Sustainable process engineering is an all-encompassing discipline, defined as much by its inputs as by its processes and outputs. It’s a challenge to engineers to rethink what is possible – to explore beyond the current paradigms of what we think can be made from various materials and the processes used to make them.
This work has never been more important, given the very real problems of climate change, growing populations and dwindling resources. The 12-month Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Sustainable Process Engineering program empowers engineers to redesign the next generation of processes and products that are environmentally sustainable and of a high standard.
Our students will explore the latest technical knowledge in feedstocks, reactant technology, and systems design and sustainable processing in classes taught through the UBC Faculty of Applied Science.
The business classes that make up about 40 per cent of the MEL – taught through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School – will be essential to helping our students develop the entrepreneurship and leadership skills they’ll need to bring their ideas to market. We expect that many of our graduates will be entrepreneurs – that they will decide that the best way to introduce the technologies that will shift the industrial economy is through commercialization and launching corporate ventures. The business and leadership classes will also be essential for those who pursue their career within larger organizations, equipping them with the strategy and know-how to advocate for a business case that improves upon the status quo.
Our students will graduate with deeper insight into both how to design the next generation of processes and come up with better ways of doing business. Both areas of expertise are needed: you need to know how to develop a commercially viable process that will not be outcompeted by a traditional dirty process.
UBC is recognized as one of the world’s best universities when it comes to testing and implementing sustainability practices. That makes it an excellent place for students who are passionate about eliminating inefficiencies in traditional manufacturing environments and developing new products and processes.
My research in sustainable process engineering directly overlaps with this program. I’m an industrial biotechnologist by training. My research group, the BioFoundry, re-engineers microorganisms to create new products that you could only dream of as a synthetic chemist. While much of my work has focused on the pharmaceutical industry, I’ve also commercialized technology developed in my lab to start a company, Metabolik, that is currently running field trials in northern Alberta using engineered microorganisms to bioremediate oil sands tailing ponds.
Dr. Vikramaditya Yadav is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. He has a BASc degree in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo, a PhD in chemical engineering from MIT, and was a post-doctoral associate at Harvard. His research group – the BioFoundry – uses metabolic and enzyme engineering to investigate and customize novel biosynthetic enzymes that can convert biomass-derived feedstocks into better fuels, pharmaceuticals and value-added chemicals. The group extends these principles to the design and development of unique bioremediation strategies to rehabilitate water quality in and around industrial zones. In addition to green engineering, the BioFoundry also pursues medical biotechnology research, including infectious disease drug discovery, drug delivery and tissue engineering. The group actively collaborates with local start-ups, industry, academic groups and medical research laboratories.
Sustainable Process Engineering
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