Students Use Engineering to Work Toward Sustainable Future

Published 1:16 pm Thursday, September 27, 2012

(NewsUSA) – Although the change is gradual, the U.S. is gaining ground on a more sustainable future. Energy experts and environmentalists can argue it’s not occurring fast enough, but from transportation to engineering, improvements are being made.

The Prius is Toyota’s third most popular car. Each year brings a new round of hybrid vehicles, making over 30 different hybrid cars at the start of 2012.

Eco-friendly building options are becoming more affordable, and alternative fuels are being put to use. For instance, Green Mountain College in Vermont operates off a biomass plant that heats the entire campus using green woodchips, a local, renewable and sustainable fuel source.

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More city engineers are adding bike lanes and wider streets as commuter biking grows in popularity. In fact, each year the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) holds a Human Powered Vehicle Challenge where top engineering students design sleek pedal-powered vehicles capable of road use.

By creating new prototypes for a road-friendly, human-powered vehicle, these engineering students are working toward a sustainable world. Eventually, many engineers think further developments in human-powered vehicles could lead to a transportation alternative that will reduce the consumption of traditional fuels.

According to a comparison calculation by Business Insider using data from Copenhagen’s huge cycling community, we would add $46 million to the economy if the same number of Americans biked to work.

The coming generations of engineers have a large burden on their shoulders to compete in the global market and thrive in a technology-driven workforce. Plus, demand for high-tech, high-wage engineering jobs is only growing.

A study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce noted that 8 million American jobs will require a degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by 2018. For aerospace, agricultural, mechanical, civil and electrical engineers, environmental protection and preservation are central to the job.

With each year’s human powered vehicle competition, ASME is grooming the next generation of engineers to be innovative, socially conscious and forward-thinking. For more information, visit