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Undergraduates

ChemE in Infrastructure, transportation & society

electric bus charging station

What problems are chemical engineers trying to solve in infrastructure, transportation and society?

Chemical engineers design, build and analyze processes that range in size and time, from the nano-scale to entire manufacturing plants that cover city blocks. Automakers and battery suppliers are investing a quarter of a trillion dollars right now to scale up for the future of electrified transportation. Public transit and air travel are also transitioning to electrical systems. Resilient power grids will require new energy solutions and better batteries. Chemical engineers are also very involved in biofuels and finding efficient ways to produce renewable liquid fuel sources and in scaling up manufacture of advanced materials and semiconductors needed to make high-speed rail more economical and available. ChemE's work on:

  • How do we transform low value materials into high value products?
  • How do we make this product in a scalable manner without a negative impact on the environment?
  • Can we optimize this process to be more economical, environmentally friendly, and safe?
  • How can we create renewable liquid fuel sources, batteries of the highest quality, and advanced materials that will drive transportation at a scale that will allow infrastructure around the world to be upgraded and reduce emissions. 

Where do ChemE alumni go to work in infrastructure and transportation-related industries?

Common employers:
  • CalPortland
  • Ernst & Young
  • Puget Sound Energy
  • King County Wastewater
  • Seattle Public Utilities
  • Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
  • HIVE Battery Labs
  • Accenture
  • EcoLab
  • Phillips 66
  • Marathon Petroleum
Common titles in industry:
  • process engineer
  • project engineer
  • test engineer
  • manufacturing engineer
  • quality engineer
  • procurement engineer

Student opportunities & project examples in ChemE

Options, Focus Areas, and Curriculum Plans

See the Energy Systems and Environmental Engineering focus areas in our curriculum.

Undergraduate Research

Participate in undergraduate research with a faculty member advancing infrastructure and transportation, such as Prof. Lilo Pozzo and Prof. Dan Schwartz

Student Organizations

Related News

Mon, 01/04/2021 | KNKX

Choosing the right bus battery

ChemE Ph.D. student Erica Eggleton's work can help transit agencies that are looking to electrify their fleets

Fri, 05/15/2020 | The Daily

ChemE senior works to curb pharmaceutical pollution

Nathanael Ramos has been devising how to electrochemically degradate pharmaceutical compounds in wastewater before they can reach aquatic ecosystems

Fri, 02/07/2020 | UW Clean Energy Institute

Powering the future of transportation

UW energy storage researchers are working with Nobel laureates to build a better battery for electric vehicles

Fri, 05/25/2018

Positively Powerful

ChemE Professor Lilo Pozzo leads collaborative efforts to bring low cost and resilient energy systems to health clinics and residents in rural Puerto Rico.