MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Program for Environmental Engineering Education
and Research

The Program for Environmental Engineering Education and Research (PEEER) has now completed its third year of operation. The Program functions as a virtual center with the mission of coordinating and focusing research and education on the intersection between technology and sustainable development. Centered mainly in the School of Engineering, PEEER involves faculty and research staff members and students from all of the other schools at MIT in examining a wide range of technology-related environmental problems. The objective of the program is to establish multidisciplinary research efforts where none now exist and to strengthen existing efforts. The MIT units most active in PEEER activities are:

MIT Energy Laboratory
Professor Jefferson Tester, Chemical Engineering

Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development (CTPID)
Professor Daniel Roos, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Nicholas A. Ashford, School of Engineering

Program in Business, Technology and the Environment
Dr. John Ehrenfeld, Chemical Engineering and CTPID
Center for Environmental Health Sciences
Professor William Thilly, Division of Toxicology; Civil and Environmental Engineering

MIT/EPA Center for Airborne Toxins
Professor Adel Sarofim, Chemical Engineering

MIT/EPA Center for Environmental Remediation
Professor Dennis McLaughlin, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Materials Systems Laboratory
Professor Joel Clark, Materials Science and Engineering

Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Harold Hemond, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Philip A. Gscwhend, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Professor Larry Susskind
Professor Lawrence Bacow
Professor Vicki Norberg-Bohm

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Professor Ian Waitz

Department of Chemistry
Professor Jeffrey I. Steinfeld

Department of Nuclear Engineering
Professor Michael Golay

Department of Chemical Engineering
Professor Gregory McRae

Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Professor Donald Sadoway

Department of Ocean Engineering
Professor Alan Brown
Professor Judith Kildow

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Professor Rafael Reif

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Professor David Wallace

Division of Toxicology
Professor Stephen Tannenbaum


This year's efforts have been focused on building a strong long-term research base consistent with PEEER's research agenda. The program has pursued work in the four areas of:

* industrial ecology, life cycle analysis, clean technology, green design, and waste minimization;

* defining, measuring, monitoring, and modeling impacts of pollutants on environmental sustainability;

* waste management and environmental remediation; and

* incorporating the best possible science and technology into environmental decision making.

A large volume of research in traditional disciplines is underway at MIT in the area of environmental sciences, technology, and engineering. This research, and its educational components, have kept the Institute in the forefront of international research into environmentally relevant science and technology.

The activities of PEEER represent a new phase of environmental study at MIT. The Program is designed to stimulate and support new inter-disciplinary activities especially in areas of newly evolving research, such as industrial ecology and the influence of science and technology on environmental policy. These activities build on MIT's strong disciplinary base in fields fundamental to the understanding of environmental issues. They bring together groups of investigators studying differing aspects of an environmental problem to analyze it and contribute to appropriate solutions. A emergent area of activity for 1994-5 has been the exploration of ways to extend PEEER's interdisciplinary focus into international collaboration on issues of sustainable development. A major new initiative, soon to be announced, is described at the end of this report.

Pro-Active Environmental Strategies for Industry

PEEER is supporting the formation of industrial consortia seeking strategies to enable industrial groups to anticipate environmental concerns. Some of these strategies depend on the concept "industrial ecology," an analytical perspective regarding systems of materials extraction, processing, product design, manufacturing, recycling and use in a holistic manner. The main tool of industrial ecology is life cycle analysis, a framework including not only materials flows and waste emissions but also the internal and external incentives that guide them. Other approaches to the development of pro-active environmental strategies are focusing on how an industry might develop an approach that is right for it. Part of this effort involves developing structures for dialogue between industry, regulators, and public interest groups. During the past year these initiatives have included:

Managing the Future Uses of Chlorine

In its second year, the interdisciplinary "Chlorine Project", directed by Professor Marks, focused on issues revolving around the management of the future use of chlorine. The semi-monthly seminar sponsored by the project integrates the work of faculty and students in several departments. Members of chlorine-producing and user industries, government regulators, and members of public interest groups concerned about the environmental impacts of chlorine have also been invited to address the seminar. The organizers are interested not only in learning how one chemical "bad actor" might be better managed but also in developing a model for an interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approach to other issues of chemicals in the environment.

In November 1994, the Chlorine Project mounted a major symposium, "The Future Uses of Chlorine: Symposium on the Role of the University". The meeting brought together representatives of the many constituencies affected by the use and regulation of chlorine. The objective of the meeting was two-fold: to develop an overview of where the gaps in science, technology and policy currently lie; and to elicit the opinion of participants on how the unique capacities of research universities such as MIT might contribute to timely, fair, and robust decision making. The symposium yielded valuable interactions, insights, and information will help shape the third year of activities.

Chlorine Project faculty and staff are organizing a follow-up series of one-or two-day focus-group meetings on the issues that emerged as the most important at the Fall 1994 symposium. Possible topics include the impacts of endocrine-mimicking organochlorines in the environment; the development of alternative product technologies; and the development of risk standards for chlorine and other persistent toxic bioaccumulative substances (PBTs) in the environment. Graduate student research at MIT and other Boston area universities will be featured in special "poster sessions". A participatory simulation, in which players are assigned roles to debate the merits of an international chlorine management treaty, is being developed by Professor Lawrence Susskind (DUSP) and his students and will be presented at the meeting.

The Technology, Business and the Environment Program (TBE)

Among its many projects, the Technology, Business and Environment Program (TBE) is active in the area of "corporate greening," studying the impact of the adoption and implementation of voluntary codes of environmental

management practice and other non-regulatory approaches on organizational behavior and culture. During the spring term the Program conducted an interactive seminar series comparing industry responses to specific private

codes including Responsible Care, ISO 14000, the CERES Principles, and the International Chamber of Commerce Business Charter for Sustainable Development.

In addition, TBE has conducted research in product policy, loop-closing infrastructure, and life-cycle impacts of product manufacturing and use. The policy aspect of research has investigated the role of extended producer responsibility and has examined recycling of durable products as an emerging area of product policy in the United States. Industrial ecology, also known as industrial symbiosis, has has been a major focus in the past year. Dr. John Ehrenfeld, Program Director, has participated in many research projects in this emerging field, which aims to allow industry to adopt the cyclical laws of a natural ecosystem in order to become greener.

The Automobile and the Environment

PEEER is part of a confederation of MIT groups working on how automobiles interact with the environment in every phase of their production and use. In the Materials Systems Laboratory, Professor Joel Clark is developing detailed cost models of materials substitutions in the auto industry and their impacts on environment, cost, fuel economy, and safety. Funding for this program comes in part from the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP) directed by Professor Daniel Roos and from the US Department of Energy through the MIT Energy Lab, with some industrial sponsors. The PEEER Initiative in Regional Air Pollution detailed below is also contributing to these activities. The Technology, Business and the Environment Program is investigating industrial responses to environmental pressures in conjunction with the IMVP. Investigators in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering are studying the nature of combustion. Research into the impacts of automobile traffic is being pursued in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Ongoing work in both these areas are being integrated into a systems approach to the study of the impact of automobiles on the environment.

Environmental Strategies for the Electronics Industry

Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) and Semitech are collaborationg on a large program on the "Greening of the Work Station" dealing with problems of recycling, material substitution, and health effects related to electronics and computer equipment. Professors Rafael Reif (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) and Donald Sadoway are building a full-scale pilot chip production chip facility in the Micro Systems Technology Laboratory, The work is addressing issues of pollution prevention, particularly the use and emission of toxic and hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process.

Environmentally Conscious Manufacturing and Design

The Design Group in Mechanical Engineering is also beginning to build work in this area. These faculty members are taking the view that the current interest in environmental design is part of a larger trend toward system-oriented product design. They are developing integrated product system models to account for complex interactions when designing to simultaneously meet manufacturing, in-use performance, and environmental goals. In the next year, the group will focus on developing a prototype computer application for the design of electronics enclosures subject to recycling considerations. The group is led by Professor David Wallace.

Technology and Sustainable Development

PEEER faculty and affiliates continue to look for a way to describe and define the intersection between technology and sustainable development. Research teams within the Parsons Laboratory, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Technology and Policy Program are investigating the many ways in which human beings interact with and alter their environments. This research is leading toward a new discipline which might be termed "ecological engineering". Its objective would be to identify and remediate impacts of past improper practices,and to move towards a better, more sustainable relationship between natural processes and human activities. PEEER faculty are engaged in both aspects of the developing idea of ecological engineering: environmental remediation and environmental management.

Environmental Remediation

Dr. Elizabeth Drake of the MIT Energy Lab is leading a new interdisciplinary team to develop funding and cooperation to handle large quantities of mixed waste (radioactive and hazardous) at weapons sites and bases managed by the US Departments of Energy and of Defense. To build new environmental remediation technologies and tools,. the E-Lab group is drawing on expertise in the Parsons Laboratory, the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, of Nuclear Engineering, and of Mechanical Engineering, and the Plasma Fusion Laboratory (Physics) to find ways to neutralize or dispose of hazardous and toxic wastes currently threatening the environment. Under the leadership of Professor Marks, MIT faculty members have begun a long-term project to

direct the development of education and new technologies for environmental remediation at the Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Environmental Management

As industry moves toward more ecologically sound systems of production, distribution, and disposal of products, government must find ways of managing currently unavoidable environmental problems. This PEEER-sponsored project, under the leadership of Professor Gregory McRae, has brought together faculty members from the Departments of Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Urban Planning, and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences in a major modeling initiative. The group, funded through the Lee and Geraldine Marttin Foundation, is developing strategies to implement the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments in the northeast United States.


In support of the Program's mission to promote environmental studies at MIT, the PEEER steering committee annually confers several awards to students and faculty. Students are eligible for an award made possible by the gift of Morris Klegerman, MIT class of 1928. This year's recipients were Andrew Hoffman (Civil and Environmental Engineering) for his paper "Environmental Transformation of American Industry: Institutiuonal Accounts of Organizational Evolution in the Chemical and Petroleum Industries (1960-1993)"; Andrew Kim (Materials Science and Engineering), for his paper "A Bag in a Box Proposal for Reducing Solid Wastes from Polyethylene Milk Containers"; Enrique Vivoni-Gallart (Civil and Environmental Engineering), for "A Biogradable Plastic for the Milk Bottle Industry: Polyhydroxybutrate" ; and Kory Sylvester (Nuclear Engineering) for his work on "A Strategy for Weapons-Grade Plutonium Disposition". Professors Wallace and Woodie Flowers (Mechanical Engineering) were honored for the development of a graduate course in Product Design incorporating environmental considerations.

PEEER also awards a fellowship made possible by the Martin Foundation. This year's recipient was Laura Kennedy, a student of Professor Stephen Tannenbaum (Toxicology). Her research is designed to determine the nature of the chemistry of oxidative species with DNA by qualitatively monitoring and quantifying the products formed upon treatment with chromium.


MIT does an excellent job of educating and advancing the knowledge base for those who see themselves as environmental professionals (in areas like Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, and Urban Studies and Planning) While promoting these programs, PEEER faculty are also focusing on the much larger group of engineering, science, management, and social science students whose daily professional decisions about materials choice, processing, product design, development strategies and recycling will have substantial implications for the environment.

Chemicals in the Environment

PEEER has created a four-subject graduate sequence in Chemicals in the Environment which is designed to give graduate and advanced undergraduate students the skills they will need to become effective managers of the environment. The subjects have been developed to provide a systematic and interdisciplinary look at the critical issues of chemicals introduced into the environment and the work place. These subjects, designed for non-majors, are: Chemicals in the Environment: Sources and Controls (Chemical Engineering); Chemicals in the Environment: Chemicals and Human Disease (Toxicology); Chemicals in the Environment: Environmental Fate and Transport (Civil and Environmental Engineering); Chemicals in the Environment: Policy and Management (Urban Studies and Planning). In 1991, this series received the MIT Sizer Award for outstanding contribution to education at MIT.

The AT&T Industrial Ecology Curriculum Development Grant

The AT&T Foundation has awarded grants to six academic institutions for research and educational development in the emerging field of industrial ecology. This perspective enables analysts to find ways to eliminate or minimize environmental impacts at every stage of a product's life cycle, from design to manufacture to use and

disposal. The field, which deals with the integration of technology and environment in all economic activity, includes elements of engineering, physical science, economics, management, and law.

In funding this project, AT&T has named Professors Clark, Richard de Neufville, Marks, Sadoway, and Dr. Ehrenfeld as AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellows. The proposal for the project outlined a major educational initiative designed to interject environmental options into masters-level engineering education at MIT . Through design, development, testing, and implementation of such materials at MIT, the project proponents hope to influence similar advances in other institutions as well. The immediate goal of this work is to establish the foundations of a masters-level professional degree in industrial ecology at MIT. This year, a module of industrial ecology subjects has been developed to support the new industrial ecology option of the new professional masters degree in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, as described below. The industrial ecology project group is working toward integration of this module into other degree programs.

Professional Masters Degree in Materials Science and Engineering with the Industrial Ecology Option

Unlike the more traditional masters degree programs which prepare students for careers in research, this program focuses on industrial practice and is designed to appeal to students who are interested in environmental issues. Central to the effort is the development of so-called core integrating subjects in industrial ecology which introduce concepts of the field and reinforce them with case-study examples from industry. This curriculum gives students the analytical tools, knowledge, and global understanding they will need as future leaders in a world moving towards sustainable development.

The new degree with the Industrial Ecology Option consists of four curricular blocks: Core Professional Subjects from DMSE; Core Subjects in Environmental Management (using subjects from PEEER's series, "Chemicals in the Environment"); Integrating Subjects in Industrial Ecology (as developed by the Industrial Ecology Fellows); and Internship and Thesis in industry.

The Integrating Subjects in Industrial Ecology introduce concepts of the field and reinforce them with case study examples from industry. Three such term subjects have been developed: 3.51 Materials and the Environment, a new subject in industrial ecology developed by Professor Sadoway; TPP 123 Industrial Ecology of the Automobile, taught by Professors Clark, de Neufville, and Dr. Frank Field; and 1.141J, 3.563J Strategic Analysis for Environmental Planning and Design, taught by Professors Michael Golay, Clark, de Neufville, Marks and Dr. Field. A related subject focusing entirely on the improvement of air quality in the Los Angeles basin and including issues of hybrid vehicles, electrical vehicles, fuel choice, and a variety of other demand management alternatives has also been developed.

Leaders for Manufacturing: Environmental Education

A three-day Environmental Boot Camp has been developed by Professor Marks and Dr. Ehrenfeld for students in the Leaders for Manufacturing Program (LFM). The subject covers environmental issues that confront those working in industry and the regulatory context for environmental management. It addresses questions most often asked by former LFM graduates. Subsequently, Dr. Ehrenfeld also leads a group interested in product life-cycle concerns for the LFM. Dr. Ehrenfeld and Professor Marks are serving as advisors for a new group of environment-oriented LFM students.

Environmental Literacy Subjects at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels

PEEER is committed to integrating environmental awareness into the educations of all MIT students. To this end, the program has encouraged the creation of several subject designed to provide "environmental literacy" for non-majors. In addition to the Chemicals in the Environment and Industrial Ecology subjects described above, such offerings now include 1.01J, 10.27lJ Environment and Technology (Professor Philip Gschwend and Dr. Ehrenfeld); l6.542 Environmental Aerospace Engineering (Professor Ian Waitz); and 1.781 Environmental Remediation Engineering (Professor Marks in conjunction with a local consulting firm), and a new course on technology and the environment initiated by Professor Vicki Norberg-Bohm (DUSP).

Course modules emphasizing environmental concerns have been introduced into regular professional design subjects in the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Ocean Engineering.

Continued Evolution of Degree Programs

At the undergraduate and graduate level, degree programs in Environmental Engineering Science (Civil and Environmental Engineering) continue to grow and expand. The Technology, Management and Policy Program, and

interdisciplinary standing doctoral committee recognized by the Dean of the Graduate School, now enables doctoral students to compose a significant minor or major in pollution prevention/ industrial ecology/clean technologies areas, which has not been institutionally feasible in the past. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has established a professional Masters of Engineering degree program with an option in environmental engineering. The Department of Ocean Engineering has also established an master's program with an ocean environmental systems focus.

Undergraduate Minors in Environmental Studies

Two minor programs are being made available: the minor in environmental engineering, offered through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an Institute minor in environmental studies overseen by the PEEER faculty. Each degree program specifies six sets of approved subjects that MIT will recognize as official environmental minors to be so recorded on transcripts and diplomas. Professor Gschwend is leading the Civil and Environmental Engineering program. Professor Judith Kildow of Ocean Engineering is organizing the Institute environmental studies minor.


Led by Professof Professor J. I. Steinfeld , a Traineeship Program in the Chemistry of the Environment is located in the Department of Chemistry. Nine faculty members are teaching the coordinated study of the production,

dispersion, and removal of chemical species in the natural environemnt, and their interactions with biological systems. The Seminar in Environmental Chemistry is open to all graduate and undergraduate students, as well as the trainees. The subject addresses technical, economic, political, and environemntal aspects of problems involving the intersection of chemistry and society.

Professors Marks and Sadoway have prop osed a program of traineeships in environmentally concsious manufacturing to the National Science Foundation. To be administered and managed by PEEER faculty, the traineeship program will provide students with strong disciplinary, as well as cross disciplinary educational perspectives in environment ant manufacturing focusing on optomization/control of manufacturing processes; alternative chemistries and processes; design for the environment; and management of technology innovation.


Several of the initiatives outlined above included outreach to the industries, and governmental agencies, and public interest groups involved in the issues taken up by PEEER. In order to improve problem definition, share research findings, and identify emerging issues of interest to MIT, the program is communicating with these sectors through meetings, invited speakers, and publications.


PEEER is responsible for the publication of a monthly newsletter Environmental Calendar, edited by Dr. Teresa Hill (PEEER and DUSP). The newsletter includes details of upcoming events and synopses of research, editorial comment by faculty members, announcements, and other news of environmental studies at MIT. Special issues of both these publications distribute information about environmental subject offerings each term and for IAP.

Alliance for Global Sustainability

PEEER faculty have been working toward the September 1996 announcement of an unprecendented international partnership focused on issues critical to ensuring the sustainability of the global environment. Three major science and technology institutions, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and the University of Tokyo are the founding members of collaboration, the Alliance for Global Sustainability. With concerns growing world wide to find pathways to future economic and social development that will be harmonious with protection of the environment, its vital ecosystems, and humanity's future, the partners seek to apply scientific and economic discipline to define new approaches to a sustainable civilization. Alliance-sponsored activities are intended to support both research and educational activities that will (1) advance knowledge of sustainability and (2) be of practical relevance for public policy making, corporate strategies, and citizen decision making. An overarching goal of the Alliance will be to sponsor public educational programs aimed at creating greater understanding of the options available and their implications for a global society.

The Alliance program will be composed of interdisciplinary education and research projects addressing specific environmental and growth issues related to sustainability. The projects will be managed by faculty members from the three institutions but may also include experts from other institutions around the world. Alliance projects will benefit from the differing geographic perspectives of the three institutions' faculties and participants from all continents. A special focus will be developing nations. Projects will be structured so that they can achieve maximum synergy among the partner institutions, have major contact with all stakeholders in each decision-making process, and promote world-wide education and communication.

Professor Marks is coordinating Alliance activities at MIT. The work of the Alliance will project onto the international stage PEEER's founding principles of knowledge-sharing between all sectors; interdisciplinary approaches to complex environmental issues; and the continuing interplay of research and curricula. PEEER faculty will be involved in many phases of the research undertaken by the Alliance coalition of institutions.

David H. Marks

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95