Chemistry for Sustainable Energy | Postgraduate Taught Subjects | Study Here (2023)


This MSc offers a comprehensive overview of current and emerging technologies that are guiding the just energy transition.

A future energy scenario will involve the collaboration of a range of technologies. This Masters course will give students a high level of understanding in the areas of electrochemical conversion devices (such as battery and fuel cell technology), carbon capture technologies and the hydrogen economy. Circular economy approaches and current sustainable innovations will also be covered.

  • Ranked 7th in the UK for Chemistry, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
  • Ranked 1st in Scotland for Overall Student Satisfaction, National Student Survey 2021.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
Location of Study

This programme (formerly named MSc Advanced Energy Materials) provides a detailed overview of the current and emerging technologies which will enable us to transition our energy landscape and live sustainably.

You will learn about the chemistry that underpins big picture topics such as batteries, fuel cells, gas separation storage and utilisation (i.e., carbon capture), renewables and the hydrogen economy.

We do not focus just on chemistry, however – we also consider the role of policy, technological innovation while providing opportunities for students to develop their practical and professional skills (i.e., communication, data analysis, evaluating literature, ethics, intellectual property etc) throughout the programme to enhance employability.

Lecture content ties in with the practical laboratory exercises. The practical labs and modelling workshops are unique to the University of Aberdeen, ranging from building operational photovoltaic devices to experimental electrochemical techniques, as well as advanced computer-based workshops on the modelling of battery systems and solid-state electrolyte materials.

The group project is framed within a business setting to help develop your professional skills. For this project, the project team is set the task of meeting with a client to obtain a project brief, which they must then develop into a workplan, execute the plan and present results to their client.

The programme includes an individual research project requiring literature reviewing, project design, experimental activities, data processing & interpretation and reporting of results. This programme is aimed at students with some Chemistry knowledge, however, applications are also welcome from people with industry experience, for example, in oil and gas, who are looking to retrain or upskill to work in the renewable energy sector.

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Lab Skills (CM5559)

15 Credit Points

This module is entirely laboratory based and will aim to introduce students to fundamental experimental techniques and practises which are widespread across the energy sector.

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Detailed course information

Professional Skills (CM5558)

15 Credit Points

This module is designed to help students gain experience and confidence in using a variety of skills that are of importance for a professional chemist.

Battery Technology (CM5557)

15 Credit Points

This lecture course will cover a range of existing battery technologies from lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles, to redox flow batteries utilised in large scale stationary storage.

Detailed course information

Gas Separation, Storage and Usage (CM5556)

15 Credit Points

Gas separation, storage and utilisation represents one of the key challenges within a sustainable energy transition. For too long, energy production/consumption has been accompanied by greenhouse gas emission.

Detailed course information

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Group Project (CM5908)

15 Credit Points

In the first term, students were able to develop both their research skills and lab skills. However, it is often the application of these skills within a team environment that is of greatest importance for many business sectors. Therefore, in this module students will need to work as part of a small team in order to study a research problem.

Detailed course information

Individual Project (CM5907)

45 Credit Points

To gain experience in research applicable to Sustainable Energy Transitions, students undertake a clearly defined individual project requiring literature reviewing, project design and definition, experimental activities, data processing and interpretation and reporting.

Detailed course information

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Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Lab & Research Skills (15 credits):

A second more advanced laboratory module will take place in this. term. Students will use the skills learnt in CM55M1 and develop them further by applying them to modern energy conversion devices. Students will have the opportunity to build and test a contemporary solid state photovoltaic device, a hydrogen powered fuel cell and conduct a hydrogen storage experiment. These practical experiments will be complemented by a structure-property modelling workshop where students will model crystal structure data (using the Rietveld method) and gain experience in the equivalent circuit modelling of AC impedance data using the electrical measurements of well known proton and lithium electrolyte materials.

Fuel Cell Technology and Thermodynamics (15 credits):

Fuel cell technology is an important consideration for an advancing hydrogen economy. These devices convert chemical energy into electrical energy by utilising a wide range of fuels, with efficiencies of > 80% and limited harmful emissions. The thermodynamic theory behind fuel cell operation will be discussed, as well as solid state ionic theory. The course will offer an in-depth run down of fuel cell types and materials design; detailing common techniques used to characterise the performance of fuel cell components.

Renewables (15 credits):

Renewables is a key theme in the development of a sustainable future. This topic will be split into two themes – renewables for harnessing energy and renewables for chemical production. Within the first theme photovoltaics and material requirements wind/tidal energy will be discussed. The role of nuclear energy will also be discussed. The second theme will discuss sustainable chemical production by considering how we move away from a dependence on fossil derived chemicals. The use of biomass will be considered for the production of renewable fuels, commodity chemicals and fine chemicals. This topic will help to build upon material covered in earlier modules.

Hydrogen and the Circular Economy (15 credits):

Hydrogen is considered to be one of the key chemicals in our future energy landscape. It can be produced from water but then also yield water as the by-product when used as a fuel. It therefore lends itself to a circular economy which does not generate waste (i.e., H2O ® H2 ® H2O). The question then becomes how do we produce and store hydrogen from renewable methods. The module will help to build upon material covered in other modules (i.e., gas storage & fuel cells). In addition to the hydrogen economy, the circular economy will also be covered. Reaching a net carbon zero future will only be possible if a global approach is adopted where materials are repurposed or recycled, and waste is utilised and remediated in order to decrease its impact on our environment. Green chemistry, recycling and waste remediation will be discussed, and students will learn about current technologies and innovations across the energy sector including life cycle assessment.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £27,000
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,077
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year

International Applicants

Further Information about tuition fees and the cost of living in Aberdeen

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Why Study Chemistry for Sustainable Energy?

  • Ranked 7th in the UK for Chemistry, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
  • Ranked 1st in Scotland for Overall Student Satisfaction, National Student Survey 2021.

This programme focuses on the key technological challenges involved in the transition to net-zero including batteries, fuel cells, renewables, nuclear, hydrogen, gas separation storage and utilisation (i.e., carbon capture).

You will learn practical lab skills with a focus on experimental lab skills, experimental design and experiences specific to energy transition. In particular, the skills you will develop in systems modelling are highly sought-after in the battery and fuel cell industry.

The programme also includes a course dedicated to transferrable/professional skills covering scientific communication, scientific literature, data analysis & statistics, research ethics, intellectual property and employability. These skills are then deliberately used throughout other modules to reinforce skills.

The programme is designed and delivered by leading experts in energy transition, including:

  • Dr Alan McCue, researcher in key topics such as gas separation, heterogeneous catalysis and renewable chemical production.
  • Prof Angel Cuesta Ciscar, researcher in electrochemical methods for energy storage and chemical production.
  • Prof Abbie McLaughlin – researcher in solid state chemistry, proton conductors, magnetism, low temperature magnetic phenomena.
  • Prof Jan Skakle – researcher in biomaterials, crystallography, superconductivity and carbon storage materials.
  • Prof Donald MacPhee – researcher in cements, photocatalytic materials and fuel cells.

Our location at the heart of the energy industry means that our programmes benefit from direct involvement from UK energy companies, as well as from overseas. This includes industry advisory panels, guest lectures, field trips, site visits, networking and careers events, and industry supported student projects.

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Our Chemistry programmes are delivered in the new Science Teaching Hub, which offers state-of-the-art facilities for teaching all areas of chemistry.

This MSc also draws on much of the ground-breaking research being conducted within theCentre for Energy Transition(CET) at the University of Aberdeen.

Interested in this programme?

Call +44 (0)1224 272090 Email Enquire Now Using an online form Next Steps Find out how to apply

Entry Requirements

We welcome applications from students with a background in chemistry, however the programme is designed deliberately to be accessible to those with only a moderate amount of experience in chemistry.

We therefore strongly encourage applications from students wishing to change subject area (to something with more of a focus on chemistry/energy transitions) or people working in industry who wish to retrain or upskill to work in the expanding renewable energy sector.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Students on this programme who need a visa to live or study in the UK must apply for ATAS clearance. The ATAS clearance certificate must be valid when you apply for a visa to enter the UK. To find out if you need to apply for ATAS clearance, please visit or email


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

2:1 (upper second class) UK Honours degree, or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth, in Chemistry or a related field such as the natural sciences or physical sciences.


2:2 (lower second class) UK Honours degree in Chemistry or a related field, or equivalent with 5+ years relevant industry experience.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


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OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

International Applicants

  • Information about visa and immigration requirements


The very deliberate emphasis on professional skills within the programme ensures that graduates have an ability to evidence the fantastic skillset that they will acquire from the programme.

The programme also includes a course dedicated to transferrable/professional skills covering scientific communication, scientific literature, data analysis & statistics, research ethics, intellectual property and employability. These skills are then deliberately used throughout other modules to reinforce skills.

Our Experts

Programme Directors

  • Dr Alan McCue

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


Chemistry for Sustainable Energy | Postgraduate Taught Subjects | Study Here (1)

Science Teaching Hub

Our brand-new Science Teaching Hub provides the latest laboratory, instruments and digital technology skills to support your learning and ensure you gain industry-standard experience to launch your chemistry career.

Find out more

Chemistry for Sustainable Energy | Postgraduate Taught Subjects | Study Here (2)

Industry Partners

Our programmes benefit from industry support, including, guest lectures, site visits, networking and careers events, and industry supported student projects.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
AB24 3FX
  • Call Us +44 (0)1224 272090
  • Enquire Now Using an online form
(Video) International webinar on Sustainable energy and green chemistry


What is the study of sustainable energy? ›

Sustainable Energy is the study of meeting our energy demand without depleting natural resources or polluting the environment.

What is a master of science in sustainable energy? ›

A master in sustainable energy is well grounded to deal with any matters pertaining to global energy issues, renewable and non-renewable energy, sustainable energy technologies, the environment as a whole and policies affecting the environment and energy use.

What is sustainable energy engineering? ›

Overview. Sustainable Energy Engineering explores how we generate and store energy from sources such as natural gas, oil, and solar, and produce products such as electrical power, fuels, and batteries. You will also learn about environmental issues and moves towards sustainable engineering and renewable energy.

What subject is the study of energy? ›

The study of energy is called physics, which encompasses studying energy in light, motion, electricity, molecules, gravity, and atomic nuclei.

What are the 4 main types of sustainable energy? ›

Examples of renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power, bioenergy (organic matter burned as a fuel) and hydroelectric, including tidal energy.

Is it worth getting a Masters in sustainability? ›

Is Sustainability a Good Career? Not only can a career in sustainability give you the personal satisfaction of doing something meaningful, but it can give you a sense of being part of social and environmental progress. In addition, a career in sustainability can encompass almost any industry.

What is a sustainability science degree? ›

Sustainability majors can specialize in human, natural, analytical, or science issues. Course work will focus on social and urban systems, agriculture, and interactions of humans with the environment around them.

Do you need a Masters in sustainability? ›

To pursue a sustainability leadership career, you will eventually need a graduate degree. Although the type of degree can vary, typically aspiring environmentalists will pursue a master's or law degree for business or policy work and a master's or Ph. D for an education career.

What is the future of sustainable energy? ›

Renewable energy in the future is predicted that by 2024, solar capacity in the world will grow by 600 gigawatts (GW), almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan. Overall, renewable electricity is predicted to grow by 1 200 GW by 2024, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US.

What are examples of sustainable energy technology? ›

Clean energy technologies are renewable in nature and offer less environmentally invasive ways to power the global community. Some of the most common examples of clean energy sources include solar, wind, water, geothermal, bioenergy, natural gas, and nuclear power.

What type of engineering is renewable energy? ›

About the energy engineering major. Energy engineers discover valuable renewable energy sources that free us from dependency on quickly depleting materials. This broad field of engineering deals with energy efficiency, energy services, facility management, environmental compliance, and alternative energy technologies.

Is chemistry the study of energy? ›

Chemistry is the study of matter and its interactions with other matter and energy. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. Matter can be described in terms of physical properties and chemical properties. Physical properties and chemical properties of matter can change.

What branch of science studies energy? ›

Physics – branch of science that studies matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.

Is energy studied in chemistry? ›

Energy is the most fundamental concept of chemistry. Basics of energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It is the capacity to do work with the standard units as joule. It has two main types of energy kinetic and potential energy, collectively as mechanical energy.

What is the difference between renewable and sustainable energy? ›

Simply put, renewable energy is energy that is created and replenished naturally. Sustainable energy, on the other hand, is energy that reliably meets both the short- and long-term needs of a society. Sustainable energy maintains the natural environment.

What is sustainable energy called? ›

Renewable energy is also often called sustainable energy. Renewable energy sources are the opposite of fossil fuels, like coal and gas, which are a finite energy source.

What are the three key components of sustainable energy? ›

A combination of reduced energy consumption from non-renewable resources, increased energy consumption from renewable resources, and increased energy efficiency on one side and creating positive economic and non-economic effects on the other, create the definition of modern sustainable energy management.

What university is #1 for sustainability? ›

QS Sustainability Rankings: Environmental impact v social impact
RankEnvironmental impactSocial impact
1University of California, Berkeley (UCB)University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
2University of TokyoUniversity of British Columbia
3University of TorontoUniversity of Edinburgh
7 more rows
Oct 28, 2022

Does sustainability pay well? ›

Sustainability Executive/Officer

According to Payscale, the average salary for a sustainability officer is $88,261, with more senior positions earning above $100,000.

What is the best sustainability degree? ›

Top 10 Green Degrees
  • Environmental architecture and environmental design.
  • Environmental engineering.
  • Environmental health sciences.
  • Environmental Law.
  • Environmental science and sustainability.
  • Horticulture.
  • Marine Sciences.
  • Energy.

What branch of science is sustainability? ›

Environmental science is also more explicitly directed toward addressing problems like climate change, pollution, and sustainability.

Is sustainability a career field? ›

Sustainability can lead to many career paths, such as sustainability specialist, environmental engineer, sustainability manager, and sustainability director. These and other job opportunities provide workers with the chance to positively impact the environment, people's quality of life, and future generations.

What is the difference between environmental science and sustainability? ›

The Sustainability badge relates to your household while Environmental Science involves experiments or in-depth research within your community. What is this? Both the Sustainability and Environmental Science merit badges will teach you important skills relating to conservation and our natural ecosystem.

What certification is needed for sustainability? ›

The top sustainability certifications for professionals include the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, B Corp Certification, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Certified Practitioner, and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) Credentials.

How do you become certified in sustainability? ›

General sustainability

To earn the certification, the organization requires candidates to pass an exam that evaluates their knowledge of sustainability issues and core concepts. ISSP has study resources for purchase to help you prepare for the exam, including a study guide and practice questions.

How do I start a career in sustainability consulting? ›

How to become a sustainability consultant
  1. Study a related field. ...
  2. Complete a training program, internship or capstone project. ...
  3. Participate in a sustainability effort in your community. ...
  4. Join a sustainability association. ...
  5. Gain relevant work experience. ...
  6. Choose a niche. ...
  7. Develop key sustainability consultant skills.
Jun 24, 2022

What will replace electricity? ›

Wind and solar power provide 75% of the increase in clean power from now to 2050 in the IEA scenario. But nuclear power, hydro, fossil fuels with carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and other renewables will all play vital roles too.

What is the fastest growing renewable energy source in the world? ›

Wind and solar are the fastest growing renewable sources, but contribute just 5% of total energy used in the U.S.

What will be the main source of energy in 2030? ›

Despite the rapid growth of non-fossil energy sources, the composition of the energy basket will largely remain the same, and fossil fuels – oil, natural gas, and coal – will remain the main suppliers of energy, accounting for over 78% of the energy supply in 2030.

What is the new renewable energy technology in 2023? ›

Solar power to dominate new US electricity capacity in 2023

"We expect that some of those delayed 2022 projects will begin operating in 2023, when developers plan to install 29.1GW of solar power in the United States,” says the EIA. Solar energy will provide 54% of new US electricity generating capacity in 2023.

What is the most sustainable energy source? ›

Wind energy is one of the most sustainable forms of energy currently available. It harnesses the power of naturally moving air to spin wind turbines, which in turn generate electricity. Not only is this great because it provides a regenerative form of energy, but it also does so without greenhouse gas emissions.

Where is the best place to study renewable energy? ›

Best countries to study renewable energy engineering
  • Renewable Energy Engineering in UK.
  • Renewable Energy Engineering in USA.
  • Renewable Energy Engineering in Cyprus.
  • Renewable Energy Engineering in Germany.

Who studies renewable energy? ›

Resource scientists study weather, climate, and site conditions as they relate to the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Resource scientists use this data to create wind plant energy predictions and assess the placement and suitability of sites for turbine technology deployment.

Is renewable energy part of chemical engineering? ›

The direct use of renewable energy sources (RES) in chemical production, i.e. electrification of the chemical industry, is another great challenge crucial for chemical engineering. Rather than use heat (produced from fossil fuels) to run operations, electrical energy (deriving from renewable sources) should be used.

Why do we study sustainable energy? ›

Sustainable energy, such as wind and solar energy, creates zero carbon emissions that can harm the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. It offsets the need for fossil fuels, which are actively increasing climate change and polluting our earth.

What scientist studies energy? ›

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe.

What are 3 types of sustainable energy sources? ›

Here are a few common sources of renewable energy:
  • SOLAR ENERGY. Solar energy is the most abundant of all energy resources and can even be harnessed in cloudy weather. ...
  • WIND ENERGY. ...

What is an example of sustainable energy? ›

The most popular sources of sustainable energy, including wind, solar and hydropower, are also renewable. Biofuel is a unique form of renewable energy, as its consumption emits climate-affecting greenhouse gasses, and growing the original plant product uses up other environmental resources.

Why do we need to study energy studies? ›

Pursuing a Bachelor in Energy Studies can be a great option for individuals interested in having a career in sustainability and policy management, within a very dynamic, fast paced industry. Having a degree in energy can also provide a competitive advantage when looking for a job.

What degree is best for renewable energy? ›

One of the best degree choices if you're pursuing a career in renewable energy is a bachelor's degree in chemistry. You might consider specializing in biochemistry, chemical engineering, bioinformatics, or forensic science. This degree usually takes four years to complete.

What degree is best for renewable? ›

What Training and Degree Do You Need to Work in Renewables?
  • Energy Management: A bachelor's degree in energy management integrates business principles with the energy industry. ...
  • Chemistry: If you are more interested in science, then consider a degree in chemistry.
Jan 5, 2022

Is renewable energy a good career? ›

Pros. Strong employment outlook. With the growing awareness of sustainability and environmental issues, the renewable energy field has seen an uptick in career opportunities while jobs in fossil fuels continue to decline.

What is energy science called? ›

energy, in physics, the capacity for doing work. It may exist in potential, kinetic, thermal, electrical, chemical, nuclear, or other various forms. There are, moreover, heat and work—i.e., energy in the process of transfer from one body to another.


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