This unit of study covers knowledge and skills in the two broad areas of alternative energy systems and power electronics. The unit is delivered in two parts:

Part A - Alternative Energy Systems: Part A reflects on the concept of sustainability in the electrical energy generation sector in order to critique and recommend alternative energy systems for a range of contexts. Part A will diagnose conventional energy systems and the emissions associated with these systems. Then, students will investigate unconventional energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and fuel cells as well as energy storage technologies. Technical properties, environmental and economic advantages of these technologies will be assessed with learning activities focusing on mathematical modelling, and analysis of these alternative generation technologies. Design of hybrid systems and their integration to existing distribution and transmission systems will be diagnosed.


Part B - Power Electronics:  Part B critically examines the theory, design and analysis of conversion of electric power by means of power electronics, including AC to DC and DC to DC power converters, to critique and recommend power conversion systems for a range of applications. The use of electronic speed control techniques for DC motor drives will be explored for different applications. AC-DC single-phase and three-phase power converters: Diode and SCR bridge rectifiers will be investigated. DC-DC Switching Mode Power Converters, buck converters and boost converters, and Buck-boost converters will be analysed. Other topics to be covered include: unipolar and bipolar voltage switching method, push pull converters, and different electronic speed control techniques for DC motor drives.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically analyse current applications of alternative energy sources and systems and their availability across Australia;  
  2. Innovate and design alternative energy generation systems for diverse contexts justifying economic and environmental impacts of the alternative energy systems;  
  3. Research and review potential of alternative energy systems critically reflecting on their local viability;  
  4. Evaluate the operation of power semiconductor switches in a range of operational settings;  
  5. Verify theoretical concepts informing building blocks of power electronics conversion as implemented in different operational environments;  
  6. Critique AC/DC and DC/DC power converters; and design different types of switching power supplies to increase efficiency;  
  7. Collaborate with others with responsibility and accountability for own learning in planning, problem solving and decision making in professional practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Laboratory Work Two Laboratory Group Reports (Team of two, 1500 words) 20%
Test Mid-Semester Test (1 hour) 10%
Project Team Project Report (Team of two, 3000 words) 20%
Examination Final Examination (3 hours) 50%

Required reading

Lecture and tutorial handouts will be distributed as required.

Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems 2nd ed.
Masters, G. (2013)
John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.

Introduction to Modern Power Electronics 3rd ed.
Trzynadlowski, A. M. (2015)
John Wiley & Sons.

Recommended Reading: Simoes, M. G. and Farret, F. A. (2016) Modeling Power Electronics and Interfacing Energy Conversion Systems. 1st ed. John Wiley & Sons.

Where to next?

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.