Faculty research interests include the theoretical basis of industrial ecology, the cycles of materials, technological change and the environment, eco-industrial urban development, industrial symbiosis, and product and producer policy issues.
Resource efficiency, the material-related counterpart of energy efficiency, is a core strategy for manufacturing businesses to stay competitive, for national economies to reduce import dependency and create value from closing material cycles, and for reducing negative environmental impacts associated with the primary production of materials. The potential contribution of resource efficiency to climate change mitigation has only recently come into focus and is not well understood (Milford et al. 2013. Vuuren et al. 2018).
Today, fossil fuels are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, while also polluting land and water. Options to reduce this pollution include energy conservation, renewables, nuclear power and the mitigation of emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Electricity replace fossil fuels in buildings and transportation.
“Criticality” is the quality, state, or degree of being of the highest importance, and is of particular interest in the case of metals and other resources. A comprehensive methodology comprised of three dimensions – supply risk, environmental implications, and vulnerability to supply restriction – has been created to quantify the degree of criticality of the metals of the periodic table.
Modern society is made possible by the use of metals, and metals have historically been supplied from virgin stocks (ore bodies, mineral deposits, and the like). Other reservoirs exist, however, a principal one being materials or products in use, stored, or discarded over the years by corporations and individuals. These reservoirs might become very important in the next few decades of rapid population growth and resource and energy use.
Among their functions, cities are an important locus for the production, consumption and disposal of products. Traditionally, manufacturers bear the responsibility for the impacts of making products, consumers for the usage-related consequences and local government bear the responsibility for the waste that results when products are discarded. This is changing. In Europe, Japan and in some other countries and jurisdictions, producers are increasingly being required to extend their responsibilities to encompass end-of-life (EOL) management.
The Yale Program on Industrial Ecology in Developing Countries was launched in 2007, with the following mission: To work with international colleagues to adapt industrial ecology theory and practice to the realities faced in industrializing countries related to co-mingled problems of energy access, water quality and quantity, waste and material management, and global warming and to gather and disseminate useful knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, which contributes to deeper insights for industrial sustainability.