The European Education Directory

Energy – a sustainable career choice

By Professor John Oakey
Head of the Centre for Energy and Resource Technology
University of Cranfield, UK

Investment in green initiatives such as energy efficiency and clean tech innovation is set to increase to $60bn by 2013, according to research by analyst firm Verdantix. This will have huge significance for the energy sector. Cranfield’s Professor John Oakey looks at how the University is preparing to meet the associated skills demand, with a range of specialist postgraduate programmes in energy, and continued investment in leading research in this rapidly expanding sector.

Energy is recognised as fundamental to virtually every product and service in use today. Modern society has developed a dependence on abundant, cheap electricity and gas. Evidence suggests however, that production from conventional oil resources has already peaked, and that similar peaks will occur in the foreseeable future for natural gas and other fossil fuels.

In its fourth ‘carbon budget’, announced in May, the UK has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2027, exceeding already ambitious targets set by the EU, which promises a 20% reduction by 2020.

These targets will have a huge impact on organisations, who will require significant investment in order to address the additional challenges in procuring energy security and responding to energy pricing and affordability issues. Clean energy technology in particular is destined to become one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Investment in new technologies and innovations is therefore expanding and the specialist skills and knowledge to be able to realise these opportunities are increasingly in demand.

Cranfield University is a major international player in clean energy technologies and systems for the 21st Century. The University has introduced a range of specialist postgraduate programmes to meet this growing worldwide demand. Courses include the MSc Renewable Energy Technology, MSc Materials for Energy Systems and the MSc Energy Supply for Low Carbon Futures.

Cranfield conducts world-leading research in energy supply, demand management and environmental impact. Activity ranges from offshore renewables, the production and clean utilisation of fossil fuels, through micro-generation and the use of energy crops, to the design of lightweight vehicles, turbine technology and energy from biomass and waste.

The University is involved in a number of important projects in renewable and fossil fuel technologies, combustion and gasification, CO2 capture and transport, materials and reliability, gas turbines, combustion engines and energy from biomass and waste.

Professor John Oakey, Head of Cranfield’s Centre for Energy and Resource Technology, said “Universities have an important role to play in developing scientists and engineers with the skills to analyse current and future challenges

in energy supply, demand and use, to support the design and implementation of appropriate solutions, taking into account the social, environmental, technical, regulatory and commercial issues and constraints.”

Cranfield recognises the need for organisations to evolve and stay ahead of the competition and adapt to technological change, in order to survive. The University prides itself on developing courses that are relevant to the needs of industry, providing the specialist skills needed to drive investment in a more sustainable and energy efficient future.

Professor John Oakey is Head of the Centre for Energy and Resource Technology at Cranfield.

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