Carnegie Mellon University
Energy Transport and Storage

39-613 Energy Transport and Storage

Professor David Landis
5105 Scott Hall

The ease and cost of moving and storing energy varies greatly from one form to another, and from one geographic region to another. This mini begins with a global look at resources and  the sources and movements of fossil and nuclear fuels.  The course considers some specific examples and case studies from the US and from other countries.  Movement and storage of coal, oil and natural gas via rail, barge and pipeline are examined.  Once fuels have been delivered and converted to heat or electricity, the issues of moving and storage re-emerge.  Likewise the generation of electric power from renewable sources is considered, with special emphasis on the issues of distributed generation and managing the variability and intermittency of renewables. In the second half of the course the technical and economic aspects of the electric power transmission and distribution system are considered. This includes the ongoing evolution of their management, regulation and operation, and various Smart Grid initiatives in the US and internationally.

Students will work in project teams to research and report on energy transport and storage within specific assigned geographic areas. The first report and in-class presentation will focus on historical and current energy use, identifying locations and types of energy supply and points of consumption. In the second report the team will consider future changes in energy transport and storage for their region over a 15-to-30 year timeframe. The team's research will make predictions on the changing mix of energy sources / resources, changing costs of energy supply and transport, and conclude with recommendations for future energy policy in their region based on resource availability, on energy conversion and transport technologies, on economics, and on changing regional population densities and energy demand predictions. The class syllabus from Fall Semester 2016 is available for more information (pdf)

Class Lectures / Discussion topics:

    Overview, motivation, and context
    Coal transport
    Nuclear fuel cycle
    Gas and oil transport / storage
    Energy transport & economics, district heating
    Renewables and the grid: solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, biofuels
    Electric power fundamentals
    Project I presentations
    Electric power distribution (high voltage transmission; wholesale markets)
    Smart grid (power flow)
    Smart grid (information flow)
    Micro grid; Distributed Generation & Storage
    Grid-scale Storage (current & future)
    Project II presentations
    Summary, review & wrap-up

Summaries of student presentations from the Spring 2015 class: