Low Carbon Power Technology Micro-credential


Organisation profile

Trinity College Dublin is Ireland's leading University, which has been inspiring generations of brilliant thinkers for over 400 years.

Training aim

This micro-credential will establish the foundational physical principles that enable the extraction of useful work / energy from various sources (thermal, fluid, chemical, nuclear etc.), and present the current state of the art in power generation machinery. The important methods of power generation will each be examined, with foundational analysis, in the context of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course students will be able to:

• Articulate the importance of efficient low carbon energy systems for the sustainability of modern society 
• Evaluate and compare the efficiency, sustainability and carbon impact of various power generation systems 
• Use fundamental engineering science to analyse and predict the performance of various low carbon energy technologies 
• Develop a basic computational model and use it to analyse a power generation system 
• Analyse and compare different energy storage systems and justify their importance for a low carbon energy grid 
• Demonstrate an understanding of the balance between commercial and environmental sustainability and the time scales of investments and benefits 
• Quantitatively assess the potential for various renewable energy technologies to complement or replace conventional power generation systems.

Course outline

• Students will learn to analyse energy cycles for the important configurations of steam plants and gas turbines, including analysis of component performance including pumps, compressors, turbines, heat exchangers and combustors. 
• You will learn how to analyse advanced natural gas turbine power plants including cogeneration plants, trigeneration plants, hybrid GT Fuel cell plants and combined heat and power. 
• Students will learn about technology relevant to waste-to-energy and renewable energies including gasification, anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, cogeneration gas turbines, biomass combustors. The main types of hydraulic turbines and pumps will be presented and analysed in the context of hydroelectric power generation and pumped hydro storage. Other methods of large-scale energy will be presented, including thermal storage, compressed air and gas, batteries, and electrolysis. 
• Students will learn the importance of effective storage as part of decarbonising energy and will analyse these systems to determine the overall round-trip efficiency of energy storage to judge their viability. Nuclear energy production will be presented, covering the history of nuclear, underlying physics, basic components, reactor types, neutron moderation, heat transfer and coolant system design. Students will learn to evaluate the different power generation technologies in the context of efficiency, cost, flexibility.

Trainer's profile

Professor Stephen Spence is the Chair of Mechanical Engineering at Trinity College Dublin. He has over 25 years of experience of research, design and testing of turbomachinery, combustors and gas turbines for power and propulsion systems. He is a past Chair of the International Gas Turbine Institute’s turbomachinery committee and a past editor of the Journal of Turbomachinery. Professor Spence is currently the Technical Programme Chair of the ASME Turbo Expo Conference. Professor Spence works closely with international turbomachinery manufacturers including ABB, GE and IHI. He leads the Sustainable Aviation Research Centre, which was established by Ryanair and collaborates with other international aerospace manufacturers to address the challenge of zero-carbon aviation.

Course duration

24 Weeks

Assessment & certification

Assessment is through a series of structured assignments which include a technology report, class tests, computational models of complete energy systems and optimisation of component/machine designs.

A Micro-credential worth 5 credits on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and 250 hours CPD credit.

Who should attend

This Micro-credential targets relevant professionals interested in sustainable power generation technologies across industry and the public sector, including Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, Planners, Energy/Sustainability Consultants, Small Medium Enterprises.