Sustainable Process Engineering

Course Information

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Sustainable Process Engineering offers a bold approach to professional graduate education. A little over half of the courses you’ll take are technical in nature and offered through the UBC Faculty of Applied Science. The remaining are business courses offered through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

The program also includes a “venture laboratory,” where students will work with UBC researchers to translate innovations to the marketplace. This experience will expose students to the nuts and bolts of launching and building businesses in the chemical industry. The students will be provided with mentorship and resources, including access to UBC’s technology incubators and opportunities to network with venture capitalists.

Many courses use a flipped classroom format. This means you are expected to independently review course content ahead of classroom time through assigned readings and lecture videos. The classes themselves are then an opportunity for engaged learning – discussing and applying what you’ve learned through case studies, group project work, experiments and demonstrations.

Course Overview

SPE Course Information

Winter term: January to April

APPP 503: Organizational Leadership

Understand the behaviour of people and groups and how this applies to management and leadership within professional organizations. This course explores motivation, group dynamics, organizational structure, leadership styles and tools for assessing organizational effectiveness. The course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply theoretical principles of leadership and organization behaviour in a variety of organizational contexts and industries.
  • Diagnose organizational behaviour and people management challenges and find solutions that deliver business results and ensure employee engagement.
  • Understand what it takes to build effective manager-employee relationships, given the realities of power, motivation and commitment in an organizational setting.
  • Develop and present recommendations for organizational leadership challenges using the case study analysis approach.

BAEN 540: Strategy & Innovation

This course provides an introduction to the principles and frameworks of strategic management, as well as concepts surrounding the creation or expansion of innovation capabilities, within organizations. Strategic management involves analysis, planning and execution of initiatives that achieve objectives in support of organizational goals. Innovation generally involves the development of revolutionary new or evolutionary improvements to existing ideas, methods, products, services, or combinations thereof that are adopted. The course will also consider the changing nature of organizational strategy and innovation in an environment of increasing globalization, digitization and automation. Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship will be recurring themes throughout the course. The course will emphasize actionable lessons and models that students, regardless of their professional or academic backgrounds, can apply in practice to create tangible and valuable outcomes across organizational types, growth stages, and industries.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand strategic decision making and organizational innovation processes.
  • Analyze business situations using relevant concepts and tools.
  • Understand business approaches for managing strategy and innovation programs and projects.
  • Create and present plans for solutions to organizationally important challenges.
  • Communicate effectively about planning and delivering on strategy and innovation.

APPP 505: Analytics & Interpretation for Applied Sciences

Professionals who can manage analytics and “big data” are highly sought after by companies across the world. This course will provide students with the opportunity to identify, interpret and utilize key analytics from real-world data sets. Graduates will feel comfortable with the latest data collection methods, measurement and presentation tools, be able to interpret data and identify trends, and understand the role of big data and predictive analytics across several different industries.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss data analytics and data visualization principles and methods.
  • Design and develop interactive visualizations and dashboards using Tableau.
  • Use advanced features and functionalities of Tableau.
  • Present and communicate analysis findings to different target audiences.
  • Understand how to clean and transform different kinds of data to facilitate exploration and analysis.
  • List use cases for effective visual analytics.
  • Recognize issues related to ethics, privacy, governance, provenance and integrity when working with data.

CHBE 577: Electrochemical Science, Engineering & Technology

Electrochemical interfaces; electrode reactions; thermodynamics; kinetics and transport processes in electrochemical systems; experimental techniques. Electrochemical reactors and processes; modelling, design and economics. Electrochemical technologies; electrosynthesis, batteries and fuel cells. Electro-metallurgy; electrowinning and refining of metals, corrosion, leaching and cementation.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply fundamentals of electrochemical science and engineering toward the design of cleaner manufacturing and treatment processes.
  • Quantitatively analyze electrochemical phenomena and processes.
  • Use advanced features and functionalities of Tableau.
  • Design electrochemical systems such as fuel cells, batteries and electrocatalytic processes and determine scale-up criteria for these operations.

CHBE 560: Bioprocess Engineering

Biological process engineering in the fields of biotechnology and biomedical engineering; enzymatic and cellular kinetics; cell culture, process development and product recovery; bioreactor design and operation. Critical analysis of recent biological engineering research articles.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the biological knowledge base of bioprocesses
  • Select bioprocess conditions and configurations
  • Use process modeling to analyze bioreactor performance
  • Optimize bioprocess engineering technology.

CEEN 501: Energy System Fundamentals

This course will focus on the thermodynamic analysis of energy conversion processes, power cycles and refrigeration cycles, energy analysis of conventional energy systems and thermal conversion technologies. As a prerequisite, you must have completed a course in thermodynamics at the second-year level.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Use thermodynamic principles for evaluating alternative energy processes and systems.
  • Recognize the main processes for conversion between solid, gaseous and liquid fuels, and assess whether such conversions are likely to be advantageous under different circumstances.
  • Apply thermodynamics principles to assess various applications relevant to British Columbia, such as combined heat and power cycles, methane liquefaction, and alternative electricity generation.
  • Confidently deal with practical energy-related problems, and write professional reports discussing technical issues.

CEEN 523: Energy & The Environment

The course will cover energy, environment and society interactions, the development of energy resources, energy demand and its determinants, the policy dimension of energy and climate change, impacts on ecosystems, life-cycle analysis and impact assessment and other tools for quantitative and qualitative evaluation of alternative energy sources.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand and explain the concept of sustainability, with its techno-economic, environmental and social components.
  • Understand and articulate the policy implications of energy supply and use, including climate change.
  • Analyse energy systems to reveal their economic, environmental and social impacts and risks.
  • Apply and interpret the results of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of energy and other product systems.
  • Understand the concept of industrial ecology and apply it in integrating systems of energy conversion, supply and use, to improve sustainability.

CHBE 502: Biomass Fractionation Technologies

Extraction of soluble compounds and macromolecules. Chemical and technical processes in production of pulp. Bleaching. Fiber production from woody and herbaceous biomass. Production of reactive intermediates.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the concepts of bio-economy, biorefinery, and bioproducts.
  • Discuss polymers/plastics and the environment and be able to identify current and future replacement options that are more sustainable.
  • Describe the chemistry of biomass.
  • Relate the characteristics of biomass to its processing (e.g. pulping, bleaching, refining)
  • Explain the principles of pulp and paper operations: Kraft pulping, mechanical pulping, bleaching, papermaking and recycling.
  • Interpret data using fundamental knowledge from lectures and technical literature.
  • Assess novel and emerging biorefining processes.
  • Summarize ongoing research at UBC related to bio-based chemicals and nanomaterials, biofuels, and biogas.

CHBE 486: Waste Management for Resource Recovery

Physico-chemical, thermal, and biological methods for purification of solid waste and wastewater, and conversion to bioproducts/industrial products, energy and clean water.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Classify the sources and types of wastes
  • Characterize different types of solid waste and wastewater
  • Develop a conceptual understanding of integrated resource recovery from wastes
  • Discuss and analyze thermochemical and biological processes for solid waste management
  • Apply preprocessing and pretreatment methods for solid wastes
  • Determine the quality of products and know the applicable standards
  • Analyze wastewater treatment processes for various forms of resource recovery

CHBE 588: Carbon Capture, Sequestration and Conversion Technologies

Examination of carbon capture technologies, and CO2 conversion and sequestration options. Technical foundations on carbon cycle, thermodynamics, transport, absorption, adsorption, sequestration, process control, mineralization and conversion. Analysis of cases in the context of technology, policy and regulatory framework.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate carbon capture and conversion technologies through conducting process flowsheet and life cycle framework analyses
  • Assess technical, economic and environmental issues involved in designing and operation of CO2 capture plants
  • Analyze CCCS cases using technical, policy and regulatory frameworks
  • Integrate systems thinking in analyzing the impact of CCCS technology in climate change scenarios
  • Develop one’s tolerance towards ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Cultivate one’s strength and abilities towards working in teams and with the learning community
  • Develop one’s skills as a reflective practitioner

Summer term: May to August

SPE 504: Design Laboratory for New Ventures in the Chemical Industry

The Venture Design Lab will provide students an immersive experience in commercialization of chemical and biochemical products and manufacturing processes using the platform of a new venture. The course will manifestly focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility. Students will work closely with scientists and researchers to assess market and technology gaps. They will then craft technology development plans to refine and de-risk their core technologies, as well as develop and possibly implement strategies to manage and file intellectual property. Instruction will also be provided on budgeting the technology development plan and fundraising through grants. The students will ultimately integrate their technology development plans into the business and fundraising plans of their companies.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Validate their technology through laboratory experiments
  • Engage in prototyping and testing to confirm economic and technical assumptions
  • Formulate and refining their technology development plans
  • Identify grant opportunities for early-stage companies and possibly taken preliminary steps to apply to these source of funding
  • Integrate their technology development plan with their business plan
  • Identify advisors and mentors for their venture

APPP 504: Business Acumen for Technical Leaders

An asset to the aspiring technical leader, business acumen is knowing how business works and applying that knowledge with the goal of business improvement. This course offers an elevated perspective of how technical skills contribute to building value in a business. The course immerses aspiring technical leaders in the practical application of core business skills and the development of six core business competencies, which are presented as modules: Managerial Accounting, Strategy and Performance, Market Evaluation, Operations Management, Negotiations and Contract Management and Business-Case Building and Valuation. This course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply theoretical principles of business in a variety of contexts.
  • Analyze and discuss common business situations encountered by managers from multiple angles using the case study analysis approach.
  • Appreciate the importance of each of the functional areas, as well as the inter-connectedness of business decision-making.
  • Appreciate the importance of excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Understand the importance of effective team work and strong ethical standards in management.
  • Plan and present effective and meaningful presentations.

Fall term: September to December

APPP 502: Sustainability & Leadership

This course helps students build skills to lead change that influences the triple bottom line and explores concepts related to sustainability, change agency systems thinking, awareness and perspective for engagement and communication, adaptive leadership, and change dynamics. It also incorporates case studies in organizational and social change. This course is collaboratively delivered with the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize tools, concepts, standards and frameworks used in sustainable business.
  • Analyze current realities, market opportunities and issues related to sustainability across a range of industries.
  • Integrate sustainability-related concepts into their own industry and/or personal experiences.
  • Synthesize, apply and communicate sustainability knowledge to one’s peers.
  • Apply various leadership concepts and tools into their professional practice, and in particular to sustainability-related initiatives.

SPE 503: Sustainable Bioproducts Processing

In this course, students will develop an understanding of the technology for deriving fuels, chemicals and materials from forest biomass, and they will explore the chemistry of biomass for producing liquid, solid and gaseous fuels, as well as processing options for value-added materials and chemicals. Through their understanding of the concepts of bioeconomy, biorefinery and bioproducts and the chemistry of biomass, students will be able to explain the principles of bioproducts processing, including Kraft pulping, co-generation, gasification, sustainable aviation fuel and nanocellulose. During the course, students will construct a life-cycle analysis of a bioenergy process and will also summarize and critique bioenergy policy.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the concepts of bio-economy, biorefinery, and bioproducts.
  • Describe the chemistry of biomass.
  • Explain the principles of bioproducts processing. Processes will include but are not limited to: Kraft pulping, co-generation, gasification, sustainable avaiation fuel, nanocellulose.
  • Construct a life cycle analysis of a bioenergy process.
  • Summarize and critique bioenergy policy.

SPE 505: Technology Commercialization for the Manufacturing Industries

The course provides a hands-on overview of the scale-up and commercialization of manufacturing processes, with a special emphasis on the chemical and ancillary industry. Specific topics that are discussed include ideation and early assessment of manufacturing processes, techno-economic analyses of novel processes, strategies and techniques for scaling up and de-risking processes, strategies for managing and protecting intellectual property, and formulation of tactics for market penetration that are specific to the manufacturing sector.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Validate the commercial viability of a process concept at the ideation phase
  • Develop intellectual property strategies to protect the idea
  • Prepare techno-economic evaluations of novel process concepts
  • Learn to identify process development risks and how to work through them
  • Scale up a process from the bench, to a pilot plant, to a demonstration plant, and to a full commercial plant
  • Evaluate different strategies to introduce a novel chemical or biological process technology into an existing industry

CHBE 550: Advanced Reactor Design

Topics vary from year to year, and may include kinetics of fluid-solid reactions of single particles, packed, moving, fluidized and transported bed reactors; rotary kilns; gas-liquid reaction kinetics and reactor design; reactor design for gas-liquid-solid and non-catalytic processes.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Make well-informed decisions about reactor selection and installation.
  • Synthesize catalysts and estimate their properties.
  • Derive the reaction rate expressions for typical catalytic cascades.
  • Design experiments to validate assumptions about catalytic mechanisms and estimate reaction rate parameters.
  • Analyze the transport phenomena in catalysts and catalytic reactors.
  • Design a catalytic reactor and conduct numerical simulations.
  • Develop and demonstrate communication skills through authorship of technical memos and presentations.

CHBE 474: Process Control Engineering

Frequency response analysis; advanced control techniques; multivariable control systems; mathematical tools for computer control systems; design of computer control systems; engineering design of industrial control applications; plant wide control concepts; distributed control systems concepts.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Develop and implement schemes to control reactors and separators for judicious use of material and energy inputs
  • Specify proper manipulated variable (MV), controlled variable (CV) and disturbance variables (DV) for a complex control problem
  • Design a single loop PID control and tune it for effective setpoint tracking and disturbance rejection
  • Apply advanced control strategies including feedforward, ratio control, cascade control and multivariable control for practical challenging control problems
  • Design discrete PID controllers
  • Properly pair MV and CV to minimize loop interactions for multi-loop multi-variable control systems
  • Design model predictive control systems and choose appropriate tuning parameters
  • Implement artificial intelligence to improve production outcomes.

CHBE 583: Energy Engineering

This course will instruct students about the supply and use of conventional and alternative fuels and energy technologies.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Design and operate unit operations for processing fossil fuels, biomass, and other energy sources
  • Integrate energy storage and conversion technologies in existing industrial operations to improve energy efficiency
  • Understand the life cycle for production and consumption of conventional and alternative sources of energy
  • Perform technological, economic and environmental assessments of energy technologies to identify factors that affect supply and adoption of alternative energy sources
  • Develop and implement novel technologies and strategies for energy management, including Internet of Things (IoT) and deregulation of utilities
  • Implement technologies for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

CHBE 457: Process Synthesis

Strategy for the conceptual design of industrial chemical and biological processes; rules of thumb for chemical engineers, simulation to assist process synthesis, reactor-separator network synthesis, introduction to product design and molecular structure design, efficiency and sustainability in the chemical industry.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Formulate a process comprising reactors, separators and heat exchangers to sustainably manufacture a chemical, fuel or material and have the lowest environmental footprint possible
  • Synthesize a network of heat exchangers for maximum energy recovery
  • Create a flowsheet and a base-case design for the process based on heuristics
  • Generate detailed process and instrumentation diagrams

CHBE 563: Applied Heterogeneous Catalysis

Techniques for characterizing catalysts and their surfaces. Commercial methods of preparing catalysts. Chemistry of catalytic reactions and the impact of catalyst properties, mechanisms and kinetics on reactor engineering. Applications of catalytic oxidations, hydrogenations, C-C bond formation and cracking.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Design and perform experiments to characterize heterogenous catalysts
  • Estimate activity and determine selectivity and stability of heterogeneous catalysts
  • Understand and employ macroscopic and molecular techniques to control the structure of catalysts
  • Model rate processes in heterogeneous catalytic systems and use computational tools to simulate them
  • Design electrocatalytic processes to manufacture fuels and chemicals.

CHBE 570: Advanced Transport in Biological Systems

Advanced studies in mass transport: material flow in biological systems from cellular to whole body level under normal and pathological conditions. Biological engineering approaches for designing tissue constructs and artificial organs.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Perform life cycle assessments (LCA) and design (LCD) of industrial processes to quantify their sustainability quotients
  • Estimate the carbon footprint of manufacturing operations
  • Estimate the primary, secondary and fugitive emissions of processes
  • Identify and quantify the environmental impacts and health risks of processes
  • Select feedstocks and unit operations to maximize sustainability
  • Conduct waste audits and tabulate waste inventories
  • Design processes within the framework of industrial ecology
  • Integrate mass and energy flows in eco-industrial parks

UBC Sauder School of Business Courses

Students can choose a UBC Sauder Business Course to gain greater exposure to a particular area of interest. Options include (subject to change):

BASC 550: Operations and Logistics

This course will introduce students to the key concepts and tools needed to understand and effectively manage supply chains and business operations in general. A key concept in this course is the “business process”, and managing and improving such processes.

BAMA 519: Building Brand with Purpose

This course explores the core principles of branding within the context of social and environmental responsibility including healthcare, sustainability and human rights. Fundamental marketing strategies are reinforced as they relate specifically to: 1) non-profits, 2) social marketing designed to change society’s behaviour and 3) cause-related-marketing within the corporate sector.

BA 563: Decision Making for Managers

This course is designed to make you a better decision maker by helping you understand your weaknesses and build on your strengths in decision-making. This is an integrative course that links material from Economics, Operations, Statistics, Marketing, Psychology, Finance, and Strategy.

*Course offering subject to change.

BAEN 580B: Special Topics in Business: Creative Destruction Lab

The Creative Destruction Lab Venture Program is a 3-credit course in entrepreneurship in which students will work with the Creative Destruction Lab West (CDL-West) team to help emerging technology and science focused start-ups. Students will become familiar with the CDL-West companies and will have the opportunity to support with market analysis, customer development, financial analysis, and other core activities related to building early stage start-ups. Students will be provided with visibility into how venture capitalists and angel investors make investment decisions.