June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Energy Conversion and Conservation
15.724.1 - 15.724.7
INCREASING SUSTAINABILITY ENGINEERING IN EDUCATION AND RESESEARCH
Changes in our environment and the rising needs for natural resources are prompting societal demands for the inclusion of sustainable engineering in every facet of modern day life. These demands are pressing researchers and industry to develop new and better materials and processes that will allow industries as well as the average consumer to be significantly greener. Moreover, increasing numbers of manufacturers are beginning to evaluate their products and even their product packaging for sustainability, whether to meet mandatory retail initiatives or to reap some of the rewards associated with greater environmental stewardship. This shift in product design means that engineering education needs to produce engineers that can provide technological innovation while protecting the environment. These demands also mean that universities across the nation need to build bridges between undergraduate engineering education and sustainability engineering in both research and industry.1 This paper describes an approach to include sustainability engineering within an existing engineering program through 1) curriculum development, 2) student research and mentoring, and 3) outreach at a Hispanic Serving Institution. In this way, students learn concepts important to sustainability engineering, use these concepts in research, and have the opportunity to contribute to research and society.
Sustainability is no longer just a buzz word for the manufacturing/retail industry. It is a reality that affects every level of the supply chain. The question is no longer whether to implement sustainable principals and goals but rather how the companies can do it in the most effective way. Sustainable engineering is an emerging area that is inherently multidisciplinary 2,3,4 As such, engineering education must also be able to prepare students to perform within a multidisciplinary environment.
This paper describes an approach that will design new curricula based on the current trends for developing commercial products that are manufactured from renewable and biodegradable materials, and that will have a minimal environmental impact given our nation’s agriculture, economy, environment, manufacturing, and engineering resources. Through the development of this curriculum, students will gain a background and an appreciation of the complexity of our nation’s agricultural system as well as awareness for possible careers within the agriculture/environmental sustainability/biomaterials manufacturing engineering fields while developing their professional skills.
Through this approach, we plan to generate new courses that present students with current state- of-the-art knowledge and research in sustainability design, manufacturing sustainability, and sustainable systems. Our students will experience that real problems are not in any single domain but they cross boundaries of several domains, not only among pure engineering disciplines but between engineering, business, ethics, social sciences, and agriculture sciences, etc. Thus, this project will cover material that demonstrates the intersection of design and manufacturing, sustainability aspects, as well as agriculture issues such as shown in Figure 1. As a result, the students will be trained to open excellent career opportunities for them.
Gomez, C., & Taboada, H., & Espiritu, J., & Vargas Hernandez, N. (2010, June), Increasing Sustainability Engineering In Education And Research Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16880
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