Sustainability & Environment


AIChE Credential for Sustainability Professionals

The AIChE Institute for Sustainability (IfS) program offers engineers and other qualified professionals a specialized Credential in Sustainability. The IfS with its many equals established a baseline definition of what Sustainability entails, a Body of Knowledge (BOK) in the field of sustainability.

Institute for Sustainability (IfS)

IfS is an umbrella organization encompassing a broad spectrum of activities related to sustainability. It has three sub-entities: the Sustainable Engineering Forum (SEF), the Center for Sustainable Technology Practices (CSTP), and the Youth Council on Sustainability Science and Technology (YCOSST). It also provides oversight to the AIChE Sustainability Index (sm).

Environmental Division (ENV)

The ENV division provides relevant programs on current environmental topics and non-confidential information concerning all aspects of environmental activity. The division promotes publication of papers of interest to chemical engineers in environmental activities as well as coordinates the Institute’s activities with other related societies.

Life-Cycle Assessment Comparison of Ultraviolet and Chemical Disinfection

October 31, 2011

The equipment and capital scope of an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems seems so much more substantial than a simple chemical feed and contact arrangement. If a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is performed, however, and other less-obvious sustainability factors are considered, the choice is no longer so cut and dried.

Donora Death Fog: The Crisis that Led to Modern Air Pollution Laws

October 27, 2011

You may not have heard of the “Donora Death Fog,” but if you are interested in climate change, you should know about it. This notorious weather event is arguably one of the most pivotal moments responsible for the adoption of air quality regulations in the United States.

Comparison of Ceramic and Polymeric Membranes for Micro- and Ultrafiltration

October 26, 2011

Katie Guerra, P.E., of the Bureau of Reclamation reported on her efforts to put to the test the common assumptions that ceramic micro- and ultrafiltration systems, though more robust and forgiving, have such a high capital cost that polymeric membrane systems provide a lower total operating cost advantage.

Annual Meeting Showcases Green Building in Minnesota

October 23, 2011

On Wednesday, October 19, the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Minnesota Chapter (USGBC-MN) held its own Annual Meeting designed to celebrate the previous year's accomplishments and kick-off thecalendar for 2012. The evening featured exhibits by local green businesses, engineering firms and architectural solutions providers.

Advances in Algal Biorefineries II [On Location]

October 19, 2011

Algae and plant oils have shown great promise towards answering the energy density question, but I am reminded of a 3-step business plan that I encountered in school: Step 1 – Collect algae, Step 3 – Profit. The presenters in this session are concerned with that mysterious Step 2.

Take in a Session and then Some Bike

October 18, 2011

Looking to get to know Minneapolis a little better while dodging between events? Take a walk through the Skyway, or grab a quick ride on one of the city's many public bikes.

Electric Cars the Star of Frankfurt Auto Show

September 27, 2011

The Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this month showed a wide range of electric cars, from small and affordable to high-powered sports and luxurious sports cars. Two noteworthy newcomers stood out. Students at Germany's Technische Universität München presented the Mute, a concept car with an light frame of aluminum and plastic.

From Soda Bottle to Solar Light Bulb

September 23, 2011

Demi (aka Solar Demi), who comes from a very small village in the Philippines, came up with a solution to bring light to his village by turning a soda bottle into a light bulb.

Conductive Nanotube Cables Could Advance Renewable Energy and More

September 21, 2011

Researchers at Rice University have announced a nanotechnology success that could play a significant role in making renewable energy more practical and could contribute to many electrical applications where weight is a factor. The breakthrough: researchers have created carbon nanotubes that are approaching electrical conductivities seen in metal wires, a goal that has been pursued since the 1980s.

Self-Cleaning Buildings

September 19, 2011

As society continues to evolve and it becomes more of struggle to find spare time to do daily chores like cooking and cleaning, wouldn't it be nice if things simply cleaned themselves?

Water: Industrial Discharge Permits

September 6, 2011

Environmental management groups are cracking down on industries by imposing tighter discharge limits and making industries everywhere contemplate in-house pretreatment programs—and dilution is no longer an acceptable solution.

Solar Canopy Capable of Generating 73,000 Megawatt Hours Annually

August 29, 2011

Drawing on the inspiration of the Bedouin tent of the Arabian Peninsula, architectural firm Predock Frane has designed Solaris, a solar canopy that drapes a massive area and acts both as a landscape and structure.The structure is entered via a tunnel passage. To make energy generation possible, intelligent solar "balloons" [...]

Making Biofuels at 10 Times the Normal Speed of Science

August 17, 2011

The biomass used to produce biofuel is most easily converted to ethanol, but that has always come with trade-offs. The primary problem: ethanol is less energy dense than petroleum-based fuels, and most vehicles can't burn more than a 15 percent mix of ethanol and standard gasoline.

How Can Cities Help Save the Future?

August 17, 2011

Think of cities as nothing but a huge energy drain? Not exactly what you think of related to the words eco-friendly or green? Well, you may want to rethink your position on this after you hear the Ted Talk presented by Alex Steffen.

Chesapeake Energy Invests in Former Stealth Solar/Biofuels Startup

August 11, 2011

In mid-July, Chesapeake Energy, the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. launched a $1 billion venture fund to invest in technologies designed to spur demand while also helping to replace dependence on foreign oil. The company's goal: 40 million gallons of transportation biofuel.

10 Trends & Updates in Biofuel

August 3, 2011

If you're having trouble keeping up with the fast-paced changes in biofuels, the following ten blurbs and links should provide a useful snapshot of biofuel trends. Read on for more about the multitude of stunning new technologies and different feedstocks popping up around the globe; the emergence of third-generation biofuels; and the long slog ahead toward acceptance and commercialization.

Lignin? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Lignin! Statoil's New Biofuel Feedstock-- Seaweed

July 22, 2011

In the race to develop greener energy, no self-respecting global oil company wants to be left behind. They're already bulking up on natural gas. Recently, French oil major Total has invested in solar cell maker SunPower; meanwhile Shell, Exxon, and Chevron have invested hundreds of millions in biofuel technology, and BP has added biofuels to wind.

Termites: Homeowner Scourge or Biofuel Savior?

July 18, 2011

An unwanted house pest and suburban scourge, suddenly the termite has been accidentally and disasterously rehabilitated by science. Hyperbole? Termite control professionals don't think so.

Two Biofuel Firsts: Honeywell and Boeing Land Transatlantic Flights at the Paris Air Show

June 30, 2011

Departing Morristown, NJ, and arriving at Paris-Le Bourget Airport seven hours later, a Honeywell corporate jet became the first aircraft to fly from North America to Europe on a 50/50 blend of Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and standard jet fuel. Honeywell, symbolically framing the flight's significance, had their pilot follow Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic—a perfect beginning for this year's Paris Air Show.

Toilet to Tap: The Future of Water

June 2, 2011

Singapore used to depend heavily on Malaysia for treated water, but now it uses state-of-the-art technology to recycle sewage and other wastewater, producing water that is claimed to be as pure as distilled water.

Ultracapacitor Technology Promises more Viable Electric Car

May 4, 2011

Not unlike the cell phone and laptop, the electric car has long been haunted by one question in particular: exactly how long until it's time to plug it in again? And the other big factor: cost. But one startup thinks it has the answer.

Intel Employees Grow Algae By Harnessing their Arizona Chip Fab's Carbon Dioxide

April 27, 2011

Intel's on an roll. Just in time for Earth Day, their huge, Arizona chip fab was the first semiconductor manufacturing company to receive LEED certification for its entire campus. The improvements that led to the new LEED classification came from Intel employees, and, as the whole idea of sustainability gains momentum at Intel, many new ideas are starting to come from outside the research lab.

The New Cola Wars: Coke and Pepsi Battle to Bring 100% Plant-Based Bottles to Customers

April 20, 2011

I thought that the Coke and Pepsi wars, which began in the 70's (click to see a vintage, Michael Jackson, Pepsi TV ad), were long over, comfortably settled into a tit-for-tat, high-fructose-opoly. Now, suddenly, beverage industry magazines are reporting that the cola wars have erupted again: this time in a war for the first 100% plant-based bottle.

8 Reasons to Make AIChE-DECHEMA’s ESPI Conference Part of Your Summer Plans

April 14, 2011

DECHEMA, a German-based Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, and AIChE are joining forces to gather international science and technology leaders at the first Global Conference on Energy Sustainability in the Process Industries (ESPI). The conference this June in Kong Kong will present a the topic of energy efficiency across a number of industries.

Using Membrane Reactors for Micro-Cogeneration Systems [On Location]

March 29, 2011

Research is underway in The Netherlands to demonstrate a single palladium membrane reactor (600C) technology to reduce the energy use and cost of small-scale, fuel-cell based electrical power generation. The results generated so far were presented by Fausto Gallucci of theDepartment of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Production of Biofuels from Giant Miscanthus [On Location]

March 18, 2011

The plant giant miscanthus (GM), a grass of Japanese origins, is proving to be a viable contender for a land-efficient biomass source of biofuels. A patented hybrid has been developed that can yield 25 tons/acre (5 times more that switchgrass), and produces a bio-oil that can be used as boiler fuel, further processed into other fuels or value added products, or reformed to generate hydrogen.

Bringing Value to Waste through Gas Fermentation [On Location]

March 16, 2011

As the world faces increasing energy challenges, one of the holy grails is a way to use waste carbon gasses to create new fuels or other high-value products. The ability to capture CO/CO2 to make a combustible fuel offers the possibility of a low/no-CO2 fuel. LanzaTech is currently piloting a CO/CO2 capture process, using a proprietary microbe that extracts carbon gasses from the air, to make fuel ethanol, using the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) gas from a steel mill in China. Roughly 30% of the carbon is converted into ethanol.

Preventing the Membrane Problem Most Foul [On Location]

March 15, 2011

Dr. Benny Freeman of the University of Texas at Austin presented some promising results of his team’s efforts to coat membrane surfaces with materials that greatly reduce fouling rates, and also allow for more effective cleaning when necessary.

ExxonMobil Is Going Green…Algae, that Is! [On Location]

March 15, 2011

In his keynote address to the AIChE Spring 2011 Conference, Dr. F. Emil Jacobs, VP of R & D, ExxonMobil Research and Development Company, discussed the company's views on the outlook for energy over the next 20 years, taking into consideration population growth and economic activity expansion and how they will affect energy use and demand.


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