Skip to main content

PhD Sustainable Energy Technologies

Background information

Energy is now widely recognised as a critical input for achieving sustainable development.  Vital sectors of Sub-Sahara African (SSA) economies such as agriculture, education and health have failed to meet expectations partly because of poor access to modern energy services which have made it extremely difficult to develop many facilities like water resources for small-scale irrigation and potable water to ensure food security, infrastructure for lighting and communication. The poor living conditions in rural areas and the lack of employment opportunities have all contributed to social unrest, which is of national and international concern.


The failure of the conventional energy-based sector, in particular, for electricity generation, to live up to expectation, and the fluctuating price of crude oil have become major threats to sustainable development. Hence, the recent interest in renewable energy (RE). SSA receives an estimated average direct solar radiation of about 6 million Gigawatts (the highest for any region in the world) and has abundant bioenergy resources, in addition to other renewable resources like hydropower, wind energy and geothermal energy.


It has been observed that renewable energy has generally not attracted the requisite level of sector policy commitment and the appropriate public and private investment in SSA. This is due to the inadequate institutional frameworks and infrastructure, limited technical expertise and shortage of qualified personnel which present enormous challenges to accelerated renewable energy development, particularly, in the West African sub-region. The limited number of qualified personnel including engineers, technicians and policy makers has been identified as the main cause of failure of many renewable energy projects in the sub-region.


In 2011, The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE), Burkina Faso, and the Groupe de Rechercheen Electrotechnique et Automatique du Havre (GREAH) of the University of Le Havre, France, with financial support from the EU via the EDULINK Programme mounted an MSc Programme in Renewable Energy Technologies by e-Learning, in an effort to address the problems of:


  • Limited number of skilled engineers in renewable energy technologies including solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and biofuels; and
  • Low knowledge of RE Technology on the part of key actors in the public and private sectors, including energy policy makers and small/medium scale entrepreneurs.


The MSc programme, since then, has trained over a hundred engineers and scientists in RE technologies across the sub-region. To improve the programme to address unique challenges relevant to SSA and conduct research of relevance to the sub-region, the Norwegian government, NORAD, has provided a grant to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to support education and research activities from 2015-2019, and to further develop capacity to sustain the programme.


Accordingly, KNUST’s MSc programme has been revised to one year in accordance with the new categorisation of graduate programmes in the School of Graduate Studies. In order to meet the needs of the section of applicants who have need to conduct extensive research, two new programmes, an MPhil in Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) and PhD in Sustainable Energy Technologies (SETs) components as per the new categorisation of graduate programmes in the School of Graduate Studies.

The partner institutions involved in the programme implementation are the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Aalesund Campus, all in Norway.


At the end of the programme the student should be better equipped to:


  • utilise innovative approaches for solving complex problems in the field of renewable technology;
  • able to analyse, synthesise and evaluate interdisciplinary knowledge to solve complex problems in sustainable energy;
  • able to utilise entrepreneurial skills to convert renewable energy ideas into realistic business models;
  • able to appreciate multi-cultural differences with partners in a team /group;
  • able to assess environmental, social and economic impacts;
  • design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • apply thermal science fundamentals to the design/analysis of renewable energy system components;
  • apply basic principles of operation of prevalent renewable energy converters;
  • design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
  • function on multidisciplinary teams;
  • design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability;
  • understand professional and ethical responsibility;
  • use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice;
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams;
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.


Students’ admission, progression and graduation


General Qualifications
  1. Applicants with good master’s or MPhil degree in Engineering or related field from a recognised University
  2. In addition, candidates must pass an interview.
Requirements For Graduation

For the award of the PhD SETs, the student must have:

  • Obtained a minimum pass mark of 50% in any examination;
  • Obtained a minimum pass mark of 65% in in a comprehensive examination;
  • achieved a minimum credit of 115 credit hours;
  • obtained a minimum CWA of 55.00;
  • submitted at least two publications from thesis in a reputable journal; and
  • submitted and successfully defended a Thesis.

A significant percentage of our graduates are already employed, however, for the few who may be looking for jobs, employment opportunities exist in the following areas:

  1. Generation Companies like the Volta River Authority, and Aboadze Thermal Power Company;
  2. Government Ministries like the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Power;
  3. Regulatory institutions in the Ghana and the West African sub-region like the West Africa Power Pool, the Energy Commission of Ghana, the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission;
  4. Grid Management Companies like the Ghana Grid Company Limited;
  5. The several renewable energy companies springing up in the country and the sub-region;
  6. R & D experts and managers in energy production and power generation companies;
  7. Consultants in the field(s) of energy and sustainability; and
  8. Education and academia, research institutions.
  1. Applicants (International) must apply online. International applicants who are admitted will be required to pay an application fee of USD 200.00 before registration.
  2. Candidates should proceed to online admissions website: KNUST Application Portal and begin the application process.
  3. Once the process has been completed, candidates MUST PRINT OUT 2 COPIES of the completed application form from the portal and submit them (by post) to the School of Graduate Studies together with all relevant documents (Photocopies of Certificates, Recommendation Letters, and Transcript for those attending KNUST for the first time) to the following address:

The Secretary

School of Graduate Studies