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Stick with maths and physics study to change the world

Renewable energy engineering careers are growing rapidly as the world moves to sustainable energy – but you’ll need to study physics and maths to apply

Studying high school physics and maths might be tough at times – but the applications in renewable energy engineering are literally world-changing. 

In fact, our global transformation away from fossil fuels to renewable energy will see more than 300 million “Green Collar” jobs created by 2050, according to consulting firm Deloitte. In Australia we’ll need thousands more electricians and clean energy supply workers as we strive to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

But in order to build the tech to protect our climate and switch away from fossil fuels you’ll need to study physics and maths.

It was physics and maths that helped Professor Martin Green and a team at UNSW Labs invent the PERC solar cell. That same technology today powers more than 90% of all new solar panel modules all over the world.

Researchers and engineers need physics to help them understand what materials will work most effectively to produce the best solar cell, at the lowest cost and generating the most power. This all comes down to the manipulation of photons, one of the most amazing elements of physics to study

Imagine a career engineering something that is lauded for helping humanity!

Champion engineers study physics and maths

Among loads of other awards, in 2023 Martin Green and three of his former PhD students won the world’s top engineering prize for the PERC technology. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is presented  annually to engineers responsible for ground-breaking innovations that have been of global benefit to humanity, with the winners sharing  £500,000 in prize money.

Yep, high school physics and maths is where you get the foundations for a career where you could transform society. And studying renewable energy engineering at UNSW means you’ll be learning from a ground-breaking, internationally recognised team.

How is physics used in renewable energy engineering?

Learning about energy transfer? It is used in everything from converting sunlight to electricity to powering energy storage in hydropower systems. The whole world turns on energy and how we use it. 

Looking at the model of an atom? This can help you understand the flow of electrons in different materials, and how to move and optimise electrical energy flows. 

Stuck on Newton’s Law of Motion? If we didn’t understand gravity, we wouldn’t be able to harness and store green energy.

How to become a renewable energy engineer

To become a renewable energy engineer, you could enrol in a specific undergraduate degree. Renewable Energy Engineering at UNSW is one of the world’s leading research schools into renewable technologies. 

The required subjects for these degrees are physics and maths, so sticking with those subjects from early on will leave you in a great position to pursue an exciting career as a renewable energy engineer. 

To ask about studying renewable energy engineering, or to organise a class visit to the lab facilities at UNSW, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can also download our free Renewable Energy Engineer Job Kit to find out more about all the different career options for engineers in the field. 

This post was brought to you in partnership with UNSW Renewable Energy Engineering. Find out more about studying renewable energy engineering here.

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