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Power sources


During the specialisation in Thermal Energy and Process Engineering, you study advanced processes and technologies that will ensure future sources of energy such as biomass, waste, by-products of various industrial processes or from natural sources, such as the sun, the wind and the sea. The programme includes systems design and optimisation, thermal and chemical processes, aerodynamics and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

You will explore questions such as:

  • Can we develop efficient and sustainable methods for production of bio fuels and bio materials?
  • How can we develop energy efficient processes for production of heat and power?
  • Can we develop energy harvesting systems using thermal and mechanical energy to run e.g. sensors and surveillance systems?
  • Can we design small, efficient and silent vertical-axis wind turbines for use in an urban environment?
  • How do we develop efficient methods for energy storage applications for transport systems for humans and goods?
  • How do we estimate the energy potential of a wind turbine?
  • How can we develop models for wind simulation in complex landscapes such as forests and hills?
  • How do we design cyclic processes for exploitation of solar energy to produce electricity?


The teaching in the programme takes place in an innovative, dynamic and challenging environment, through a combination of research-based courses, team-based project work, and a high degree of interaction with industrial partners and energy supply companies.

The companies take an active part in providing project proposals for the problem-oriented project work, guest lectures and visits to the companies.

In the first three semesters, you spend half of your study time on courses and course work while the other half of your time will be spent doing a semester project. Each semester has an overall theme, and within this theme you conduct a semester project with your project group where you investigate and attempt to solve a relevant issue within your field of study.

The study programmes at AAU are based on problem based learning and project work, which gives you a unique opportunity to acquire new knowledge and competences at a high academic level in an independent manner. You get to apply theory to practice in your semester projects, which will better prepare you for your future career.



At the Department of Energy Technology, you will find well-equipped, modern test laboratories that enable you to conduct exciting laboratory experiments. These tests will verify the theoretical analysis that you apply during the project work.

The laboratories with advanced computer based measurement and control facilities allow you to perform realistic tests in the electrical and mechanical wind turbine area with possibilities for e.g. doing power system stability analysis and making power electronics converters.

Read more about the laboratory facilities.

Students taking a break

Semester Description


This semester is common to the two thermal specialisations of the Master' programme in Energy Engineering: Thermal Energy and Process Engineering and Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology.

For students with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree from Aalborg University, the project work is 15 ECTS credits, whereas it is 10 ECTS credits (INTRO project) for students with a BSc degree from another university.

The projects' technical topics are identical, but students from another university have one extra course about Problem Based Learning (PBL) which is the primary teaching method used at Aalborg University.

The documentation of the project work is also different:

Students with a BSc degree from Aalborg University should:

  • Document the project work with a paper, a poster and a presentation at an internal conference (CES) accompanied by an appendix report, all in English.

Students with a BSc degree from another university should

  • Document the work with a project report written in English.

In your project, you and your project group can study a thermal/fluid problem where steady-state or transient analyses must be performed to e.g. study stress and strain conditions or study design requirements. You can apply numerical methods to investigate the effect of changes in various coefficients. The design is then verified with experiments in the laboratory.

See more about projects and courses on Thermal Energy and Process Engineering.


In this semester, you focus on a fundamental fluid dynamics problem which could be a process or a typical thermal system component, which, when applied or in use, is exposed to thermal and/or fluid mechanical effects that may be steady-state or a transient.

In your project, you and your project group can study a basic thermal/fluid problem where steady-state or transient analyses are performed to study thermal and fluid dynamical effects. You should apply numerical methods such as CFD-modelling to investigate the modelled system component. The design is then verified with experiments in the laboratory.


In this semester, you will learn more about the Problem Based Learning (PBL) method applied at Aalborg University by doing project work and writing a project report about an issue or a problem in relation to thermal energy engineering.


  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Multiphase Flow (5 ECTS)
  • Fluid Mechanics and Compressible Flow (5 ECTS)
  • Probability Theory, Stochastic Processes and Applied Statistics (5 ECTS)
  • For international students: Control Theory and MATLAB (5 ECTS)


  • Fluid‐Mechanical Analysis Methods (15 ECTS)
  • For international students: Problem Based Project Organised Learning in Thermo‐Mechanical Analysis Methods (10 ECTS)

examples of pROJEcT topics

  • Aerodynamic design of AAU Eco-Marathon Car
  • Investigation of heat transfer in heat sinks using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and PLIF (Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence)
  • Investigation of transient fluid forces on rotating flat plates using Computational Fluid Dynamics and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV)
  • Investigation of flow in a radial pump using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV)
  • Numerical and experimental analysis of the flow field in a ventilation air handling unit and optimization of the unit for lower losses
  • Numerical and experimental analysis and optimization of a forced draft fan.

Driver of ECO-racer


You and your project group write your second semester project about modelling and optimisation of a physical energy system such as a power plant, cooling plant or industrial process system. You choose a system and model, analyse and optimise it by means of analytical tools such as numerical optimisation, non-linear dynamical modelling or process integration.


  • Fuel Conversion and Production (5 ECTS)
  • Chemical Reactors and Process Systems (5 ECTS)
  • Optimisation Theory and Reliability (5 ECTS)


  • Modelling and Optimisation of Energy Systems (15 ECTS)

examples of pROJEcT topics

  • Optimisation of a bio-fuel production process plant
  • Modelling Nordjyllandsværket - the world's most efficient power plant
  • Design of ejector for fuel cell anode and cathode gases recirculation
  • Modelling of solid oxide fuel cell.

Laboratory work


During the third semester, you have different options to earn the required 30 ECTS credits:

  • You can do an internship in Denmark or abroad, where you take part in the day-to-day operations in the business. During the internship, you will write a project about one or more of your tasks during the process
  • You can do a semester at another educational institution abroad or in Denmark
  • You can do a regular semester at AAU with courses and project work
  • You can begin your Master’s thesis, so your work is spread out over both your 3rd and 4th semester.

Aalborg University has collaboration agreements with universities around the world, and the programme’s research environment has a wide range of internship contacts.


If you opt to stay at AAU, you will choose elective courses that give you 10 ECTS credits and you will work on a project about a thermal energy and process engineering system for which an optimisation, control or diagnostic system must be set up. First, you model the system, and you can apply different system identification methods to determine the parameters of the system. The system is implemented and verified by doing experiments in the laboratories.

To practice scientific communication skills, the project’s result, or parts of it, must be published in an article written in English. This article is presented at an internal seminar (CES).


  • Elective course (5 ECTS) *
  • Elective course (5 ECTS) *


  • Optimisation, Analysis and Control of Thermal Energy and Processing Systems (20 ECTS)

examples of pROJEcT topics

  • Analysis and optimization of a micro channel cooling plate used in electronic devices
  • Numerical simulation of splash cooling of a piston of a two-stroke diesel marine engine
  • CFD simulation of sedimentation in a pressure sensor
  • Modeling of ice accretion on a wind turbine blade in cold regions
  • CFD modelling of biomass liquefaction processes
  • Design and optimization of water cooling system for wind power converter
  • Thermal design of a compact fast charger
  • Effective heat sink design for thermoelectric coolers using CFD.

The elective courses vary from year to year, depending on the number of students in the various specialisations, the on-going projects and the research performed at the Department of Energy Technology. Further, courses from other universities might be used as elective courses.



In the fourth semester, you write your Master’s thesis where you draw on all the knowledge, experience and skills you have acquired during your studies. Depending on your choice of topic, the thesis will involve developmental work, further development, or actual research.

master’s thesis

  • Self-selected topic (30 ECTS)

examples of thesis topics

  • Innovative methods for designing efficient concentrated solar power (CSP) systems for steam, electricity or desalination
  • Aerodynamic optimisation of vertical axis wind turbine rotors for urban sites
  • Microchannel heat transfer analysis using CFD and laser techniques
  • CFD analysis of plasma-aided combustion device for fuel flexibility
  • Computational modelling of the changes of temperature and moisture inside stored biomass
  • Modelling and experimental study of dynamic behavior of large irregular biomass particles
  • Accurate modelling and simulation of biomass-fired flames
  • Modelling and prediction of fouling and corrosion in a biomass-fired boiler
  • CFD modelling of biomass combustion in a grate-fired boiler and CFD-based optimisation for higher efficiency and environmental benefits
  • Simulation of black carbon formation in internal combustion engines
  • ​CFD-based de-icing of wind turbine blades in cold regions.


Read more about TRAINEESHIP and STUDYing ABROAD

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

The study method at AAU is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). Together with your fellow students you will work with real life problems by way of problem based project work.

learn more about Pbl at aau