MEng Chemical Engineering

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Sustainable Energy Systems

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEN40202
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Traditional carbon based energy sources such as gas, oil, and coal are becoming increasingly costly, and are also leading to increased environmental concerns such as global warming and pollution hazards. Consequently there is increased attention being focused on alternative energy sources that have a reduced environmental impact. 

This module examines and evaluates potential alternative energy sources, and further advocates design methods that integrate alternative energy sources into energy supply systems. In addition to looking at renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal, the unit will examine the feasibility of making use of waste as an energy source. Energy supply systems that make use of traditional carbon based energy sources will be examined for maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact, and evaluated for potential integration with renewable energy sources, on various scales. The integration of varying sizes of energy supply systems will be examined within the context of distributed energy systems. Modelling approaches will be developed and evaluated for the analysis of the alternative energy sources and also applied to the design of energy systems.


Lecture 1         Introduction

Lecture 2         Solar Energy

Lecture 3         Wind Energy

Lecture 4         Geothermal Energy

Lecture 5         Hydropower

Lecture 6         Biomass and Waste

Lecture 7         Energy extraction from Biomass and Waste

Lecture 8         Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Energy Storage

Lecture 9         Advanced Rankine Cycles

Lecture 10       Advanced Brayton Cycles and Combined Cycles

Lecture 11       Heat Pumping and Refrigeration Systems

Lecture 12       Other Heat Engines and Power Cycles (ORC, Kalina, Gas Engines)

Lecture 13       District Heating/Cooling Systems

Lecture 14       Distributed Energy Systems



Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Energy Systems CHEN64341 Co-Requisite Optional
Utility System Design CHEN40431 Co-Requisite Optional
CHEN40202 Co-Requisites


The unit aims to:

The course will examine and evaluate alternative energy sources that allow for the reduction of carbon based emissions, are sustainable, and also can meet heating, cooling, and power requirements on various scales. Models and tools will be developed which aid the overall design of energy supply systems that can integrate traditional and renewable energy sources, and can be implemented within distributed systems.  Attention is focused on Combined Heat and Power systems and Trigeneration systems on various scales.


Learning outcomes

Examine and demonstrate the viability of a range of renewable energy sources in meeting energy supply requirements on a range of scales

Appraise the feasibility of designs that include both renewable and conventional energy sources for integrated energy systems in meeting energy supply requirements at different scales

Develop and evaluate models of conventional and alternative energy source conversion systems 

Evaluate available methods for achieving higher efficiency in the use of energy sources within different energy supply systems

Assess the potential of integrating conventional and alternative energy sources in energy systems at various scales

Examine and assess energy demand scenarios and generate and evaluate a range of energy supply solutions to meet these demands 

Assess the impact of conventional, renewable, and integrated energy systems with respect to carbon emissions, sustainability and cost 

Examine the potential of distributed energy systems in meeting energy supply requirements at various scales, taking into account economics and environmental benefit 

Use software to produce energy system design variations to meet specified requirements

Teaching and learning methods

The unit makes use of traditional face-to-face lectures, problem solving sessions, and the use of software in solving larger scale problems during timetabled practical sessions. All materials are available via Blackboard including virtual lectures (podcasts) which can assist in the learning process. Communications outside of teaching slots also make use of the Blackboard system.

Coursework has been designed in order to demonstrate subject knowledge and competency in methodology, evaluation and interpretation of results, and communication/presentation skills. You will be required to make use of engineering calculations, the use of software, and general problem solving skills. Coursework is required to be submitted via Blackboard and in the form of a hardcopy.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 70%

Feedback methods

Generic feedback form released after the examination.

Recommended reading

Core Reading

Smith R, 2016, Chemical Process Design and Integration, 2nd Edition, John Wiley, ISBN 9781119990147

Further Reading

Eastop, T D, and Croft, D R, Energy Efficiency: for Engineers and Technologists, 1990, Harlow: Longman Scientific and Technical

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 36
Independent study hours
Independent study 114

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Simon Perry Unit coordinator
Laurence Stamford Unit coordinator

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