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New Appoaches in the Process Industries: The Manufacturing Plant of the Future by Jean-Pierre Dal Pont, Catherine Azzaro-Pantel

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8

Engineers as Key Players for Sustainability: The Role of PSE Academia

Achieving sustainability requires us to rethink and challenge existing paradigms and push the limits of traditional engineering design. This transition will involve a new generation of engineers that are trained to adopt a holistic view of processes as embedded in larger systems. In this context, academia plays a fundamental role in developing future scientists and engineers who are able to drive sustainability into every part of the economy.

Engineering can no longer be performed in isolation and must consider interactions among industrial processes and human and ecological systems. Therefore, the quest for sustainability requires research and educational innovation and advances not just in engineering, but also in many other disciplines, including management, economics and sociology. In this chapter, we explore why process systems engineering (PSE) is particularly well suited among chemical engineering curricula to reach the sustainability challenges.

8.1. The path to sustainability education for engineers

Almost 27 years have passed since the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, crystallised the concept of sustainable development. Yet it must be recognized that there has been a time-lag in the application of principles, even if they are widely agreed, since it is difficult to ignore such a striking paradox. According to [OWE 03], a struggle over the meaning of the Brundtland’s definition has been involved ...

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