EME 807
Technologies for Sustainability Systems

12.2 Choosing a Topic

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12.2 Choosing a Topic

As the first step (Milestone 1), you need to choose a particular technology for developing your assessment and implementation scenario. It should be relatively new and show promise for sustainable development. The topic can represent a specific manufacturing process, approach, device, design, or conversion system. You may want to choose something close to your professional area, as in that case, you will know better where to find information, technical data, technology status etc. However, it does not have to be in your professional area and can be just a topic of your special interest. In that case, you can use this project as a vehicle to develop your expertise in it.

Some generic examples of project topics can include:

  • an innovative method for wastewater treatment
  • a technology implemented in a high performance building
  • an novel approach to grow food locally in urban environment
  • a way to replace toxic chemicals in construction materials
  • a technology to efficiently produce fuel from CO2
  • a recyclable product design
  • off-grid cheap power for displaced communities

These are just examples that should in no way limit your scope.

Frankly, you do not need to invent. Search up and pick an existing or developing technology and give it a thorough assessment to evaluate its promise. But remember that such an assessment would only make sense and have value when you tie it to a specific economic, social, and environmental context.

Always think where, when, and how this technology will be set to work.

Furthermore, you are encouraged to explore how your project topic and goals of your assessment line up versus the seventeen UN Sustainability Goals. When you submit the final version of your proposal, you will be asked to specifically reflect on those connections in the Introduction, but you can also include those ideas in your topic justification paragraph (your submission for Milestone 1).

Check how your project is related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

17 UN Sustainability Goals shown as icons:
UN Goals for Sustainable Development
Credit: UN