Core Courses and Modules
There are three courses that are core to Earth Energy Systems. These courses give students an overview of key topics in Energy Systems. To support these core courses, we have several shorter courses called “modules” which cover special topics within Energy Systems including Fossil Energy, Geothermal, Solar Energy, Energy Metals, and many more. These courses are open to anyone interested in the course topics who has the required prerequisites. Below you will find the titles, course numbers and a brief description of both the Core Courses along with the special topics modular courses we offer.
Core Energy and Earth Energy Systems Courses:
Analysis of Sustainable Energy Systems (CHEME 6660) – Assessment of current and potential future energy systems, covering resources, extraction, conversion, and end-use, with emphasis on meeting regional and global energy needs in the 21st century in a sustainable manner. Quantitative engineering methods for performance analysis of renewable and conventional technologies are utilized. Methods will include thermodynamics, transport and reaction engineering considerations for energy capture, extraction and conversion described within a life cycle framework that aids in evaluation and analysis of sustainable energy technology options in the context of political, social, economic, and environmental goals. Open to graduate students and upper class undergraduates.
Earth Systems Behavior and Resources (EAS 6668) – Earth Energy program core course that overviews the key natural processes that are impacted by energy technologies, as well as those natural processes and properties that control the distribution of energy sources. Focal topics include climate, carbon cycle, hydrology, fossil fuels, and geothermal heat.
Earth Energy Science and Engineering (EAS 6669/CHEME 6669) – Overviews the key natural properties of Earth’s subsurface at depths less than 10 km. Natural mechanical properties and the means to detect subsurface properties are emphasized. Develop understanding of and skills for modeling transport properties in subsurface reservoirs including multidimensional Thermal Hydraulic Mechanical Chemical reservoir models for fractured/porous media. Master the physical principles of hydraulic stimulation and fracturing of rock. Assess the suitability of a range of geophysical methods to detect subsurface rock properties and engineered systems.
Energy Policy (CHEME 6642) – Analyzes the energy policies of public institutions for a range of energy resources. Reviews economic and political determinants of policy. Examines policies that affect/control: pricing mechanisms, energy mix, subsidies, energy conservation/efficiency and the environment. Analyzes their economic and social impacts. Examples drawn from a wide range of settings.
Bioenergy and Biofuels (CHEME 6661) – This module will introduce students to issues and challenges in utilizing biomass feedstocks to produce bioenergy, biofuels and/or other products. The focus varies from semester to semester, for example spring 2013 we focused on microalgea as a feedstock for producing high-energy density biofuel as a case study. In that case study material covered biomass feedstock cultivation and harvesting of algae, biomass processing and conversion technologies, biofuel co-products, and environmental and economic impacts of biofuels. The course will culminate in a final project in which students will use Life Cycle Assessment to measure the energetic viability and environmental performance of algal biofuels.
Solar Energy (CHEME 6662) – Solar energy has evolved at an astonishing pace during the last five years. This module provides a comprehensive overview of solar energy conversion technologies. Major themes range from fundamental (nuts and bolts) solid-state concepts and operating principles of photovoltaics to manufacturing of cells and modules, balance of system aspects, and perspectives on second- and- third generation photovoltaic technologies. The module also summarizes solar thermal power technologies including passive and active solar heating, concentrated solar power plants.
Geothermal Energy Module (CHEME 6663) – This module focuses on the utilization of low-temperature geothermal energy: geothermal heat pumps, district heating systems for heating and cooling, hybrid geothermal systems and co-generation applications. It also discusses shallow and deep geothermal reservoir thermal modeling. Technical, economic, and environmental aspects of large scale geothermal deployment will be covered.
Wind and Water Energy Module (CHEME 6664/CEE 6364) – This module gives an overview of water and wind energy resources and technology both on and off shore. Emphasis varies from semester to semester between a focus on wind power to water power. In Spring 2014 the emphasis was on water power from conventional and pumped hydro, wave energy, and tidal basin systems, hydro turbine technology, design and performance Interactions with the environment are discussed.
Geological Carbon Sequestration Module (CHEME 6665/EAS 6665/CEE 6665) – Energy technology case study that covers the system of geological carbon sequestration. Topics include natural rock conditions, chemistry and thermodynamics of CO2, fluid flow in the subsurface, carbon capture technologies, risks, and public perceptions.
Unconventional Resources Module (CHEME 6666) – Content covers engineering analysis methods for assessment of current and future energy technologies and association with natural gas and from shale formations as well as heavy oil and tar sands with specific topics on resource assessment; energy extraction, conversion, and utilization; environmental issues and impacts; and economics with emphasis on meeting regional and global energy needs in the 21st century in a sustainable manner.
Transportation Energy Systems Module (CHEME/CEE 6667) – Focuses on understanding the link between transportation demand and energy consumption and on how to build a path for a conversion to sustainable energy sources. Covers engineering systems tools for analyzing the interactions among the transportation, economic, energy, and environmental systems. Analytical tools from transportation economics and engineering will be covered to assess the energy consumption and environmental effects of long-term projects over complex, large-scale transportation systems.
Fossil Energy Module (CHEME 6670) – This module will present an overview of fossil fuels in the overall energy supply. Particular emphasis will be on the Exploration and Production sector of Oil & Gas. Although Coal is a fossil fuel and significant contributor to US electrical supply it will not be covered in detail. In addition to Gas’ expanding role in electric supply, Oil and Gas is further a major contributor to transportation, industrial, and residential sectors of the economy. The module will highlight where oil and gas fits in the energy picture and then take the student through the overall life cycle of E&P with particular emphasis on the risk and economic components involved, in addition to some technical components.
Nuclear Energy Module (CHEME 6671) – The principles and technologies of fission and fusion for electric power generation will be presented qualitatively and quantitatively. The purpose of this module is to give students an introduction to the scientific and engineering principles that underlie nuclear fission power, to describe specific nuclear power plant designs and their operation, to discuss nuclear reactor safety and accidents, and to discuss the principles, technology and the status of development of controlled fusion reactors. Specific topics will include the properties of the nucleus, radioactive decay, neutron interactions, the fission chain reaction and reactor kinetics, the nuclear fuel cycle, reactor shielding and safety, nuclear waste disposal, and more, as well as the basic science and engineering of possible nuclear fusion reactors. There will be homework problems, a Prelim exam and class participation.
Energy Transmission, Distribution and Storage Module (CHEME 6672) – The infrastructure used to transmit, distribute and store chemical, electrical , and thermal energy is extensive, multi-scale, and capital intensive. Coverage in this module includes oil, gas, coal, electric power transmission and distribution, thermal energy storage, and electrical energy storage and conversion. Technologies evaluated include fuel cells, batteries, compressed air energy storage (CAES), pumped hydro, super-capacitors and flywheels.
Energy and Society Module (CHEME 6673) – Examines the relationships of technology and society, and the nature and communication of technical knowledge.
Energy Metals Module (CHEME/EAS 6674) – The module will examine the metals that are important in energy generation, distribution, and storage in the context of supply and demand from their source in the earth to their use. Lectures will focus on the challenges related to discovery of these metals, natural variability, their extraction, and best practices in terms of mining and reclamation. The potential for change and the role of new technologies in the future will be considered and placed in the context of both societal pressures and future demand. The market, use, recycling and material stewardship of products will be considered.
Life Cycle Analysis Module (CHEME 6675/EAS 6675) – Life cycle environmental impacts, net energy requirements, costs, and economic competitiveness are key aspects to be accounted for by the engineers when designing a system or choosing among options for energy services supply. This module provides an introduction to life cycle assessment (LCA) and techno-economic analysis (TEA) for evaluating environmental and economic performances of energy systems with applications to other energy processes -bio energy, geothermal, fossil, solar, and wind. The module utilizes lectures and practical application exercises to present basic concepts and fundamental operational methods used for life cycle analysis (LCA) and techno-economic assessment (TEA) of energy systems.
Seismic Risk in Energy Development Module (EAS 6677) – A review of the basic science behind, and risk assessment of, both natural and induced seismicity as it relates to various sectors of the energy industry. Among the topics covered are a) earthquake risks in the nuclear power and hydro power industries, b) induced seismicity and its relationship to geothermal energy development, hydraulic fracturing and waste water disposal, and c) best practices and regulatory mechanisms to reduce risk.
Water – Energy Nexus (EAS 6920 DIS 23 (parent) CHEME 6678) – Earth Energy program core course that overviews the key natural processes that are impacted by energy technologies, as well as those natural processes and properties that control the distribution of energy sources. Focal topics include climate, carbon cycle, hydrology, fossil fuels, and geothermal heat.
Energy Storage Module (CHEME 6679) – The infrastructure used to transmit, distribute and store chemical, electrical , and thermal energy is extensive, multiscale, and capital intensive. Coverage in this module includes oil, gas, coal, and electric power transmission and distribution, thermal energy storage, and electrical energy storage and conversion. Technologies evaluated include fuel cells, batteries, compressed air energy storage (CAES), pumped hydro, supercapacitors and flywheels.
Energy Seminar I (ECE 5870/5880) – Energy resources, their conversion to electricity or mechanical work, and the environmental consequences of the energy cycle are discussed by faculty members from several departments in the university and by outside experts. Topics include energy resources and economics; coal-based electricity generation; nuclear reactors; solar power; energy conservation by users; and air pollution control.