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Masters Degrees (Microbial Fuel Cells)

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Our Energy programmes allow you to specialise in areas such as bio-energy, novel geo-energy, sustainable power, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, power electronics, drives and machines, and the sustainable development and use of key resources. Read more
Our Energy programmes allow you to specialise in areas such as bio-energy, novel geo-energy, sustainable power, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, power electronics, drives and machines, and the sustainable development and use of key resources.

We can supervise MPhil projects in topics that relate to our main areas of research, which are:

Bio-energy

Our research spans the whole supply chain:
-Growing novel feedstocks (various biomass crops, algae etc)
-Processing feedstocks in novel ways
-Converting feedstocks into fuels and chemical feedstocks
-Developing new engines to use the products

Cockle Park Farm has an innovative anaerobic digestion facility. Work at the farm will develop, integrate and exploit technologies associated with the generation and efficient utilisation of renewable energy from land-based resources, including biomass, biofuel and agricultural residues.

We also develop novel technologies for gasification and pyrolysis. This large multidisciplinary project brings together expertise in agronomy, land use and social science with process technologists and engineers and is complemented by molecular studies on the biology of non-edible oilseeds as sources for production of biodiesel.

Novel geo-energy

New ways of obtaining clean energy from the geosphere is a vital area of research, particularly given current concerns over the limited remaining resources of fossil fuels.

Newcastle University has been awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education for its world-renowned Hydrogeochemical Engineering Research and Outreach (HERO) programme. Building on this record of excellence, the Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research seeks to place the North East at the forefront of research in ground-source heat pump systems, and other larger-scale sources of essentially carbon-free geothermal energy, and developing more responsible modes of fossil fuel use.

Our fossil fuel research encompasses both the use of a novel microbial process, recently patented by Newcastle University, to convert heavy oil (and, by extension, coal) to methane, and the coupling of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to underground coal gasification (UCG) using directionally drilled boreholes. This hybrid technology (UCG-CCS) is exceptionally well suited to early development in the North East, which still has 75% of its total coal resources in place.

Sustainable power

We undertake fundamental and applied research into various aspects of power generation and energy systems, including:
-The application of alternative fuels such as hydrogen and biofuels to engines and dual fuel engines
-Domestic combined heat and power (CHP) and combined cooling, heating and power (trigeneration) systems using waste vegetable oil and/or raw inedible oils
-Biowaste methanisation
-Biomass and biowaste combustion, gasification
-Biomass co-combustion with coal in thermal power plants
-CO2 capture and storage for thermal power systems
-Trigeneration with novel energy storage systems (including the storage of electrical energy, heat and cooling energy)
-Engine and power plant emissions monitoring and reduction technology
-Novel engine configurations such as free-piston engines and the reciprocating Joule cycle engine

Fuel cell and hydrogen technologies

We are recognised as world leaders in hydrogen storage research. Our work covers the entire range of fuel cell technologies, from high-temperature hydrogen cells to low-temperature microbial fuel cells, and addresses some of the complex challenges which are slowing the uptake and impact of fuel cell technology.

Key areas of research include:
-Biomineralisation
-Liquid organic hydrides
-Adsorption onto solid phase, nano-porous metallo-carbon complexes

Sustainable development and use of key resources

Our research in this area has resulted in the development and commercialisation of novel gasifier technology for hydrogen production and subsequent energy generation.

We have developed ways to produce alternative fuels, in particular a novel biodiesel pilot plant that has attracted an Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) AspenTech Innovative Business Practice Award.

Major funding has been awarded for the development of fuel cells for commercial application and this has led to both patent activity and highly-cited research. Newcastle is a key member of the SUPERGEN Fuel Cell Consortium. Significant developments have been made in fuel cell modelling, membrane technology, anode development and catalyst and fuel cell performance improvements.

Facilities

As a postgraduate student you will be based in the Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research. Depending on your chosen area of study, you may also work with one or more of our partner schools, providing you with a unique and personally designed training and supervision programme.

You have access to:
-A modern open-plan office environment
-A full range of chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and marine engineering laboratories
-Dedicated desk and PC facilities for each student within the research centre or partner schools

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The MSc Environmental Engineering course provides highly employable graduates who will act as managers and leaders serving the environmental needs of the process industries. Read more
The MSc Environmental Engineering course provides highly employable graduates who will act as managers and leaders serving the environmental needs of the process industries.

The scale of modern industralisation has given rise to environmental problems of unprecedented complexity. This MSc examines environmental problems like toxic waste, air pollution, waste disposal, global warming, contaminated land and water. The challenge for today’s environmental engineers is to manage these problems through a high level of resource management and technological innovation.

Today’s environmental problems require innovation in improvements to manufacturing processes and in the utilisation
of natural resources. Both the assessment and management of the effects of natural and human activity on the natural and built
environment are examined in this course. The course demands a high level of resource management and is designed to enable graduates to work across the interface between engineering and the environment.

Students will develop:
a solid understanding of existing technology and its application, and an appreciation of the economic, legal, social and ethical aspects of the problems presented
skills in research, project management, problem solving and reporting
the ability to communicate ideas effectively in written reports, verbally and by means of presentations to groups
the ability to exercise original thought
the ability to plan and undertake an individual project
the ability to understand and apply the theory, method and
practice of environmental engineering
interpersonal communication and professional skill

Previous research projects have included:
assessment of energy crops for combined heat and power systems
bio-diesel process optimisation
microbial Fuel Cells
nanobots for contaminated land remediation
metal contamination of lakes near Nottingham
starch nanoparticles for water treatment
renewable energy at point of consumption

Scholarship information can be found at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/graduateschool/funding/index.aspx

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This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new products, services and industries. Read more

Programme description

This academically challenging and career-developing programme focuses on research and development using biological and chemical principles and systems to create new products, services and industries.

You will employ elements of the developing field of synthetic biology to bring about significant changes and major innovations that address the challenges of rapidly changing human demographics, resource shortages, energy economy transition and the concomitant growth in demand for more and healthier food, sustainable fuel cycles, and a cleaner environment.

Programme structure

You will learn through a variety of activities, including:

lectures
workshops
presentations
laboratory work
field work
tutorials
seminars
discussion groups and project groups
problem-based learning activities

You will attend problem-based tutorial sessions and one-to-one meetings with your personal tutor or programme director.

You will carry out research at the frontier of knowledge and can make a genuine contribution to the progress of original research. This involves carrying out project work in a research laboratory, reviewing relevant papers, analysing data, writing reports and giving presentations.

Compulsory courses:

Applications of Synthetic Biology
Tools for Synthetic Biology
Social Dimensions of Systems & Synthetic Biology
Environmental Gene Mining & Metagenomics
Research Project Proposal
MSc Project and Dissertation

Option courses:

BioBusiness
Biochemistry
Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
Biological Physics
Biophysical Chemistry
Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
Data Mining & Exploration
Drug Discovery
Economics & Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
Enzymology & Biological Production
Functional Genomic Technologies
Gene Expression & Microbial Regulation
Industry & Entrepreneurship in the Biotechnology Industry
Information Processing in Biological Cells
Intelligent Agriculture
Introduction to Scientific Programming
Molecular Modelling & Database Mining
Next Generation Genomics
Machine Learning & Pattern Recognition
Practical Skills in Biochemistry
Practical Systems Biology
Principles of Industrial Biotechnology
Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme you will have gained:

a strong background knowledge in the fields underlying synthetic biology and biotechnology
an understanding of the limitations and public concerns regarding the nascent field of synthetic biology including a thorough examination of the philosophical, legal, ethical and social issues surrounding the area
the ability to approach the technology transfer problem equipped with the skills to analyse the problem in scientific and practical terms
an understanding of how biotechnology relates to real-world biological problems
the ability to conduct practical experimentation in synthetic biology and biotechnology
the ability to think about the future development of research, technology, its implementation and its implications
a broad understanding of research responsibility including the requirement for rigorous and robust testing of theories and the need for honesty and integrity in experimental reporting and reviewing

Career opportunities

You will enhance your career prospects by acquiring current, marketable knowledge and developing advanced analytical and presentational skills, within the social and intellectual sphere of a leading European university.

The School of Biological Sciences offers a research-rich environment in which you can develop as a scientist and entrepreneur.

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Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today. Read more

Programme description

Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today.

In this MSc you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biotechnology structures and areas of future demand, including the global pharmaceutical industry and carbon sequestration.

You will learn how technology can be applied to solve pressing real-world biological problems and gain the skills and expertise needed for future developments in biotechnology.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project or industrial placement, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

Economics and Innovation in the Biotechnology Industry
Intelligent Agriculture
Research Project Proposal
MSc Dissertation (Biotechnology).

Option courses:

Biobusiness
Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
Drug Discovery
Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
Enzymology and Biological Production
Gene Expression and Microbial Regulation
Industry & Entrepreneurship in Biotechnology
Management of R&D and Product Innovation
Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
Social Dimensions of Systems and Synthetic Biology
Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
Biochemistry A
Principles of Industrial Biotechnology
Environmental Gene Mining and Metagenomics
Vaccines and Molecular Therapies
Programming for the Life Sciences

Research and laboratory work:
There will be a considerable practical element to the programme. You will work in a biotechnology laboratory and learn how experimental technology is designed and operated.

Industrial placement:
Your dissertation can be based on a laboratory-based project or an industrial placement. You can work with employers in the thriving Scottish biotechnology sector in areas such as multiple sclerosis research (Aquila BioMedical), vaccines research (BigDNA) or biorecovery and bioregeneration (Recyclatec).

Career opportunities

The programme will open up a wide variety of career opportunities, ranging from sales and marketing, to research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance.

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