A comprehensive educational program on alternative energy conversion and storage systems is available through UTK and the ORNL CIRE Program (http://cire.utk.edu). Professor Mench teaches the following courses:

Fuel Cell Engines


Because of the potential for highly efficient and environmentally friendly power, there has been much attention to the development of polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) systems for portable, stationary, and automotive applications. Real product introduction into the marketplace is already begun. This course is motivated by the need to prepare the next generation of multi-disciplinary engineers with a background in these systems. The fundamental principles of fuel cells, including an introduction to the relevant thermodynamics, kinetics, transport processes, and material technologies will be presented. The primary focus of the course will be on the fundamental science of fuel cells including hydrogen, methanol, and alternative fuel technologies. A survey of cutting-edge issues, including the future direction of fuel cell technology, will also be presented. The student will have an opportunity to directly operate a fuel cell as part of a hands-on laboratory project. A different class project will focus on the design of a fuel cell system for an application chosen by the student. During the semester, guest lecturers from the fuel cell industry are also typically a part of the course.

Electrochemical Storage and Conversion Systems


There is a tremendous need to develop advanced energy storage and conversion systems for large and small scale applications ranging from hand held devices to the electrical power grid. This course will discuss in detail many of the available electrochemically based energy systems that can potentially fulfill these needs. This course will be a graduate level offering for students interested in understanding electrochemical power storage and conversion systems including fuel cells, flow batteries, air-batteries, and solid state battery technology. Individual course units will commence with a detailed review of the various system fundamentals. Students will review and consider state-of-the-art technology and scientific literature. Then, issues of high current interest will be discussed within the context of the relevant scientific literature. In each case, class discussion will evolve around identification of technological boundaries, fundamental gaps in understanding, and potential paths forward for the technology. The course will be co-taught by Professors Matthew Mench and Thomas Zawodzinski. Since there will be several projects involving student presentations, a portion of the class will also be devoted to honing skills in disseminating technical data at the highest professional level.

Courses under development include off campus courses by distance learning. For more information, please contact Prof. Mench.