Office of Undergraduate Instruction

01:694:414 Harnessing Solar Energy

 

This course is intended for Life Science majors or those with a strong background in the Biological Sciences.

This course may be used to fulfill the elective requirements of the Biological Sciences major.


Offered

Spring

Credits

3

Prerequisites

General Biology 01:119:115-116, 117 or 01:119:101-102 and Organic Chemistry 01:160:307 or 160:315 and Physics I  01: 50:203 or 01:750:201 or 01:750:194; and Calculus I  01: 640:151 or 01:640:135.

Course Description

This course covers strategies invented by nature to absorb and convert solar energy into other forms for storage or work (force generation). A quantitative accounting of solar energy utilization and losses in biology and analogous man-made solar devices will be provided along with basic aspects of biological energy conversion in general (energy metabolism). Current topical interest will focus on natural photosynthesis and how efficiently it can harness solar energy by conversion to chemical precursors that produce molecular hydrogen and biofuels, or photoelectric cells (bio-fuel cells). Emerging knowledge will be presented on the development of the synthetic “artificial leaf.“

Both Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, or students in related curricula who have met the course requirements, will be provided with a fundamental understanding of biolog- ical energy conversion, work and entropy (equilibrium thermodynamics) through applications in metabolism, photosynthesis, and emerging solar energy technologies. Students will be introduced to energy related research strategies necessary to meet the daunting 21st century energy challenge. 

Course URL

Sakai

Course Satisfies Learning Goals

1. Students should demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge that is needed to begin biomedical research and that is required for post-graduate exams and studies.

2. Students should demonstrate the ability to find and evaluate information about specific biological systems or problems.

3. Students should demonstrate the ability to design experiments and critically analyze data.

4. Both Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, or students in related curricula who have met the course requirements, will be provided with a fundamental understanding of biological energy conversion, work and entropy (equilibrium thermodynamics) through applications in metabolism, photosynthesis, and emerging solar energy technologies.

5.Students will be introduced to energy related research strategies neceessary to meet the daunting 21st century energy challenge.

Schedule

#

Date/ Lecturer

Topic

Learning Goals

 

1

1/20 RAN,

Photosynthesis and solar energy as alternative energy sources

Background on light reactions. applications

 

2

1/25 “

Renewable world energy resources

Recognition of energy crisis and solutions

 

3

1/27 “

Harnessing solar energy for production of biofuels (ESF)

Basis for biomass and other alternative fuels

 

4

2/1 “

Coal and natural gas power a warming world

Basis for anthropomorphic global warming --

 

5

2/3 “

Anoxygenic photosynthetic life

Applicatictions of metabolism, bioenergetics

 

6

2/8 ”

Oxygenic photosynthesis

Applicatictions of metabolism, bioenergetics

 

7

2/10 “

Biological strategies for CO2 capture and reduction

Metabolism, anabolic mechanisms

 

8

2/15 “

Anoxygenic photosystem based biohybrid solar cells

Application of basic photophysical principles

 

9

2/17 “

 

Application of basic photophysical principles

 
 

2/22

Exam 1

   

10

2/24 RCP

An industry perspective on photobiological energy production and usage

Industrial perspective

 

11

2/29 “

 

12

3/2 GCD

The biochemical logic of metabolic pathways

Applicatictions of metabolism, bioenergetics

 

13

3/7 “

Oxygenic photosynthetic life: Kinetics and thermodynamics of PSII and H2O oxidation

Energy conversion, thermodynamics

 

14

3/9 “

Artificial photosynthetic life: Bioinspired catalysts for H2O oxid- ation and H2 evolution

Biomimetic catalysis

 
 

3/12--3/20

Spring break

   

15

3/21 RAN

PSII and PSI based biohybrid solar cells

Applicatictions of metabolism

 

16

3/23 “

Biofuels from algae Biomass to solar types and conversion?

Metabolism, anabolic mechanisms

 

17

3/28 “

Artificial photosynthesis: protein maquettes as solar energy converters

In silico biomimetic approaches and aplications

 
 

3/30

Exam 2

   

18

4/4 “

Biological hydrogen via hydrogenase and nitrogenase

Applicatictions of metabolism, bioenergetics

 

19

4/6 “

Evaluation of biofuels

 

20

4/11 JM

Sorghum as an alternative biofuel

Genetic studies

 

21

4/13 JM

Duckweed as an alternative biofuel

Genetic studies

 

22

4/18 VN

Toward an artificial photosynthesis

In silico biomimetic approaches, aplications

 

23

4/20 RAN

Starch and cellulosic biofuels

Applicatictions of metabolism

 

24

4/25 “

Engineering metabolic systems for production of advanced fuels

 

25

4/27 “

Harvesting wind energy

Application of basic physical principles

 
 

5/2

Exam 3

   
         

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy
Each topic will be followed by a discussion session with an assigned discussion leader. This will be of prime importance in achieving learning goals and academic potential; participation in the discussions will count for 20% of the final grade. For the rest of the grade, the three exam grades will be weighted equally. Review sessions will be scheduled before each exam. 

Course Materials

Text (as background for lectures on Biochemical topics) Principles of Biochemistry (2012) Lehninger, A.L. Nelson, D.L. and Cox, M.M. 6th Edition. New York, W. H. Freeman and Co. and relevant outside readings.

Course Closed? 

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for special permission.

Faculty

Dr. R. Niederman and Dr. G. C. Dismukes


** All information is subject to change at the discretion of the course coordinator.

 

 

Contact Us

Nelson Biological Laboratories

Nelson Biological Laboratories
604 Allison Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854


p. (848) 445-2075
f.  (732) 445-5870