Energy and Mineral Engineering

The following courses have been developed by and for the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Reactive Transport in the Subsurface

Course Description

This course teaches principles of flow, transport, and reaction processes in the natural subsurface.

Alternative Fuels from Biomass Sources

Course Description

Is climate change real? Yes, it is! And technologies to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are being developed. One type of technology that is imperative in the short run is biofuels; however, biofuels must meet specifications for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, or catastrophic damage could occur. This course will examine the chemistry of technologies of bio-based sources for power generation and transportation fuels.

Course Description

Global Finance for the Earth, Energy, and Materials Industry covers the physical and financial aspects of energy commodities with the focus on crude and natural gas. The physical "path" of each commodity from the point of production to the point of use will be explained, as well as the "value chain" that exists for each. Commodity market pricing, both cash and financial, will be presented, encompassing industry "postings" for cash, commodity exchanges, and "over-the-counter" markets.

Technologies for Sustainability Systems

Course Description

EME 807 overviews a wide range of contemporary technologies in the context of sustainability and examines metrics for their assessment. The course explores the main principles that guide modern science and technology towards sustainable solutions. It covers such topics as resource management technologies, waste and wastewater treatment, renewable energy technologies, high performance buildings and transportation systems, application of informatics and feedback to sustainable systems, and more.

Advanced Energy Policy

Course Description

Energy policy is typically evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. We can look to historical policies to understand how we've inherited the policies governing our energy use today. But looking backward only tells us part of the story. In the face of climate change, we need to look ahead and instead envision a more revolutionary change to our energy systems and the policies that govern them. This class takes you on that journey to energy policies past, present, and future.


Course Description

Are you participating in an internship or supervising someone who is? If so, take a minute to explore this course that accompanies an internship for the Bachelor's degree in Energy Sustainability and Policy. This course provides students opportunities to creatively reflect on their experiences as well as opportunities to prepare for a job search. Job search preparation is done via a SWOT analysis, resume writing, and a mock interview.

Utility Solar Thermal and Industrial Solar Processes

Course Description

Solar thermal energy is a vast renewable energy resource that has been harvested by human civilizations for centuries. Now as energy conversion technologies quickly develop, we look at solar thermal energy as a significant contributor to the future world's energy profile. Solar heat, when properly collected and stored, can provide cost-effective benefits to a wide array of industrial and residential applications.

Utility Solar Electric and Concentration

Course Description

EME 812 explores the main physical principles of core solar energy conversion systems, including direct power conversion photovoltaics, concentrating photovoltaics (CPV), and thermal conversion to electricity via concentrating solar power strategies (CSP). It also covers the fundamentals of enabling technologies such as light concentration, solar tracking, power conversion cycles, power conditioning and distribution.

Sustainability and Non-Market Enterprise

Course Description

The primary goal of this course is to provide a toolset for characterizing and strategizing how nonmarket forces can shape current and future renewable energy markets. The course approaches the exploration and explanation of key concepts in renewable energy and sustainability nonmarket strategies through evidence-based examples. Main topics for the course include: a sociological approach to markets, renewable energy markets, nonmarket conditions, complex systems analysis, and renewable energy technology and business environments.

Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences Economics

Course Description

Introduction to Energy and Earth Sciences is an introduction to microeconomic fundamentals with a focus on the applications of economics to energy and environmental markets. We will introduce the economic method of analysis to the environmental and resource questions facing society. We will learn about the market forces, supply and demand and how they are formed from two concepts of law of Diminishing Returns and Diminishing Marginal Utility. We extend our knowledge by exploring factors such as market dynamics and market equilibrium, government intervention and market power.


Course Spotlight

From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming (METEO 469) - learn about the fundamentals of climate change and its impact on societal, environmental, and economic policies. Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Richard Alley

Dr. Richard Alley has been with us since the beginning, with one of our first OPEN courses - Geology of the National Parks. See what he has to say about the OPEN.ED effort over ten years later.