Engineering - Net Zero Engineering
Governments around the world have set legally binding targets in support of achieving ambitious low-carbon objectives and are investing heavily in the development of technology that will deliver decarbonisation of the energy sector.
Achieving these objectives is, however, a substantial challenge and requires input and engagement across a broad range of sectors. The rapid development of these sectors also emphasises the need for advanced skills and training portfolios to be delivered to not only address these challenges but also create future opportunities.
Therefore, the aim of this programme is to provide students with a strong foundation of the engineering and associated skills that are needed to underpin and contribute towards achieving sustainability and greener societies. In doing so, they will have an excellent platform to support existing and new industries in their transition towards achieving net-zero targets.
Students completing this course will possess skills which are increasingly sought after by local and international employers, particularly those in manufacturing and energy sectors. The course will also introduce students to a suite of emerging technologies which are being considered and will provide them with the skills to be able to assess them, providing opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and growth in a variety of sectors.
Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:
The learning context
You will be be part of a small, informal and chatty class. You'll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well during field trips. You are expected to become an integral part of the School of Chemical and Chemical Engineering and will be invited to join staff and students at regular social events and professional events.
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in Engineering (e.g. Chemical, Environmental, Mechanical, Civil), Physical Science (e.g. Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics) or a closely allied subject. Applicants with degrees in other disciplines or relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 7.0, with not less than 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking, and no less than 6.5 in writing, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
• Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
All modules below will be assessed by 100 % coursework, which will comprise of written, oral and calculation-based assignments
• Sustainability and Net-Zero-Carbon Criteria (20 CATS)
• Tools for Quantifying Energy and Carbon (20 CATS)
• Applied renewable energy and low carbon technologies (20 CATS)
• Fundamental Principles of Hydrogen Generation and Use (20 CATS)
• Hydrogen System Integration (20 CATS)
• Hydrogen System Design and Practice (20 CATS)
The final module will be assessed based on the research project which is summarised below:
• Research Project in Net Zero Engineering (60 CATS) – written dissertation (50 %), laboratory performance, methodology and design records (40 %) and oral presentation (10 %)
Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years) basis. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester.
The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 - 20,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points).
Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from the six core taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from either of two defined sets of three taught modules.
There is a straightforward option to build towards a Master's degree though short courses. For example, you can choose to complete the taught sections as two individual PGCerts (60 CATS each) and then complete a research or design project and be awarded the full MSc in Net Zero Engineering.
Achieving the Net Zero Emissions targets set by governments around the globe will not be simple. It requires engagement across a range of disciplines that are underpinned by a strong understanding of the fundamental science and engineering behind sustainability and renewable energy. This course will target that challenge by equipping students with an enhanced skill set which will provide them with the tools to not only evaluate and assess sustainability but deliver low-carbon engineering solutions to a range of international industries. As a result, our graduates will be well placed to contribute and play a crucial role across multiple sectors as we transition towards a Net Zero society.
Semester One teaching
The modules during semester one, which are listed below, are focused on the core concepts of sustainability, the associated developments and importantly how we evaluate and assess those. This includes exploring the tools for quantifying the availability of resources and applying knowledge of Life Cycle Analysis, carbon-foot printing and model development. It also involves deploying these skills when learning about the range of renewable energies such as wind, marine, solar and bioenergy.
• CHE7201 Sustainability and Net-Zero-Carbon Criteria
• CHE7202 Tools for Quantifying Energy and Carbon
• CHE7203 Applied renewable energy and low carbon technologies
Semester Two teaching The second semester will focus more specifically on hydrogen energy systems as an approach to achieving sustainability and decarbonisation of key sectors. The underpinning science and engineering of current manufacturing routes and emerging technologies will be explored along with discussing the growth of the hydrogen economy. The sub-components of hydrogen energy systems will also be investigated to demonstrate how they are influenced by the chemical and thermodynamic properties of hydrogen and how they can integrate with existing technology such as a batteries and gas separation. The relevant modules are:
• CHE7204 Fundamental Principles of Hydrogen Generation and Use
• CHE7205 Hydrogen System Integration
• CHE7206 Hydrogen System Design and Practice
Students will also conduct a research project under the supervision of an academic and/or industrial supervisor, within an applied area of net zero engineering. Students will be able to conduct their projects under two themes: lab-based or theoretical and modelling-based, which both align with research clusters within the school and reflect the scientific and engineering principles of the taught material.
* CHE7207 Research Project in Net Zero Engineering
1 academic year full-time, 2 academic years part-time.
Contact Teaching Hours
Large Group Teaching
6 (hours maximum)
6 hours full time, 4 hours part time
20 (hours maximum)
20 hrs full time, 10 hrs part time
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial
2 (hours maximum)
2 hrs full time, 1 hr part time
Teaching will be delivered in a blended format of on-campus and online classes which will accommodate full time and part time students. This will be backed up by accessible online lecture recordings and other course material.
Post Course Info
This MSc will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in sustainability and the renewable energy sector. We have good links and regularly consult with a large number of global employers from a variety of sectors including energy (including Shell, BP and Petronas), transport (WrightBus) and other chemical industries (Seren Technologies and Johnson Matthey). Furthermore, we work with a range of local companies and start-up/spin-out companies including Green Lizard Technologies and MOF Technologies. Graduates have also progressed into research at various universities.
Employment after the Course
Where would you like to be in five year's Time?
Graduating from this course could lead to you becoming a project engineer in the design and development of components for low-carbon energy systems. You could also conduct environmental and sustainable impact assessments as a renewable energy coordinator for windfarms, solar installations and biorefineries. Alternatively, you might want to contribute towards the development of emerging technologies such as artificial photosynthesis through a research post or PhD. You may play a key role as a sustainable consultant for government in policy development to ensure the safety of new infrastructure for distributing green-hydrogen.
Achieving net zero emission is a global objective and therefore after your MSc you might want to travel and gain experience in places like Asia, South America or Africa. This could also be valuable for understanding the role you can play in achieving global Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).
Employers who are interested in people like you include manufacturers (energy systems), construction companies, sustainability consultancies (local, national and international), government (e.g. Department for Energy and Climate Change), businesses that are transitioning to net zero, transport sector (public transport), the oil and gas sector, the pharmaceutical sector, academia and education and renewable energy suppliers.