Universiteit Leiden

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Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology

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.

Is this the right minor for you?

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.

Talitha den Bok

Student Life Science & Technology

Talitha den Bok

The minor Sustainable Chemistry & Biotechnology has allowed me to expand my knowledge on biotechnology and chemistry as an application for sustainable innovation. The minor really pushes you to confront future challenges and to think actively about saving this planet through science, together with a small group of versatile students. As a Life Science & Technology student I found it inspiring to learn more about the use of biotechnology to save this planet and it has been a valuable chance to improve my presentation and teamwork skills.

Bente Bouwmeester

Student Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences

Bente Bouwmeester

I chose the minor because I am very interested in Chemistry and was keen on learning more about future possibilities in a more sustainable world. At the beginning of the minor, I was very much aware of climate change and the energy crisis, however the minor Sustainable Chemistry and Biotechnology really showed me the contemporary problems in a far more elaborate way, diving into problems I was not even aware of. The minor did not only teach me about the problems, but it mainly taught me to look for solutions on how to solve these problems. The group projects during the minor give you the opportunity to actively think about the challenges and solutions with other students.

David van Roon

Student Molecular Science and Technology

David van Roon

The minor Sustainable Chemistry & Biotechnology is very interesting. At the beginning of the minor, you are confronted with a range of problems we face as humanity because of pollution and climate change. In the courses after that, you are introduced to a wide range of new technologies looking to solve these problems. It is very inspiring to see how you can use your knowledge of chemistry and biotechnology to combat climate change and create a better world. During the group projects in this minor, you dive deeper into these technologies. Working together with students from a variety of backgrounds was very interesting as it provides you with different insights and ideas you would otherwise not have thought of.

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