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Sustainable Engineering

ASME Young Engineers Forum November 6, 2005

What is sustainable engineering? What are sustainable engineering principles? What are sustainable engineering practices, and who is already using them?

Major Environmental Problems

Stratospheric ozone depletion Global warming Acid precipitation Unsafe drinking water Hazardous/solid waste disposal Loss of plant and animal species Human health and well-being

Dealing with Pollution

Remediation--take care of it after it is created and released Control--take care of it after it is created, but dont release it Prevention--dont create it, and it wont be released

Technology & Society Division

ASME Knowledge & Community Groups Technical Groups Engineering & Technology Management Management SERAD T&S

Technology and Society (T&S), was established 1972 to focus on how engineers and technologists impact the current and future global society. ASME created the division to respond to rising concerns about the limits of technological progress and its ensuing impacts on society.

Technology & Society Program Committees

In conjunction with the Environmental Engineering Division, SE considers the effects of the interdependence of communities, systems, environments, and societies on mutual development featuring applied and measurable sustainable practices
Emerging Technology & Society Energy & Economics Technology & Society Ethics & Technology Engineering Public Policy Intellectual Property

Sustainable Engineering

ASMEs New Plan

Technology & Society Division would be functionally aligned with the other cross-cutting engineering units:
Design Engineering Division, Management Division, Safety Engineering and Risk Analysis Division, and Environmental Engineering Division.

Recognition of the cross-disciplinary is a key to understanding the potential for collaboration with other constituents of the society.

Precursor to Sustainable Development

In 1972 the UN - Stockholm Conference of the Human Environment. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, addressed the assembly and said that, Poverty is the worst polluter. She also told the conferees that the developed countries should not expect those still developing to bear the burden of environmental concerns, and therefore, spurn their own development.

Sustainable Development
In its 1987 report, Our Common Future, the commission wrote that Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
World Commission on Environment and Development (1987 UN)

Goal has equal parts of environmental and economic effort. The goal should determine conditions for a sustainable global system and identify regionally-specific 9 solutions.

Sustainable Development
Whereas sustainable development has become a goal of environmentalism in industrialized societies, it is effectively argued elsewhere that the goal is not sought globally. However, supporting the goal of environmental improvement within a developing global economy, sustainable engineering is the application of sustainable practices to products and processes.


Principles of Sustainability
Physical--over time there should be a constant level of materials and energy used Energy--increase efficiency (energy/unit GNP) which has been about 3% globally Security--increase equity and access to resources.

The Master Equation

Quantify environmental stresses in an effort to respond to those stresses. Critical Formula: Env Impact
Env Impact = Product of consump tech population

Master Equation:
Product of Env Impact = population GDP impact people GDP

Another Version: I = P A T

Global Population
1 billion--1830 2 billion--1930 3 billion--1960 4 billion--1976 5 billion--1986 6 billion--2000 6.56 billion--10/27/05 8-10 billion--2025 10-14 billion--Global carrying capacity

Basic Human Needs

Thoreau in Walden: Food Shelter Clothing Fuel Slightly different view: Basic: Food, Water, Air Function of climate: Shelter, Clothing


Why Worry about Consumption?

The second factor of the master equation. Gross domestic product per person is an indication of how much money is spent per capita in different parts of the world. Relatively speaking, one US citizen has 30 times more impact on the environment than one citizen in India.

GDP people

What is Going to Happen?

Population will increase at least by 50%. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is an indication of consumption. Most cultures see increased consumption as a means of increasing the quality of life. Since quality of life is a goal of most, more people means more consumption.


How Does Technology Fit?

If the ratio of impact versus consumption is impact decreasing, it indicates that less harmful technologies GDP are being used. We are more efficient in our resource use now than we were at the start of the Industrial Revolution. It is the third term in the equation that offers the greatest hope for a transition to sustainable development.

Biological vs. Industrial Ecology

Both are studies of interactions. In biology, we talk about the distribution of organisms. In industry, we talk about the distribution of resources.


Materials Flow
Type I--linear, from earlier times, unlimited resources and wastes. Type II--partially cyclical, limited use and waste, flows in one direction. Type III--cyclical, energy is needed for sustainability, resources are used over and over.


Zero Waste
Practically speaking, this concept is an unachievable goal. Striving to achieve this goal will lead to more environmentally-responsible processes. Waste is not value added for a product. Reusing/recycling wastes adds value to those or other products.


Other Goals
Another practically-unachievable goal is that all energy that is used on a product should add value to that product. Also, every molecule that enters a specific manufacturing process should become part of a saleable product.


Materials Cycles
Industrial ecological cycles include those that are local, regional, and global. Examples of disparity among countries include lead and CFCs. Use and manufacture of these materials in the US are way down, but many developing countries have not chosen to apply the same restrictions. (Not everyone signed the Montreal Protocol).

Life Cycles
The life cycle of a product starts at raw material extraction and ends with final waste disposal. This life cycle should not be confused with the useful life of a product as it is defined for some products such as electronics.


Five Stages
Stage 1--Resource extraction Stage 2--Manufacturing operation Stage 3--Packaging, shipping, installation Stage 4--Customer use Stage 5--Refurbishing, recovery, disposal


Design for the Environment

The consideration for the environment at the design phase of a product (includes all materials and energy requirements and their effects over the lifetime of the product) Materials requirements include those for both products and process. Focus on energy must include the energy to make, use and dispose of the product.

DFE Hierarchy
Products and processes Eliminate Reduce Reuse Repair Rework Disassemble Recycle Dispose

DFE Example
Baxter Healthcare Corporation of Deerfield, IL is the manufacturer and supplier of medical products to hospitals, clinics, etc. Baxter now uses radiation sterilization of many of its products instead of ethylene oxide sterilization. The change has decreased air emissions and decreased safety issues involving the solvent sterilizing agent.

DFE Example
Dow Chemical of Midland, MI is an international chemical company. At over 40 installations worldwide Dow uses a solvent vapor recovery unit that recovers 99.9% of organics from VOC (volatile organic compound) wastes. Conventional systems only recover 95-98%.


Sustainable Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical engineering has maintained its strengths in its traditional disciplines that include mechanics, thermal sciences, design, and manufacturing. NSF identified new directions for mechanical engineering in each of four emerging areas:
micro/nano technology, biotechnology, information technology, and ecology/energy.

Sustainable Engineering is Interdisciplinary

Within the traditional and emerging disciplines, the study and practice of mechanical engineering requires improved methods that follow sustainable ideals. Sustainable engineering transcends the various engineering disciplines. It transcends the working divisions of ASME. In academia, sustainable engineering is being taught in multi-disciplinary courses that go beyond the bounds of the engineering curricula to include students and programs across campus.