy Industry,

The course includes lectures, invited speakers, field trips (if the logistics can be arranged), completion of term papers and presentations. An undergraduate background in physical chemistry or physics is expected. Students with only an undergraduate degree in engineering should consult with the instructor before registering.

The following is the proposed chronologic list of subjects:

  • Efficiency and energy conservations
  • Principles of electrical generators and transformers
  • Fossil fuels and their environmental impact
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Semiconductor materials and photovoltaic panels
  • Nuclear energy: Fission and fusion based
  • Environmental impacts of different types of electricity and thermal sources
  • Innovation in Energy industry and business aspects of this industry (this will address some futuristic aspects in the context of industry).


Reading material will be based on research articles, review articles and some book chapters and will be emailed to class or if both Waterloo and Guelph students have access to courselink they will be posted on courselink.

Will be on courselink and for students that do not have access to courselink, they will be sent to them via email.


The proposed marking scheme is as follows. It will be explicitly detailed on the first day of class:

Assignments 40%. There will be 5 assignments, each worth 8 marks. Assignments require essay-style writing, calculations and may require drawings or illustrations.

Final Exam (take home) 20%: Deadline: December 12. The final exam requires essay-style writing, calculations and may require drawings or illustrations. The date of issue of the exam will be on November 30.

Term Project and Presentation 40%


  • 2 projects and presentations. Each project includes a review article and presenting that review to class. The review can be on any subject related to Energy industry, including the environmental impacts and environmental technologies related to energy industry. Subjects should be selected and confirmed by instructor on or before September 27, 2023. You need to first find the most recent review article and then write your own review of all research articles related to that subject published after the review article. If there is no review article related to your topic in the literature, the research articles reviewed should include mostly the papers published over the last 5 years.
  • Each project is a review article on a subject of your interest. There is no format limitation or maximum space limit. The review is expected to be around 15 pages single space (including drawings and figures and reaction schemes), not including the references. You need to decide about your subject of interest. Anyone that selects a subject will let me know and I announce it so that the rest would not select that subject. You will find the most recent review article on that subject and your review will be a summary of that review article and all research papers published after that review article. Please see above comment, for the cases that there is no such review article in the literature.
  • You will be marked based on quality of your review (not missing published research articles is an important criterion; also, harmonious writing rather than a scattered report is another important criteria) and your presentation.
  • Your presentation to class will be marked by all class (including me). The students are asked to provide instructive feedbacks also to the instructor. The instructor will summarize and share the feedbacks without names with the presenter. Total project mark is 30 percent for review papers (to be submited as a word file) and 10 percent on presentations.
  • Presentation to class marks: 2 for learning content (You also need to describe the concepts.). 2 for clarity. 2 for the degree of engaging presentation. 2 for answering questions. Each presentation is normally 40 minutes followed by questions.

All review papers should be sent to me via email in word format. The first review paper should be sent by October 15 and the second one by November 29. The papers can be sent at any time before those dates too. However, the feedback to improve them (to get better marks) will be sent only to those that send me the papers at least a week before the due date. It is in your benefit to send me your first draft as soon as possible during the semester since you won’t get mark for drafts and receive the marks only on final version. This way you can receive feedback early on to improve your reviews.

The presentation dates will be determined by a draw in the first day of class.


  • Wed: 7:00 pm - 9:20 pm in MacN 101

Office Hours

[email protected]; Cell number: 519-993-7312