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 and PhD projects in topics that relate to our main areas of research, which are:
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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
In the news
Student blogger Lydia's story of why she chose to take on postgraduate study.
published on: 18 April 2018
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published on: 16 April 2018
Training & Skills
As a research student you will receive a tailored package of academic and support elements to ensure you maximise your research and future career. The academic information is in the programme profile and you will be supported by our Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme, doctoral training centres and Research Student Support Team.
Researcher Development Programme
Our Science, Agriculture and Engineering Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme aims to help you develop the skills and experience that the UK Research Councils expect you to have, or to develop, during your research degree.
Our programme will help you to:
- complete a training needs analysis, so that you know what your current skills are and where you need help and development
- use your training needs analysis to create your personal development plan
- identify appropriate workshops or other events that will help you most and best address your development needs
- gain the personal and professional key skills development for the successful completion of your research degree
Postgraduate Research Student Support
Our award winning Research Student Support Team is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. The team can help and advise you on a variety of issues from registration to producing your transcripts.
IAPETUS Natural Environment Research Council Doctoral Training
IAPETUS is a partnership that joins the leading research universities of Newcastle, Durham, Glasgow, St Andrews and Stirling together with the British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, in a united approach to doctoral research and training the next generation of leaders in the science of the natural environment.
IAPETUS is a multidisciplinary Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), funded and accredited by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), offering PhD students a world-class environment in which to study. This includes:
- fully-funded PhD studentships
- supervision and support from academics and researchers who are world-leaders in their field
- tailored training and development programmes
- placements and internship opportunities
- high-quality laboratories, facilities and resources
IAPETUS doctoral research projects available to study at Newcastle.
Fees & Funding
The fees displayed here are per year.
Full time: £4,800 - £12,400
Part time: £2,400 - £6,200
Full time: £4,800 - £12,400
Part time: £2,400 - £6,200
Full time: £21,600 - £28,600
Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.
EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.
Our fee range takes into account your research topic and resource requirements.
Your research topic is unique and as such will have unique resource requirements. Resources could include specialist equipment, such as laboratory/workshop access, or technical staff.
If your research involves accessing specialist resources then you're likely to pay a higher fee. You'll discuss the exact nature of your research project with your supervisor(s). You'll find out the fee in your offer letter.
A 2:1 honours degree and/or a master's, or international equivalent, in a relevant subject.
Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.
Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: email@example.com for further information.
English Language Requirements
Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Pre-sessional English Course RequirementsPre-sessional English Course Requirements
- 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
- 10 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)
You can study our Pre-sessional English course at the INTO Newcastle Centre.
You may need an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate. You'll need to get this before you can get your visa or study on this programme. We'll let you know about the ATAS requirement in your offer letter.
How to Apply
You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step by step guide can help you on your way.
Before you apply you need to find and contact a research supervisor from the Science, Agriculture and Engineering Graduate School.
There are usually three possible start dates, although in some circumstances an alternative start date can be arranged:
There is no application closing date for this course, but specific deadlines for funding may apply.
We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.
If you live outside the UK/EU you must:
- pay a deposit of £1,500
- or submit an official letter of sponsorship
The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.