Reasons Why You Should Become an Energy Engineer

thermal camera

Hey guys! My name is Mathias. I’m just about to finish my 3rd year out of a 5-year master’s degree in Energy and Environmental Engineering at NTNU in Norway. I discovered Steve’s blog a few weeks back when I was doing some research for an assignment. I liked his content; we got in touch and together figured an article about my studies would be valuable to his readers.

The following is a list of, in my opinion, the most important reasons for why you should become an engineer that specializes in energy and environment.

Contribute in the Fight Against the Climate Crisis

The vast majority of scientists agree that man-made emissions are the root cause of the global warming. Nobody knows for sure exactly what will happen if we keep pumping carbon dioxide and other nasty greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but it will affect weather, sea levels, food security, as well as many other things, for the worse.

By taking a degree within energy and environmental engineering, you get to work on shaping the future’s energy systems and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Experiment With Cool Stuff

A part of your education to become an energy engineer is to do projects and laboratory experiments where you put the theory you have learned to the test. If you want to specialize in wind turbines, you will likely get familiar with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and testing small-scale models in wind tunnels.

wind turbine schematic

Image credit: General Electric

If you lean more towards specializing in improving energy efficiency in buildings, chances are you will get to toy around with thermography at one point.

thermal imaging camera

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Warmer colors indicate higher temperatures. This is an effective method to determine where insulation needs to be upgraded, and for detecting and sealing air leaks.

Universities also have frequent visits to nearby power plants, wind farms and other sectors in the energy industry. This is your chance to get to know how the knowledge you are learning will be applied later in your job.

Broad Possibilities

An energy engineer can work in pretty much every part of the energy sector. This can be anything from designing energy-efficient buildings, developing the next-generation solar cells to engineering consultancies.

Money

I was not sure if I wanted to include this one in the blog post since I don’t think money should be a big motivator, but let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt either! The fact is that the energy sector is huge and there is a lot of money in this system. Combine this with the high demand for engineers and the result is high-paying salaries from the moment you graduate. This demand is not expected to decrease anytime soon.

What is Required of You?

You should be interested in technology and how it can be utilized to satisfy society’s need for energy in an environmentally sound manner. This applies to everything from industry to small households. An energy engineer will consider the challenges related to the choice of energy sources and energy carriers, technical solutions and so on. It is therefore good to have a commitment to energy issues in general.

Note that you will most likely have to start out in a more general engineering program. They are usually laid out in a way that you can choose what you want to specialize in later in the program. You can specialize in energy and environment (not always described by this term) at the majority of universities.

I hope I inspired a few people to look closer at energy and environmental engineering. Here are some links to universities in the UK that you should take a closer look at if you are one of those:

  1. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College
  2. Engineering, University of Cambridge
  3. Engineering Science, University of Oxford
Mathias Aarre Mæhlum (1 Posts)

Learn more about energy and the environment, clean energy technologies, and ways to improve energy efficiency in your home at his blog EnergyInformative or follow him on one of the following social media.


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