In 1993 a better, cleaner method for manufacturing ibuprofen won the Green Chemistry Challenge.

Frontiers in Environmental Protection

Building on past success, such as producing ethanol from corn, sugar starch, and other biomass, chemical engineers continue their researches into renewable energy. Courtesy DOE/NREL.

Chemical engineers continue work on new production techniques to reduce the environmental footprint of the chemical, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, pulp-and-paper, petroleum-refining, and electric-power-generation industries.

The ability to reuse waste materials helps reduce our dependence on costly and scarce natural resources. New techniques to store energy help minimize the need for new power plants. Enabling more efficient use of solar energy will help the United States achieve a greater energy independence.

Pollution prevention

Chemical engineers have developed many "end-of-pipe" control technologies to capture and destroy hazardous pollutants produced by industrial operations. The next challenge is to develop pollution prevention strategies that reduce or eliminate unwanted by-products and hazardous pollutants earlier in the process. Learn more >>


Chemical engineers actively seek to minimize the environmental impact of human endeavors and industrial activities. Through sustainable development, they try to meet present world needs without compromising the capability of future generations to meet their needs. Learn more >>

Reducing greenhouse gases

The proper management of CO2 and other key greenhouse gas emissions is critical to the reversal of global warming. Chemical engineers are at the forefront of efforts to develop and commercialize cost-effective strategies to control and counteract these harmful emissions. Learn more >>