Renewable Energy Technologies


This module covers advanced aspects of the science, technology, socio−economic environmental aspects of renewable energy production, with a particular emphasis on biofuels.


To provide students with understanding of physical, chemical, biological and engineering aspects of renewable energy production, and the socio−economic and environmental aspects of its production and utilisation.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Critically appraise the current and future status of renewable energy.

2.  Evaluate research in biotechnological processes involved in biofuel production.

3.  Evaluate the significance of renewable energy production with regard to human health, socio−economics, energy balances, environmental impact and industrial production.

4.  Develop effective evidence based practices and policies designed to support strategic objectives and decision−making in dealing with renewable energy and environmental impact.

5.  Critically examine economic and political challenges associated with the renewable energy sector with respect to economic development, growth, climate change and energy security in the 21st Century.

Indicative Content

1 Overvew of Renewable Energy Technologies

Types of common renewable technologies. Pros and cons of common technologies. Economic aspects; energy balances; environmental, socio−economic and political considerations; national and international directives.

2 Bioethanol and other liquid transportation biofuels

Overview of biodiesel, biobuthanol and bioethanol global production (statistics). Overview of biodiesel and biobutanol (ABE fermentation) production processes. Overview of bioethanol production processes. First (starch and sugar−based) and second (cellulose−based) generation feedstocks . Feedstock processing. Fermentation and distillation: theoretical and applied aspects.

3 Biogas and other biofuels

Theory and practice of anaerobic digestion. Future prospects. Biogas and digestate re−use options. Biohydrogen. Microbial fuel cells.

4 Renewable energy for heat and electricity generation

Overview of some renewable energy technologies, such as thermal processes, hydro, wind, wave, geothermal, solar and nuclear power (electricity) generation. Technological and environmental aspects.

5 Future prospects for renewable energy

A review of emerging and future renewable technologies.

6 Economic growth, economic development and climate change

Bio−fuels, Food, Development and Climate Change, the Energy Mix, Fuel Efficiency, Energy Economics and Markets.Environmental decision support tools such as economic evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, multi criteria analysis in the context of the development of priorities for sustainable development. 

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Learning outcomes of this module will be achieved by students attending lectures, tutorials and student−centred seminars. The latter, in addition to literature research, will enhance key transferable skills. Industrial visits, where appropriate, will also be arranged.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 0
Lecture 0
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 0
Independent 0

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/10 , and may be subject to change for future years.