Does the term ‘Chemical Engineer’ conjure up images of people standing inside labs, wearing lab coats and mixing some liquids? Well, that is the kind of information we’ve gathered from ads and movies, and that is how little we know about this profession. Chemical Engineers are basically responsible for powering the world that we live in. Right from the batteries that power our appliances to the fuels that run our vehicles, the world wouldn’t be the same without them.
The sheer versatility of Chemical Engineers make them in great demand in every industry, irrespective of whether it requires transformation of material, be it transportation, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and even oil and gas to name a few. These days, their expertise is more regarded because of the focus of every industry on going green and clean.
Now, if you were to focus on what chemical engineering abroad is all about, they are focusing a lot on optimizing resources in order to come up with products that are highly useful yet cause minimal impact on the planet. And in doing so, they are coming up with inventions that have the capability of changing our planet. Let us have a look at some of them.
Breakthrough Solar Cells
The Earth is situated about 150 million kilometres away from the Sun, yet the energy we receive in one hour is more than what our planet as a whole consumes in one entire year. Ever imagined what would happen if we could tap into solar energy even a wee bit more? In order to capture more of the sun’s freely available energy, we need to build more solar panels, which entails building more solar or photovoltaic cells. Till now, these cells were made up of silicon which has its own limitations.
But now, researchers from France and Russia have come up with a way to increase the efficiency of polymers that constitute solar cells through a process known as fluorination. Panels made out of these can drastically cut down carbon dioxide emissions and make energy affordable for everyone.
Wood Sponge to clean up the Oceans
Some of the largest environmental crises of our times have been those involving oil spillage, be it the Exxon Valdez oil spill, or the British Petroleum incident. Such accidents deeply impact the ocean life, killing several sensitive species and threatening the extinction of many. Thereafter, cleaning up the oceans remains a major concern. But in a recent development, chemical engineers have treated wood with chemicals in order to come up with ‘wood sponge’, a material that can not only absorb up to 46 times its own weight, but also be reused for 10 times.
The inventions don’t just stop here. From producing a biodegradable material that has more tensile strength than steel to a self-healing material that can be used to build walls, chemical engineers are really up to something astonishing. If these things excite you, and if playing around with materials and transforming them into novel and useful elements is your calling, then going for study abroad programs such as a b.tech degree abroad in chemical engineering would be a worthwhile investment.