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Engineering in the Circular Economy…

Everyone has been iterating the topic of sustainability and climate change and the causes, effect, and consequences. However, what brings solutions to our global challenges is a committed, healthy circular economy. And a vast part is from a perspective of chemical engineer since chemical reactions and processes allow the world around us to be made, seen, and transformed into – not to mention, that an engineer can understand these. Thus, engineers work their best to fully appreciate solutions in industry and consider the effects on the environment.

In this article, we’ll be discussing some ideas that not only chemical engineers can consider, but business managers, material scientists, engineers of other specialties and many more of the wonderful experts we have – can all work together to create a positive change around the globe…

Futuristic materials

Material engineers and researchers in the labs are always on the lookout for the discovery of materials that are light, durable, cost-effective, and especially: sustainable.  Examples of some advanced tech materials: aerogel, carbon nanotubes, metamaterials, amorphous metal, and metal foam. Not only the discovery of these materials can shape the future but provide a great replacement for non-environmental—friendly materials like steel, cement and other non-biodegradable materials and aid in reducing pollution and waste.

Some possible incentives…

To put it simply, chemical engineering is the key when it comes to the development of products and components. Single use plastic ban is one of the solutions to old-fashion strategies that are still being used in the 21st century. The biggest contributor is – you can guess it: It’s single use plastic! Plastic has dominated the nature around us so much – it’s a terrifyingly threatening issue, whether it be plastic waste floating in the ocean or the manufacturing of plastics producing devastating amounts of carbon emission. In addition, more examples of such strategies include the famous fossil fuels: coal, oil, and gas. Which, judging from how expensive some of these resources have become, are growing to be rapidly extinct for the future. Nevertheless, environment engineers have come with solutions.

On a wider scale – to reduce large waste practices – cities are aiming to become more ‘zero-waste’. ‘Zero-waste’ is quite a self-explanatory phrase: it is simply to reduce waste as much as possible and manage systems in the most sustainable way –  including transportation (e.g., metro services), retail etc. As you can imagine, becoming a zero-waste city can be dream for the planet, so incentives like listed previously can relate to the circular economy a LOT.

Therefore, the idea of governments and business inducing incentives such as bans on certain items that only contribute to climate change even more, introducing carbon taxes or implement of carbon pricing, can help.

What’s in demand and what’s not

Renewable energy is not so new these days. But. Things like AI and robotic automation are. AI is the hot topic today – it’s almost everywhere. What’s more when engineers can use this to improve conditions of the circular economy. Robotic automation plays a major role in this. Manufacturing processes can save a lot of carbon emission using electricity and AI designed programs. Although making these robots may not be carbon neutral, the only constraints that restrict solutions like this to be put in place are costs, transportation, and locations, and the skills required to manage these.

Engineering is all around us and only learning about it more in the circular economy can open eyes or even change the world – for the next generations to come….

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