Introduction of life cycle assessment and sustainability concepts in chemical engineering curricula

Introduction of life cycle assessment and sustainability concepts in chemical engineering curricula PurposeThe implementation of life cycle assessment (LCA) and carbon footprinting represents an important professional and research opportunity for chemical engineers, but this is not broadly reflected in chemical engineering curricula worldwide. This paper aims to present the implementation of a coursework that is easy to apply, free of cost, valid worldwide and flexible enough to cover such holistic topics.Design/methodology/approachAn analysis of chemical engineering curricula worldwide, a literature review and the implementation of a coursework case study are detailed. The latter combines practical exercises using free LCA software, oral presentations and debates.FindingsThe coursework goes beyond the calculation of results, giving the students key transferable skills to increase their employability, such as the capacity to negotiate/discuss in groups, software learning and development of critical thinking. The course is affordable and flexible, enabling adaptation to different sectors and engineering schools. One limitation is the challenge of ensuring robustness and consistency in marking, but this has been already improved with a more explicit rubric. The feedback of the students confirms these findings, including the learning of transferable skills as the major advantage.Originality/valueThis paper addresses, for the first time, the current state of “life cycle thinking” teaching in the curricula of the top 25 chemical engineering schools worldwide, a literature review of previous experience and a description of a novel coursework taking a theoretical and practical approach to LCA, carbon footprinting and socio-economic sustainability via a free software and a comprehensive range of didactic activities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Introduction of life cycle assessment and sustainability concepts in chemical engineering curricula

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Publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1467-6370
D.O.I.
10.1108/IJSHE-09-2017-0146
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe implementation of life cycle assessment (LCA) and carbon footprinting represents an important professional and research opportunity for chemical engineers, but this is not broadly reflected in chemical engineering curricula worldwide. This paper aims to present the implementation of a coursework that is easy to apply, free of cost, valid worldwide and flexible enough to cover such holistic topics.Design/methodology/approachAn analysis of chemical engineering curricula worldwide, a literature review and the implementation of a coursework case study are detailed. The latter combines practical exercises using free LCA software, oral presentations and debates.FindingsThe coursework goes beyond the calculation of results, giving the students key transferable skills to increase their employability, such as the capacity to negotiate/discuss in groups, software learning and development of critical thinking. The course is affordable and flexible, enabling adaptation to different sectors and engineering schools. One limitation is the challenge of ensuring robustness and consistency in marking, but this has been already improved with a more explicit rubric. The feedback of the students confirms these findings, including the learning of transferable skills as the major advantage.Originality/valueThis paper addresses, for the first time, the current state of “life cycle thinking” teaching in the curricula of the top 25 chemical engineering schools worldwide, a literature review of previous experience and a description of a novel coursework taking a theoretical and practical approach to LCA, carbon footprinting and socio-economic sustainability via a free software and a comprehensive range of didactic activities.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 5, 2018

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