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University in Thailand


We are honored that Thailand is the host country for one of the Institute’s international field sites, because it is viewed by the surrounding countries of Southeast Asia as a model for future development. Thailand has international environmental programs that train people from Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, and Laos. Many of the environmental/energy related problems experienced in Thailand today are, or will be, experienced in other developing/industrializing countries. The Thailand Field Site itself is hosted by King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT).

As comfort with the Thai lifestyle and language proficiency increases, UNC students, along with their Thai student colleagues, often take trips to Hill Tribe villages, or go on mountain rafting and elephant treks. Some even visit Laos and Malaysia, or Thai rural communities that have not changed very much in the past century.


The program runs from early January to mid June.

Award Opportunities

Please visit the Institute’s Internships + Awards page for more information on these awards


Students will take the following courses for UNC graded credit:


  • ENEC 241: Energy and Culture Seminar for the Thailand Field Site


  • ENEC 403: Environmental Chemistry Processes (3 cr)
  • ENVR 404: Life Cycle Assessment (3 cr)
  • ENEC 698: Capstone: Analysis and Solution of Environmental Problems (3 cr)
  • Energy electives – Students will select two from the following 3-credit hour KMUTT-JGSEE courses taught from January-May: Energy Management in Buildings; Environmental and Health Risk Assessment; Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy; Energy Technology. Students will earn 6 transfer credits for these courses.

The capstone research project will take place in June-July after the regular classes conclude.

Coursework for this field site would be suitable for students pursuing a concentration area in Energy, Environmental Infrastructure and Sustainability.

Students are strongly encouraged to have completed Chemistry 101 and Math 231 (or equivalent) prior to participation on this program.


  • UNC Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering Rich Kamens oversees the Thailand Field Site and leads the Capstone
  • Shabbir Gheewala, KMUTT, teaches the Life Cycle Analysis course. Learn more about Gheewala in his bio and curriculum vitae.

Published Student Research

Participate in a research projects many of which are published in the peer reviewed literature. Possible ideas for 2023. are: 1. Evaluation of energy technologies to create H2 fuel generation, is this sustainable? 2. To electrify the world we will need huge increases in copper mining. How do we reduce Pollution from copper mining. 3.Reducing Plastic Waste in S.E. Asia from entering the Oceans. 4. Energy storage systems and recycling Li-ion batteries. New Energy Technologies5. Pyrolysis of plastic wastes to make diesel fuel, new plastics, etc. It will take Styrofoam, plastic bags, hard plastics. New plant is going up in Indiana; says it is 97%efficient. Is this a viable process? 6. New Concept plastic recycling using platinum and zeolite catalysts. Does this work? 7. Carbon sequestration below ground with MgOxide, basalt. Is this feasible on a large scale?

Contact Information

For more information about the Thailand Field Site, please contact Rich Kamens at (919) 619-3701 or

Information Session