Dr. Jesse Daystar
Dr. Jesse Daystar is the Assistant Director of Corporate Sustainability at the Duke Center for Sustainability and Commerce where he develops research and education programs at the nexus of sustainability and commerce.
With a background in chemical engineering and paper and pulp engineering, Dr. Daystar teaches from fundamental level. By understanding the basic concepts, such as material and energy balances, the students build a solid foundation that allows them to perform complex environmental life cycle assessments (LCA). Within the LCA course at Duke, students are taught the skills required to peform a cradle to grave LCAs using the open source LCA program openLCA. Using this modeling software, the students leave the classroom with hands on experience and a openLCA on their computers ready to enter industry with valuable skills. Other software packages have some advantages to openLCA, however, no other software is free and allows the students to take this skill set and tools to their next challenge in life.
Forest and other plants countain one of the most abondent compounds in the world- cellulse. Using thse natural resources as raw materials, many industries have developed products that have shaped culture and changed lives. These products are unique as they are renewable and they also absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. These two features of bio-based products pose unique environmental benfitis, however, determining the environmental benfits or impacts of these products is more complicated due to the capture and storage of carbon dioxide during the plant growth and product life time.