A professional looking for an environmental engineering job is expected to see industry growth of 27% or more through the year 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. One of the driving forces behind this rapid increase in the environmental engineering profession is the growing concern over issues such as global warming. Global warming, along with rising gas prices, lead to President Bush encouraging increased government incentives for the development of alternative fuel vehicles this past Earth Day on April 22, 2017. Environmental engineering science professionals are uniquely suited to meet this demand over the coming years.
What is Environmental Engineering?
Environmental engineering applies the disciplines of chemistry and biology towards solving environmental problems. Environmental engineering science is concerned with the quality of air, water, and land for human health. The effects of acid rain, global warming, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion on the environment is of particular concern to the professional in environmental engineering. An environmental engineering job may center on concerns such as water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues.
Environmental Engineering and Electric Vehicles
First introduced as early as 1922, electric vehicles are powered by electricity that is usually stored in a battery. The battery must be charged through some power source either onboard or through an external charger. Environmental engineering has developed vehicles that run at comparable speeds to gasoline-powered vehicles. However, electric vehicles can only travel in the range of 50 to 130 miles before needing to be recharged. Major auto companies have now cut back on production of electric vehicles to focus on other more promising technologies. Many cities, however, continue to successfully use electric-powered buses, subways, trolleys, and light-rails. This is a major success in environmental engineering science as electric vehicles have absolutely no emissions.
Environmental Engineering and Hydrogen Vehicles
The environmental engineering introduction of the hydrogen-powered vehicle has shown promising technology. Hydrogen-powered vehicles typically have a fuel cell where hydrogen is converted into water and heat, which are the only emissions. The chemical energy of the reaction is converted into electricity through the fuel cell in order to power the car. 65 hydrogen-powered vehicles were placed on the roads of California between 2000 and 2017 for testing purposes. Hydrogen vehicles continue to be in the testing phase today and remain a possible option for the future.
Required Education to Work at an Environmental Engineering Job
All 50 states require a license to practice environmental engineering. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering is required to meet the standards for licensure. Some students are choosing to earn an environmental engineering degree online through schools such as Kennedy-Western University, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, and even a Doctorate Degree in Environmental Engingeering. Courses consist of an introduction class, a thermodynamics course, and a variety of other relevant science and application courses.
Ongoing areas of research in environmental engineering include solar-powered, nuclear-powered, ethanol-powered, and butanol-powered vehicles. Professionals who have received an environmental engineering degree online or through some other means will continue to search for inexpensive, clean, renewable sources of energy.