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Unit of study_

ELEC5206: Sustainable Energy Systems

Many sustainable energy technologies including hybrid cars, photovoltaic energy systems, efficient power supplies, and energy-conserving control systems have at their heart intelligent, high-power electronics. This unit examines this technology and uses sustainable-tech examples to teach the engineering principles of modeling, optimization, analysis, simulation, and design. Topics include power converter topologies, periodic steady-state analysis, control, motors and drives, photovoltaic systems, and design of magnetic components. The unit involves a hands-on laboratory and a substantial final project.


Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Unit code ELEC5206
Unit name Sustainable Energy Systems
Session, year
Semester 2, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Assumed knowledge

A background in power electronics converters and control theory such as that covered in ELEC3204/9204 and ELEC3304/9304 is assumed.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Sinan Li,
Administrative staff Rui Chu
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Canvas Quizzes
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Homework
5% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Lab report
15% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment group assignment Group project
30% Week 12 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Overview of the unit; 2. The relevance of the context of unit; 3. A brief review of basic power electronics circuits; 4. Periodic steady-state analysis and transient analysis methods for power electronics converters. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 02 1. Embedded software, 2. Principles of operation of basic power devices Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 03 1. Switching losses 2. Gate drive 3. Deadtime 4. Snubbers Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 04 1. Photovoltaic materials & electrical characteristics 2. Maximum Power Point Tracking 3. Various architectures of PV inverter systems 4. PV economics 5. Smart PV systems Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 05 1. Modeling of DC motors; 2. Motor control using half-bridge converters; 3. Other types of motors; 4. AC induction motor control using inverters Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 06 1. A primer on Bode plots; 2. Control of a first-order system; 3. Control of a second-order system; 4. Layered control; 5. Practical controller design considerations Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 07 Isolated Converters Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 08 Tutorial only. No lecture due to Labour Day holiday. Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 09 Magnetics, including inductors and transformers Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 10 State-plane analysis of power converters Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 11 Advanced topics in sustainable energy systems Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 12 Project Info Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 13 Revision Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.

  • Erickson and Maksimovic, Fundamentals of Power Electronics, Second Edition, Springer, 2001.
  • William Dally, Green Electronics. Online.
  • Mohan, Ned, A First Course on Power Electronics, MNPERE 2009
  • McLyman, Transformer and Inductor Design Handbook, 3rd Edition, CRC Press, 2004

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. instigate inquiry and knowledge development using electronic media to draw on a vast source of professional documents in various formats, synthesising the information to solve a specific engineering problem
  • LO2. present terse information accurately using varied formats and media to a level appropriate to the expected understanding and capabilities of relevant stakeholders
  • LO3. work in a team by assuming diverse roles, aiding or initiating the process of team interaction and drawing on and being receptive to others' viewpoints, to try and solve a specific engineering task
  • LO4. solve analysis and design problems in renewable and non-renewable energy sources drawing on technical and non-technical information and applying the emerging concepts
  • LO5. demonstrate an understanding of working principle, energy conversion efficiency, and maximum power point tracking of each renewable energy source that uses for sustainable energy system design, to the extent of the material and work presented
  • LO6. demonstrate an understanding of systems including electromechanical converters (electrical machines), and electronic converters, as well as basic circuit and control elements to the extent of the material, presented
  • LO7. demonstrate an understanding of the properties, applications, and limitations of various switch-mode power supplies, including non-isolated and isolated converters, hard-switching and soft-switching based converters

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
In response to student feedback since the unit was last offered, the power electronics aspect of this unit has been enhanced, including semiconductor switching characteristics, design and optimization of magnetics, advanced power electronics topologies, practical design considerations of controllers and hardware implementations, embedded software, and project collaborations.


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