Nanomaterials and Energy


This curricular unit intends to train students on materials with emphasis on nanomaterials that are currently used in energy conversion, namely: solar energy into electrical energy: solar energy into thermal energy; thermal energy into electrical energy; electrochemical energy; materials used in saving electrical energy (intelligent materials); materials used in the storage of energy including, batteries, batteries and fuel cells; Bioelectronic and Biomiméticos devices. The materials needs for energy conversion technologies are contextualized in the on-going transition for a low-carbon energy system. Scenarios for such transition will be presented and discussed. The challenges (environmental, economic and social) caused by the materials needs for the low carbon energy system transition will be analyzed.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Hugo Manuel Brito Águas, Rodrigo Ferrão de Paiva Martins


Weekly - 5

Total - 76

Teaching language



Available soon


- Rogelj, J. et al (2015) Energy system transformations for limiting end-of-century warming to below 1.5 °C. NATURE Clim Change(5) 519-528

- BP (2014). Materials critical to the energy industry

- JRC (2016) Assess. of potential bottlenecks along materials supply chain for future deployment of low-carbon energy (…)

- Konrad Mertens, “Photovoltaics: Fundamentals, Technology and Practice”, 2014, Wiley.

- Mary D Archer, Martin A Green, Editors, “Clean Electricity From Photovoltaics”, 2015, Imperial College Press.

- Solar cells and their applications, ed. L. D. Partain; John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1995

- Fuel Cells and their applications; ed. K. Kordesh & G. Simader; VCH Publishers, 1996;

- Electrochemical Power sources, primary and secondary batteries, ed. M. BaraK, Peter Perecrinus ltd, 1980;

- Handbook of batteries and fuel cells, ed David Linden, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1984

Teaching method

The lectures are conducted using the powerpoint presentation. The laboratory work includes an application component through exercises and then the experimental work. 

Evaluation method

Evaluation: 20%: Work on the first two classes + 50% average of the tests or exam + 15% characterization Report of a PV module + 15% dimensioning work.

Evaluation work of the first two classes: individual work between 5-6 pages A4 (Times New Roman 11) on the role of solar energy in the global and regional and main energy transition and challenges.

Report: Characterization of solar cells (I-V curves + spectral response); Determination of HotSpots in modules; Manufacture of a silicon thin film solar cell.

Subject matter

- Introduction to  current energy consumption and production & low carbon transition

- Scenarios and materials needs for the low carbon energy transition

- Environment, economic and social challenges associated to materials’ needs for energy

- Materials and devices of photovoltaic energy.

- Materials and Systems used in converting solar energy into thermal energy - coatings / materials absorbers of radiation and other materials;

- Materials and systems for converting heat into electrical energy - operation, materials, manufacturing processes;

- Chromogenic Materials used in energy savings - operation, type of materials used, manufacturing;

- Materials used in energy storage - operation of batteries, materials and respective advantages and disadvantages; fuel cells - operating principle, materials, degree of development and implementation; 


Programs where the course is taught: