This course provides an introduction to the challenges of power generation for a global society. The course starts with an overview of the current and future demands for energy, the various methods of power generation including fossil fuel, solar, thermal, wind, and nuclear and the detrimental byproducts associated with these methods. Advanced strategies to improve power densities, reduce pollutant emissions and improve thermal efficiencies, such as advanced combustion cycles, batteries and fuel cells for stationary and mobile power generation; synthetic and bio-renewable fuels; and reconfiguring power plants are the primary focus of the second half of the course. The material includes emphasis on specific methods to improve energy efficiencies in the mobile transportation sector such as hybrid vehicles and ultracapacitors. Additional topics include the advantages and technical difficulties associated with a hydrogen economy including production, transport, storage and application. The emphasis is on the application of thermodynamic analysis to understand the basic operating principles and the inherent limitations of the technologies considered.
ME 235 Thermodynamics