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4 Credits
Available Spring
OSU Catalog link

OSU catalog link

ME 312


Robin Feuerbacher
105A Cascades Hall
OSU-Cascades, Bend, OR

Course Description

Survey of technical fundamentals and operational principles of conventional and renewable energy conversion systems to understand the environmental and sustainable issues for energy systems currently in use or may be used in the future to power our industrial society. Offered at OSU-Cascades only.


  • Forms of energy, energy and power, units and nomenclature, energy/power supply, and demand, energy and societal development, climate change and energy
  • Generating electricity in conventional fossil energy systems and brief review of relevant thermodynamics
  • Overview of nuclear energy generation (current and next generation nuclear reactors)
  • Solar PV and solar thermal energy conversion
  • Wind generation, the Betz Limit, the variability of wind
  • Ocean energy generation
  • Biomass, biogas utilization/landfill gas
  • Hydropower energy conversion
  • Small scale power generation, micro-hydro, etc.
  • Geothermal energy
  • Fuel cell technology

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the dependence of our current industrial society on energy
  2. Discuss the various approaches to conventional and alternative energy generation and describe the basic operational principles of each
  3. Ability to analyze data pertaining to a certain situation and create/design an idealized energy conversion system
  4. Solve quantitative, energy-related problems that use and reinforce engineering fundamentals (e.g., analyze an energy conversion approach as to “first law” and “second law” feasibility)
  5. Formulate decisions on energy choices based upon consideration of the entire lifecycle of the energy source in question, socioeconomic trends, safety, and environmental impact
  6. Describe and apply fundamental system calculations to predict expected system efficiency