IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Visit Stanford Student Affairs for the latest updates on Academic Year 2021-22.
Chemical Engineering for Sustainability
Do you want to make the world more sustainable? How will we address the tremendous challenges that climate change brings? How can we reduce carbon emissions and not have huge disruptions in society? We will learn how to make the world more sustainable by exploring the exciting new world of (chemical) engineering sustainability. This class is for anyone who wants to better understand how to create sustainable alternatives to what we use every day. We will discuss renewable fuels (renewable diesel and jet fuel); synthetic meat; compostable plastics; building materials that save energy; direct capture of carbon from the air; biological and renewable petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals; and advanced recycling operations. The class starts with a brief overview of the deep cuts in carbon emissions and other pollutants that will be needed. Once we characterize the problem, we will focus on how sustainable (chemical) engineering can provide a solution. Students will leave the class with an appreciation of how sustainable (chemical) engineering can help address climate change’s substantial challenges; we hope that some will be inspired to pursue further work in this area to help society evolve towards a low carbon society.
Students will be assessed via five problem sets, a short solo presentation, and a team presentation and paper. The course will include visits to companies engaged in sustainable (chemical) engineering solutions, some of whom have said that they are seeking summer interns. We hope to balance the project teams by including everyone: engineers, scientists, those in humanities and the arts. Everyone has a role to play in designing our future.
High school chemistry (balancing a chemical equation) and high school physics (unit conversions) are recommended for this course.