Energy Systems Modules

Three core courses give students an overview of key topics in Energy Systems. To support these core courses, there are 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 met the required prerequisites.

Spring 2022 Energy Modules

CHEME 6660, Analysis of Sustainable Energy Systems

Classes held for 6 weeks, January 24 through March 4,in conjunction with CHEME 6670 Fossil Fuels

MWF 10:10-11:00 am, and TR 11:20 am -12:10 pm

Instructor: Jeff Tester (

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, financial analysis of performance, life cycle cost calculation, transport and reaction engineering considerations for energy capture, extraction and conversion described within a system 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. Quantitative engineering analysis methods applied assuming previous exposure to thermodynamics, physics, and calculus. (2 credits for CHEME 6660; 1 credit for project in CHEME 6681)

CHEME 6670, Fossil Fuels

Classes held for 2 weeks, February 7 through 18

MWF 10:10-11:00 am, and TR 11:20 am-12:10 pm

Lead instructor: Michael Weill with Jeff Tester (

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 and gas. Oil and gas after transportation and refining is a major contributor to the transportation, industrial, and residential sectors of the economy. The module will highlight where oil and gas fit 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. Although coal is a fossil fuel and significant contributor to US electrical supply, it will not be covered in detail. (1 credit)

CHEME 6663, Geothermal Energy

Classes held for 4 weeks, March 7 through April 1

MWF 10:10-11:00 am

Lead instructors: Adam Hawkins ( and Jeff Tester (

The vision behind geothermal energy’s potential role in meeting national and regional decarbonization and renewable energy deployment goals is described. Topics include: (1) regional and local geothermal resource assessment using temperature gradients and heat flow to estimate the stored thermal energy in the crust, (2) subsurface science and engineering including reservoir structure and design and thermal-hydraulic performance modeling, drilling, and stimulation methods, (3) engineering design and infrastructure technology involved with using geothermal energy for generating electricity, direct use in district heating systems and heating and cooling using geothermal heat pumps, (4) economic requirements, and (5) environmental issues. The final topic is a case study addressing how district heating at Cornell will be achieved utilizing an integrated energy system approach using Earth Source Heat (ESH) technology, bioenergy from waste biomass, thermal energy storage, and centralized heat pumps (1 credit)

CHEME 6662, Solar Energy

Classes held for 4 weeks, April 11 through May 10

MWF 10:10-11:00 am

Lead instructor: Tobias Hanrath ( with Jeff Tester (

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, life-cycle assessment and perspectives on second- and third-generation photovoltaic technologies. Beyond technoeconomic aspects, we also discuss societal and legal aspects of solar energy deployment. The module also summarizes solar thermal power technologies including passive and active solar heating, concentrated solar power plants. (1 credit)