Renewable energy has gained traction in recent years, with the 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive setting the challenge to generate 20% of total energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. Read more Read less

The UK has been proactive in implementing incentives for the development of such technologies, culminating in a milestone in 2016 where wind turbines produced more electricity than the long-favoured coal.  The UK now has a significant capacity of wind and solar energy, along with biomass and waste-to-energy facilities offering low-carbon alternatives to traditional fossil fuels.  Whilst the production of renewable and low-carbon energy is of utmost importance for the circular economy, such technologies require materials in their manufacture (e.g. silicon, rare earth elements etc) and operation (e.g. waste-derived feedstocks which also have some value as a recyclate).  This course will explore the available technologies, the challenges in selecting the best technology for a specific location/scale and explore the future challenges.  

At a glance

Course structure

This is a two-day interactive course including inspirational key note presentations, case studies, group work, practical workshops and facilitated discussions. As well as hearing from experts working in the renewable energy and resource management sectors, participants will have the opportunity to network with a cohort from a variety of backgrounds and industrial sectors about their own challenges of implementation.

What you will learn

Participants will, upon completing the course, be able to apply an understanding of renewable energy technologies to critically discuss the role in, and the importance of, a circular economy.

In particular, those attending the course will learn about the circular management of critical raw materials in the manufacture and lifecycle of renewable energy technologies, the role of low-carbon energy and bioenergy in the circular economy and the overall impact of a sustainable energy system.

Core content

  • Complimentary access to inspirational material specifically developed for the course by Cranfield University and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation;
  • Introduction to renewable energy technologies and the concept of an energy system;
  • Case studies of recent renewable energy development and the future role of such technologies;
  • Introduction to techniques for assessing suitable technology options;
  • Raw materials required for manufacturing renewable energy technologies and those used directly in energy generation (i.e. solid fuels from wastes);
  • Complimentary membership to a network of circular thinkers to support ongoing learning and application of circular innovation. 


Day one

Session one

  • Renewable energy technologies: Introduction
  • Global futures: low-carbon energy case studies

Session two

  • Using multi-criteria decision analysis to determine best available technology to meet a specific requirement (scale and location)
  • Group presentations and discussion

Day two

Session three

  • The concept of a renewable energy system: smart grids and energy storage
  • Materials for renewable energy technologies

Session four

  • Role of renewable and low-carbon energy technologies in the circular economy: facilitated discussion

Who should attend

The two-day intensive course is suitable for all motivated individuals, innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders with an interest in renewable energy in the context of a circular economy. No previous experience of renewable energy technologies, resource management or the circular economy is necessary.


20% Discount for Cranfield University Alumni

30% Discount for members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation CE100.

40% Discount for Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Partners.

Accommodation options and prices

Accommodation is available at Mitchell Hall which is located on campus. All rooms are en-suite and bookings are on a half-board basis. If you would like to book accommodation for this short course at Mitchell Hall, please indicate this on the registration form and we will arrange this for you. 

Alternatively, you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.