Bakshi Sustainable Engineering Research Group

Circular Economy, Life Cycle Assessment, Design for Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, Optimization

Multiscale sustainable engineering

Our research is motivated by the following dilemma facing humanity.  On the one hand, engineering plays an essential role in meeting our needs and enhancing our well-being. Evidence of this includes products like transportation fuels, vaccines, medicines, plastics, artificial fertilizers, etc.  However, on the other hand, engineering also contributes to degradation of the very ecosystems that are essential for our well-being.  Examples include climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions from mobilization of fossil fuels, harmful algal blooms due to runoff of artificial fertilizers, and plastic pollution due to littering and lack of biodegradability.

To address this dilemma, we are developing systematic methods and tools to transform engineering so that its results are ecologically viable, socially desirable, and economically feasible for present and future generations.  For this, we adopt a  transdisciplinary approach for convergence of engineering with disciplines such as environmental economics and ecosystem ecology.  To prevent unintended harm from engineering activities, we consider a large system boundary from individual molecules and reactions, to manufacturing processes, their life cycles, the economy, and the biosphere. This is depicted in the adjacent figure.  Our research is computational in nature and advanced techniques from mathematical modeling, optimization, statistics, and machine learning.

Current projects are developing innovative designs by seeking synergies between human and natural systems, including the role of ecosystems in sustainability assessment, enabling a circular economy of plastics, decarbonization of the chemical industry, and planning to meet campus carbon neutrality goals. 

We welcome you to browse this page for more information.

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