- BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville – 1987
- MS Mechanical Engineering-Thermodynamics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville - 1994
- Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering-Thermodynamics, Virginia Tech (VPI&SU) - 1997
From 1987 to 1993 Dr. Harrell worked as a design engineer and utilities process engineer for BASF Corporation at a large industrial complex. As a utilities process engineer he had oversight responsibility for the engineering and technical activities of the entire utilities department. This included steam production, electric power generation, compressed air systems, industrial refrigeration facilities, industrial HVAC systems, water filtration facilities and the wastewater treatment plant.
Dr. Harrell completed his doctoral degree at Virginia Tech (VPI&SU) with a focus on applied thermodynamics. His major areas of research were refrigeration cycle efficiency improvement and two-phase flow. While completing his doctoral degree he served as a mechanical engineer for the Energy Management Institute at Virginia Tech. From 1997 to 2001 he served as the Director of Technical Assistance for the institute. In this capacity Dr. Harrell was directly involved in various aspects of energy management for industry located worldwide. These activities included complete facility energy analysis, individual process analysis, industrial training courses, and software development for energy system modeling. Dr. Harrell has conducted many energy surveys for industrial clients throughout the world. Industrial assessments and training courses have been completed on six continents in twenty-two countries and in thirty-six of the United States.
Along with this work he has conducted many industrial courses on energy systems. As a part of this instructional work Dr. Harrell developed the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) BestPractices Steam End-User Training and co-developed the USDOE Steam Specialist Qualification Training. He played a major role in the development of the USDOE BestPractices Steam Tools and authored the Steam System Survey Guide, which has become the text for university mechanical engineering courses. He has also become a certified instructor of the Compressed Air Challenge. Dr. Harrell served as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, teaching undergraduate and graduate thermodynamics courses. He served in a similar position for the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) of The University of Tennessee. His primary roles remain:
- Complete facility energy analysis
- Individual process analysis
- Industrial training courses
- Energy system modeling and software development
Dr. Harrell is also a primary instructor in the North Carolina State University Energy Management Diploma Program. Industrial systems serving as the focus of his attention are: boilers, steam systems, combined heat and power systems (cogeneration), compressed air systems and refrigeration systems.