Sustainability & Environment


AIChE Credential for Sustainability Professionals

The AIChE Institute for Sustainability (IfS) is launching a program that offers engineers and other qualified professionals a specialized Credential in sustainability. The IfS is well positioned to establish a baseline definition of what Sustainability entails, as well as to establish 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.

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.

2012 Annual Meeting Venue Awarded Platinum LEED Certification

July 3, 2012

The 2012 Annual Meeting has the tagline of “Cleaner Energy, Stronger Economy, Better Living,” but what exactly does that have to do with Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh, previously a booming industrial city, was once described as “hell with the lid off," but since the collapse of its steel industry, Pittsburgh has strived to build a green economy by reducing the city’s energy demands and lowering global warming emissions.

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.

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.

Electricity and the Environment

July 11, 2014

Fossil fuels will continue to play an important part in electricity generation, and this opens the doors for many opportunities for young chemical engineers.

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.

Canada Ready to Change Course on Climate Change

December 9, 2015

A breakthrough in the Paris climate talks suddenly seemed possible a year ago, after President Obama and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping — representing the world's biggest polluters — pledged to work to

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.

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" [...]

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.

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.

Consider a Career in the Water Industry

January 20, 2016
Although not a traditional career route for chemical engineers, the water industry is a broad field that can offer both challenges and rewards.

Tiny Solar Cells Pump Out Record Amounts of CPV Electricity

December 21, 2011

Dutham, North Carolina-based startup Semprius has taken the transfer-printing technology it originally developed for flexible electronics and applied it to solar cells. It's now producing low-cost cells the size of a ballpoint pen tip and able to convert 41 percent of solar energy into electricity.

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.

New "Bird-Friendly" Wind Turbines Come to California

August 14, 2014

New "shrouded" wind turbines near San Francisco will be tested to determine if they are less lethal to birds and bats than traditional turbines. Plus, they're more efficient than similar-sized turbines on the market.

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.

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.

WISE Interns Present Policy Recommendations on Energy Topics

October 28, 2011

In the Cecil Award Lecture, sponsored by the Environmental Division, Mikkel Vandebergh and Anita Luong presented on policy topics they had researched this summer as participants in the Washington Internships for Students in Engineering (WISE) program.

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.

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.

General Motors' Private War on Coal

December 28, 2015

Several years ago, General Motors made a deal to turn Detroit municipal waste into steam, which helped to power one of its local plants in 2014.

April 2016 CEP Preview

April 7, 2016
This month, tips for including water conservation in your energy-management program, an introduction to mammalian cell culture, pointers for preventing caking of bulk solids, and much more.

Earth’s H2O Status Report

December 29, 2010

While 1.8 billion people have Internet access, nearly one billion people lack access to adequate amounts of fresh water, according to a comprehensive new Living Planet report by the WWF and Global Footprint.

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.

AIChE Apprentice Takes on Potable Water Challenge

July 14, 2014

Alex Avram, a chemical engineering PhD student at UARK who recently joined the three-year AIChE Apprenticeship Program, describes his plans to help communities gain access to potable water.

Recycled Packing Peanuts Become Battery Components

March 24, 2015

Researchers at Perdue University have demonstrated that it’s possible to convert waste packing peanuts into high-performance carbon electrodes for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that outperform

King of Morocco Plans to Export Solar Power to Europe

February 19, 2016

Two weeks ago, when the King of Morocco ceremonially switched on the Noor I concentrated solar plant (CSP), he was hoping to turn his country into a renewable energy powerhouse over the next ten ye


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