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What Is Combustion Engineering?

Combustion engineering harnesses the energy from heating fuel. The applications of combustion engineering are used in everything, from home heating systems to car engines, and in all areas of manufacturing. A degree in mechanical engineering or chemical engineering may be required for workers in the field of combustion engineering.

Combustion Engineering Defined

The science of combustion, as complex as it is, can be summed up simply; it's the process by which fuel is turned into energy through a heating process. Combustion engineering concerns the science of combustion as it applies to industry. Combustion engineers plan and implement combustion equipment. They also test and design new energy-burning systems.

Important Facts About This Field

Mechanical Engineering Chemical Engineering
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 9% growth 8% growth
Median Salary (2018) $87,370 $104,910
Key Skills Listening, creativity, and problem-solving skills Ingenuity, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills
Similar Occupations Materials engineer, petroleum engineer, physicist Nuclear engineer, biomedical engineer, chemical technician

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

Combustion engineering generally requires training in concepts of fluid flow, heat transfer and aspects of mechanical design. While a combustion engineering degree is common in other countries, in the U.S. this field of study is usually part of a chemical or mechanical engineering bachelor's or master's degree program.

Job Responsibilities

Some responsibilities that a combustion engineer can expect are:

  • Evaluation of energy-burning systems
  • Control of the rate and uniformity of heat transference
  • Expertise in combustion supervision and management
  • Installation and maintenance of combustion equipment
  • Maintenance of code compliance

The Future of Combustion Engineering

Most energy consumed today is derived from fossil fuels, but the world's dependence on oil and coal cannot continue indefinitely. Our reliance on these fuels will need to be supplemented with other forms of energy, whether nuclear or a yet undiscovered source. Combustion engineering may very well be at the forefront of developing new technologies in fuel consumption. As the global need for energy efficiency intensifies and the search for new, environmentally sustainable fuels increases, the need for combustion engineers will expand. Energy will remain a huge industry where skill and innovation will be in high demand. Individuals with degrees in combustion engineering will be responsible for planning and implementing new combustion systems and equipment.