Chemical engineers are tasked with the production of chemicals and the design of equipment, systems and processes that take raw materials and convert them to a form that is useful to solve a specific problem in society.
Chemical engineers have helped develop polymers, paper, plastics, food and much more. They are also involved in processes like recycling, cleaning our water, generating energy and reducing pollutants in the air, water and soil.
In terms of plastic pollution, chemical engineers have been working to convert plastic back to its original form – oil, fuel and wax. The latter being a useful product for asphalt roads and roofs, and can be added to plastics, adhesives and coatings. When it comes to ocean conservation, chemical engineers can design autonomous robots that detect minerals in the water, like salt, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide – which affect ocean acidity and consequently underwater ecosystems.