Innovative and sustainable chemical engineering, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Sign up for information In response to the necessary transition to a sustainable society and heightened global competition, modern chemical processes need to be energy- and material efficient, compact, flexible, less toxic, safe, environmentally benign and conducive to the rapid commercialisation of new products.
This programme provides you with advanced knowledge and the skills necessary to improve and develop innovative processes that are environmentally sustainable as well as technically and economically sound.

Innovative and sustainable chemical engineering​ master's programme at Chalmers

Developing the processes that convert commodities into finished products, decreasing the use of scarce natural resources and fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable alternatives, turning waste into new products, minimizing emissions and developing the next generation of exhaust after-treatment and renewable fuels. These are some examples of where Chemical engineers play a central role in developing the processes and products needed for the transition to a sustainable society.
The courses cover the basis of sustainable technology, the production of renewable materials and the efficient use of energy. More in-depth knowledge is obtained through three profile tracks within the programme: Sustainable development, Modelling and Design and Forest Based Products and Related Processes. Biorefinery, CFD- Computational Fluid Dynamics and Process Analytical Technology are examples of courses focusing on emerging fields for Chemical Engineers.

After the programme, you will have
  • Comprehensive knowledge of chemical engineering subjects central to the production of materials and energy.
  • The ability to design and evaluate sustainable and innovative processes and systems.
  • The ability to plan, perform and evaluate experiments on the lab, pilot and plant scale.
  • Competence in performing and critically analysing advanced technical modelling and simulations of chemical phenomena and processes.
  • Develop new sustainable chemical products and processes
  • Identify environmental and sustainability limitations and possibilities of processes
  • Competence in selecting sustainable pathways and processes for efficient utilization of biomass

Educational methods

In most courses, you will work in groups with open-ended, complex, real-life and case scenario problems i.e. solutions must be found for problems with incomplete and uncertain data. Students have many opportunities to try alternative solutions and evaluate their ideas in comparison to existing industrial solutions. Also, adjunct professors and guest lecturers from industry present their views on product and process development.

As a student you are trained to:
  • Identify and formulate problems and to apply knowledge to the problem-solving process.
  • Collect, interpret, critically examine, analyse and evaluate technical information.
  • Understand and analyse the connections between society, technology, the environment and economics.
  • Present results and information both in writing and verbally.
  • Have a “fearless” attitude and embrace new challenges.
  • Cultivate professional attributes, such as a willingness to make qualified estimations and assumptions and a readiness to face open-ended problems and uncertain data.
  • Work in an international environment and be culturally aware. 

Topics covered

The subjects of chemical engineering and sustainable development are fundamental areas in the Innovative and sustainable chemical engineering master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as process design, biorefining and cellulose technology.

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses. 

Compulsory courses year 1 ​

During the first year the programme starts with four compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Innovative and sustainable chemical engineering. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.
  • Biorefinery
  • Design and analysis of experiments
  • Industrial energy systems
  • Advanced chemical reaction engineering

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice. 
  • ​Master’s thesis 
Compulsory elective courses
Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in modelling and design, forest based products and related processes, sustainable development, or a combination thereof. ​​During year 1 and 2,  you need to select at least 4 compulsory elective courses out of the following in order to graduate. 
  • Advanced chemical engineering design + PAT
  • Cellulose technology
  • Global chemical sustainability
  • CDF for engineers
  • Preliminary plant design
  • Linear control system design
Students seeking more in-depth knowledge in a selected field are recommended to select courses based on the three profile tracks within the program.​

Profile tracks: Modelling and design

  • Design and analysis of experiments
  • Industrial energy systems
  • Advanced chemical reaction engineering
  • Advanced chemical engineering design +PAT
  • Computational fluid dynamics for engineers
  • Preliminary plant design
  • Linear control system design

Forest based products and related processes

  • Biorefinery
  • Industrial energy systems
  • Cellulose technology
  • Advanced chemical engineering design + PAT
  • Preliminary plant design
  • Paper technology

Sustainable development

  • Biorefinery
  • Industrial energy systems
  • Global chemical sustainability
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Preliminary plant design
  • Waste management
  • Sustainable biomass supply

Elective courses 

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses.​


Many industrial sectors recruit students who graduate from this programme; some examples include pulp and paper, chemical, food and biotechnology, pharmaceutical, energy, recycling, battery production and consultancy companies. Many new areas have emerged at the intersection between chemical engineering and other fields of engineering and science, and graduates of Innovative and sustainable chemical engineering have also new and exciting career opportunities in a wide range of fields.

Following graduation, you are qualified to work within research and the development of innovative and sustainable products and processes, production and process technology and advanced technical support. In general, you can work as a project manager or team expert in developing new products and processes. You can also work as process engineer and be responsible for operating large processes.

Connections to research and socie​​ty

Chalmers holds a leading position in chemical process research and the programme provides a first-rate base for PhD studies in strong research areas as well as a broad education at the forefront of new technologies required by industry. Examples of active research areas at Chalmers include:
  • Particulate and porous systems, for example: drying, granulation and coating processes of importance in pharmaceutical and food process industries.
  • Multiphase fluid flow and mixing with chemical reactions applicable to a wide range of industries.
  • Research involving simulation methods and calculation tools to explore and design chemical processes.
  • Development of new resource and energy-efficient chemical processes for a circular economy.
  • New chemical processes and products from the forest industry such as the development of biorefining processes for renewable fuels and chemicals.
  • Catalytic reaction processes for renewable fuel and chemical production as well as exhaust aftertreatment.
  • Chemical and environmental performance of products and processes.
  • Sustainable waste treatment and novel recycling processes.
  • Metallurgical and battery production processes.​

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering


​​​​Sustainable development

Developing and building sustainable manufacturing processes for chemicals, advanced fuels, pharmaceuticals, and many other materials is a tremendous and ongoing challenge for which the Innovative and Sustainable Chemical Engineering master program prepares future engineers. Many aspects of the program are highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ​

Below are some of the goals that are most relevant within the programme and examples are given of some courses (in italic) in the programme that touch on processes, products, or methods that are important to achieve the goals.​​
SDGs for Innovative and Sustainable Chemical Engineering

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Chemical Reaction Engineering is important for designing catalytic processes that for example convert biomass to renewable fuels or electrofuels from renewable electricity. All manufacturing processes involve Industrial Energy Systems that must use energy as efficiently as possible, so that affordable sustainable energy is available for all.

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Design tools are needed in the future to develop innovative processes with lower costs by for example virtual prototyping where Computational Fluid Dynamics provides the means.  The Experimental Design and Analysis course deals with techniques to optimize the efficiency of processes from the industrial to research lab scale.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
Sustainable processes rely on unit operations such as separation steps that use energy and materials as efficiently as possible in Chemical Engineering Design. The Preliminary Plant Design course provides the opportunity to implement efficient design concepts in a case study project. There can be many options for use of raw materials and techniques to design more sustainable processes, but methods are needed to evaluate their sustainability as introduced in the Global Chemical Sustainability course. Waste Management deals with recycling processes needed to achieve a circular economy to enable sustainable consumption and production.

Goal 13: Climate action
Reducing society’s dependence on fossil resources combats climate change.  Bioresources are needed to fill the gap, but they must be used effectively in innovative Biorefinery processes.

Student interview

"I have done things I never thought I could before" 

Daniela, Mexico, Innovative and sustainable chemical engineering

Why did you choose this programme?
– I studied chemical engineering back in Mexico and was looking for a master’s in the areas that I liked the most which were industrial plant design and improving the energy efficiency of the process. When I saw that Chalmers had programmes that went deeper into these subjects but also focused on sustainability I realized that it was the missing part that I needed to improve as a chemical engineer. 

What have you been working on?
– I have taken courses related to cellulose technology, which is one of the biggest industries here in Sweden. I have also taken courses related to industrial energy systems and the design of the equipment needed for that. The last ones were my favorites since we worked on projects that gave us the opportunity to analyse how to integrate different equipment, explore how the energy requirements can be reduced, and analyse it from an economic point of view.

What do you like the most about your programme?
– In general, I would say the guidance of my teachers and classmates to learn how to use so many different types of software in a short amount of time. This has helped me to do things that I never thought I could do before. Another one that I really like, is that for almost every course we have had a study visit to industrial plants, so it helped me to realize the positive impact that our work as engineers could have. I have done so many projects with the support of the TA:s and teachers, and thanks to their flexibility, patience, and feedback it has helped me to understand what we have been learning during the lectures.

What do you want to do in the future?
– I would like to start working in a big company after my studies to implement my knowledge in a practical situation, and I am sure that Chalmers with its reputation in my field, facilities that process for me. After a few years of working in the profession, I will probably continue my education with a Ph.D. in design-related fields. 

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Tue 01 Nov 2022.