If mankind wants to survive into the 22nd century, we will need to change the way we live drastically. The human impact on our planet is everywhere, we are changing the atmosphere, the oceans and the land, leading to global warming, climate change, loss of biodiversity and pervasive pollution. There is no other solution than to create a sustainable way of living. So we need to find ways to produce and store energy in a sustainable way and to make all the processes and products of industry sustainable. Nature can be a great source of inspiration because most natural processes are circular. Many of the underlying questions that need to be addressed are in the realms of chemistry, biology, chemical engineering and biotechnology.
The minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology introduces students to the concepts of sustainability from a (bio)chemical point of view. For example, the transition to clean energy production and storage can be inspired by photosynthesis but requires an understanding of how to split water and make hydrogen gas. Using plant materials as feedstock for bioplastics requires an understanding of the biochemical pathways and the biotechnological challenges. Such topics are addressed in this minor, which is a joint effort of the departments Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering at TU Delft and the Institute of Chemistry at Leiden University.