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Tigabu Mekonnen

Thermal engineering

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Planning, design, testing, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, disposal--complete life cycle thought out. I've been at this for 40 years. All of the easy stuff was done a long time ago. Most of the difficult stuff has also been done. This leaves the creative and innovative stuff, which is even harder. Do not be discouraged when the going is tough and do not let yourself be held back by people who say, "We've never done it like that before." Think outside the box, but think smart and don't expect to get by on novelty alone. Learn theory AND practice. Let me give you an example. The Sterling engine comes up from time-to-time as if this were a new concept. Theoretically, the Stirling cycle efficiency is very high, but the power output is pathetic, which is why nobody builds them. It's not enough to just sound good, success is *delivering* the goods. Another example is that today many ideas have the appearance of being "green" or good for the environment, when, in fact, they aren't. Total life cycle analysis is essential if you really do care about the ultimate outcome. Reducing pollution in the US only to create more quantity and toxicity of waste in China or Malaysia may make some people feel better (out of sight, out of mind), but it's not better for the planet.

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