Green Technology & Renewable Energy

  • Delivery:
  • Credits:

In the context of global climate change and the consequent need to phase out use of fossil fuels, the development of renewable energy sources has become one of the main drivers of the green economy.

Developments in green technology can also improve efficiency and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, while reducing the ecological footprint of human activities. As a result, development and implementation of green technology has become a major political priority. However, such technologies can also have negative environmental impacts and become the focus of social concern, as illustrated by the public, political and media reaction to the development of wind farms.

This course will examine the environmental and social impacts of different technologies, to evaluate critically which approaches might truly be considered ‘green’. You will consider the main environmental, political and socio-economic drivers for the development of green technology, and examine how these challenges are being met through scientific and technological innovation. In addition, the potential conflicts that can arise through the implementation of such technology will be examined.

This unit is one of six taught units on the MSc Green Economy. You can choose to study the individual units as CPD with or without academic assessment. If you chose the assessed option, you can accrue academic credits towards a PGCert, PGDip or a Masters qualification.

See more course details.

Key information

Next start date:

23 January 2023


Distance learning/online


10 weeks

Entry requirements:

This course is open to anyone with a relevant undergraduate degree. Alternatively, non-graduates / professionals with significant and relevant work experience, who can also demonstrate an ability to both complete and benefit from the course will be considered

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.

Course details

Green technology and renewable energy continue to develop very rapidly, providing insights into the process of scientific and technological innovation, and its potential impacts. However, such developments are also often controversial. For example, will the widespread development of wind farms make a significant contribution to our energy needs, or are the environmental costs too high? Should nuclear power be considered as a green technology?

Other key issues relate to the adoption of green technologies, analysis of their relative costs and benefits, and the creation of an enabling environment for scientific and technological innovation.

Together, consideration of such issues enables the principal overarching question to be addressed: to what extent can the transition to sustainable development be achieved through technological means?

The course aims to provide you with an introduction to this rapidly developing field, and to develop their critical thinking, by focusing particularly on those areas of current controversy and debate.

The course will also enable you to understand the process of green technological development and its relationship to broader society.

Key themes include:

  • Motivations for using green technology and renewable energy
  • Nuclear energy, Biomass and hydroelectric energy
  • Solar and wind energy
  • Wave, tidal and geothermal energy
  • Life cycle analysis and Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Energy efficiency technologies
  • Green buildings and transport
  • Sustainable waste management
  • Carbon capture and geoengineering
  • Green chemistry, green nanotechnologies and biomimicry

Academic assessment (optional)

In addition to the short course itself you have the option of undertaking further study and completing an academic assessment (an additional fee applies). On successful completion of this assessment you will gain 20 academic credits at postgraduate level (Level 7).

If you choose to take the academic assessment option for this course, it will take roughly four months to complete (from your enrolment through to the submission deadline for your assessment). There is an additional fee of £200 for the Master's level assessment

Fees and funding

The fee for this unit/short course: £600.00.

Additional fee: £200 if you wish to take the academic assessment.

With this type of course (ie. a short course) you will find that the cost of studying is already broken down into smaller, more manageable amounts (in comparison to a full degree, whether at postgraduate or undergraduate levels).

Additional funding help may sometimes be received from your employer given the relevance to your chosen career, if you are a previous student of BU you will receive a discount on your course fees, but other funding options are limited and postgraduate loans will not be available when studying individual CPD units.

See our fees and funding section for more information.

How to apply

If you have any further questions about the course and for information on how to apply, please email [email protected].

Additional information

Statistics shown throughout this page are taken from Unistats and BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.