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The Role Of Green Chemistry In An Industrial Ecology Course

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Sustainability in Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1250.1 - 14.1250.7



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Paper Authors

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Jennifer Aurandt Kettering University

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Terri Lynch-Caris Kettering University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Role of Green Chemistry in an Industrial Ecology Course


The National Academy of Engineering released the Grand Challenges facing engineering in the next century. Environmental sustainability is related to at least 5 of the fourteen challenges. To address these challenges, a multi disciplinary team of six faculty members from engineering, business, and chemistry developed a course entitled, “Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing”. In this course there are six distinct modules agreed upon as necessary to meet the environmental challenge of re-designing common products sustainably. The course is based upon the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS) pedagogy which emphasizes active learning through “hands-on activities”. The original six modules include (1) Historical Social and Ethical Perspectives, (2) Life Cycle Analysis, (3) Material Selection, (4) Process Design, (5) End of Life Options, and (6) Environmentally Responsible Management. In addition to these original modules Green Chemistry was added as a seventh module to add an important lab component to the course. Each module was designed to become a stand alone module able to be disseminated and used in any course.

In the Green Chemistry module students synthesized biodiesel and analyzed the products through chemical analysis and using it as fuel in a jet engine. The 12 principles of Green Chemistry were presented as foundational knowledge for comparing the life cycle of petroleum-based diesel to vegetable-based biodiesel. Students’ learning was assessed quantitatively for each module along with qualitative comments using the Strengths, Improvements, and Insights (SII) format. From feedback gathered in the first course offering, the Green Chemistry module was enhanced to include the use of the student-made biodiesel in a laboratory jet engine housed in the Mechanical Engineering Department. In addition to the student assessment, the role of Green Chemistry in this course was assessed by an outside advisory team composed of engineers from industry and other educational institutions.


National Academy of Engineers Grand Challenges has outlined 12 grand challenges that engineers face in order to make the world “a better place”. Those challenges include many facets of energy production and sustainability including management of the nitrogen cycle, make solar energy more economical, develop carbon sequestration methods, and provide access to clean water.1 These challenges will be tackled by the engineers of today and tomorrow therefore today’s faculty must give students the tools to bring sustainable practices into the design and manufacturing of products. To this end a multi-disciplinary university team was established to address the challenges of educating future engineers in the area of sustainable practices in industry. This team is composed of faculty, staff and students from across the university. Faculty members include two members of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, one faculty

Aurandt, J., & Lynch-Caris, T. (2009, June), The Role Of Green Chemistry In An Industrial Ecology Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5633

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