Alex Schechter 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ariel University Center of Samaria will launch an undergraduate degree in Green
Chemistry this fall, which aims to provide a strong foundation in the chemistry
of renewable energy.
“There is a demand out there for people with a
bachelor’s degree that will somehow make them part of the energy and
environmental revolution that is taking place,” Dr. Alex Schechter, a senior
lecturer in the department of biological chemistry, told The Jerusalem Post on
“The fact that we’ve been able to address two of the major
challenges [energy and environment] in this field is very important to
The program will provide students the opportunity to specialize
in clean-tech – in subjects such as environmental chemistry (ozone depletion,
the effect of greenhouse gases, etc.), analytical methods of determining
pollution levels in the environment, advanced laboratory experimentation and
investigations into the relationship between energy and the environment. In
addition to their classroom and laboratory work, students will also head outside
on “ecological tours” of chemical plants and energy production
By gaining knowledge about the chemical processes that transform
renewable resources into useable energy, the students will be able to make
instrumental contributions to the future of the clean-tech industry, whether
fill entry level positions or continue studying at the graduate level, the
department said in a statement.
“We are very specific – we deal with the
analytical chemistry of contaminants, and how to offer a more green perspective
on chemical reactions,” Schechter said. “What is most important is that we offer
a better understanding of how energy is related to these [chemical reactions],
how to conserve energy and how to improve the chemistry of a battery to make it
more efficient and cheaper.
“That’s the work of a chemist. I think that
there is no other program at the bachelor’s level that deals with
The University of Haifa has a department of geography and
environmental studies, while Tel Aviv University has the Porter School of
Environmental Studies and Ben- Gurion University has a department of geological
and environmental sciences – but none, as far as Schechter is aware, has a
specifically green chemistry track for undergraduates.
students at Ariel University Center will receive a degree in chemistry after
three years of study, in which they learn to employ “chemistry as an
environmental tool designed to curb the growth of ecological problems,”
according to the department.
The students’ unique qualifications will
enable them “to become integrated in the emergent clean-tech industry at warp
speed,” the department said.
“I would expect a graduate with this degree
to be qualified to work in the research and development industry, not at a very
high level but at an intermediate level – with a firm concept of what’s
important and what’s not,” Schechter said. “And this will provide them with the
basic requirements to develop further into other areas.”
A graduate of
the track has many options and might even choose to move on to business
administration within the clean-tech industry, rather than strictly working in
the scientific aspects of the field, Schechter added.
“We provide only
the basics – things that will allow a basic entry level to the industry,” he
“Obviously, a person who would want to progress would have to take
a master’s degree or even a doctorate.”
Schechter has several master’s
and doctoral degree students of his own, who are developing research projects in
both energy and environmental chemistry, he said.
While graduates of the
bachelor’s track won’t similarly be able “to call themselves experts in a tiny
area,” they will gain a basic but critical “understanding of the whole
clean-tech industry,” something that the field is demanding in quite large
numbers, according to Schechter.