Energy Focus

Mechanical engineers are involved in the entire energy process: from its creation, transportation, and use, to alternatives and its conservation.  Mechanical engineers in Sibley School’s MEng Energy focus have multiple opportunities to build skills in all these areas and go to work in companies focused on renewables and more traditional fields, building new and better ways to use fossil fuels and nuclear energy. 

Creating ways of generating clean energy and increasing sustainability is a core mission at Cornell. The Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability, founded in 2010, has transformed the University’s work in energy and sustainability, attracting top-notched faculty, projects and funding. From lake source cooling to solar farms, to a massive geothermal test well Cornell is leading the way by putting its research into action.  The MAE department’s area of specialty areas is in clean energy technologies, energy storage, the efficiency of buildings, vehicles, and propulsion systems.   These resources provide plenty of opportunity for course instruction and projects 



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There are no required courses in the MEng Program. Each student develops a Program of Study with the Director that fits their individual needs. The courses listed below are ones that provide knowledge and practice for those wishing to pursue careers in simulation or analysis.

A Sample Curriculum

There is no required program of courses, this is just a possible model


MAE 5020 Wind Power (3 cr)

MAE 5700 Finite Element Analysis (4 cr)

MAE 5459 Energy Seminar (1 cr)

MAE 5xxx Intro to Nuclear Science and Engineering (3 cr)

CHEME 6660 Analysis of Sustainable Energy Systems (2 cr)

MAE 6900 MEng Project (3 cr)


MAE 5010 Future Energy Systems (3 cr)

MAE 5130 Mechanics of Composite Structures (3 cr)

CHEME 6662 Solar Energy Module (1 cr)

NBA 5410 Project Management (1.5 cr)

CEE 5970 Risk Analysis and Management (3 cr)

MAE 5469 Energy Seminar (1 cr)

MAE 6900 MEng Project (3 cr)

A Sample of Other Possible Courses

There are hundreds of courses to choose from, this is just a short list to give you an idea of what is available.  The courses you take will be based on your specific goals.

Introduction to Controlled Fusion, Future Energy Systems, Applied Solid State Physics of Renewable Energy, Energy Economics, Energy Value Chain, Module, Energy Engineering, Bioenergy and Biofuels Module, Hydrokinetic and Aerodynamic Energy Module, Transportation Energy Systems Module, Fossil Fuels Module, Nuclear Energy Module, Electric Power Systems Module, Tools for Analyzing Energy and Society, Energy Life Cycle Assessment Module, Strategies for Sustainability, Combustion Processes


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Faculty teaching in the energy and sustainability areas:

C Thomas AvedisianC. Thomas Avedesian





Rebecca J. BarthelmieRebecca Barthelmie 


Barthelmie Wind Energy Research Lab



David EricksonDavid Erickson

Sibley College Professor of Mechanical Engineering, S.C. Thomas Sze Director of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Erickson Lab



Elizabeth M. FisherElizabeth Fisher

Associate Professor




Maha HajiMaha Haji

Visiting Assistant Professor

Symbiotic Engineering and Analysis Laboratory




 Perrine PepiotPerrine Pepiot

Associate Professor

Pepiot Research Group  



Sadaf SobhaniSadaf Sobhani

Assistant Professor

Sobhani Lab



Zhiting tianZhiting Tian

Associate Professor

Tian Research Group



 K. Max ZhangK. Max Zhang


Energy and the Environment Research Laboratory



Alan ZehnderAlan Zehnder  


Zehnder Research Group

Past Projects

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  • Methodology for Selecting Future Solar Farm
  • Geothermal Heat Pump Energy Efficiency Applications
  • Novel Li-ion Batteries
  • Woodsmoke
  • Estimating the power system impacts of New York's offshore wind energy target using the Weather Research and Forecasting model
  • Vertical Axis Wind Turbines for Urban Power Generation
  • Strategic Analysis of Utility-Scale Solar and Offshore Wind
  • A Comparison of the Burning Characteristics of RD5-87 Research Fuel and Commercial Gasoline
  • A solar powered and IoT enabled air quality sensing system.
  • Co-Located Pumped Storage Hydropower and Reverse Osmosis System Optimization
  • CFD Analysis of Vehicle Induced Turbulence and Roadside Barriers and Air Quality
  • IoT Network for NY State
  • Smart City Sensing Network
  • Solar Powered Rain Water Harvesting in Puerto Rico
  • Renewable Energy for Pelitud PR
  • Woodsmoke


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Jobs titles include, energy engineer, mechanical engineer, project engineer, solar designer, systems engineer, energy engineer, risk engineer, energy manager, alternative energy engineer, renewable energy engineer, energy systems engineer, wind turbine engineer, nuclear engineer

Companies past students have gone to work as for include: 

  • Tishman Construction
  • Fermi National Accelerator Lab
  • ULC Technologies
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • SepiSolar
  • Extraction Oil & Gas
  • SOM
  • EnerNOC Inc.
  • Elara Engineering
  • Vivint Solar
  • LP Amina
  • Brooklyn public library
  • Pepco
  • Gilbane
  • Schlumberger
  • Frank Lill and Son
  • Shell
  • Ballinger 
  • Arup
  • BuroHappold
  • Energy and Resource Solutions (ERS)
  • ExxonMobil
  • BMPC
  • Techno Engineering Services
  • Dominion Engineering, Inc.
  • Boreas Renewables