Course Introduction by Ahmed F. Ghoniem

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Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session


This course will focus on the engineering fundamentals of thermodynamics, flow and transport processes, as applied particularly in the current topics of interest such as fuel cells and other direct conversion systems, but encompassing also future forms of traditional systems. The course incorporates fundamentals, process and system's analysis tools in the broad energy area, intended to educate future leaders in the field of energy technology, and is not constrained by disciplinary boundaries or limited to a monolithic view of energy conversion and utilization. We intend to stress the unifying concepts in energy conversion and storage. Faculty from several departments within the SoE, with different expertise and backgrounds will participate as instructors or guest lecturers. The course will cover the underlying common principles of energy systems, and the analytical, experimental and computational tools used in their analysis, design and optimization.

The new paradigm in energy technology will be reflected in this class, which serves both undergraduate and graduate students. The course covers energy conversion, utilization and storage by introducing the common concepts and tools used in this field within a generic framework that allows students to analyze several alternative systems and determine according to fundamental principles which approach is compatible with the intended performance. The course covers indirect and direct energy conversion, energy conversion involving renewable sources (geothermal, electromagnetic and kinetic), the optimal integration of heterogeneous energy systems for hybrid operation, the production of energy carriers, like hydrogen, and synthazied fuels, the utilization of knowledge to maximize flexibility and extend the performance envelope, etc. It covers fundamental physical chemistry of energy conversion, both at the macroscopic and microscopic levels, and how these systems are engineered and integrated into functional modalities. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject is reflected in not only the content of the course and the tools used in the analysis, but also the faculty instructors.

Our new course, Fundamentals of Advanced Energy Conversion, which will have undergraduate and graduate versions that share the same material but not the workload, will cover macroscopic and microscopic analysis of direct and indirect energy conversion in thermochemical, electrochemical, thermomechanical and other processes. Material includes chemical thermodynamics and kinetics in homogeneous and heterogeneous environment; kinetic theory and transport phenomena in energy systems, critical flow processes and how they impact performance. Applications to systems utilizing fossil fuels, hydrogen, and renewable resources, including electrochemical cells, catalysis, photovoltaics, supercritical and combined cycles. Examples form very large-scale power plants to microscale energy and propulsion devices will be used to demonstrate the approach and the future trends.


A weekly homework will be given during the first 7 weeks of the class, the homework will be graded and their total will count for 35% of the total. This will be followed by an in-class quiz, which will count for 30%. A project during the last 4 weeks will count for 35%.

In a nutshell:

Homework 35%
In-class Quiz 30%
Project 35%