Energy and Fuels Engineering Option in Chemical Engineering

Program Overview

Energy and Fuels Engineering is an option in Chemical Engineering. As other chemical engineers do, energy and fuels engineers play an important role in society. They work to safeguard the environment and at the same time provide society with energy technology choices to meet ever-growing needs in areas such as fuel processing and use, and technology development. Energy and fuels engineers strive to maintain and improve efficient and environmentally sound energy systems.

Penn State is one of only a handful of universities worldwide to offer an undergraduate major in energy and fuels engineering. The University is internationally recognized for its work in coal, combustion, and carbon science and is at the forefront of some of these research developments. The Coal Utilization Laboratory is the site of the National Center of Excellence for Coal Utilization. The University is also home to a demonstration site for coal-water fuel technology, supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

In the Energy Fuels and Engineering Option you will become involved in specialized, state-of-the-art, problem based training that will bring a new dimension to your chemical engineering degree. With access to world-class research laboratories, you will be mentored and taught by faculty members who are involved in world-class research and who are known in the world-wide energy science community. They offer you the opportunity to participate in their research projects and learn about their work.

At the same time, you will gain expertise in the following areas:

  • energy use and the chemical processing aspects of energy production;
  • the chemical processes of fuel refining, conversion and utilization, including processes that can control air pollution;
  • the selection of equipment for efficient utilization of fuels and upgrading of fuels to maximize energy conversion and minimize the environmental impact of fuel utilization;
  • the design of equipment used for fuel processing, releasing energy from fuels, and controlling pollution associated with fuel utilization;
  • the environmental applications of materials for purification of air and water;
  • ways to contribute to the formulation of sound corporate and national energy policies.

Regardless of the direction your career takes you, your Energy and Fuels Engineering experience will prove of value in your professional development.

Program Objectives

Our general goal is to prepare you to identify and solve the energy and environmental problems of today and tomorrow. In doing this, you will:

  • receive individualized attention and opportunities for direct interaction with faculty and their research programs, including the possibility of summer work as a laboratory assistant;
  • learn more about the energy-fuels-environment connection;
  • take courses with a low student/faculty ratio and highly personalized instruction;
  • combine chemical engineering skills with a thorough understanding of fossil fuel combustion and conversion processes and their environmental consequences;
  • prepare for internships with companies involved in energy and fuels engineering, many of which have strong ties to the Fuel Science program and the Department of Chemical Engineering;
  • prepare for making an intelligent contribution to the difficult energy policy choices in the twenty-first century.

Career Opportunities

Graduates establish careers in both private industry and government. Pursuing an advanced degree is also an appealing option in view of the many challenging issues in the energy sector. As a graduate of the Energy and Fuels Engineering option, your skills will be an advantage when competing for jobs in many chemical engineering fields. Here are some examples of employment opportunities for energy and fuels engineers:

  • development of reformulated and alternative fuels
  • development, characterization, and application of new materials for environmental engineering
  • combustion system design, engineering and operation
  • design, engineering and operation of pollution control systems
  • design, engineering and operation of refinery processes
  • analysis and planning for compliance with environmental regulations
  • analysis and improvement of the efficiency of energy-intensive industries, such as manufacturing and utilities
  • analysis and procurement of fuels for utilities
  • remediation of sites affected by past fuel storage, processing, and utilization practices

Degree Requirements and Courses

18 credits are required to complete the EFE option in Chemical Engineering. If you are in Chemical Engineering, no additional credits are required.

Prescribed Courses: 3 credits

  • EGEE 411 - Energy Science and Engineering Lab (3 credits)

Supporting Courses and Related: 15 Credits

Select 3 credits from the following courses:

  • F SC 401 - Introduction to Fuel Technology (3 credits)
  • ENVSE 400 - Safety Engineering (3 credits)

Select 12 credits from the following courses:

  • EGEE 420 - Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (3 credits)
  • EGEE 430 - Introduction to Combustion (3 credits)
  • F SC 431 - The Chemistry of Fuels (3 credits)
  • CH E/F SC 432 - Petroleum Processing (3 credits)
  • F SC 435 - Industrial Organic Chemistry (3 credits)
  • ENVSE 427 - Pollution Control in the Process Industries (3 credits)
  • ENVSE 420 - Fire Safety Engineering (3 credits)
  • ENVSE 457 - Industrial Hygiene Measurements (4 credits)
  • ENVSE 450 - Environmental Health and Safety (3 credits)
  • ENVSE 470 - Systems Safety and Risk Engineering (3 credits)
  • P N G 410 - Applied Reservoir Engineering (3 credits)
  • P N G 480 - Production Process Engineering (3 credits)


Classes in the Energy and Fuels Engineering Option are taught by faculty from the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. They are involved in a variety of exciting research programs including:

  • Fuel Cell Vehicles
  • Advanced Fuels Development
  • Pollution Control and Characterization
  • Advanced Materials Development
  • Alternative and Biomass Fuels