Education Modules for Teaching Sustainability in a Mass and Energy Balance Course


  • Kai Liang Zheng Lamar University
  • Doyle P. Bean Jr. Lamar University
  • Helen H. Lou Lamar University
  • Thomas C. Ho Lamar University
  • Yinlun Huang Wayne State University


Sustainability is a vital issue for the long-term, healthy development of human society. ABET has specified that sustainability is a key element that should be integrated into engineering curricula. In the field of sustainability study, a hierarchy of four types of sustainability systems is recognized, ranging from a global scope to a specific technology. Nevertheless, in a traditional curriculum, the systems involved in the mass and energy balance education are basically “restricted” to equipment, processes, and plants. To broaden the system scope, we developed several educational modules that can be used for integrating sustainability concepts into a mass and energy balance course. The systems in these modules range from a global scale to an industrial ecosystem, where life-cycle aspects of products and renewable energy topics are addressed. The modules will help awaken students’ eco-consciousness and establish their conceptual understanding of the systems concept in sustainability.

Author Biographies

Kai Liang Zheng, Lamar University

Kai Liang Zheng received a B.S. degree in chemical engineering in 2006 and a dual degree of Bachelor minor in English in 2007 from Dalian University of Technology, China. He is currently a graduate student under the guidance of Professor Helen H. Lou in the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering, Lamar University.

Doyle P. Bean Jr., Lamar University

D.J. Bean obtained his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Lamar University in May 2010, and began pursuing his Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Yale University in September 2010. His research areas as an undergraduate student focused on sustainability, environmental engineering, and green chemistry.

Helen H. Lou, Lamar University

Helen H. Lou received a B.S. degree from Zhejiang University in 1993, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Wayne State University in 1998 and 2001, respectively, all in chemical engineering, and a M.A. degree in computer science from Wayne State University in 2001. She is currently an associate professor in the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering, Lamar University. Her research has been mainly focused on sustainable engineering, process systems engineering, process safety, and combustion.

Thomas C. Ho, Lamar University

Thomas Ho received his B.S. degree in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1973, his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in chemical engineering, from Kansas State University in 1978 and 1982, respectively. He is currently a Regent’s Professor and the Chair of the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering at Lamar University. His research has been mainly on fluidization, combustion/incineration, metal emissions control, and air quality modeling.

Yinlun Huang, Wayne State University

Yinlun Huang is a professor of chemical engineering and materials science and the Charles H. Gershenson Distinguished Faculty Fellow at Wayne State University. His main research areas include multiscale complex systems science and engineering, engineering sustainability, and integrated material, product, and process systems engineering. He obtained his B.S. degree from Zhejiang University, China, in 1982, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Kansas State University, in 1988 and 1992, respectively. He joined Wayne State University in 1993, after his postdoctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin.