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Thermodynamics for Energy Conversion

Module MW1419

This Module is offered by Chair of Energy Systems (Prof. Spliethoff).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2017/8

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2019/20WS 2017/8SS 2013WS 2012/3

Basic Information

MW1419 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of non-physics elective courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 45 h 5 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Brief introduction to the fundamentals of engineering thermodynamics: first law of thermodynamics, energy balances, open and closed systems, entropy and irreversibility.
Specific thermodynamic parameters of fluids: water-steam, ideal gases.
Advanced definitions of exergy and the environment: chemical exergy, exergy of fuels, exergy efficiency.
Value diagrams: application for heat exchangers and combustion processes.
Exergy losses of basic processes: fuel conversion, heat transfer, turbines, compressors.
Exergy analysis and optimization of conventional power plants: steam generator, steam cycle.
Steam generator: air preheating, steam parameters, feed water temperature.
Steam cycle: selection of working media, losses in the condenser and piping, feedwater pump, feedwater preheating.
Gas turbine processes: losses and optimization, circuits, parameters.
Combinatied processes: parameters, design, circuits.
Fuel cells: parameters, design, cell behavior.
Refrigeration circuits and heat pumps.

Learning Outcome

At the end of the module the students are able to evaluate the thermodynamic performance of various conversion processes and systems by applying the exergy concept and can identify ways to reduce overall exergy losses of frequently applied processes and systems.


Basic knowledge of fundamental thermodynamics (first and second law, energy balaces), profund knowledge of mathematical relations and notation.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

During the lecture, the content is communicated via power point slides. Drawings on the blackboard, further graphic illustrations and regular discussions enhance the understanding for the examined energy conversion processes and the included exergy losses. Students are encouraged to take part in the discussion. Autonomous preparation and post processing of the lecture’s content using own notes and the given slides is needed in order to fully understand the theoretical basics of power plant processes including their components. In the tutorial, the calculation of examplary processes is shown and their exergy loss is quantified. Furthermore, the tutorial can be used to discuss the content of the lecture in more detail.


Power point presentations, drawingson the blackboard, videos, images


Handouts, Literature recommendations are provided;

Moran, Michael J. ; Shapiro, Howard N. ; Boettner, Daisie D. ; Bailey, Margaret B.: Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics. New York: Wiley, 2014.

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The written exam consists of a theoretical part and a second part with calculations (90 min overall). No further help is allowed except a non programmable calculator and a formula booklet handed out before the exam. The students must answer basic questions regarding the application of exergy analysis in the theoretical part. For the calculation part the student’s capability to apply concepts for the optimization of power plants and the reduction of exergy losses is tested. The theoretical part contains 1/3 and the calculation part 2/3 of the total points. To pass the exam one must achieve approximately 50 % of the total points. The theoretical questions are related to the lecture topics and material, whereas the calculation part is based on the tutorial exercises. Theoretical questions and calculations cannot be passed separately. In the written exam, the student should demonstrate that they are able to apply the main thermodynamic methods listed in the learning outcomes and do the required calculations under time pressure. The exam also contains theoretical questions related to the methods and applications of exergy analysis on energy conversion systems, through which the students prove that they have understood the basic concepts taught during the lectures.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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