Energy engineering: an emerging discipline

Douglas John Harris, John J Gelegenis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


In society in general, energy was not considered a problem until the oil price crises of the 1970s; until then, those countries having sufficient indigenous energy supplies were considered fortunate, while those countries needing to import most of their energy paid only a moderate, and reasonably affordable, price. The 1970s changed all that: overnight oil prices doubled and eventually doubled again, focusing the minds of all concerned on the impact of this on their economies. There was a huge increase in funding for alternative energy sources and research into energy efficiency.
In recent years the topics of energy use and the impact of carbon emissions on the environment have rarely been out of the news, and indeed seem to dominate society’s understanding of and interaction with the world of science. Concurrently, the concept of sustainability has appeared and now covers almost the entire range of human activities. Study of these subjects at a university level initially fell under the traditional science and engineering faculties, but the study of energy as a coherent discipline has emerged over the last few years and is growing. Given that the problems of providing energy for human development and its impact on the climate are not going to disappear overnight, it seems inevitable that this discipline will continue to grow over the foreseeable future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering Education: Curriculum, Pedagogy and Didactic Aspects
EditorsPaulo Davim
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781843346876
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • energy engineering education


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