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The University of Southampton

SESM6040 Thermofluid Engineering for Low Carbon Energy

Module Overview

Hydrocarbon fuels contribute more than 85% of world energy production, but also contribute more than 60% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. As research continues to find alternative and more sustainable energy production technologies hydrocarbon fuels will continue to be the primary energy supplier therefore measures need to be taken to improve their efficiency and minimise anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. This module addresses thermo-fluid processes underlying technologies which use hydrocarbon fuels in a more sustainable manner, including clean combustion, carbon capture and storage, enhanced oil and gas recovery. To enable students to develop technology for these applications, this module equips students with physical insight and engineering methods for heat and mass transport, chemically-reacting flows, multi-phase flows, and porous media flows.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The impact of hydrocarbon fuel use on the environment, and the role of low-carbon energy technology in avoiding these impacts
  • Physical phenomena associated with real fluid mixtures, heat and mass transfer, chemicallyreactive flows, multi-phase flow, and porous media flow.
  • Modelling approaches for flows occurring in energy applications.
  • Technical systems for achieving low-carbon energy production.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply engineering analysis to thermo-fluid processes found in real energy technology applications.
  • Identify suitable models for fluid properties and processes across the applications studied in this module
  • Evaluate fluid properties and flow properties
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Present technical and economic assessments of investment options, accounting for uncertainty.
  • Communicate in a clear, structured and efficient manner.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Perform analytical and numerical analysis in order to identify and optimise prospective energy technologies.
  • Design a carbon capture reactor suitable for extracting 90% CO2 from a power plant.


Week 1: Introduction to low-carbon energy technologies 1. Introduction: Overview of current energy production and its economic, environmental and social impact, global markets for fuel, energy and carbon. 2. Math revision: Vector algebra and calculus. 3. Tutorial 1:Forms of low-carbon technologies: introduction to the different forms of low-carbon technologies and low-carbon technology exercise. Week 2: Introduction to multiphase flows 1. Single-phase revision: Governing equations for single-phase incompressible flows. Species transport. Initial and boundary conditions. Dynamic similarity. 2. Phenomenology: regimes of multi-phase flow. 3. Applications: Examples of multiphase flows across the energy production sector. Week 3: 1. Dilute particle systems: Introduction to dense and dilute particle flows, phase coupling, mass and heat transport for single particles 2. Dense particle systems : The kinetic theory of granular flow, mass and heat transport for dense particle systems. 3. Tutorial 2: Dilute and dense particle systems exercises. Week 4: 1. Liquid/liquid and liquid/solid interface: Surface tension. Wetting conditions. Capillary, Weber, and Bond numbers. 2. Gas/liquid systems: introduction to liquid break up and spray formation, PDFs, moments of the PDF. 3. Tutorial 3: Multiphase liquid systems exercises. Week 5: CO2 production and separation. 1. Mechanisms of combustion: enthalpy of formation, chemical reactions and kinetics, mechanisms for solid and liquid fuels. 2. Oxy-fuel technologies: chemical looping technologies. 3. Tutorial 4: CO2 production exercises. Week 6: 1. Pre-combustion: integrated gasification combined cycle 2. Post-combustion: Alkanolamine absorption, stripper design 3. Tutorial 5: Pre- and Post-combustion exercises Week 7: Flows through porous media -- Oil and Gas recovery. Methods of Enhanced Oil Recovery. CO2 storage. 1. Oil and gas recovery : Introduction and stages of oil recovery. Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Recovery from gas reservoir. 2. Structure of porous media : Micro- and macroscopic descriptions. Darcy’s law. Permeability. Fracturing. Non-Darcy behaviour. 3. Tutorial 6: Porous structures exercises. Week 8: 1. Mass-balance equations for porous media: Full set of equation for an isothermal flow through porous media. Initial and boundary conditions. Radial flow. 2. Anisotropy of permeability: Averaging permeabilities. Layered reservoir without crossflow, composite reservoir. 3. Tutorial 7: Porous flows exercises. Week 9: 1. Well test analysis: Weakly-compressible flows through porous media. Line source solution. 2. Capillary motion: Pore-level modelling. Meniscus rise in a capillary. 3. Tutorial 8: Well test analysis exercises. Week 10: 1. Multiphase flow through porous media: Diffusion in porous media. Multiphase flows. Extension of Darcy’s law. Relative permeabilities. Capillary curve. Mass balance equation and complete model. 2. CO2 sequestration in geological reservoirs: Properties of CO2 in supercritical state. Combination of CO2 sequestration with EOR. 3. Tutorial 9: EOR mock exam questions. Week 11: Revision sessions 1. Revision session: Multiphase flows. 2. Revision session: Capture technologies. 3. Revision session: Porous media and EOR – hand out mock exam. Week 12: Coursework feedback sessions 1. Individual feedback on coursework. 2. Individual feedback on coursework. 3. Mock Exam solutions.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - Lectures including examples, with lecture hand-outs provided. - Set example questions are supported by group problem solving sessions. - Mock exam test run at one of the revision sessions. Learning activities include - Directed reading. - Group and individual work on examples. - Coursework project: to produce a short report.

Wider reading or practice88
Completion of assessment task12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Cengel Y.A., Boles M.A. Thermodynamics. An engineering approach. 

S. K. Friedlander, Smoke, Dust and Haze (2000). Fundamentals of Aerosol Dynamics. 

J. Bear. Theory and Applications of Transport in Porous Media. 

D.Gidaspow (1994). Multiphase Flow and Fluidization. 

J.S. Archer and C.G. Wall (1986). Petroleum engineering: principles and practice. 

W.F. Hughes, J.A. Brighton (1999). Schaum's outline of theory and problems of fluid dynamics. 

R.F. Probstein (1989). Physicochemical Hydrodynamics. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 65%
Project 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 65%
Project 35%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 65%
Project 35%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: FEEG2003 and SESM2017

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