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Renewable Energy Technology MSc/PgDip/PgCert

Full-time/Part-time

Renewable Energy Technology masthead

Cranfield is a respected provider of energy-related research and teaching, which represents about 10% of the University’s income. Students benefit from dedicated state-of-the-art facilities including unique engineering-scale facilities for the development of efficient technologies with low CO2 emissions.

Evidence is growing that production from conventional oil resources has already peaked, and that, at current usage rates, similar peaks will occur in the foreseeable future for natural gas and coal. The use of renewable resources through the development and application of renewable energy technologies is likely to play a major role in future energy supply.

Developed economies now face a number of challenges in procuring energy security and responding to energy pricing and affordability issues, as well as dealing with contributions to carbon emissions in line with the UK Government’s ambitious targets of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The MSc in Renewable Energy Technology develops professional engineers and scientists with the multidisciplinary skills and ability to analyse current and future energy engineering problems, and design and implement appropriate solutions, taking into account the social, environmental, technical, regulatory and commercial issues and constraints.



  • Course overview

    The MSc course comprises eight assessed modules, an integrated group project and an individual project. Students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) complete the eight modules and the group project. Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) students complete six modules, a project and a personal development portfolio.
  • Group project

    The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. It provides students with the opportunity to take responsibility for a consultancy-type project, working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. For part-time students a dissertation usually replaces the group project.

  • Individual project

    The individual thesis project, usually in collaboration with an external organisation, offers students the opportunity to develop their research capability, depth of understanding and ability to provide solutions to real business or industrial challenges in renewable energy technology.

  • Modules

    The MSc course comprises eight assessed modules, a group project and an individual project.

    Core

    • Principles of Sustainability
      Module LeaderDr Paul Burgess - Reader
      Aim

      Human population growth and increased resource use per capita is placing unsustainable demands on the global ecosystem. This module explores sustainability using three approaches.  The “Ecosystem Service” approach provides a framework for society to address key environmental issues such as food production, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, and water use.  The “Circular Economy” approach refers to the development of “restorative” industrial systems that are grounded on the lessons of non-linear, feedback-rich ecosystems.  The third approach is to explore the nexus between renewable energy, food, and other ecosystem services using per capita energy and food consumption. This module introduces and critiques the three approaches and examines their application to resolve real-world problems and create commercial opportunities.  

      Syllabus
      • Moving from an “Empty World” to a “Full World”
      • The Ecosystem Service Approach (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and UK National Ecosystem Assessment)
      • Ecosystem processes and succession; the role of energy; feedback systems; biodiversity and system restoration
      • Using an ecosystem approach: quantifying trade-offs and synergies; improving water and nutrient management, reducing greenhouse gases emissions, enhancing stability, resistance and resilience
      • Introduction to the circular economy: opportunities for businesses; opportunities for consumers
      • How design, manufacturing practice and management can contribute to a circular economy
      • Case study: trade-offs, synergies, and opportunities to enhance well-being and ecosystem service provision in terms of energy, food, feed and wood for a case study area.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

      • Critique the “ecosystem services”, “circular economy”, and “per capita energy use” approaches
      • Critique associated terms such as “human well-being”, “sustainability”, and “biodiversity”
      • Explain the role of energy and feed-back systems in natural systems
      • Explain how an ecosystem service approach can help society to identify and make decisions regarding the use of ecological resources, with a focus on biodiversity, greenhouse gases, nutrient loss, and water use.
      • Explain how we can enhance the stability, resistance and resilience of natural systems.
      • Explain how the “circular economy” provides commercial opportunities
      • Explain how industrial activities such as design and manufacturing can promote a circular economy
      • Use a per capita approach to explore the synergies between food, feed, wood, and renewable energy production to guide decision making and identify opportunities in the context of a case-study.
    • Environmental Valuation
      Aim

      In the search for methods that combine economic analysis and environmental assessments to achieve the goal of sustainable development, the measurement of environmental costs and benefits is an increasingly important element of the appraisal of policies and projects. This module explores economic concepts and techniques that can be used for the valuation of the environment, how these support decisions regarding the optimal allocation of resources and the design of policy interventions.

      Syllabus
      • Techniques for non-market valuation: cost and income based approaches, demand estimation methods - expressed and revealed preference, choice modelling: examples of applications
      • Multi-criteria analysis
      • Stakeholder analysis
      • Environmental accounting at sector and national levels
      • Case study examples of application.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

      • Demonstrate an understanding and ability to apply different approaches and techniques to determining environmental value and demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of economic valuation and accounting
      • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of methods to incorporate them into decision making techniques, especially extended cost benefit analysis, risk assessment and multi criteria analysis
      • Critically appraise the contribution of economic valuation and economic mechanisms to environmental policy
      • Demonstrate an appreciation of the purpose and methods of environmental accounting at sector and national level.
    • Renewable Energy Technologies: Fundamentals
      Module LeaderDr Stuart Wagland - Lecturer in Renewable Energy from Waste
      Aim

      An understanding of the principles of onshore renewable energy technologies is key to understanding the technological basis of the systems and applications, particularly with regards to the overall energy mix of a specific country. The module provides the fundamentals of the renewable energy technologies and their impact on global and national energy system. The purpose of this module is to introduce the basis for assessment of the performances of solar technologies (thermal and PV), onshore wind, biomass and waste technologies, geothermal and hydroelectric technologies.

      Syllabus
      • Solar energy technologies, including photovoltaic and concentrated solar power [CSP]
      • Definition of solar radiation fundamentals and models of solar radiation
      • Biochemical sources of energy
      • Anaerobic digestion
      • Landfill gas
      • Waste and biomass
      • Onshore and offshore wind energy: fundamentals of wind turbines and placement
      • Geothermal and Hydroelectric Systems (operating principles of the geothermal and hydroelectric technologies)
      • Wave and tidal energy technologies
      • Ground-source heat pumps.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Articulate the fundamental principles, terminology and key issues related to the major onshore and offshore renewable energy technologies.
      • Understand and critically compare the challenges for the development and operation of the major technologies.
      • Identify gaps in the knowledge and discuss potential opportunities for further development.
    • Fuels and Energy Conversion
      Module LeaderDr Hamidreza Gohari Darabkhani - Academic Fellow in IERT
      Aim

      A complete knowledge of the main conventional fuels and the principles of the energy conversion systems are fundamental for a better understanding of concepts related to energy. The course provides the fundamentals of thermodynamics and their application to major energy conversion systems, including hydrogen production and utilization. The purpose of this module is to introduce the basis for assessment of performance and consumption of fossil fuel and related fuels (biomass, biogas, waste, etc) involved in the generation of electricity and heat, usually through changes in thermodynamic conditions of fuels, interacting with thermo-mechanical devices.

      Syllabus
      • Definition of chemical and physical properties and characteristics of the main fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, waste, etc)
      • Fundamentals of thermodynamics of the major energy conversion systems
      • Principles of operation of fossil fuel and biomass systems
      • Combustion
      • Gasification
      • Pyrolysis
      • Fundamentals of hydrogen production and fuel cells
      • Polygeneration and combined heat and power (CHP) systems
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Articulate the main principles, terminology and key issues related to the major energy conversion systems.
      • Describe and explain the major energy conversion systems related to the use of fossil and related fuels and explain the difference between conventional and renewable fuels.
    • Evaluating Sustainability
      Module LeaderDr Adrian Williams - Principal Research Fellow
      Aim

      The goods and services that we consume impose impacts on the environment. These include globally influential ones, like greenhouse gases and local ones, like water pollution. We need to quantify these to compare production or consumption methods and understand what our collective and individual consumption demands impose on the earth’s environment. We must also apply mature, critical thinking to environmental claims.
      A life cycle perspective forms the basis of much of the module. N.B. Economic sustainability is not addressed.

      Syllabus
      • Frameworks and approaches: Life Cycle Assessment, Carbon and Water Footprints, Ecological Footprints, Ecosystem Service Evaluation, Environmental Impact Assessment, Carbon Brainprint, Population Dynamics and Sustainability.
      • Application areas: Manufacturing, food production and consumption, energy systems, waste management, fishing and farming.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:
       

      • To understand and apply the principles of environmental Life Cycle Assessment and Water Footprinting.
      • To evaluate critically both these and other approaches used to assess environmental sustainability and to make claims about environmental sustainability
      • To understand the principles of Environmental Impact Assessment
      • To obtain insight into real life environmental decision making
      • To understand the principles of population sustainability
    • Renewable Energy Technologies: Systems
      Module LeaderDr Stuart Wagland - Lecturer in Renewable Energy from Waste
      Aim


      Building on the fundamental understanding of the available renewable energy technologies, it is important to understand the in-depth operating principles, development and small/large scale systems of the main renewable energy generation technologies.  The purpose of this module is to cover the state-of-the-art knowledge on the whole technological systems that make up the renewable energy mix.  This module will recap solar energy, waste and biomass and wind and explore energy storage technologies.  Additionally the management of demand and smart grids will be covered in this module, allowing students to understand the concepts of a dynamic low carbon energy system.

      Syllabus
      • The current energy demand and methods of managing changing demand patterns, including the use of smart metering and smart grids
      • Energy Storage (fundamentals of Chemical, Biological, Electrochemical, Electrical, Mechanical and Thermal Storage- link to energy generation  technology)
      • The concept of a resilient energy system made up of a broad range of renewable energy technologies.
         
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Discuss the concept of an energy system with regards to demand management, managing intermittency and smart grids
      • Describe and explain the main renewable energy systems and critically discuss how these differ to the conventional energy mix and the challenges with moving towards a low carbon energy future
      • Critically analyse how different renewable energy technologies will co-exist to form a national resilient energy system.
    • Renewable Energy Technologies: Design Case Study
      Module LeaderDr Stuart Wagland - Lecturer in Renewable Energy from Waste
      Aim

      This module aims to enhance the understanding of the scientific and technological operating principles of key renewable energy technologies and systems, obtained from previous modules. The module will focus on a specific location and explore available renewable energy technology options, also encapsulating energy recovery from waste and biomass fuels provided in previous modules to allow in-depth and focussed development of a renewable energy case study. This module develops skills in working as a team and allows groups of students to examine the design of a renewable energy system in the context of competing technologies and economic viability, culminating in the presentation of a business case of the suggested development plans for the location/region specified.

      Syllabus
      • Multi-criteria decision analysis [MDCA] applied to renewable and low carbon energy technologies to identify the best available technology
      • Energy technologies and systems: understanding the development and scaling/design of the technologies by applying an understanding of the available resources and land space in the assigned location
      • Assessing available solid fuels and competing markets (e.g. paper waste)
      • Researching and modelling energy demand and supply in the case study location to determine the scale of the technologies required to fulfil the brief
      • Public engagement strategies and the planning process involved in developing energy technologies (i.e. solar PV, wind energy, energy from waste etc).
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the main principles, terminology and key issues related to the major renewable energy systems
      • Critically evaluate available energy options and be able to use valid methods to assess the best available technology for specific scenarios
      • Critically apply knowledge to identify and design a viable renewable energy system for a given application using multi-criteria decision analysis
      • Demonstrate the ability to work as part of a group to achieve the stated requirements of the module brief.
    • Energy Policy, Carbon Markets and Futures
      Aim

      Decreased regulation, declining transport costs, improved infrastructure and the innovation of a range of financial instruments has helped to make the energy market one of the most financially attractive commodity markets to investors. Price movements on the energy markets have important implications for economic growth and social welfare, while perceptions of dwindling energy resources and excessive CO2 emissions are making governments’ increasingly sensitive to energy security issues . In this context, this module analyses the range of policies used to achieve sustainable and secure energy supplies and the methods for assessing the performance of policy interventions. An important policy strategy is an increased reliance on market forces to deliver energy solutions and this module reviews commodity market structure, commodity exchanges and financial instruments related to energy. Linked to this is a review of the carbon market and how this is evolving over time.

      Syllabus
      • Energy policy theory and practice
      • Energy commodity market structure, carbon market structure
      • Financial markets, spot and futures markets
      • Financial instruments in energy markets
      • Price forecasting
      • Policy analysis and impact assessment.
      Intended Learning Outcomes

      On successful completion of this study the student should be able to:

      • Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the purpose of energy policy
      • Demonstrate an understanding of the range of policy strategies and instruments 
      • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of energy and carbon markets
      • Demonstrate an understanding of the financial instruments traded within energy and carbon markets
      • Analyse methods used to forecast energy and carbon prices
      • Critically evaluate strategies for energy security and sustainability.
  • Assessment

    Taught modules 40%, group project 20% (dissertation for part-time students), individual project 40%.

  • Start date, duration and location

    Start date: Full-time: October. Part-time: throughout the year.

    Duration: Full-time MSc - 1 year, Part-time MSc - 3 years, Full-time PgCert - up to 1 year, Part-time PgCert - 2 years, Full-time PgDip - up to 1 year, Part-time PgDip - 2 years

    Teaching location: Cranfield

  • Overview

    Cranfield is a respected provider of energy related research and teaching, which represents about 10% of the University’s income. Students benefit from dedicated state-of-the-art facilities including unique engineering-scale facilities for the development of efficient technologies with low CO2 emissions.

  • Informed by industry

    Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. These include:

    • P A Consulting
    • Joint Research Centre, Ispra
    • Adas
    • Cresswell Associates
    • Chartered Institute of Waste Management
    • Geospatial Insight
    • Oakdene Hollins
    • Golder
    • Astrium Geo-information Services
    • Unilever
    • Landscape Science Consultancy
    • WRc PLC
    • FWAG
    • RSPB
    • ERM
    • GIGL
    • WRG
    • Environment Agency
    • Chartered Institute of Water and Environment Management
    • Enviros
    • Health Protection Agency
    • Neales Waste
    • Natural England
    • National Trust
    • Trucost
    • SLR Consulting
    • Highview Power Storage
    • Nomura Code Securities
  • Your teaching team

    You will be taught by industry-active research academics from Cranfield with an established track record, supported by visiting lecturers from industry. To ensure the programme is aligned to industry needs, the course is directed by its own Industrial Advisory Committee.

  • Facilities and resources

    Students benefit from access to dedicated state-of-the-art facilities at Cranfield including unique engineering-scale facilities for the development of efficient technologies with low CO2 emissions. These include a variety of energy conversion facilities for renewable fuels such as biomass and waste (using combustion and gasification), burner rigs and furnaces to simulate process environments in gas turbines and other systems using gas and liquid biofuels, CO2 capture and transport research facilities, anaerobic digestion, etc.

  • Entry Requirements

    A first or second class UK Honours degree (or equivalent) in a related science or engineering discipline. Other recognised professional qualifications or several years relevant industrial experience may be accepted as equivalent; subject to approval by the Course Director.


    Applicants who do not fulfil the standard entry requirements can apply for the Pre-Masters programme, successful completion of which will qualify them for entry to this course for a second year of study.

    English language

    If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

    IELTS - 6.5

    TOEFL - 92 

    Pearson PTE Academic - 65

    Cambridge English Scale - 180

    Cambridge English: Advanced - C

    Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

    In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

    We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

    Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.

  • Fees

    Home/EU student

    MSc Full-time - £9,000

    *

    The annual registration fee is quoted above. An additional fee of £1,300 per module is also payable.

    MSc Part-time - £1,500 *

    PgDip Full-time - £7,200

    PgDip Part-time - £1,500 *

    PgCert Full-time - £3,600

    PgCert Part-time - £1,500 *

    Overseas student

    MSc Full-time - £17,500

    **

    For taught courses where the registration is 2 years or longer, students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at six month intervals (i.e. the full fee to be paid over the first two years of their registration). For courses lasting less than two years, students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at three month intervals.

    MSc Part-time - £17,500 **

    PgDip Full-time - £14,000

    PgDip Part-time - £14,000 **

    PgCert Full-time - £7,000

    PgCert Part-time - £7,000 **

    Fee notes:

    • The fees outlined here apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2015 and 31 July 2016 and the University reserves the right to amend fees without notice.
    • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
    • Additional fees for extensions to registration may be charged.
    • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.
    • Fees for entry to the 2016/17 academic year will be available soon.
  • Funding

    Funding opportunities exist, including industrial sponsorship, School bursaries and a number of general external schemes.  For the majority of part-time students sponsorship is organised by their employers. We recommend you discuss this with your company in the first instance.

  • Application process

    Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at that time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

  • Career opportunities

    With the current worldwide focus on addressing low carbon energy production and renewable energy technologies, graduates of this course can expect to be highly sought after by employers. Successful graduates will have the skills and knowledge to be able to analyse current and future energy needs, and design and implement appropriate solutions, taking into account the social, environmental, technical, regulatory and commercial issues. Graduates can expect to go on to a wide-range of careers as professional scientists or engineers in energy production, distribution and demand management across the full breadth of industrial and public sector organisations.