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We face new challenges as we progress from traditional fossil fuels to renewable energy from wind, wave and solar power.

These sources are intermittent and not always available on demand. We need new engineering, technology and specialists to capture, convert, store this energy when plentiful, and deliver it on demand.

Gain the engineering skills to tackle this challenge. Develop your understanding of the interconnection between different forms of energy, energy conversion, device design limitations, and the different ways in which energy might be stored.

Learn with a leading university in renewable energy teaching and research, with the input of industry leaders, in a region forging an energy agenda for the future.

Advance your career, whether you’re already working in the renewable sector or are keen to make the move into this exciting and fast-growing field.

What will I study?

This course will give you a thorough understanding of the need for, and efficiency behind, conversion of energy from one form to another for storage.

You’ll study:

  • the interconnection between different forms of energy
  • the fundamental thermodynamics of converting one form of energy to another - including the factors that limit the efficiency of energy conversion
  • the different ways in which energy might be stored, and how quickly it can be delivered on demand to consumers.

You’ll cover the following topics:

  • Energy conversion and efficiency – mechanical to electrical, solar to electrical solar to heat, heat to mechanical, chemical to electrical, nuclear to electrical, chemical to heat and power.
  • The fuel cell (chemical to electrical) – types, modes of operation, advantages and disadvantages of each, efficiency.
  • Energy storage – definitions and categories of storage forms.
  • Electrical (batteries, capacitors), chemical (hydrogen in various forms) potential energy (pump storage), mechanical (flywheels, compressed gases).
  • Transportation.

By the end of this course, you will…

  • Understand the reasons behind the need to store energy and the options available for energy storage over different time frames.
  • Understand the need to convert, store, then reconvert from one form of energy to another.
  • Be able to assess energy conversion efficiency and understand efficiency limitations during conversion due to thermodynamic or device limitations.
  • Be able to evaluate different sources of energy and quantify their energy potential.

Why study Renewable Energy online with the University of Aberdeen?

How will I study?

This energy course is delivered online, with a final exam that you must sit in person. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you. We'll help you locate an exam centre in your area for your final exam.

Part of our Masters in Renewable Energy, this course is taught at Masters level. You’ll learn from experienced renewables engineers and experts from within the University and industry itself.

This course benefits from an Industry Advisory Board. It constantly reviews course content to ensure that you’re gaining the latest knowledge and are up to speed with emerging trends, technologies and career opportunities.

Your training is delivered through MyAberdeen, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Also available as an app, you can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and mobile device 24/7.

Your course features a range of resources, including:

  • online lectures
  • online tutorials
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Where will this take me?

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Masters in Renewable Energy Engineering (120 credits plus a 60-credit project), or a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Renewable Energy Engineering (60 credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Renewable Energy Engineering (120 credits)

All are available to study part-time online or full-time on campus.

Further short courses

We have a range of online short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


Whether you’re already working in the renewables sector or want to develop your career in the fast-growing renewables field, this course will open doors for you.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Am I ready?

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:1 (upper-second-class) honours degree in Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry
  • or three years’ relevant experience that supports this level of training.

Apply for this course

Start date
18 January 2021