Bergen Energy Lab (BEL)

Alumni Interview: Jørgen Knutsen

Jørgen Knutsen graduated from the UiB energy master in 2015 with a specialization in thermal machinery. In his master thesis, he performed energy, exergy and exergoeconomic analysis for an existing combined heat & power unit with an imagined waste-heat recovery unit attached.

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Tell us a bit about your background?

I grew up in Haugesund, between Bergen and Stavanger. After a year of service in the military, I moved to Bergen to study for a bachelor’s degree in Energy Technology at Bergen University College (HiB) (now Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL)).

Why did you choose to study the master in energy at UiB/HVL? Moreover, why did you choose your specialization? 

I chose the master’s program in Energy at UiB because I always wanted to take a master’s degree and the program fit my wishes. 

I chose the specialization within energy technology - thermal machinery: operation and maintenance because with Lars Magne Nerheim as a teacher and developer of the courses I knew that there would be a practical approach to the subject in addition to the theory. Theory and mathematics always came easy to me, but I lacked insight in the actual practical problems involved in engineering.

What was your master thesis about?

Inspired by recent developments in truck engines - especially the Cummins ISX Diesel Engine - I wanted to write about increasing the mechanical output of an engine through waste heat recovery (WHR). In search of an engine for my thesis, I found that HiB had a combined heat and power (CHP) module with a retrofitted Toyota engine that ran on gas. An important part of all engineering is the economic part. All engineering projects are evaluated both on their physical and economic performance. Because I wanted to analyse the potential for increasing the mechanical output of the engine, i.e. increasing the high-value energy (exergy), I performed an exergo-economic analysis of the system with and without WHR. My analysis concluded that adding a WHR-system to the engine could reduce the exergy specific cost of the entire system.

Most importantly: which advice would you give to the current master students at UiB/HiB?

For the current master students at UiB/HiB I would say that you have expert teachers, so get involved both in and out of lectures to get the most out of your studies. Remember, you are not just learning about a subject, you are learning to explore a subject, inquire into the details of it and draw conclusions. So explore it well!

How do you think your master studies can be used in your future career?

I have used methods for learning about, summarizing and drawing conclusions in my job this far.

Could you tell us a bit about your current job?

I am currently Technical manager for Insulation at Beerenberg, but will soon make the shift to a VVS engineer at Norconsult.