Energy Systems Minor


Energy Systems Minor
Energy systems are pervasive in our society. A list of energy-related subjects and applications in the engineering curriculum would be nearly endless, but here are some examples:

• Mechanical engineers have a core area in thermo-fluids where courses in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer for a base for energy systems.

• Electrical engineers address power transmission and distribution as well as electric motors and power systems.

• Civil engineers develop structures for wind turbines and hydroelectric dams.

• Chemical engineers develop alternative fuels and clean burning technologies.

• Material engineers develop new materials for batteries and fuel cells.

• Aerospace engineers develop wind turbines.

• Industrial engineers address manufacturing efficiency and energy reduction.

• Agricultural engineers develop biorenewable energy sources.

Energy systems are also a significant focus of the grand challenges of engineering, and this minor will help our students address these issues in their engineering careers.

The goal of the minor in energy systems is to provide ISU engineering students with focused educational opportunities in the broad area of energy systems. Successful energy systems minor students will understand broad energy perspectives, the language of energy systems, and the economic, environmental, and policy issues related to energy in the two required courses (six credits) for the minor (EE 351 and Econ 380). The remaining nine credits in the minor can be selected from a list of approved engineering courses related to energy systems to give students the opportunity to extend their knowledge.


Required Courses


EE 351. Analysis of Energy Systems.
(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: MATH 165
Energy-scientific, engineering and economic foundations. Energy utilization-global and national. Sectoral analysis of energy consumption. Relationship of energy consumption and production to economic growth and environment. Technology for energy production. Economic evaluation of energy utilization and production. Scientific basis for global warming. Environmental impact of energy production and utilization. Renewable energy.

Econ 380. Energy, Environmental and Resource Economics.
(Cross-listed with ENV S) (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: ECON 101
Natural resource availability, use, conservation, and government policy, with emphasis on energy issues. Environmental quality and pollution control policies.


Elective Courses


AER E 381. Introduction to Wind Energy.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: MATH 166, PHYS 221
Basic introduction to the fundamentals of Wind Energy and Wind Energy conversion systems. Topics include but not limited to various types of wind energy conversion systems and the aerodynamics, blade and tower structural loads, kinematics of the blades and meteorology. Nonmajor graduate credit.

AER E 481. Advanced Wind Energy: Technology and Design.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: AER E 381 or senior classification in engineering or junior in engineering with a course in fluid mechanics
Advanced topics in wind energy, emphasis on current practices. Theoretical foundations for horizontal and vertical axis wind turbine. Design codes for energy conversion systems design, aerodynamic an structural load estimation, wind resource characterization wind farm design, optimization. Nonmajor graduate credit.

A E 325. Biorenewable Systems.
(Cross-listed with TSM, AGRON, AN S, BSE, BUSAD, ECON). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: ECON 101, CHEM 163 or higher, MATH 140 or higher
Converting biorenewable resources into bioenergy and biobased products. Biorenewable concepts as they relate to drivers of change, feedstock production, processes, products, co-products, economics, and transportation/logistics.

A E 363. Agri-Industrial Applications of Electric Power and Electronics.
(3-2) Cr. 4. F. Prereq: PHYS 222
Single phase and three phase circuit design. Electrical safety. Electric motors and controls. Programmable logic controllers. Digital logic, instrumentation and sensors. Nonmajor graduate credit.

A E 413. Fluid Power Engineering.
(Cross-listed with M E). (2-2) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in E M 378 or M E 335, A E 216 or M E 270
Properties of hydraulic fluids. Performance parameters of fixed and variable displacement pumps and motors. Hydraulic circuits and systems. Hydrostatic transmissions. Characteristics of control valves. Analysis and design of hydraulic systems for power and control functions. Nonmajor graduate credit.

A E 423X. Energy and the Environment.
(3.0) Cr. Prereq: MATH 160 or higher, PHYS 221; A E 216 or M E 231
Overview of energy engineering principles, energy use, and environmental impacts. Fossil fuel energy resources and conversion. Nuclear energy principles, reactors, fuel cycle. Renewable energy systems: solar, wind, water, and biomass conversions. Air, water and land pollution. Energy, global warming, and climate change. Nonmajor graduate credit.

A E 472. Design of Environmental Modification Systems for Animal Housing.
(Dual-listed with 572). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2012. Prereq: A E 216, M E 231
Principles and design of animal environmental control systems. Insulation, heat and mass transfer, fans, ventilation, air distribution, heating and cooling equipment, energy use, control strategies.

BRT 501. Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources.
(Cross-listed with A E). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Undergraduate training in an engineering or physical or biological discipline or degrees in agriculture or economics
Introduction to the science and engineering of converting biorenewable resources into bioenergy and biobased products. Survey of biorenewable resource base and properties; description of biobased products; methods of biorenewable resource production; processing technologies for fuels, chemicals, materials, and energy; environmental impacts; economics of biobased products and bioenergy.

BRT 535. Thermochemical Processing of Biomass.
(Cross-listed with M E). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Undergraduate course work in thermodynamics and transport phenomena
Introduction to thermal and catalytic processes for the conversion of biomass to biofuels and other biobased products. Topics include gasification, fast pyrolysis, hydrothermal processing, syngas to synfuels, and bio-oil upgrading. Application of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid dynamics to bioenergy and biofuels.

BRT 515X. Biorenewables Law and Policy.
(3.0) Cr. 3. S.
Evaluation of the Biorenewables field as it relates to the areas of law and policy. Primary emphasis on the following topics: concerns that motivated the development and expansion of the Biorenewables field, a history of the interactions between biorenewable pathways. U.S. law and policy and controversies that have arisen from these interactions and their effects.

BRT 545X. Production and Use of Biofuels.
This course is currently being developed with support from the OEI grant

BSE 380. Principles of Biological Systems Engineering.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: BSE 216, CH E 357 or M E 436
Unit-operation analysis of biological systems, through the study of mass, energy, and information transport in bioresource production and conversion systems. Quantification and modeling of biomass production, ecological interactions, and bioreactor operations.

BSE 415. Biological Systems Engineering Design.
(Cross-listed with A E). (1-2) Cr. 2. F.S. Prereq: A E 271 or A E 272, E M 324
Identification of current design problems in agricultural engineering. Development of alternate solutions using creativity and engineering analysis and synthesis techniques. Nonmajor graduate credit.

BSE 480. Engineering Analysis of Biological Systems.
(Cross-listed with ENSCI). (2-2) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: BSE 216; MATH 266; BIOL 211 or BIOL 212; M E 231
Systems-level engineering analysis of biological systems. Economic and life-cycle analysis of bioresource production and conversion systems. Global energy and resource issues and the role of biologically derived materials in addressing these issues. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CH E 356. Transport Phenomena I.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: CH E 210, PHYS 221, credit or enrollment in MATH 267
Momentum and mechanical energy balances. Incompressible and compressible fluid flow. Applications to fluid drag, piping system design, filtration, packed beds and settling. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CH E 357. Transport Phenomena II.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in CH E 310; CH E 356
Conduction and diffusion, convective heat and mass transfer, boiling and condensation, radiation, and design of heat exchange equipment. Introduction to diffusion. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CH E 358. Separations.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: CH E 310, CH E 357
Diffusion and mass transfer in fluids. Analysis and design of continuous contacting and multistage separation processes. Binary and multicomponent distillation, absorption, extraction, evaporation, membrane processes, and simultaneous heat and mass transfer. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CH E 381. Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in CH E 310; MATH 267, PHYS 222, CHEM 325
Application of thermodynamic principles to chemical engineering problems. Thermodynamic properties of fluids, phase equilibria, and chemical reaction equilibria. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CH E 382. Chemical Reaction Engineering.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Credit in CH E 310; CH E 381, credit or enrollment in CH E 357
Kinetics of chemical reactions. Design of homogeneous and heterogeneous chemical reactors. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CH E 415. Biochemical Engineering.
(Dual-listed with 515). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: CH E 357, CH E 382 recommended, CHEM 331
Application of basic chemical engineering principles in biochemical and biological process industries such as enzyme technology and fermentation. Nonmajor graduate credit.

C E 411. Bioprocessing and Bioproducts.
(Dual-listed with 511). (Cross-listed with A E, BIOE, BSE). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: A E 216 or equivalent, MATH 160 or MATH 165, one of CHEM 167 or higher, BIOL 173 or BIOL 211 or higher or BRT 501, senior or graduate classification
Sustainability, cleaner production. Taxonomy, kinetics, metabolism, aerobic and anaerobic fermentation. Biofuels, bioenergy and coproducts. Mass/energy balances, process integration, pretreatment, separation. Membrane reactors, bioelectrolysis, microbial fuel cells, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, mutagenesis.

C E 430X. Anaerobic Biotechnology in Waste-to-Energy.
(Dual-listed with 530X). (2-2) Cr. 3 Prereq: C E 326
Fundamentals of biochemical and microbial processes involved in anaerobic digestion, traditional and high-rate anaerobic processes, treatment of industrial and agricultural wastes for energy production, biogas engines and gas handling equipment, laboratory analysis of gas composition, bioreactor operation, biochemical methane potential, and specific methanogenic activity.

CON E 352. Mechanical Systems in Buildings.
(2-2) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: CON E 251, PHYS 222
Comprehensive coverage of mechanical systems, plumbing, fire protection. Analysis techniques and design principles for each system. Required comprehensive design project for a major building project. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CON E 353. Electrical Systems in Buildings.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: PHYS 222 and credit or enrollment in CON E 352
Comprehensive coverage of building electrical systems including power, lighting, fire alarm, security and communications. Analysis techniques and design principles for each system. Required comprehensive design project for a major building project. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CON E 354X. Building Energy Performance.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Junior classification
Energy performance of buildings, building shells, HVAC, electrical and other building systems. Analysis and evaluation of building performance, energy efficiency, environmental quality, first costs, and operating costs. Strategies to exceed energy code requirements through the ASHRAE Standard 90.1. Nonmajor graduate credit.

CON E 454X. Building Energy Modeling.
(3.0) Cr. F. Prereq: CON E 354X
Energy modeling of buildings, building shells, HVAC, electrical, and other building systems. Analysis and evaluation of building performance, energy efficiency, environmental quality, first costs, and operating costs. Strategies to exceed energy code requirements through the ASHRAE Standard 90.1 Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 303. Energy Systems and Power Electronics.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: MATH 267, PHYS 222. Credit or registration in E E 224 and E E 230
Structure of competitive electric energy systems. System operation and economic optimization. Mutual inductance, transformers. Synchronous generators. Balanced three-phase circuit analysis and power calculations. Network calculations and associated numerical algorithms. Two-port circuits. Voltage regulation. Resonance and power factor correction. DC and induction motors. Power electronic circuit applications to power supplies and motor drives. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 448. Introduction to AC Circuits and Motors.
(3-2) Cr. 2. F.S. Prereq: E E 303 or E E 441 or E E 442
Half-semester course. Magnetic circuits. Power transformers. AC steady state and three-phase circuit analysis. Basic principles of operation and control of induction and single-phase motors. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 452. Electrical Machines and Power Electronic Drives.
(2-3) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: E E 303; E E 330 or E E 332; credit or registration in E E 324
Basic concepts of electromagnetic energy conversion. DC motors and three-phase induction motors. Basic introduction to power electronics. Adjustable speed drives used for control of DC, induction, and AC motors. Experiments with converter topologies, DC motors, AC motors and adjustable speed drives. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 455. Introduction to Energy Distribution Systems.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: E E 303, credit or registration in E E 324
Overhead and underground distribution system descriptions and characteristics, load descriptions and characteristics, overhead line and underground cable models, distribution transformers, power flow and fault analysis, overcurrent protection, power factor correction, system planning and automation, and economics in a deregulated environment. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 456. Power System Analysis I.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: E E 303, credit or registration in E E 324
Power transmission lines and transformers, synchronous machine modeling, network analysis, power system representation, load flow. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 457. Power System Analysis II.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: E E 303, credit or registration in E E 324
Power system protection, symmetrical components, faults, stability. Power system operations including the new utility environment. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 458. Economic Systems for Electric Power Planning.
(Cross-listed with ECON). (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: E E 303 or ECON 301
Evolution of electric power industry. Power system operation and planning and related information systems. Linear and integer optimization methods. Short-term electricity markets and locational marginal prices. Risk management and financial derivatives. Basics of public good economics. Cost recovery models including tax treatment for transmission investments. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 4XX. Photovoltaic Energy Conversion.
This course is currently being developed with support from the OEI grant.

E E 459. Electromechanical Wind Energy Conversion and Grid Generation.
(Dual-listed with 559).(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in E E 452, E E 456
Summary of industry status and expected growth; power extraction from the air stream; operation and modeling of electric machines, and power electronics topologies for wind energy conversion; analysis of machine-grid power electronic circuits, controller interface, and collector (distribution) networks; treatment of harmonics, flicker, over/under-voltages, filters, low-voltage ride-through, and reactive compensation; relaying; effects on transmission expansion, planning and grid operation and coordination including variability, frequency control, reserves, and electricity markets; overview of storage technologies and hybrid configurations. Nonmajor graduate credit.

E E 552. Energy Systems Planning.
This course is currently being developed with support from the OEI grant.

E E 554. Power System Dynamics.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: E E 456, E E 457, E E 475
Dynamic performance of power systems with emphasis on stability. Modeling of system components and control equipment. Analysis of the dynamic behavior of the system in response to small and large disturbances.

E E 555. Advanced Energy Distribution Systems.
(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: E E 455
Transient models of distribution components, automated system planning and distribution automation, surge protection, reliability, power quality, power electronics and intelligent systems applications.

E E 556. Power Electronic Systems.
(3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: E E 452
Converter topologies, AC/DC, DC/DC, DC/AC, AC/AC. Converter applications to do motor drives, power supplies, AC motor drives, power system utility applications (var compensators) and power quality.

ENGR 340. Introduction to Wind Energy: System Design & Delivery.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: MATH 166, PHYS 222
Introduction to wind energy. Economic analysis related to wind energy. Electrical power generation, transmission, and grid operations. Tower, blade and nacelle materials and manufacturing. Tower design. Construction, transportation, supply chain and life cycle analysis for wind turbine components.
I E 443. Wind Energy Manufacturing.
(Dual-listed with 543). This course is currently being developed with support from the OEI grant.
M E 332. Engineering Thermodynamics II.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.SS. Prereq: M E 231
Gas power cycles. Fundamentals of gas mixtures, psychrometry, and thermochemistry. Applications to one-dimensional compressible flow, refrigeration, air conditioning and combustion processes. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 433. Alternative Energy Conversion.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: PHYS 221/PHYS 222 and CHEM 167
Basic principles, thermodynamics, and performance of practical alternative energy conversion technologies including fuel cells, photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass energy, and non-combustion thermal sources. Performance analysis and operating principles of systems and components, economic analysis for system design and operation. Nonmajor graduate credit. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 436. Heat Transfer.
(3-2) Cr. 4. F.S.SS. Prereq: M E 335
Heat transfer by conduction, convection, and radiation. Similarity concepts in heat, mass, and momentum transfer. Methods for determination of heat transfer coefficients. Combined modes of heat transfer. Heat exchangers. Lab experiments emphasizing concepts in thermodynamics and heat transfer. Written reports are required. Nonmajor graduate credit. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 437X. Introduction to Combustion Engineering.
(3.0) Cr. 3. S. Prereqs: Credit in M E 332 or equivalent and credit or enrollment in M E 335 or equivalent
Introduction to the fundamentals of combustion and the analysis of combustion systems for gaseous, liquid, and solid fuels-including biomass fuels. Combustion fundamentals are applied to the analysis of engines; turbines, biomass cookstoves; suspension, fixed-bed, and fluidized-bed furnaces; and other combustion devices.

M E 441. Fundamentals of Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Credit or enrollment in M E 436
Space conditioning and moist air processes. Application of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluid flow principles to the analysis of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning components and systems. Performance and specification of components and systems. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 442. Heating and Air Conditioning Design.
(1-5) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: M E 441
Design criteria and assessment of building environment and energy requirements. Design of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. System control and economic analysis. Oral and written reports required. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 444. Elements and Performance of Power Plants.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: M E 332, credit or enrollment in M E 335
Basic principles, thermodynamics, engineering analysis of power plant systems. Topics include existing power plant technologies, the advanced energyplex systems of the future, societal impacts of power production, and environmental and regulatory concerns. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 446. Power Plant Design.
(2-2) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: M E 332, credit or enrollment in M E 335
Design of a power plant to meet regulatory, cost, fuel, and output needs. Selection and synthesis of principal components. Oral and written reports required. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 449. Internal Combustion Engine Design.
(3-1) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: M E 335
Basic principles, thermodynamics, combustion, and exhaust emissions of spark-ignition and compression-ignition engines. Laboratory determination of fuel properties and engine performance. Thermodynamic and mechanical design of engine components to meet specified performance requirements. Oral and written reports required. Nonmajor graduate credit. Nonmajor graduate credit.

M E 479X. Sustainability Science for Engineering Design.
(Dual-listed with 579X). (3.0) Cr. 3 S. Prereq: Any Engineering Design course
Scientific principles and quantitative methods concerning sustainability. Analysis of environmental issues associated with engineering design and product manufacturing in an economic and social context. Heuristic and analytical methods fro assessing the sustainability of existing or potential product/service designs. Application to a design problem in teams.

M E 4XX. Quantitative Energy Economics and Policy.
(Dual-listed with 5XX). This course is currently being developed with support from the OEI grant.

M E 530. Advanced Thermodynamics.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: M E 332
Fundamentals of thermodynamics from the classical viewpoint with emphasis on the use of the first and second laws for analysis of thermal systems. Generalized thermodynamic relationships. Computer applications of thermodynamic properties and system analysis. Selected topics.

M E 536. Advanced Heat Transfer.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: M E 436
Advanced treatment of heat transmission by conduction, convection, and radiation.

M E 540. Solar Energy Systems.
(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2011. Prereq: M E 436
Application of heat transfer, thermodynamics and photovoltaics to the design and analysis of solar energy collectors and systems.

M E 542. Advanced Combustion.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: M E 332 or CH E 381
Thermochemistry and transport theory applied to combustion. Gas phase equilibrium. Energy balances. Reaction kinetics. Flame temperatures, speed, ignition, and extinction. Premixed and diffusion flames. Combustion aerodynamics. Mechanisms of air pollution.

M E 545. Thermal Systems Design.
(3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2012. Prereq: M E 436
Integrating thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer to model thermal equipment and to simulate thermal systems. Second law and parametric analysis; cost estimation, life cycle analysis and optimization. Some computer programming required.

MAT E 311. Thermodynamics in Materials Engineering.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: MAT E 216, CHEM 178, PHYS 222, credit or enrollment in MATH 267
Basic laws of thermodynamics applied to materials systems. Thermodynamics of chemical reactions. Homogeneous and heterogeneous equilibrium. Phase diagrams for materials systems. Nonmajor graduate credit.

MAT E 4XX. Electrochemical Energy Storage Science.
This course is currently being developed with support from the OEI grant.

M S E 520. Thermodynamics and Kinetics in Multicomponent Materials.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: MAT E 311 or CHEM 321, MATH 266 or MATH 267
A review of the fundamental principles of heat, work, basic thermodynamic relations, and criteria for equilibrium. Analytical treatments for the thermodynamic description of multicomponent chemical solutions and reacting systems are developed and employed to predict phase equilibria in materials systems. Builds on the thermodynamic construction to treat the kinetics of chemical reactions and phase transformations. Topics include general first order and second order transitions, along with chemical diffusion. Detailed examples involving nucleation and diffusion limited growth, spinodal decomposition, martensitic transformations, magnetic and electric transitions, and glass formation will be considered.
NUC E 401. Nuclear Radiation Theory and Engineering.
(3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: PHYS 222, MATH 266 or MATH 267
Atomic and nuclear physics. Radioactivity and reaction rates. Cross sections. Introduction to neutron diffusion theory. Engineering applications of radiation theory. Nonmajor graduate credit.

NUC E 441. Probability Risk Assessment.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: STAT 305 or equivalent
Methods for analysis of nuclear power systems. Fault tree and event tree analysis methods. Mathematical basics for dealing with reliability data, theory, and analysis. Case studies of accidents in nuclear power systems. Nonmajor graduate credit.

NUC E 461. Radiation Detection, Measurement and Simulation.
(3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: NUC E 401
Principles of nuclear radiation safety and detection. Radiation energy spectroscopy. Counting statistics and error analysis. Monte Carlo simulation of radiation transport. Detection system performance parameters. Design projects. Nonmajor graduate credit.


Advisory Committee

Ted Heindel, ME
Advisory Committee Chair
theindel@iastate.edu
Tom Brumm, CoE tbrumm@iastate.edu
Steve Martin, MSE swmartin@iastate.edu
Vik Dalal, ECpE vdalal@iastate.edu

How to Apply

To apply for the Undergraduate Minor in Energy Systems, follow these steps:

1. Complete the Request for Minor form available from the Iowa State University Registrar’s office.
2. Obtain a signature from your academic adviser.
3. Submit the form to Taylor Shire in 2025 Black Engineering.

We encourage you to consult either your undergraduate academic adviser or a member of the advisory committee for assistance during the application process. Email energyminor@iastate.edu, or see Taylor Shire in 2025 Black Engineering if you have any questions.