The research in Energy Engineering is based on deep understanding of thermodynamics, fluid flow, heat transfer, advanced computational methods and use of process models related to energy production. The applications of Energy Engineering focus on energy conversion, energy efficiency and energy systems. The main research areas are power plants, thermodynamics, turbomachines, flow simulation, nuclear energy, and nuclear safety, including renewable energy, energy markets, market regulation and new business models.
In Energy Engineering one develops power plant technology for the rapidly growing domestic and export markets. The focus of our power plant research is on the further development of large-scale commercial power plant technologies, their availability, and safety, but also on the decentralized and adaptive energy production. Bioenergy research, related technology development and its commercialization play an important and increasing role.
In Nuclear Engineering the research focuses on basic phenomena that affect nuclear safety and availability: reactor physics, reactor dynamics, and nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics. Thermal-hydraulics research seeks to ensure that safety systems in nuclear power plants have adequate capability. The method of research is computational modelling in all areas. Thermal hydraulics research is conducted also experimentally using both large- and small- scale test facilities and advanced instrumentation for dynamic 2D- and 3D flow phenomena. This research supports the safe utilization of existing nuclear reactors and development of new projects and nuclear power plant designs.
In Turbomachinery the research focuses on air compressors, refrigeration, steam turbines, and various microturbines and on small-scale (< 1 MW) energy conversion processes for electricity recovery from waste heat. Lappeenranta has pioneered the development of high-speed technology development starting 35 years ago, and this technology has since reached global utilization. The research is centered on computational fluid dynamics, theory verification in test facilities, and close international cooperation.
Globally energy systems are undergoing a transition in which novel research areas have become topical, along the already well-established fields. Such novel areas include intermittent renewable energy systems, solar economy, energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, and various initiatives on energy efficiency and energy economy.
The basic idea of the doctoral education in Energy Engineering is applying systematic, high-quality and well-organized nationwide interdisciplinary doctoral training that rests on strong theoretical capability to model heat transfer, fluid flow and power plant components and systems. Another objective is strong international character, which is implemented by students participating in international seminars and conferences, as well as through researcher and teacher exchange with foreign partner universities.
Research results are created by research groups, whose financing is applied separately from national (Finnish Academy of Sciences, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation TEKES, foundations) and international (EU, Nordic funds, etc.) sources, as well as companies in the energy sector. Results are published in the recognized, refereed international journals and conferences.
Energy Engineering trains Doctors of Science to work on a broad scope of jobs – academic, private business, public sector – in positions where competence demands are the highest.
Professor Esa Vakkilainen
tel. +358 40 357 8684