College Adds Energy Technologies and Environmental Engineering Concentration


A new concentration in Energy Technologies and Environmental Engineering will enable undergraduates to better position themselves for careers in one of the signature engineering fields of the coming decades. Dean Kenneth R. Lutchen today announced the new concentration, which will give more undergraduates greater access to innovative technologies in alternative energy and environmental sustainability being developed by College of Engineering faculty researchers. 

Beginning in the fall, students graduating in January 2011 and beyond will be able to add the concentration to any engineering bachelor’s degree program. The concentration will be formally noted on their official transcripts.

“Our students are entering the engineering profession at an exciting time,” Lutchen said. “Breakthrough energy technologies will derive from virtually all engineering disciplines. They will reshape our society and engineers will create them. Biomedical, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering all have a hand in these technologies, and engineers from these disciplines will need to know how such technologies can safely impact our environment. Students can use this concentration to add a valuable dimension to their core degrees.

“Our faculty is conducting groundbreaking, interdisciplinary research in alternative energy and environmental sustainability,” Lutchen added. “This is a timely program that will position students for careers dedicated to solving the growing, complex issues of energy generation, utilization and sustainability while insuring they earn a degree in a base and well-established discipline of their choice.”

Unlike minors, careful selection of courses can satisfy elective and concentration requirements without the need for additional classes. In addition to the 16-credit coursework, the program will culminate with the completion of a well-defined research project related to energy technologies and environmental engineering that can include a senior design project, laboratory research, an industrial internship or directed study.

“This new concentration covers a broad array of practices, policies and technologies,” said Professor Uday Pal (ME), a fuel cell researcher who will teach in the program. “Students will be able to take courses throughout the College of Engineering, as well as courses offered in other schools and departments at BU.”

Students will explore a wide scope of environmental problems and engineering’s role in achieving solutions. Coursework will focus on the many ways to produce energy, how clean energy technologies work, energy storage, and renewable and non-renewable sources.

The diverse elective courses will include the analysis of recent environmental policy; the electrochemistry of fuel cells and battery cells; the planning, operation and marketing of sustainable power systems; and the emergence of sustainable energy as the defining environmental challenge of our time.

Courses will take advantage of faculty expertise in fuel cells, garbage-to-fuel technology, solid-state lighting, the management of electricity distribution systems, the use of bacteria to generate fuel, and other emerging areas of energy and environmental engineering research.

Fuel cell researchers and ME Professors Srikanth Gopalan and Uday Pal are among the College faculty who will teach in the program.
Fuel cell researchers and ME Professors Srikanth Gopalan and Uday Pal are among the College faculty who will teach in the program.