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Photosynthesis and Bioenergy (PBE)


Photosynthesis and Bioenergy
Up to date schedule information

Core course in MSc Chemistry (Energy & Sustainability), Elective course MSc Life Science and Technology.

Admission requirements

BSc in MST or LST with a major in Chemistry or LST. All other candidates should have a basic knowledge of photochemistry and spectroscopy.


In photosynthesis, the Sun’s energy is captured and stored by a series of events that convert the
pure energy of light into the biochemical energy needed to power life. This course describes the
molecular processes in photosynthesis from light capture to carbon fixation, with a special focus on the early events. The first part will focus on the biophysical concepts and design principles of
natural photosynthesis, with relevance for artificial photosynthesis. The second part will focus on
regulation in oxygenic photosynthesis. In addition, the course will contain 1-2 sessions
concentrated on scientific reading papers covering a specific theme. During these sessions, students will give an oral presentation of an assigned reading paper, followed by group discussion. While this course is a core module for Chemistry (Energy & Sustainability), Life Science and Technology students with interest in green biology are encouraged to join.
Course material contains chapters from the book “Molecular Mechanisms in Photosynthesis” (R.E. Blankenship, Wiley 2nd edition 2014) and distributed lecture slides. Students are expected to have a basic background knowledge in photochemistry and spectroscopy. The appendix of the course book also provides an elementary overview of common spectroscopy and techniques used in photosynthesis.

After this course, students will be able to

  • read and discuss scientific literature on selected photochemical/photophysical topics in

  • explain molecular mechanisms underlying photophysical/photochemical processes in

  • apply theory of excitation and electron transfer to calculate energy transfer, quantum yields, solar energy conversion efficiencies and losses in photosynthetic networks

  • explain current molecular models for photoprotection.

  • discuss current initiatives for improvement of biomass and biofuel production

Mode of instruction

Lectures, exercises and literature presentations




Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes

Study load

Course lectures, 4 hours/week.


Molecular Mechanisms of Photosynthesis, 2nd Edition
Robert E. Blankenship
ISBN: 978-1-4051-8976-7
April 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
The book is available as e-book.

Slides presented during the courses


Written exam (80%) and oral presentation/discussion (20%).


via Blackboard.


Contact the lecturer