REWAS 2019 Themes
Disruptive Material Manufacturing: A Systems Perspective
The landscape of material manufacturing has the potential for dramatic change as new design techniques (e.g. material genome) and new technologies (e.g. additive manufacturing) begin to scale to industrial production levels. What is the environmental impact of additive manufacturing? How will disruptive technologies change the landscape of producing materials? What is the circularity potential for inputs and outputs of these new production routes? How can these systems be optimized? How does the massive scale-up of clean energy technologies affect process flow sheets and recycling (i.e. significant materials demand increases and the need to match the subsequent recycling processes/infrastructure)?
Secondary and Byproduct Sources of Materials and Minerals
As scarcity and criticality concerns grow, attention has turned to ore alternative sources of important materials, metals, and minerals. Circular economy techniques, industrial symbiosis, and urban mining are sustainability strategies for obtaining these materials from industrial byproducts, end of life wastes, and other secondary sources. This includes recycling of electronic waste, batteries of all chemistries, agricultural byproducts, etc. What extraction technologies will be needed to enable this material recovery? What are the economic and environmental impact implications of such alternative routes? What kinds of material flow analysis and/or metric standardization is needed for tracking circularity at multiple scales?
Besides disruptive technologies, there are additional sustainability benefits with high potential in the production sector. How do we decrease emissions in production? How can we achieve sustainable process design? How will clean energy technologies be manufactured? How do we measure and quantify embodied energy—how do existing methods fall short and how do we align internationally? How can we enable cost-effective and efficient collection and reprocessing of wastes? What are technologies and strategies for managing mixed materials? How can trace, tramp, and other unwanted contaminants be removed from secondary streams? What are opportunities for direct use of end of life products to make new products with minimal or no reprocessing? How can zero waste production be reached?
Education and Workforce Development
Transitioning knowledge from the research and academic sectors into applied work is critical to realizing sustainability. Papers are encouraged in novel educational approaches like blended learning, flipped classrooms, MOOCs, etc., as well as approaches for integrating sustainability into traditional disciplinary curriculums such as materials science. Technology transition, applied learning, and workforce development initiatives will also be highlighted.