MS-ERE, Sustainable Energy Concentration


Energy and economic well being are tightly coupled. Fossil fuel resources are still plentiful, but access to energy is limited by environmental and economic constraints. A future world population of ten billion people trying to approach the standard of living of the developed nations cannot rely on today’s energy technologies and infrastructures without severe environmental impacts. Concerns over climate change and changes in ocean chemistry require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions but most alternatives to conventional fossil fuels, including nuclear energy, are too expensive to fill the gap. Yet, access to clean, cheap energy is critical for providing mineral resources, water, food, housing and transportation.

Building and shaping the energy infrastructure of the 21st century is one of the central tasks for modern engineering. The purpose of the Sustainable Energy Concentration is to expose students to modern energy technologies and infrastructures and to the associated environmental, health and resource limitations. Emphasis will be on energy generation and use technologies that aim to overcome the limits to growth that are experienced today.

Concentration specific classes will sketch out the availability of resources, their geographic distribution, the economic and environmental cost of resource extraction, and avenues for increasing energy utilization efficiency, such as cogeneration, district heating and distributed generation of energy. Classes will discuss technologies for efficiency improvement in the generation and consumption sector, energy recovery from solid wastes, alternatives to fossil fuels including solar and wind energy, nuclear fission and fusion, and technologies for addressing the environmental concerns over the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Classes on climate change, air quality and health impacts focus on the consequences of energy use. Policy and its interactions with environmental sciences and energy engineering will be another aspect of the concentration. Additional specialization may consider region-specific energy development.


This concentration is aimed at engineers with a minimum background of a BS degree in an engineering discipline. The objective is to gain a better understanding of present day energy infrastructures, their strength and weaknesses and to scope out future technology developments for a world with seemingly insatiable demand for energy. The master degree aims at preparing a new generation of engineering professionals who will be involved with the rebuilding of a world energy infrastructure that today is stretched nearly beyond the limits of its capacity.

The program aims at young engineers and active professionals who see their future in the large and international energy development markets. Since the challenges are global in nature, this program addresses energy infrastructure engineering for all types of economies. Problems facing the industrialized countries, the emerging economies and the poor countries of the world differ substantially and a one size fits all solution is unlikely to work.

Expected employment opportunities are in extractive industries and energy processing companies, such as oil companies, mining industry, power producers, and equipment builders. Employment is also likely to be found in environmental consulting companies, with NGOs interested in environmental and energy issues, as well as local, national and international government agencies. In short, the program aims to educate technology experts for all stakeholders in the development of the energy backbone of society.

Prerequisites and Requirements

The Master Degree is offered to students with a bachelor degree in engineering or equivalent science background. Candidates with technical strengths in physics, chemistry, chemical, electrical or mechanical engineering are preferred.

A total of 30 credits, including a 3-credit research course or a 6-credit thesis, are required.

Any changes should be done in consultation with the student’s advisor. For students with a B.S. or a B.A., preferably with a science major, up to 48 points are required to allow for make-up undergraduate courses.

Core Courses for Sustainable Energy Concentration

  • EAEE E4003: Introduction to Aquatic Chemistry (Fall)
  • EAEE E4001: Industrial Ecology of Earth Resources (Fall) or EAEE E4011 Industrial Ecology of Manufacturing (Spring)
  • EACE E4560: Particle Technology (Spring)

Recommended Courses for Fall Semester

  • EAEE E4190: Photovoltaic systems engineering and sustainability
  • CHEE E4252: Introduction to surface and colloid chemistry
  • EAEE E4300: Introduction to carbon management
  • EAEE E4302: Carbon capture EAEE E4550: Catalysis for emission control

Recommended Courses for Spring Semester

  • EAEE E4150: Air pollution prevention and control
  • EAEE E4257: Environmental data analysis and modeling
  • EAEE E4301: Carbon storage
  • EAEE E4305: CO2 utilization and conversion
  • EAEE E6150: Industrial catalysis

Other Elective Courses

  • EAEE E4160: Solid and hazardous waste management (Spring)
  • EAEE E4009: GIS for resource, environmental and infrastructure management (Spring)
  • CHEE E6252: Advanced surface and colloid chemistry (Fall)

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