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Energy Masters Courses at Department of Engineering


Course details


Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that all courses will be offered every year due to the availability of teaching staff and capacity limitations. The list below is not exhaustive and some of the listed courses may not be offered.


A. Core Courses (Obligatory)

The aim of the core courses is to bring everybody up to the same level, to introduce key terminology and skills, and to communicate the theme of the MPhil.  We are trying to cover each main primary energy source separately.  Each course counts as one credit.

ET-A1 Energy Topics
  This is a broad course designed to expose the students to a wide variety of energy topics. In addition to the content of the course, the students are expected to develop their skills in exposition. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate material from seminars. Content includes: Research methodology; literature search, Presentation skills, Report writing. Invited seminar from industrialists, policy-makers, power generation, case studies, masterclasses in fuel cells, carbon capture and smart grids.
  Weekly. Offers a regular "get-together" of the whole cohort, the aim is to bring about the many different points of view in the Energy area.
ET-A2 Review of Fundamentals
  This course rapidly revises thermodynamics to a graduate level, from the first and second laws, through to property calculations and an introduction to mixture thermodynamics.   Students are taught to use a high level programming language (typically matlab or python) to solve the PDEs which govern conservation laws. This includes discretisation methods, methods for solving linear and non-linear equations, ordinary differential equations and solving large stiff systems of equations.  
ET-B1 Clean Fossil Fuel Technologies
  Carbon capture and sequestration: basic flame calculations.  Coal characteristics and combustion, power plants.  Natural gas, oil, gas turbines, engines, fundamentals of combustion, and pollution.  This module seeks to give students an understanding of the fundamentals of combustion science, with a knowledge of fossil fuel characteristics and the appropriate conversion technologies, together with an appreciation of the thermofluid science involved in fossil fuels utilisation.  
ET-B2 Renewable energy: wind, tide and hydro
  Wind Turbines, Tidal Power, Hydroelectric plants.  
  This module is assessed by a project in turbine design. Students are asked to design and optimise the rotor of a scale model of a turbine. This involves applying the fluid mechanics from the earlier part of the course and understanding how to scale models correctly. Rapid prototyping is used as part of the optimisation of the rotor.
ET-B3 Renewable energy: solar and biomass
  Solar panels

Biofuels, their production and use

This course focuses on a variety of different methods to harvest solar radiation and convert it into usable energy, through solar thermal technologies and photosynthesis.  The feasibility of solar-derived energy and its potential to be integrated into energy systems of the future will be examined in a variety of contexts. The course will explore the sustainability of many of these technologies and will study the climactic and environmental impacts of these sources relative to conventional energy production and other alternatives. Developing technologies will be introduced by reviewing recent scientific literature. All students will participate in weekly discussions focused on assigned scientific readings on Biofuels topics. 

ET-B4 Energy systems and efficiency
  Exergy analysis, materials, energy in the manufacturing sector, systems analysis

Efficiency measures

This course aims to present useful information, methods and tools for engineers about energy systems and their efficiency. Students are expected to develop a broad understanding of the “complex industrial machine” which deliver energy services and goods to consumers.

These courses are delivered in Michaelmas and Lent, with seminars running throughout the year. Assessment is by coursework, which may involve either 2 x 2000-word reports or one 4000-word report.

B. Electives

Each course = 1 credit = about 16 lectures

The student must select 4 or 6 courses, depending on whether a student takes the "long thesis" or the "short thesis" option respectively. The final selection of courses will need the approval of the Course Director to resolve timetabling conflicts and avoid repetition.

B.1  Courses in CUED

4A2 Computational Fluid Dynamics
4A3 Turbomachinery
4A7 Aerodynamics
4A9 Molecular Thermodynamics
4A10 Flow Instability
4A12 Vortex Dynamics and Turbulence
4A13       Combustion and IC Engines
4A15 Aeroacoustics
4B14 Solar-electronic Power: Generation and Distribution
4B19 Renewable Electrical Power - not available 2022-23
4E4 Management of Technology
4E11 Strategic Management
4I10 Nuclear Reactor Engineering
4I11 Advanced Fission and Fusion Systems
4M16 Nuclear Power Engineering
4M22 Climate Change Mitigation
4M19 Advanced Building Physics
4M23 Electricity and Environment
  • Selected courses from the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development and from the MPhil in Nuclear Energy, if capacity permits.

Potentially, some 3rd-year courses for students with no prior experience in a particular area may be used (for example, a civil engineer who has basic fluid mechanics and is interested in wind energy may be allowed to take a 3rd-year heat transfer and aerodynamics course).

B2. Courses from other Departments:

(We aim to offer these courses, however, it is not always possible.)

From the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (their MPhil in Advanced Chemical Engineering):

  • Particle Technology*
  • Catalysis*
  • B2 Electrochemical Engineering

From the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy:

  • NE.10: Micro and Nano-electrochemistry

From the BP Institute / Department of Mathematics:

  • Fluids and Natural Resources

C. Research project

C1. Long dissertation option:
  Runs from January until August
  20,000-word dissertation
C2. Short dissertation option:
  Runs from March until August
  10,000-word dissertation

Projects will be offered at the beginning of the year with final selection to be made by middle of End of Michaelmas. Group projects (2-4 students) and projects suggested by students are possible.

D. Student Load

At Cambridge, the lectures are very intensive so the students are expected to show significant initiative and exercise very tight time management.

A student taking the "short dissertation" option will have an average of 6 courses per term, (with a little more load in Michaelmas than in Lent). Typically, each course has 16 lectures, which means 2x6=12 lectures per week. A student taking the "long dissertationn" option will have a little more free time from courses, to be spent on the research project.

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