Circular Economy (CE); an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, is currently promoted by several national governments and businesses around the world. This concept has been highly developed by practitioners, the business community, and policymakers, while a scientific basis is clearly needed to effectively navigate the transition towards CE. CE can contribute to all dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, economic, and social, making it an emerging research field in Chemical and Process Systems Engineering.

Research Group Goal: Accelerate the transition towards a Circular Economy.

Research StrandsApproach: Our research lab focuses on expanding the limits of Chemical and Process Systems Engineering by developing tools for the understanding, analysis, and optimization of the interconnected CE supply chains, focusing on the supply chains of chemicals, plastics, and food. Our research considers the transition to renewable energy, CE supply chain modeling, resiliency, and the development of multi-agent modeling & optimization approaches.

The focus of our research group lies on 2 interconnected strands. The first strand focuses on the fundamentals of CE, where we perform research to answer key questions and explore different CE case studies. The second strand focus on the development of modeling and computational tools for i) multi-agent modeling and optimization, and ii) enhancing the resilience of CE supply chains.

Circular Economy Systems Engineering – Fundamentals

Interconnections among the diverse CE supply chain elements, stakeholders, and regulatory environments create significant challenges for decision-making. While most work on CE emphasizes on the macro level, it is clear that a holistic systems engineering approach is needed to navigate and fully consider the multi-scale, multi-faceted and interconnected CE supply chain, identify opportunities for beneficial improvement, and systematically explore interactions and trade-offs.

Advances in Multi-Agent Modeling & Optimization

Supply chains are often managed by different companies, governments, and consumers. These multiple interconnected stakeholders and their differing or conflicting objectives introduce major challenges in modeling and decision making, requiring multi-player hierarchical optimization approaches for their solution; a solution that would consist of the best opportunities for beneficial improvement.

Enhancing the resilience of CE supply chains

In an environment where pandemics and other emergencies (including climate-change-related events) disrupt global supply chains, approaches to hedge against risks and increase supply chain resilience and reliability are prioritized. Motivated by the above, the aim of this strand is to study and develop interconnected supply chain designs that can preempt and mitigate the effect of disruptions, and bounce back to normal operation quickly.