Engineers face growing pressure to incorporate sustainability objectives into their practice. In comparing two products/designs it is often not apparent which one is more sustainable. The course introduces concepts and method for determining the net environmental, economic, and social impacts of an engineering technology or process. Specific topics include life cycle assessment, cost/benefits analysis, energy auditing, materials accounting, and environmental assessment. These methods are examined and applied to current engineering issues such as global climate change, alternative-fueled vehicles, water and wastewater treatment, urban development, renewable energy (solar, wind, and biomass), and waste mitigation. Each student will be required to apply tools learned to assess the sustainability of a specific engineering system. This is a research based course and is suitable for students interested in researching in depth a particular topic. By the end of the course, students will have an awareness of analytical tools/resources for evaluating sustainability employing a systems perspective. 


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the complex environmental, economic, and social issues related to sustainable engineering
  2. Become aware of concepts, analytical methods/models, and resources for evaluating and comparing sustainability implications of engineering activities
  3. Critically evaluate existing and new methods
  4. Develop sustainable engineering solutions by applying methods and tools to research a specific system design
  5. Clearly communicate results related to their research on sustainable engineering


  • Week 1: Introduction to the course and the importance of sustainable engineering
  • Week 2: Material flow analysis tools
  • Week 3: Life cycle inventory analysis
  • Week 4: Life cycle and cost-benefits analysis
  • Week 5: Economic input-output life cycle assessment
  • Week 6: Environmental, economic, and social impact analysis
  • Week 7: Case Study 1 – sustainability assessment of energy systems
  • Week 8: Case Study 2 – sustainability assessment water and wastewater treatment systems
  • Week 9: Case Study 3 – sustainability assessment of urban development and waste management systems
  • Week 10: Recent advances in sustainability assessment tools
  • Week 11: Round 1 of Oxford style debates around sustainability issues
  • Week 12: Round 2 of Oxford style debates around sustainability issues
  • Week 13: Final oral presentations
View lectures online at
>KAUST Main Catalog
     >Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSE)
          >Combustion Chemistry
Primary Instructor:       S. Mani Sarathy, Clean Combustion Research Center, KAUST
Secondary Instructor:  Charles K. Westbrook, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Guest Speakers:             William J. Pitz, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
                                            Marco Mehl, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Duration:                         12 hours
Location:                          Building 9, Lecture hall II, 2325
Time:                                 14:00-18:00 on April 28, 30, and May 1.

Understanding the combustion chemistry of hydrocarbon fuels can aid in developing thermal conversion processes and in improving combustion applications. Optimization of engine performance requires an understanding of how a fuel’s molecular structure affects important combustion properties. This course presents the current state-of-the-art in comprehensive chemical kinetic modeling of long chain hydrocarbon fuels typically used in diesel, gasoline, and jet engine applications. The course will cover the development of large databases of chemical reaction pathways with associated kinetic rate parameters, as well as thermochemical and transport properties for all reactant, intermediate, and product species. First, the mapping out of detailed reaction pathways at the temperatures and pressures relevant to chemical reactors and combustion applications will be discussed. Next, the art of assigning rate constants using chemical intuition and quantum chemical modeling will be covered. The determination of thermochemical and transport properties is achieved using both molecular modeling tools and empirical methods. The comprehensive models are then validated against data from well-defined experimental configurations, such as zero-dimensional and one-dimensional reacting flows whose physics can be modeled exactly. These validated models are finally employed to determine the thermal degradation and oxidation pathways relevant to the prediction of combustion performance in practical engine applications. Real examples of detailed chemical kinetic models for transportation fuels will be presented with the aim of displaying how such predictive tools can aid in designing engines.


-       Develop an understanding of how chemical kinetic models for transportation fuels are developed
-       Identify experimental setups that can be used for validation chemical kinetic models with a focus on range of applicability and uncertainty

·       Utilize simulation tools to validate kinetic models against experimental data
·       Build reaction mechanisms based on reaction classes and rate rules
·       Create thermodynamic data for species using group additivity theory
·       Generate transport data files needed to simulate transport processes in flames
·       Become familiar with combustion chemistry models for conventional petroleum fuels and alternative fuels
·       Identify the limitations and uncertainties in chemical kinetic models

·       Apply chemical kinetic modeling to understand important engine combustion processes

Monday April 28, 2014
Lecture 1 – Historical perspective of chemical kinetics modeling for combustion (2 hours)
Present a historical perspective dating back to early 1900s all the way up to first comprehensive models for n-heptane and iso-octane. Cover the major computational and experimental developments that have made it possible to do comprehensive combustion modeling for large hydrocarbons. Introduce the concept of hierarchical chemical kinetic mechanisms.

Lecture 2 – Chemical kinetic models for high temperature combustion processes (2 hours)
Describe high temperature reaction classes for alkane fuels and any modifications required for other fuels (e.g., oxygenates). Cover the basic theory behind various types of reactions (e.g., fuel and radical decomposition, isomerization, abstraction, etc.) and rate constant estimates for each.

Wednesday April 30, 2014
Lecture 3 – Chemical kinetic models for low temperature combustion processes (2 hours)
Describe low temperature reaction classes for alkane fuels and any modifications required for other fuels (e.g., oxygenates). Cover the basic theory behind various types of reactions (e.g., O2 addition, RO2 isomerization, cyclic ether formation, etc.) and rate constant estimates for each.

Lecture 4 – Generation of species thermodynamic and transport data (2 hours)
Cover the generation of thermo data using group additivity schemes. Show how THERM is used for this and the various important files (group values, BDEs, etc.). Demonstrate how to resolve the more complicated features such as optical isomers, symmetry, gauche interactions, etc. Describe how transport data is generated.

Thursday May 1, 2014
Lecture 5 – Experimental and computational tools for kinetic model development (2 hours)
Overview of various experiments used for validating chemical kinetic models. For example, shock tube ignition and speciation, RCMs, JSRs, PFRs, premixed flame speeds and speciation profiles, and diffusion flames. Overview of different reactor modules in CHEMKIN. Introduce batch reactors, PSRs, PFRs, premixed and diffusion flames. Cover some of the important boundary conditions required for each type of simulation.
Lecture 6 – Examples of chemical kinetic models for large hydrocarbons (2 hours)
Present a description of comprehensive chemical kinetic modeling studies for gasoline, diesel, and alternative fuels. Specific relevance of using modeling results towards understanding IC engine combustion will be presented.

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King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 1924 – 2015

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