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.

Building a Biofuel Game-Changer

December 27, 2013

Dr Sean Simpson, founder of LanzaTech, tells about an entrepreneurial wild ride, from his first idea to his deal to make jet fuel for Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Electrospun Nanofiber Films for Biomimicry [On Location]

December 18, 2013

Conventional asymmetrical membrane structures cause severe mass transfer limitations, so future membrane designs need to focus on mimicking the functionality and specificity of biological membrane systems.

Natural Ecosystem Unit Operations [On Location]

November 13, 2013

Working with a plant site's existing natural resources, chemical engineers can harness ecosystems to mitigate undesirable plant outputs and reduce or eliminate the need for traditional unit operations equipment.

Rotating Algal Biofilm Reactor [On Location]

November 11, 2013

A new approach to address the problems of the large land area required for cultivation, culture contamination and the difficult and costly dewatering of the harvested cells in large-scale algal biofuel projects is under development at Iowa State University.

Predictive Tools Foster Sustainability [On Location]

November 6, 2013

John Leazer discussed several key ways in which the EPA is working to promote and assist industry in their ongoing sustainability efforts. Of special significance are some software tools available from the EPA.

First Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Headed for Tennessee

June 24, 2013

Maybe the U.S. nuclear renaissance hasn't fizzeled. Maybe the whole paradigm has simply shifted away from building single 1,000+ megawatt behemoths, to mass producing small modular reactors ranging in size from 45 to 300 megawatts.


June 3, 2013

Join AIChE in Cincinnati for ICOSSE 2013, where we will look at new ways to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development.

Tar Sands CO2 Emissions Could Feed Algae Biofuel

May 23, 2013

Canada is betting on carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce the environmental footprint associated with making fuel from oil sands, but one of the country's largest oil-sands producers is building an algae bioreactor to recycle CO2 to produce biofuels and other products such as fertilizer.

First Solar Snaps Up Silicon Startup TetraSun

May 21, 2013

For thin-film mega-company First Solar, the two-year crisis caused by the solar module supply glut may be almost over. The largest manufacturer of solar panels in the United States surprised silicon valley by announcing that it will buy startup TetraSun, which makes high-capacity silicon solar cells.

Arsenic: “King of Poisons” in Food and Water

May 15, 2013

For centuries, arsenic has been known to be a classic poison, causing deaths of many historic figures. While now just a murder-mystery cliché to many, arsenic is still actually causing harm, with dangerously high levels in food and water around the world.

BP Puts Growing Wind Energy Division Up For Sale

April 10, 2013

BP has decided it's a good time to get out of the wind business, unloading 16 wind farms in nine states with a total capacity of about 2,600 megawatts. Short-sighted, or good business?

Nanowire Could Redefine Solar Panel Efficiency

March 28, 2013

Reported this week: researchers in Denmark and Switzerland have built solar cells from individual nanowires. Their work showed that the nanowires were able to absorb considerably more light than expected based on their size.

YCOSST Focus on Sustainability Professionals: Deborah Grubbe

March 25, 2013

AIChE’s Youth Council for Sustainable Science and Technology (YCOSST), chaired by Jeff Seay and Sarah Widder, is part of the AIChE Institute for Sustainability. The goal is for YCOSST to be a clearinghouse for information and resources for K-12, undergraduates and young professionals interested in careers or college majors that involve sustainability.

Malware Infects Gulf of Mexico Offshore Rigs

March 7, 2013

Employees have inadvertently exposed vulnerabilities in network security that pose serious long-term threats. It's far too easy to imagine a worst case scenario: targeted cyber attacks, a blowout, or a spill.

Wind Energy Dukes It Out With Fossil Fuels

February 20, 2013

2012 turned out to be a year when old assumptions about wind energy began to shift as the planet’s installed wind capacity jumped from 238 GWs to about 282 GWs. Read about the big developments in Australia and the U.S.

Jeff Surma Wants to Electrify Municipal Waste

February 18, 2013

Jeff Surma, a chemical engineer by training and now something of an energy visionary, has not only proven that InEnTec, his small startup, can profitably vaporize garbage by turning it into grid power, he's also convinced that the process could scale up nationally.

Rare Earth Elements: Vital and in High Demand

January 9, 2013

It's not so much that the rare earth metals (also known as the lanthanides) are rare; there is actually a relative abundance of them. The real issue is that it's difficult to find economically viable methods by which to process them.

ARPA-E Gifts $130 Million to Cutting-Edge Energy Ideas

December 17, 2012

An early Christmas came to energy startups when The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) announced that 66 new projects will receive $130 million. This latest round of awards brings the total portfolio to 285 projects since its 2009 launch.

Recession Silver Lining: Microgrids Help Cities Save Money

December 13, 2012

Faced with balancing budgets, smart city managers across the country have successfully turned to microgrids and LEDs to cut electricity bills by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Check out the video to learn more.

Harnessing Solar Power for High Temperature Reactions

November 19, 2012

More sunlight strikes the earth in one hour than all of the energy currently consumed on the planet in one year. As the world’s energy consumption rate is projected to double by 2050, and triple by 2100, the sun holds great potential as a sustainable energy source.

Life Cycle Assessment for Achieving Sustainability

November 15, 2012

Interested in Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment methodology? Please join the Virtual Local Section Thursday, November 15th for a webinar on this topic with keynote speaker Dr. Mary Ann Curran.

“All of the Above” Energy Sustainability

November 13, 2012

Not only can new developments in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) make fossil energy more sustainable and environmentally friendly, they also have the potential to revolutionize enhanced oil recover (EOR).

Closing the Lifecycle Loop on Critical Materials

November 5, 2012

The U.S. is highly dependent on foreign countries for rare earth elements (REEs) and strategic and critical materials (S&CMs). Dr. Tedd Lister and Dr. Eric Peterson of the Idaho National Laboratory propose “urban mining” to address the concerns associated with traditional mining.

Environmental Division Pittsburgh Service Project

October 25, 2012

Join your fellow AIChE members and the local Pittsburgh community on Sunday morning of the Annual Meeting--share a great experience protecting important ecosystems and promoting local food sourcing in our host city!

The New Energy Mix: Abundance and Sustainability?

October 17, 2012

The US’s surge in production of natural gas is by methods that are spreading around the world. As oil begins to be abundant, too, can we have the benefits and still move toward sustainable energy?

Alternative Paths to Sustainability

October 16, 2012

In the most recent editorial in the series, Cindy Mascone looks at sports and the efforts the industry is making towards sustainability.

Breakthrough in Organic Fuel-Cell Catalysts

October 9, 2012

One of the current problems with fuel cells is the catalyst that helps convert sources of stored energy such as hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy.

A ChE’s Path to Sustainability

October 2, 2012

Through our work as chemical engineers, we have the potential to make significant positive impacts on sustainability. There’s also much we can do as individuals. Read on for thoughts on reducing your carbon footprint at work.

Paul Needham: Helping India’s Poor Own Electricity

September 28, 2012

Worldwide, approximately 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity and another 1 billion have extremely unreliable access. Many of the poor are forced to depend on kerosene lanterns. Hear about one man's solar solution to this problem in the accompanying video.

AIChE Greens the Annual Meeting

September 17, 2012

This year's AIChE Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh should prove to be the greenest yet! Read more about what we're doing and how you can be a part of making the meeting more sustainable.

AIChE’s Path to Sustainability

September 13, 2012

AIChE is working towards sustainability on multiple fronts. It has formed the International Society for Water Solutions (ISWS) and the Association's Institute for Sustainability (IfS) has created the AIChE Sustainability Index, which companies can use to benchmark their sustainability performance. You'll also notice changes this year at the Annual Meeting, with the aim of a more sustainable gathering in Pittsburgh.

Finding Cheap New Energy Under America's City Streets

September 5, 2012

America's decaying water infrastructure might actually provide an opportunity to generate cheap, green energy. Lucid Energy has demonstrated a way to install in-pipe water turbines that are amazingly efficient, and American cities such as San Antonio, TX, are planning to give the new technology a try.

Sustainability in (Bio)Pharmaceuticals

August 30, 2012

This meeting will bring together thought-leaders from the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. The meeting's goal is to allow engineers in these industries to assess processes aimed at improving sustainability in their organizations and to both justify their ROI and improve their performance.


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