• Research

    Theoretical and applied non-equilibrium and equilibrium thermodynamics with two principal focuses: i) intrinsic quantum thermodynamics (IQT) and its mathematical framework steepest-entropy-ascent quantum thermodynamics (SEA-QT) and ii) SEA non-equilibrium thermodynamics (SEA-NT)

    Thermoeconomics / exergo-environomics / exergy analysis: computational methods for modeling and optimizing complex energy systems; methodological approaches (with and without sustainability and uncertainty considerations) for the integrated synthesis, design, operation, control, reliability, and resiliency of energy systems; decomposition approaches for large-scale optimization
    Heat, mass, and charge transport
    Kinetic theory, the Boltzmann equation, and its master equations (e.g., the BGK equation)

    Numerical Modeling: macroscopic (i.e., finite element and finite difference approaches applied to the continuum conservation equations), mesoscopic (i.e., Lattice Boltzmann Method applied to the BGK equation and the SEA-NT equation of motion), atomistic (i.e., closed form and discretized solutions of the energy eigenvalue problem and discretized solutions of the IQT/SEA-QT equations of motion)
    Renewable and non-renewable stationary power/cogeneration/district heating-cooling systems; infrastructure systems (e.g., grid/microgrid/producer/storage networks)
    Fuel cell applications for both transportation and centralized, distributed, and portable power generation and cogeneration.
    High performance (supersonic and hypersonic) and uninhabited air vehicles
    Nanoscale and microscale reactive and non-reactive systems

  • Professional History

    1997–Present, Director, Center for Energy Systems Research/Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech
    1989-1996, Adjoint scientifique/Charge de cours (senior tenured associate professor); Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland
    1987-1989, Engineering Consultant (electric power utility industry); System Technologies, Atlanta, GA
    1984-1986, Instructor, Georgia Institute of Technology
    1979-1984, Engineer, Southern Company Services Inc., Atlanta, GA
    1974-1978, Engineer Programmer Analyst, Southern Company Services Inc., Atlanta, GA
    1970-1973, Aerospace Engineer Trainee, National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Huntsville, AL
    June-July 1997, June 1998, June 2000, July-Aug 2010, Visiting Professor in the Laboratoire d’energetique industrielle at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
    July 2010, Visiting Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Universita di Brescia, Brescia, Italy

  • Awards & Honors

    2014, ASME James Harry Potter Gold Medal
    2012, ASME Edward F. Obert Award
    ASME Fellow since 2001
    ASME AESD Lifetime Achievement Award
    ASME Advanced Energy Systems Division Systems Analysis 2012 Best Paper Award
    ASME Advanced Energy Systems Division Systems Analysis 2008 Best Paper Award
    ASME Advanced Energy Systems Division Systems Analysis 2005 Best Paper Award
    ASME Advanced Energy Systems Division Systems Analysis 2000 Best Student Paper Award
    Elected as member to Sigma Xi (The Scientific Research Society)
    Elected as member to Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honorary Society)


Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, 1986
M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology, 1980
B.S., Auburn University, 1974

(540) 231-6684
114U Randolph Hall – 0710
460 Old Turner Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Michael von Spakovsky

Robert E. Hord Jr. Professor