CHEMMAT 304 : The Future of Energy


2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Discussion of topical and significant developments in the field of energy transformation, usage and storage in the context of climate change, both globally and in New Zealand. Topics include: energy efficiency, energy storage and applications, sustainability, non-renewable and renewable power generation.

Course Overview

"Climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced" (Sir David Attenborough at the UN Security Council on 23 Feb 2021). Chemical and Materials engineers play a vital role in meeting the global challenge of climate change through effective climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

CHEMMAT 304 is an elective that is a challenging yet rewarding experience that fosters a student's personal and professional growth. The course discusses the future of the energy sector within the context of Aotearoa, climate change and powering the energy-intense comforts of modern life. Key topics include renewable and non-renewable power technologies and energy storage technologies. The course also uses individual, group and project-based assignments for developing discipline-specific skills and fostering transferrable skills such as creativity, self-confidence and persistence - all highly valued by employers. Students team up to work on a project that involves a toy-sized hydrogen fuel cell car and the rapid prototyping facilities in the multidisciplinary learning spaces (MDLS), making it fun reaching goals.

Note: Due to staffing changes, there will be no dedicated Māori module in 2022.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: CHEMMAT 201 or 211 Restriction: CHEMMAT 317

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain, evaluate and discuss the sustainability and impact of power generation and energy storage technologies and their significance to the domestic and global energy sector. (Capability 1.1, 4.2 and 6.2)
  2. Develop and assess transferrable skills and a multidisciplinary mindset through assessment. (Capability 5.2)
  3. Design and create a solution to a given problem (project) through teamwork. (Capability 1.1, 3.2 and 4.1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 15% Individual Coursework
Project 40% Group & Individual Coursework
Assignments 45% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3

This course has no exam.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 

  • 11 weeks of typical teaching. During a typical teaching week, there will be 3 hours of face-to-face time with the teaching staff. Face-to-face time can mean lectures, workshops, group discussions, student presentations or guest lectures. For 11 teaching weeks, this totals to 33 hours. 
  • 1 week of project work in the multidisciplinary learning spaces (MDLS). These sessions are pre-scheduled and shown in a student's calendar as 'lab'. There are three sessions in total. Each MDLS session is 2-3 hours long to provide students with enough time to set up experiments, use tools and devices (e.g., laser cutters and 3D printers), optimise processes and collect data. Student teams are expected to carry out their project work independently but the teaching staff provides constant support. This MDLS week is free of lectures.
Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 108-110 hours across the entire semester for independent study, e.g., reading, reflection, preparing for and completing assessments, and working on team projects.

Note: Before students can access the MDLS, each student must pass online and in-person inductions to conform to health and safety regulations. Once the necessary inductions have been passed, students can also use the MDLS at their convenience to work on their team projects.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including workshops, labs (pre-scheduled sessions in the MDLS), guest lectures, team project sessions and team leader meetings to complete components of the course. At the beginning of the semester, the activities that require attendance will be identified and marked in the lecture and assessment schedule found on the course's Canvas homepage. Students are expected to prioritise mandatory activities for a successful learning and team-based experience.

Only lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including online and live workshops, in-class group work, and team project work in the MDLS (labs) will not be available as recordings.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable. Labs are scheduled as a block of 3 x 3hours for Week  8 or 9 (to be specified after the course has commenced).

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

All learning resources will be provided through Canvas or during lectures.

Health & Safety

Students are expected to adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Health and Safety section of the Engineering Undergraduate Handbook.

The use of workshops, labs and the MDLS facilities requires online and in-person inductions to the equipment and spaces by the professional staff in charge. The wearing of closed shoes, eye protection, lab coats, gloves and other safety measures might be required.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Since 2019, the scope of CHEMMAT 304 has changed significantly, which is reflected in the new course title 'The Future of Energy'. CHEMMAT 304 covers a broad range of topics and has shifted away from process engineering and non-renewable energy sources towards renewable energy technologies and energy storage for addressing climate change challenges. 

Since 2020, the course also includes a team project for the development of employability skills. 

Student feedback is highly valued, listened to, and used to improve this course. For example, CHEMMAT 304 has become a course that is well-liked because of the
  • approachable teaching staff and friendly classroom environment,
  • effective alignment of topics, 
  • optimisation of workload, 
  • formative and effective individual feedback,
  • the engaging style of assignments, 
  • use of flat-floor seminar rooms with moveable chairs for workshops and group work,
  • hands-on project for developing transferrable skills and a multidisciplinary mindset (employability) using the Unleash Space and MDLS, and more.
The teaching staff listens to students' needs and takes action accordingly throughout the course. For example, approximately halfway through the course, students can provide input by completing a start-stop-continue survey. 

Other Information

Students work in teams to complete a hands-on project which spans the entire duration of the course. The project helps students explore and develop transferrable skills (employability skills) and a multidisciplinary mindset, which are highly sought after in university graduates by employers. We will exchange the lecture theatre for the Unleash Space and the MDLS where student teams get to play with toy-sized alternative fuel vehicles and rapid prototyping techniques.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Assignments require demonstrating academic integrity and citing and referencing the work of other people properly.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

The teaching staff is known for fostering a friendly and productive relationship with open communication between students and staff.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 05/07/2022 01:25 p.m.