By Fanglin Che

Chemical Engineering Seminar on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, 4-5 p.m., Shah Hall 310

Torsten Stelzera, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, USA
Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Title: Sustainable Manufacturing of Pharmaceuticals and Beyond


Sustainability is one of the grand challenges humanity is facing. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions harm our health and the planet. Climate change effects will cause 250K death/year between 2030-2050, increase health costs of 4B/year by 2030, and introduce hazardous climate events that impact key socioeconomic systems, e.g., (i) livability & workability, (ii) supply of food, water, & energy, and (iii) infrastructure, causing enormous costs to the global economy. The chemical manufacturing industry with its sole dependency on petro-based resources and generation of huge waste amounts is one of the biggest contributors to emissions. Despite strong developments in modernizing chemical manufacturing for fine and specialty chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, current manufacturing approaches are unfit to address the sustainability, socioeconomic, and geographical needs globally. The chemical manufacturing future lies in a circular economy and a renewable bio-based strategy (bioeconomy) that uses end-to-end, continuous, modular settings. We will discuss existing challenges and opportunities for disruptive ways to feed the chemical industry with innovative manufacturing process designs.


Torsten Stelzer received his M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, in 2005 and 2009, respectively. He stayed on as Assistant Professor (Habilitand) before joining the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT for a two-year sabbatical leave (2012-2014). At the end of 2014, he took the unique opportunity to combine his professional goal of being a professor with his desire to live in Puerto Rico as part of a dual career couple. As Assistant/Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Puerto Rico, he formed the collaborative
Crystallization Design Institute. His research focuses on integrated end-to-end, continuous manufacturing for process intensification with an emphasis on crystallization, downstream processes, and materials science of polymer-based crystalline systems. At the UPR he leads several multi-PI, multi-institutional projects, including MIT and University of Wisconsin – Madision (UW). Currently he holds an Honorary Associate position at the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center at UW and a standing Visiting Professor position at MIT. As an expert in industrial crystallization, he also serves as a consultant and collaborator for the private sector. Thus far, he has authored over 50 publications, eight (8) book contributions, and is an inventor on 15 patents/applications. You can find details of Stelzer at https://linkedin.com/in/torstenstelzer and his research group at https://cdiupr.weebly.com.

For more information contact Fanglin_Che@uml.edu