The ICTEA conference series was inspired by the need to help provide an opportunity for professional development of scientists and engineers in the Middle East, including the Gulf region and North Africa. The need for such development persists, despite the strong commitment of regional governments for improving undergraduate education and for building research capabilities in institutions of higher learning.

The purpose of starting a biannual international conference to be rotated around the Middle East, Persian Gulf, and North African region countries was and still is to meet this need and to provide a well-structured platform to boost research activity and productivity in the region as well as provide a point of contact and networking opportunities. Such a conference can serve as a focal point for the gathering of scientists and engineers who hail from this region and who are working abroad in Europe, North America, and other industrialized parts of the world.

Thermal engineering was selected as an umbrella title for the conference series because of its encompassing meaning and because this research area is of great importance to the region. Topics related to the environment, energy, petroleum, and construction are obvious examples of thermal engineering applications which are crucial to the economic development of the region. The ICTEA conference series started in 2004 in different countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. The growing success of the conference series and the rapid recognition it gained and continues to gain are quite gratifying to its organizers.

This Special Section covers a wide range of thermal problems in engineering such as forced convection and combustion in porous media as well as flow in microchannels. In addition, some work on wind energy, heat treatment, and a new approach for inverse problems in heat transfer are included.

We would like to express our appreciation to the authors and the anonymous reviewers and to the editor of the Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications along with the ASME journal staff who made the publication of this special issue possible.