skip to content

MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Using Multi-Dimensional Critical Analysis to propose an optimal sustainable microgrid for the Falkland Islands archipelago

The balance of conflicting priorities is a ubiquitous challenge within sustainable development, particularly in island nations that experience extreme weather, complicated logistics, tight budgets, and vibrant biodiversity. Research has explored ways of analysing these multi-dimensions to formulate bespoke sustainable island microgrids but has rarely included military considerations. Military research has looked at microgrid optimisation incorporating operational considerations but often fails to analyse ecological impact comprehensively. This research is the first to combine these two paradigms and integrate them with a third, energy, in an attempt to balance the three to produce an optimal sustainable microgrid in the Falkland Islands. An expert panel with relevant experience completed a pairwise comparison survey of eight criteria based on Falklands energy priorities. An average of the panel’s responses was taken, and these were used to rank a wide range of renewable energy technologies as well as a series of microgrid structures. The result was an integrated, decentralised, microgrid powered purely from solar PV, with lead-acid battery energy storage, and power management and voltage optimisation. Despite the abundant wind energy in the Falklands, large wind turbines scored poorly due to their increased threat to endangered wildlife species, as well as the potential limitations they could cause to military aircraft. Additionally, opportunities to capitalise on future technologies are proposed, such as exporting surplus energy in the form of green hydrogen. Although the microgrid is feasible, the underlying data is based on rudimentary Falklands energy information and therefore considerable further work is recommended. Further optimisation necessitates current power requirement and wind potential energy modelling, and there is also a need to conduct a formal biodiversity risk assessment to ascertain absolute ecological limitations. Nevertheless, as a first of its kind, this research can be utilised as an exemplar methodology for future military sustainable development.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.