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MAS520 Design for Sustainable Energy Technology

Course description for academic year 2022/2023

Contents and structure

The ability for engineers to propose sustainable solutions; ones which acknowledge the challenges imposed by the sustainable development goal (SDG) framework and will meet the needs of an increasing population with a rising standard of living whilst minimising the impact on our planet's limited resources, will define the next generation of problem solvers.  An ability that should be intrinsic to the role of an engineer.

This course combines the elements of engineering design with industrial ecology and sustainability. Students will develop problem solving skills associated with proposal and refinement of solutions, development, communication, organization, and management of projects within a holistic perspective.  These skills are required in contemporary- multidisciplinary engineering projects directed towards the energy sector, i.e. energy conversion, storage and consuming devices.

An understanding of a design team approach will be gained; also, the application and extension of the students’ problem solving knowledge within and beyond their current specialisation.

The course will be centred around a design project which will be supplemented with supporting lectures.

Learning Outcome


The student...

  • understands the engineering design process and the need to weight design decisions against their life cycle, energy, and environmental implications.
  • appreciates the importance of selecting the appropriate materials to provide the required properties in detail, in a part or a major construction element; also, what forms and functions various materials can perform throughout its lifetime.
  • understands the concept of intellectual property with respect to novel solutions or processes, and how ideas can be protected with patents.


The student...

  • can perform initial design studies with overall calculations for structures and devices whose form and function will provide a solution to specified problems.
  • can evaluate proposed engineering solutions in relation to materials and other resource requirements and apply key concepts to design or redesign products to be recyclable, reusable, repurposed, life extended; in a sustainable ethos with a minimisation of waste and environmental impacts.
  • can specify and develop energy efficient and environmentally conscious devices, which are designed for disassembly; be cognisant of legislation affecting product design in relation to environmental impact.
  • can demonstrate proficiency in the use of 3D-printing to provide the capability to rapid prototype elements of a proposed design; and furthermore, appreciate that such technology offers the opportunity to produce optimised components, which are highly recyclable and produced with low energy demands.

General competency

The student…

  • can reflect on their professional practice, working in teams.
  • can present their work though presentation and written report.

Entry requirements

The study programme's entry requirements

Recommended previous knowledge

3D modelling

Teaching methods

The course delivery will be through a combination of supporting lectures forming a general background to a (group) project.  The project will typically consist of taking a specification/definition and engineering a solution: designing, building, testing and evaluating the sustainability of solutions from a life cycle perspective.  Normally the projects will be in *groups and it is desirable that (if appropriate) there will be a competitive element between the final solutions.

The products/devices or systems will be chosen to reflect the disciplines of the programme and could focus on various engineering sectors e.g., wave, wind, solar, thermal devices, or a structure or construction.

Lectures will be structured in such a way as to support the students throughout the design, building and testing of their solutions—including a reflection on the sustainability credentials.

With respect to relevant engineering and cover 3D printing in terms of a rapid prototyping process including also hands-on practical instruction on how to use the technology to support assignment work.

*subject to number of students on the course.

Compulsory learning activities

Oral presentation

The presentation will be assessed on a PASS/FAIL basis covering the analysis and selection of appropriate technologies/ideas to provide an initial engineering solution.  (Assessed on an individual basis on a predefined assessment scheme, although usually delivered as a group).


Group project report with adjusted oral examination.

Grade scale A-F, where F is a fail.  

The grade for group project report may be adjusted up or down by maximum one grade.

Examination support material


More about examination support material