The Lehigh ESEI Model

Background

The national energy crisis has clearly demonstrated the need to develop new alternative energy technologies in addition to addressing the issues of electric power generation, alternative fuels, and environmental impacts of current and alternative energy sources. In 2008, the Council on Competitiveness announced an Energy Action Plan. Specifically, several of the critical drivers to ensure energy security and sustainability are relevant here:

 

•  Develop and utilize all sources of energy in America in a sustainable way – including oil, gas, coal, nuclear, laser fission fusion, renewable and other advanced energy technologies – and create incentives to discover and deploy new sources of clean energy.

•  Fill the workforce pipeline to win the clean energy race with a new generation of skilled talent, including science and technology researchers, front-line workers, and game-changing innovators.

•  Increase investment in research and development, and market commercialization to deliver secure and sustainable energy.

 
 

The Lehigh ESEI Model

The concept of Lehigh's Energy Systems Engineering Institute (ESEI) was developed in consultation with representatives of several major companies in the energy industry. Through meetings and workshops, we concluded that graduates of engineering bachelor's degree programs require additional specialized knowledge and technical skills to be immediately productive in the energy industry. There is also a great need for research and development efforts in emerging areas such as carbon capture and sequestration, energy efficiency, alternative energy, and power transmission and distribution.

 

After extensive discussion with leaders and experts from the energy industry, the following three main charges were identified for Lehigh's ESEI:

1.  RESEARCH: To create a Center of Excellence for Energy Systems Engineering, attracting top-notch faculty, doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, industry-practitioners, and students to conduct research projects most relevant to energy and power systems.

2.  EDUCATION: Produce a new generation of technical leaders for the energy and power industries by developing a new pipeline of highly qualified, industry-trained innovators and leaders through a 10-month professional Master's degree program  in energy systems engineering.

3.  SERVICE: To spawn technology breakthroughs and entrepreneurship through effective technology transfer, concept demonstrations, cross-industry studies, and other forms of knowledge dissemination for the utility industry.