Integrating Climate Change Competencies into Mechanical Engineering Education

  • Sven LinowEmail author
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Engineers will be needed to enable technical solutions that minimise the impact of climate change to the earth system and to humanity. Thus a basic understanding of mechanisms driving climate change to the earth system as well as means and methods to generate and evaluate technical solutions for change should be part of engineering education. Mechanical engineering as a discipline has a well-developed understanding of skills to be acquired during a bachelor degree programme—especially if graduates are intended to directly start working as an engineer. Mechanical engineering departments tend to be conservative and are hesitant to change much of their curriculum. Today’s engineering curricula are already quite crammed to meet all the requirements for educating good engineers and meeting requirements set by professional bodies. Typical approaches for overcoming this are adding some mandatory courses from the social sciences with the intent to broaden the view of future engineers (e.g. the Darmstädter approach) or to invent new interdisciplinary degree programmes. Neither approach will reach to the core of engineering education. This paper instead focuses on introducing climate change skills as hard engineering tasks into the technical degree programme: today thermodynamics and fluid dynamics courses teach most of the basic competencies that would be needed, but classically without any climate change context. This paper aims at discussing the possibility to include basic understanding, relevant mitigation approaches and evaluation tools into thermodynamics without overburdening the course or endangering learning of the basic skills. Experience from an ongoing first run will be shared.


Engineering thermodynamics Competence oriented teaching Climate change teaching Curriculum development 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hochschule Darmstadt, Fachbereich Maschinenbau und KunststofftechnikDarmstadtGermany

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