Energy Modules

Energy Modules, College of Engineering - Spring 2020



CHEME 6664, Hydropower

Classes held for 2 weeks from January 21 - February 4

MWF 10:10-11:00 am and TR 8:40-9:55 am, 202 Upson Hall

Lead Instructor:  Jeff Tester ( with Andri Gunnarsson and Asbjorg Kristinsdottir

A review of hydropower technology and resources for base load and distributed applications.  Emphasis is placed on water power from conventional impoundment dams.  Many practical cases from Iceland will be discussed where about 80% of the country’s electricity comes from hydro.  The guest lecturers are staff members at Landsvirkjun, the company that operates most of Iceland’s hydropower plants.  Lectures cover water resource assessment, basic fundamentals of hydrokinetic energy capture, hydro turbine technology, designs and performance, siting issues and environmental impacts, along with public acceptance issues and cost estimates and projections.  (1 credit)


Solar energy

CHEME 6662, Solar Energy

Classes held for 4 weeks from February 5 - March 4

MWF 10:10-11:00 am, 2154 Snee Hall

Lead instructor:  Tobias Hanrath (

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)


Earth Source Heat

CHEME 6680 / EAS 4940, Earth Source Heat at Cornell

Classes held for 4 weeks from March 6 – April 8

MWF 10:10-11:00 am, 2154 Snee Hall

Lead instructors:  Jeff Tester ( and

Terry Jordan (

The vision behind geothermal energy’s potential role in meeting national and regional decarbonization and renewable energy deployment goals is described.  This module specifically addresses how Earth Source Heat (ESH) technology would be used for geothermal district heating at Cornell and beyond.  Geothermal resource assessment involving regional and local geology, and temperature gradients and heat flow will be used to provide estimates of stored thermal energy in the crust.  Other topics include seismic and other geophysical methods for subsurface characterization, reservoir design and performance modeling, drilling and stimulation methods, and district heating infrastructure.  Economic challenges and environmental risks and benefits will also be covered.  (1 credit)