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Curriculum Development For A New Energy Engineering Major

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Curricular Developments in Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.347.1 - 13.347.9



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Paper Authors

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Sarma Pisupati Pennsylvania State University

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Yaw Yeboah Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Curriculum Development for a New Energy Engineering Major at The Pennsylvania State University


With the world’s thirst for energy continuing to grow, there is now an urgent demand for a well trained workforce to develop, process, utilize and manage conventional, unconventional, and renewable energy sources in an environmentally safe and economically feasible way. To move The Pennsylvania State University to the forefront in energy, the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering developed for the first time in the US, a formal undergraduate degree program (Bachelor of Science) in the growing field of energy engineering. Through collaboration and cooperative arrangements with other departments and colleges, and flexibility in the program, science and engineering students with special interests in energy would be able to obtain a BS degree in Energy Engineering on its own or dual/concurrent degrees, minors, options or general education in energy engineering. Along with the basic engineering skills, the program integrates skill sets in the physical sciences (chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics) and social sciences (economics, policy, and management). The first two years of the program are similar to traditional engineering disciplines. Thereafter, one takes a series of courses that introduce Energy Engineering concepts. Fundamental energy engineering principles involve material and energy balances, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer operations, and physical and chemical processing as applied to energy industries. In addition to these engineering principles, students enroll in required courses in renewable/sustainable energy principles. Students will be trained in basic chemistry of fuels – coal, petroleum, natural gas and biomass; combustion; petroleum and natural gas processing; electrochemical energy conversion; and energy conversion processes including chemical, nuclear, biological and catalytic. Students also choose departmental electives from courses such as green energy engineering and environmental compliance, hydrogen and fuel cell technology, materials for energy applications, physical processes in energy engineering, and air pollutants from combustion sources. Professional electives allow students to gain exposure to business, legal and ethical issues related to energy. Technical electives can be chosen to provide specialization or breadth and depth in renewable or non-renewable energy and/or mechanical or chemical aspects of energy. This paper discusses the program, the rationale in developing the program, and the details of the novel curriculum.


World population and energy consumption both continue to grow significantly. Also, due to global uncertainties, energy is becoming increasingly important. The United States, for example, increasingly relies on imported energy (32.9 % in 2006)1. Projections from DOE’s Annual Energy Outlook indicate that primary energy use in the United States will climb to 134 Quadrillion Btu in 2030 from 98 in 20002. Despite increases in electricity generation efficiencies, total electricity consumption is also predicted to increase. President Bush has called for an Advanced Energy Initiative based on the development of hydrogen fuel, clean coal technologies, cellulose-based ethanol, solar and wind energies, and advanced automotive batteries.

Pisupati, S., & Yeboah, Y. (2008, June), Curriculum Development For A New Energy Engineering Major Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3984

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