Renewable Energy Engineering MSc
About the course
Renewable energy is an essential and vital resource for the world’s future, and future there is an urgent need for engineers capable of solving the industry’s complex challenges in this field.
Studying Renewable Energy Engineering at Brunel provides graduates with the knowledge and skills to make a strategic real-world impact in the resolution of the world’s energy problems.
Graduates from Brunel’s MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering will develop:
- The versatility and depth to deal with new, demanding and unusual challenges across a range of renewable energy issues, drawing on an understanding of all aspects of renewable energy principles including economic assessment.
- The imagination, initiative and creativity to enable them to follow a successful engineering career with national and international companies and organisations.
- Specialist knowledge and transferable skills for successful careers including, where appropriate, progression to Chartered Engineer status.
Women in Engineering Scholarships.
Huge business incentives, markets and a wide variety of employment opportunities throughout the world are expected with the development of renewable energy resources as a substitute for fossil fuel technology.
The purpose of the MSc programme is to help meet this demand by cultivating qualified and skilled professionals with specialist knowledge in relevant technologies within the renewable energy sector.
The primary aim is to create Master’s degree graduates with qualities and transferable skills ready for demanding employment in the renewable energy sector. These graduates will have the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development and acquiring new skills at the highest level, and the programme also establishes a strong foundation for those who expect to continue onto a PhD or industrial research and development.
Initial programme learning outcomes
The programme will provide opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding of:
- The principles and environmental impact of renewable energy technologies, including solar (thermal and electricity), wind, tidal, wave and hydro, geothermal, biomass and hydrogen.
- The principles of energy conversion and appropriate thermodynamic machines.
- The heat and mass transfer processes that relate to energy systems and equipment.
- The principles, objectives, regulation, computational methods, economic procedures, emissions trading, operation and economic impact of energy systems.
- The diversity of renewable energy system interactions and how they can be integrated into actual energy control systems and industrial processes.
At the cognitive thinking level, students will be able to:
- Select, use and evaluate appropriate investigative techniques.
- Assemble and critically analyse relevant primary and secondary data.
- Recognise and assess the problems and critically evaluate solutions to challenges in managing renewable energy projects.
- Evaluate the environmental and financial sustainability of current and potential renewable energy activities
- Develop a thesis by establishing the basic principles and following a coherent argument.
In terms of practical, professional and transferable skills, students will be able to:
- Define and organise a substantial advanced investigation.
- Select and employ appropriate advanced research methods.
- Organise technical information into a concise, coherent document.
- Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
- Design and select renewable energy equipment and systems based on specific requirements/conditions.
- Work as part of, and lead, a team.
The taught element of the course (September to April) includes eight modules; delivery will be by a combination of lectures, tutorials and group/seminar work. A further four months (May to September) is spent undertaking the dissertation.
- Renewable Energy Technologies I-Solar Thermal and electricity systems
The module covers the details related to solar energy including concentrating solar power, solar water heating, solar space heating and cooling, solar desalination, photovoltaic, and modelling of solar thermal power systems.
- Renewable Energy Technologies II-Wind, Tidal, Wave, Hydroelectricity
The module covers the present situation and potential development of power generation with wind, tidal and wave, fundamental principles related to these renewable energies, technologies for the selection, design and operation of systems related and integration with national grid.
- Renewable Energy Technologies III-Geothermal, Biomass, Hydrogen
This module covers: Environmental and economic benefits of these renewable energies; the present situation and potential development of these renewable energies; fundamental principles related to these renewable energies; technologies for the selection, design and operation of systems related to these renewable energies.
Renewable Energy Systems for the Built Environment : This module covers:
- Sustainable Energy in the Built Environment: Carbon Impact of the Built environment; targets and performance; processes for delivering energy to buildings; patterns of energy usage in buildings; methods of energy demand assessment and reduction; introduction to the design process; design strategies for carbon mitigation; effect of climate change; energy and environmental criteria for design; tools for building energy and environmental appraisal; methods of subjective and objective assessment of environmental conditions and energy demand for optimal performance.
- Energy demand and building services design: introduction to building services engineering, thermal load calculations; space planning for services; systems analysis and evaluation; Thermal Energy Distribution Systems; Electrical Systems, Controls and Metering system selection and cost analysis; Design Integration and statutory Legislation; Power system load assessment; Space planning and co-ordination.
- Renewable system integration: Tools for selection of suitable renewable technologies for various types and building use, use of marginal abatement curves (MAC) for technology cost evaluation, design of selected systems, integration with thermal and electrical services systems and equipment.
Energy Conversion Technologies
This module provides a broad introduction to the principles of energy conversion and thermodynamic machines and demonstrates their application to energy conversion and management in buildings. Emphasis is placed on refrigeration plant, energy conversion plant and energy management.
- Refrigeration: Covers the basic principles and components of vapour compression systems, heat pumps and absorption systems
- Energy Conversion: Considers power cycles, combined heat and power, combustion processes, boiler plant, thermal energy storage and environmental impacts.
Environmental Legislation: Energy and Environmental Review and Audit
This module includes: environmental regulations, hands-on environmental review and audit, environmental management systems, energy audit and management, establishing a monitoring and targeting scheme.
Advanced Heat and Mass Transfer
This module presents theory and practical concepts of single and two-phase heat transfer and applies this to actual heat and mass transfer equipment. Main topics include: concepts of heat transfer; boiling; condensation; heat exchangers; mass transfer concepts and equipment.
The dissertation is a stimulating and challenging part of each MSc course. Dissertations may be carried out on any approved topic related to the renewable energy industry. Essentially the dissertation gives the student the opportunity to apply the techniques and disciplines covered in the taught course to a topic of their own interest, of interest to a sponsoring or industrial organisation, or of research interest.
Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel
and what you will learn on the course.
We have extensive and well-equipped laboratories, particular areas of strength being in fluid and biofluid mechanics, IC engines, vibrations, building service engineering, and structural testing. Our computing facilities are diverse and are readily available to all students. The University is fully networked with both Sun workstations and PCs. Advanced software is available for finite and boundary element modelling of structures, finite volume modelling of flows, and for the simulation of varied control systems, flow machines, combustion engines, suspensions, built environment, and other systems of interest to the research groups.
About Mechanical Engineering at Brunel
Mechanical Engineering offers a number of MSc courses all accredited by professional institutes as appropriate additional academic study (further learning) for those seeking to become qualified to register as Chartered Engineers (CEng). Accrediting professional institutes vary by course and include the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), Energy Institute (EI) and Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).
Teaching in the courses is underpinned by research activities in aerospace engineering, automotive/motorsport engineering, solid and fluid mechanics, and energy & environment. Staff generate numerous publications, conference presentations and patents, and have links with a wide range of institutions both within and outside the UK. The discipline benefits from research collaboration with numerous outside organisations including major oil companies, vehicle manufacturers, and other leading industrial firms and governmental laboratories. We have links with at least six teaching hospitals and work with universities in China, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Denmark, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Italy and the US.
The requirement of UK-SPEC reinforces the need for a recent graduate with a Bachelor degree to take an appropriate postgraduate qualification in order to become a chartered engineer (currently, an accredited Bachelors degree does not enable the graduate to proceed to Chartered Engineer status without additional learning at M level).
This MSc program will be compliant with the further learning requirements of UK-SPEC. Accreditation will be sought from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE) and Energy Institute. As a result, it will appeal to recent graduates who have not yet obtained the appropriate qualifications but intend to become Chartered Engineers. Most importantly, it will appeal to Mechanical, Chemical and Building Services Engineering graduates who wish to specialise in energy, or suitably experienced graduates of related subjects such as Physics.
Facts and Figures
The extensive consumption of fossil fuels worldwide has been contributing increasingly to global warming, air pollution and imminent energy crisis. One of the global challenges of the 21st century is to tackle these risks surrounding excessive CO2 emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. However, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the world's current use of renewable energy is only 13% of its overall energy consumption.
In response to this, European Commission directives aim for a 20% reduction in fossil fuel usage throughout Europe by 2020, and a 15% increase in the use of renewable energy in the UK within the same time period. For Scotland, the Scottish Executive has a target of generating 17% to 18% of electricity from renewables by 2010, a figure rising to 80% by 2020. Renewables located in Scotland count towards both the Scottish target and to the overall target for the UK. Consequently, according to the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan (LCTP) by 2020: 34% of carbon emissions will be cut, over 1.2 million people will be employed in 'green' jobs; the efficiency of 7 million homes will be improved, with over 1.5 million of them generating renewable energy. With any luck, more than 50% of the world‘s energy supply could be met with renewables by 2050.
It follows through that huge business incentives, markets and a wide variety of employment opportunities throughout the world can be expected with the development of renewable energy resources as a substitute for fossil fuel technology. The purpose of the MSc programme is to help meet this demand by cultivating qualified and skilled professionals with specialist knowledge into the relevant technology within the renewable energy sector.
Teaching and Assessment
Students are introduced to subject material, including key concepts, information and approaches, through a mixture of standard lectures and seminars, laboratory practical, field work, self-study and individual research reports. Supporting material isavailable online. The aim is to challenge students and inspire them to expand their own knowledge and understanding.
Preparation for work is achieved through the development of 'soft' skills such as communication, planning, management and team work. In addition, guest speakers from industries provide a valuable insight into the real world of renewable energy.
Many of the practical activities in which the students engage, develop into enjoyable experiences. For example, working in teams for laboratory and field work and site visits. We encourage students to develop personal responsibility and contribution throughout the course. Many elements of coursework involve, and reward, the use of initiative and imagination. Some of the projects may be linked with research in CEBER, CAPF and BIPS research centres.
- 1 Year Full-Time: The taught element of the course (September to April) is delivered by a combination of lectures, tutorials and group/seminar work. From May to September students undertake the dissertation.
- 3-5 Years Distance Learning: The programme is designed to enable you to conduct most of your studies at home, in your own time and at your own pace. Students are supplied with a study pack in the form of text books and CD-ROMs; cut-off dates for receipt of assignments are specified at the beginning of each stage. Examinations can be taken either at Brunel University London or in the country you are resident in. The dissertation is carried out in one year.
Modules are assessed either by formal examination, written assignments or a combination of the two.
Each module is assessed either by formal examination, written assignments or a combination of the two. Cut-off dates for receipt of assignments are specified at the beginning of the academic year. Examinations are normally taken in May. The MSc dissertation project leading to submission of the MSc Dissertation is normally carried out over four months (FT students) or one year (DL students).
The MSc programme will provide a pathway to Masters-level learning for students who wish to proceed to become Chartered Engineers. The primary destination is designed for these graduates to take senior technical and management positions in many areas of postgraduate employment in both the UK, EU and overseas such as manufacturing industries, energy and environmental consultancy companies, energy advice and research centre, academia, and national and international non-governmental organisations.
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
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Fees for 2016/17 entry
Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students
UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.
Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).
Entry Criteria 2016/17
A UK first or second class Honours degree Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in an engineering or technology discipline. Other qualifications and relevant experience will be assessed on an individual basis.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU Entry Requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English Language Requirements
- IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
- Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)
Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.
However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.
Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.
Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.