Spring Course: Green Chemistry

New Spring Course for students interested in studying the challenges of – and preparing for careers in – fields where they will be engaging in disruptive, green innovation. 

Chem 234 (cross listed as ESPM 234 and Public Health 234) considers green design from a systems perspective.

The course asks students to explore how new biofuels can be developed that both reduce the emission of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change AND minimize the impact of harmful chemicals on human health and ecosystems.

It explores the challenges these related, yet often conflicting goals pose for public policy makers as well as entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and big oil companies as they struggle to develop new biofuels and bio-energy technologies and bring them to market in today’s highly volatile and competitive energy marketplace.  It examines the technical challenges, the policy challenges, and the business challenges, asking students to consider the barriers and obstacles innovators in this face and strategies for overcoming them.

Chem 234: Green Chemistry: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sustainability is a project-based course that is co-taught by faculty in Chemistry, Public Health, Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management (ESPM), and Business.  This year’s class focuses on the challenges of developing innovative biofuels and bio-energy technologies.

The class will meet in the new Active Learning Classroom, 127 Dwinelle Hall, Monday and Wednesdays from 3-5:30. It is a 3 unit course.

A group research project and in-class exercises will enable students to integrate their research projects into the substance of the class and provide opportunities for them to actively grapple with the systemic challenges that complicate efforts to develop alternative energy technologies that are safe and environmentally benign as well as cost effective. Students will have multiple opportunities to work together across disciplinary boundaries to investigate the difficulties of biofuel innovation and debate their root causes, how best to overcome them, and what to do when solving one problem exacerbates another.
To ensure a multi-disciplinary student body, please register for the section as follows:

Student home department Section/ CCN
Chemistry, or Engineering Chem 234 (CCN 12416)
Haas, ESPM, or social science fields ESPM 234 (CCN 30115)
Public Health, Public Policy, or Law PH 234 (CCN 76155)

All three sections still have room for more students.  We are particularly interested in filling the Public Health section, which is currently under-enrolled.  However, we urge students to consider putting themselves on the wait list in the other sections as well.

This course is sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry and is the core course for the Systems Approach to Green Energy (SAGE) IGERT Program. It is open to PhD and Masters-level students from all schools and departments.   For more information on the SAGE IGERT program, please see: http://bcgc.berkeley.edu/sage-igert