In 1973, chemical engineers led the development of the automotive catalytic converter that reduced exhaust emissions.

Achievements in Saving the Environment

By developing innovative methods of treating and disposing of farm waste, chemical engineers help improve our water supply. Courtesy USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program. Courtesy Kent Becher, U.S. Geological Survey.

Chemical engineers have always been at the forefront of environmental protection. With a unique perspective that straddles both science and engineering, they work in teams with other professionals.

By designing complex solutions to our vexing environmental challenges, chemical engineers are striving to save the world we live in. One success is the conversion of the sulfur oxides in power plant gases into gypsum for use in wallboard. The removal of trace contaminants from drinking water by reverse osmosis is another.

Cars and the environment

We can breathe more easily thanks to the contributions of chemical engineers. By designing more efficient engines that produce fewer hazardous pollutants, they have helped reduce the environmental impact of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars, buses, and trucks. Learn more >>

Green manufacturing

Smokestacks, which were once the stereotypical image of factories and power plants, no longer belch black smoke into the air. Because of innovations by chemical engineers, industrial facilities now capture and neutralize air pollutants before they can be discharged into the environment. Learn more >>

Clean water

Clean water, which is essential to human health, is also necessary for numerous manufacturing processes. Many innovative methods of treating raw water to make it suitable for drinking or for use in manufacturing have been developed by chemical engineers. They also work on wastewater treatment to enhance safety and enable reuse. Learn more >>

Recycle and reuse

One person's waste can become another person's treasure. Recycling post-consumer paper, metal, and plastic reduces the environmental impact of acquiring more raw materials. Chemical engineers help make recycling possible. In manufacturing, reusing industrial waste also offsets raw-material and energy requirements. Learn more >>