Session 8


Session 8 included perspectives from government, industry and academia. The first presentation by Nicole Villamizar from the Environmental Protection Agency focused on the Sustainable Materials Management, which has been designed to promote the application of life cycle assessment by supporting applied research, encouraging innovative business models, engaging with stakeholders and developing appropriate regulations. This was followed by a presentation by Eric Peterson from Idaho National Laboratory on technologies for recovering and recycling metals. The critical role of collection and sorting of materials on the economic feasibility of recycling was highlighted. The next two presentations provided an industrial perspective. The first by Flora Moon and Sophie Theys took a system-level view of the benefits and challenges in transitioning from a linear to a circular economy. The importance of being proactive in Front End Engineering Design (FEED) to create opportunities for valuable byproducts throughout the life cycle of a product was highlighted. The second industrial presentation by Sean Monkman from CarbonCure Technologies was on a specific technology for reducing negative the environmental impact of concrete. The technology involves injecting CO2 into the cement in a way to both improve the properties of the resulting concrete and reduce its carbon footprint. The final two presentations were on academic research for improved utilization of waste materials to produce useful engineering materials. The first of these by Sean Kelly from Worcester Polytechnic Institute was on technologies for improving aluminum recycling processes, so that the recycled product can be used to produce more valuable alloys. The second academic presentation by Emmanuel Atta-Obeng from West Virginia University was on the use of lignin from forest products to produce carbonaceous materials for engineering products. The presenters had different perspectives and emphases, but all discussed the importance of creating value throughout the life cycle of a product by identifying new or improved byproducts to not only reduce the environmental impact but also improve the economic viability of the product or process.