Student profiles

A few of ISE's students answer some questions about their study experience and living in Iceland.

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Current Students

Corey Harpe, USA

Sustainable Energy Engineering, Class of 2022

Name: Corey Harpe
Age: 26
Hometown:  Lake Mary, Florida
Academic Background: Mechanical Engineering at University of Florida
Major & Class: Sustainable Energy Engineering, Class of 2022

Could you share with us a little bit about where you are from and your academic journey before attending Iceland School of Energy?

I was born in Texas but moved to and grew up in Florida. I think my passion for engineering and science started early when I helped my physics teacher in high school build a cable camera system for the football field, work on a hovercraft (air-cushion vehicle) and with astronomy observations. After high school I attended the University of Florida and studied mechanical engineering. There I had the opportunity to work with Duke Energy during my studies under a co-operative education program. I had 3 rotations with them were I worked with high energy piping engineers in Florida, mechanical systems inspection engineers in Florida and in mechanical design at a nuclear power plant in North Carolina. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I continued working with Duke Energy as an inspection and mechanical systems engineer for the Florida region.


Why did you choose Iceland School of Energy for your graduate studies?

This one is a bit of a wild journey. After 3 years with Duke Energy, I decided to quit my job and pursue my passion for flying airplanes and becoming a pilot. I was in the midst of my flight training in Arizona when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and my journey took another unexpected pivot. With uncertainty hitting the aviation industry and some personal factors, I made the decision to move to Iceland to be closer to loved ones. I began looking around Iceland for opportunities and that's when I met Randall Morgan Greene, the development director for Iceland School of Energy. Morgan introduced to me to the excellent M.Sc. programs in sustainable energy that ISE offered. Having a strong background in mechanical engineering and the power generation/utility industry plus a passion to improve the world, ISE felt like a perfect fit and a great direction for my career. I'm a strong believer that mankind's ability to innovate and create cutting-edge advancements in science and technology will be the solution to mitigate anthropogenic climate change. If we break it, we better be able to fix it.

Do you have an idea of what you'd like to do after you graduate from Iceland School of Energy?

Yes! I'd like to continue working with Veitur on modeling district heating systems. Also take some time to focus on my family and enjoy the natural beauty of Iceland.


Would you mind telling us about your experience and journey working at Veitur ohf?

I began work with Veitur in May 2021 as a summer employee in the digital development and smart innovation team. It was there, surrounded by a savvy forward-thinking team working on business intelligence, data science and artificial intelligence, that I became an expert in modeling and simulating thermohydraulic systems. We are in the process of creating “digital twin” models of our district heating and cold-water distribution systems. A “digital twin” is a comprehensive computer model that fully replicates the distribution system in the field to a high degree of accuracy and can nowcast and forecast usage and states of the system. After finishing my summer contract, I continued working with Veitur in part-time and now full-time capacity.

What is a typical day at work like?

A typical day of work involves firing up my three computer screens and opening my go-to applications. This includes Fluidit for hydraulic modeling, Kerfiráður for our SCADA data streams, Azure to connect to our SQL data warehouse, VS Code to interpret data with Python, ArcGIS to connect to Veitur's geographic data and Excel because you always you always need Excel. Most of my day-to-day work involves modeling the district heating systems across Veitur's service territory and analyzing the system for bottlenecks, forecasting future demand, and helping select new piping and equipment to meet future demand. Some of the special projects that I've worked on also include helping design new pump stations and modeling optimal pump controls.

What has been the greatest takeaway you've acquired from studying at Iceland School of Energy?

One of the best takeaways from Iceland School of Energy are the amazing classmates from all over the world and the many interesting and varied courses that we can sign up and take. I've met some truly amazing people who are passionate about creating a more sustainable future. ISE is creating a great network of past and present students who support each other and share job opportunities all over the world.


What do you enjoy about living in Iceland?

Some of my favorite things about living in Iceland is the general feeling of safety, emphasis on education, equality, natural beauty of the land and warmth of the people. I would sum it all up as a cozy and warm vibe.

What are you working on for your master's thesis?

The working title of my thesis is “A Comprehensive Assessment of Hveragerði's Geothermal District Heating System via Thermohydraulic Modeling and Simulation”. I'm building a digital twin of Hveragerði's district heating system from scratch and analyzing the performance both as-is today and in the future. This area is particularly interesting because it is unlike most other district heating systems in Iceland. For one, the geothermal reservoir here is not low temperature. It is a medium to high temperature reservoir which leads to difficulties in direct utilization, namely two-phase flow, high silica content and temperatures well above what is needed for heating systems. Although on the flip side, the town has grown to take advantage of these higher-than-average temperatures with a robust greenhouse industry, tourist geothermal park and food processing industries that require steam.

To all the potential students and professionals of the world considering graduate studies, why should they choose Iceland?

I would highly recommend those interested to pursue graduate studies in Iceland. It's a fun and unique environment being a student here. It's such a tight-nit community and the industry is quite interconnected; everyone seems to know each other. Whether you plan to stay in Iceland or continue your career abroad, it's great notch on the belt pursuing graduate school here.

About Iceland School of Energy

By bringing together the best from industry and academia, Iceland School of Energy provides a unique, and comprehensive training for its students. A wide range of courses taught by the very best in their field open a broad spectrum of possibilities for students and allow for individual study designs. Focus is put on close collaboration with industry experts while maintaining high academic quality of the work.

Iceland School of Energy is part of and accredited by the School of Science and Engineering at Reykjavik University in Iceland.

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