Natural Gas as A Sustainable Material
There is a need to fill in the tremendous gap of how natural gas topics are currently presented in the public view. Chemical engineers are well equipped with many of the technical skills that can help translate both extremes but could be better informed by interdisciplinary aspects of well-to-tank natural gas stewardship. This talk will review education modules that have been developed to be part of the Center for Sustainable Engineering (CSE). The CSE is a partnership among five universities: Syracuse University (lead institution), Arizona State University, Carnegie-Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Texas at Austin. Supported by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. This proposed set of education modules serves as four core modules with content that cross-informs technical disciplines that; 1) allow for natural gases recovery and use, 2) addresses what has been termed environmental health safety and sustainability in the context of the CSE workshops; "...workshops also help these faculty improve their teaching, evaluate their courses, obtain funding for educational innovations, and become part of a growing network of educators in Sustainable Engineering."
Introduction to the Modules
Undergraduate chemical-petroleum engineering students are not well versed in topics such as toxicology but maybe in aspects of green chemistry or green completions. Similarly, undergraduate environmental engineers or chemists may not be familiar with chemical process engineering but are familiar with regulation, exposure and physical interactions at defined scales. The goal of the four modules are as follows; 1) introduce upstream natural gas topics, 2) discuss transport and processing aspects of natural gas production 3) provide for deeper student skills related to safety engineering and exposure science, 4) present policy, regulation and global aspects of natural gas production.
It has been the authors experience that despite environmental critique of some manufacturing processes associated with traditional energy production, they remain as real applications and have operational challenges that require solutions. These modules (as a small introductory course) were designed to prepare students for these types of real possibilities with a current hot topic with at least three sustainable materials engineering relevant issues; mechanical systems safety, chemical safety, combined practices that leads to the exposure to chemicals (i.e. materials) during natural gas production.