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Reman Leaders to Talk about Growth and Innovation Drivers for the Industry The Remanufacturing Industries Council (RIC), in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), announced its plans today to deliver specialized remanufacturing programs at the RIC-RIT World Remanufacturing Conference, a two-day event in which remanufacturing leaders can learn and discuss the most salient topics in the industry. Registered attendees are ensured a singular opportunity to collaborate for the global advancement of the remanufacturing industry. The conference, hosted on the RIT campus in upstate New York, will feature a keynote address from Sam Allen, CEO of John Deere, and discussions led by remanufacturing insiders, including Jack Stack, President and CEO of SRC Holdings Corporation, and Dr. Nabil Nasr, Director of RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability and CEO of the REMADE Institute. The two-day conference will feature dynamic sessions on emerging opportunities for the industry, including: “We have seen a lot of progress in remanufacturing over the years, but I believe we are about to embark on the most dynamic times in remanufacturing history. The RIC-RIT World Remanufacturing Conference is the place for our industry to learn about all the initiatives and changes impacting all of remanufacturing.  The event will feature presentations from some of the best in the business — from OEMs, applied researchers, global remanufacturers, and more. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with old contacts and make new ones to drive your business forward,” said Bill Davies, Founder of Davies Office and RIC Chairman. “The remanufacturing industry is undergoing some very exciting development, and this conference will offer industry professionals a 'one-stop-shop' to get up to speed on all the emerging opportunities,” said Dr. Nabil Nasr, Associate Provost at RIT and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. “This is the premiere event for the industry; you will get information at this event that you won’t get anywhere else,” said Dr. Nasr. Major sponsors of the conference include: John Deere, Caterpillar, Cummins, Davies Office, Xerox, and Spinnaker. The two-day conference will be held on June 21-22 in Rochester, NY, with the option of two high-quality pre-conference short courses on June 20 and a post-conference tour of two major remanufacturing operations at Xerox and EWASTE+ on June 23.


Kahhat R.,Catholic University of Peru | Williams E.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2012

The management of electronic waste (e-waste) presents new sustainability challenges, prominent among these is informal electronic recycling in the developing world fed by both international and domestic sources. There is a need to mitigate environmental impacts of informal recycling while maintaining social and economic benefits of refurbishment and reuse. The development of appropriate social responses is hindered by critical data gaps, which include lack of data on trade flows of used and scrap electronics, flows invisible to trade statistics of many countries. We address this data gap by proposing and implementing an approach to quantify the exportation of used and scrap equipment from a particular country or region to the rest of the world. The approach is based on material flow analysis and combines collection of primary survey data from residential and business/public sectors with secondary data from available recycling, landfill and computer adoption studies. Exports are estimated through materials balance: exports = generated - reuse - recycling - landfill. The proposed methodology is implemented in a case study of desktop (excluding monitors) and laptop computers in the United States (US) in 2010. Results indicate that 40 million used and scrap computers entered the end-of-life management sector, from which 30% were reused domestically, 6-29% were exported, 17-21% were landfilled in domestic sites and 20-47% were collected for domestic recycling in 2010. The range in results reflects uncertainty arising from inferring end-of-life fate from individual and institutional users. Given sufficient resources to conduct a survey, the proposed materials flow analysis method can be widely applied to other devices and nations. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


News Article | March 15, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

The United States is a country of 323 million people — and, as of 2013, some 338 million televisions, according to one estimate. We are, to put it bluntly, highly entertained, and we use a lot of electricity in the process. Four to five percent of total household power gets zapped into these devices, according to the Department of Energy. You could argue from these figures — and others — that Americans simply watch too much television. Maybe so. But it’s important to recognize that some Americans watch way more than others, and therein lies a potential opportunity to save energy. Such is the finding of a new study in Energy Policy, by Ashok Sekar and two colleagues from the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which proposes an intriguing way to lower the nation’s overall home energy use. Namely, it suggests that power companies should create incentives for the purchase of new and highly efficient TVs among that select group of people who spend the most time each day in front of the television. “If you take the high watching group…they are approximately watching the television for 7.7 hours,” said Sekar. The research was conducted based on data from the American Time Use Survey, which is carried out each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Examining this survey, Sekar and his colleagues found that 14 percent of Americans are very high TV users. These individuals tend to be unemployed or with part time employment status, less educated, and are often older than 65. Despite their relatively small numbers, their habits mean that they consume 34 percent of all television electricity, or 31 gigawatt hours worth per day (equivalent to 1 billion watts of constant energy for 31 hours). So that means that if you were two swap out the televisions of the high users for more energy efficient models, you would save 7.1 times as much electricity as you would if you did so for those people in the group of low television users, according to the study. “If you can target people, you can improve your cost effectiveness for sure,” says Sekar. It isn’t just the highest users — for the middle range of TV watchers, those who watch about 3.5 hours a day, changing out their TVs would be 2.2 times as effective at saving energy, compared with switching the TVs of the lowest users. The research is pitched, in part, to power companies who run a large number of energy efficiency programs, in which they provide incentives for their customers to adopt new appliances or practices that reduce their overall use and, therefore, cut demand on the electricity system. The research suggests that a major area of investment in these programs ought to be TVs, which Sekar says does not actually appear to be a major focus right now. The idea proposed in the paper is “kind of common sense, in a way,” says Jennifer Amann, buildings program director for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. But she adds that power companies would have to pursue such a program in a way that stresses issues of equity, given the reality that more well-to-do people tend to also avail themselves more often of utility company programs that help them save money. “It shouldn’t be controversial, especially if we could do a better job of making sure that our programs are equitable in other ways, are reaching everyone,” Amann says. Sekar says that you don’t necessarily have to give a rebate on a TV only to some people — you could offer one to everyone, but also concentrate a lot of effort on making sure that high TV users learn about it. “With 300 million televisions in America, almost one for every person, even small changes can add up quickly nationally, especially if the highest users switch to the most efficient televisions on the market and adjust settings to ensure their TVs aren’t needlessly wasting electricity,” says Noah Horowitz, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Center for Energy Efficiency Standards. “After all, every energy efficient TV helps reduce the need to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity to run it.” Swapping out less efficient TVs among the highest users could also have a big impact due to the daily cycle of television use. Across the country, overall TV watching increases over the course of the day and peaks at 7:45 pm. That means that people tend to use their televisions more and more at a time of day when electricity use overall is very high, and therefore, when a unit of electricity is fairly expensive on the grid. So reducing usage at this time could save a lot of money — the study estimates that in the territory of the large California utility Pacific Gas and Electric, swapping out the TVs of the highest users would save $ 2 to $ 3 million annually for the company, which means that it should be willing to pay $ 21 to $ 33 as a subsidy to each of these customers to get them to switch, the study calculates. Granted, it may feel odd to seemingly encourage more TV watching — but Sekar tends to take an economist’s approach to the matter. “A better way to think about the morality question would be to consider the time budget a household would allocate for watching television,” he wrote by email. “If they would anyway spend X hours of time on watching television why not make it energy efficient?” Energy efficient television choices do abound. And they really matter, in that TVs are also getting larger, based on research conducted for the Consumer Electronics Association, and larger TVs are watched more. And now, ultra high-definition TVs may be a big new energy consumer, according to a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. But new televisions are feature some very highly energy efficient models. According to an analysis by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, between 2006 and 2012, TV screens got 30 percent bigger even as they came to use 57 percent less electricity — and became much cheaper to boot. The NRDC report also finds that even among ultra high-definition TVs, there were “dramatic differences” in energy consumption. But that also means that if people have old model televisions and watch them a lot, it’s likely to be a double whammy for energy use. Which, again, argues for the importance of getting the old models replaced by newer ones. “If you look at the American time use survey, the activity that is increasing at the fastest rate is television watching,” says Sekar.


Gaustad G.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability | Olivetti E.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Kirchain R.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2012

Aluminum recycling has a number of key environmental and economic benefits. With these energy and cost savings in mind, many producers now have targets of increasing their usage of secondary materials. However, the accumulation of impurities in these recycled material streams may provide a significant compositional barrier to these goals. A growing number of studies and literature suggest that accumulation of unwanted elements is a growing problem; for the case of aluminum, the list of problematic impurities is quite large, including but not limited to Si, Mg, Ni, Zn, Pb, Cr, Fe, Cu, V, and Mn. The removal of unwanted elements in the scrap stream is dictated by the energy considerations of the melt process. Compared to many metals, it is challenging to remove tramp elements from aluminium. Therefore, with no simple thermodynamic solution, producers must identify strategies throughout the production process to mitigate this elemental accumulation. There are a variety of solutions to deal with accumulation of undesired elements; each presents a trade-off between cost and efficacy (tramp removal). Dilution with primary is the most common solution used in industry today; this has a negative impact on recycling as the required dilution results in a compositionally determined cap to recycling rates. This article provides an overview of the expanse of upgrading technologies available at both the industrial and lab-scale to improve aluminum scrap purity and facilitate recycling. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Goe M.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability | Gaustad G.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Applied Energy | Year: 2014

The energy payback time (EPBT) of photovoltaic materials when recycled is analyzed. In particular we are interested in under what conditions recycling yields energy payback improvements equivalent to efficiency. The sensitivity to dynamic variables such as composition, efficiency, and recycling rate is also evaluated. We found that, in general, for all technologies, as the efficiency increases, EPBT savings from recycling decreases at a decreasing rate. This result suggests that greater EPBT savings are obtained for low efficiency module recycling, especially when considering framed modules whose aluminum materials make up between 50% and 70% of the embodied energy. Solar PV technologies have exponentially increasing production suggesting an equally growing future waste stream. No policy currently exists in the US for end-of-life management, collection, or recycling. This study demonstrates the potential opportunity for energy savings from recycling and pinpoints metrics that would be important to such a policy. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Matteson S.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Energy | Year: 2014

This paper reviews a published multi-criteria assessment of power systems and proposes new methods for normalization and ranking of criteria indicators. In previous work, the power systems are evaluated and ranked relative to the other systems considered in the assessment. This relative ranking system negatively affects the results in two ways. First, relative ranking tends to skew the results of the assessment, sometimes leading to incorrect conclusions and recommendations. Second, with a relative ranking system, the results lack applicability outside the assessment, since they are entirely dependent on the model from which they originate. This paper addresses these issues and proposes an extension that will combine experience curves, technological progress models, life cycle assessments, and thermodynamics within a dynamic multi-criteria optimization framework in order to create objective bounds for each sustainability indicator. This extension solves the relative ranking issue by creating a single system within which it is possible to rank and compare a variety of power systems, while maintaining relevant results between studies and over different scales. These results provide decision-makers with the information necessary to choose between systems to ensure a more sustainable future for the power sector. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Bustamante M.L.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability | Gaustad G.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Applied Energy | Year: 2014

Transitioning to a sustainable energy supply will be critical to meeting future economic and environmental goals. This transition will require optimizing and commercializing a portfolio of new clean energy technologies. However, many promising clean energy technologies are based on materials with inherent risks in their supply; these risks include scarcity, price volatility, criticality, and other potential supply-chain disruptions. Using tellurium use in CdTe photovoltaics as a case study, this paper presents analysis of some of the key challenges associated with modeling byproduct systems (a supply-chain where a key material is actually a byproduct of extraction of another material, copper in the case of tellurium). This work presents a novel modeling approach; the results of the case study are used to identify potential supply risks facing this clean technology, with a unique focus on sensitivity to changes in the preliminary lifecycle stages. Supply-chain sensitivities are connected with direct environmental impacts to frame the implications in a broader sustainability context and to emphasize the future role of recycling. Ultimately, it was shown that if historical supply and demand trends continue, supply gap conditions will emerge before the end of the current decade. However, improvements in byproduct yield, end-use recycling rate, and end-use material intensity exhibit significant leverage to minimize risk in the energy-critical tellurium supply-chain. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Goe M.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability | Gaustad G.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Applied Energy | Year: 2014

There are increasing concerns that physical material constraints threaten energy security and the growth of emerging technologies. Traditional approaches to quantify material criticality utilize single-score metrics which are narrowly focused on physical scarcity and often lead to command-and-control policies. However, a broader definition of criticality that goes beyond physical scarcity to include sustainability metrics e.g. embodied energy, political instability, economic value can provide policymakers with a more comprehensive perspective of the complex and highly interconnected relationships between indicators. We use the case of solar photovoltaic materials to demonstrate the challenges and opportunities in critical materials policy and indicator choices. For silicon-based and thin-film photovoltaics in particular, Ge, Pt, As, In, Sn and Ag were found to be the most critical relative to the 17 materials studied. Multi-metric analysis for these materials reveals tradeoffs that suggest friction between sustainable economics, political stability of supply, and environmental quality objectives. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Anctil A.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability | Anctil A.,Rochester Institute of Technology | Babbitt C.W.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability | Raffaelle R.P.,Rochester Institute of Technology | Landi B.J.,Rochester Institute of Technology
Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications | Year: 2013

Organic photovoltaics (OPVs) are expected to be a low cost, environmentally friendly energy solution with advantageous properties such as flexibility and light weight that enable their use in new applications. Considerable progress in power conversion efficiencies has brought OPV technology closer to commercialization. However, little consideration has been given to potential environmental impact associated with their production. Although environmental life cycle studies of OPV exist, their scope is narrow or too reliant on outdated technologies. Some of the most significant recent improvements are the result of new semiconductors materials, which have not yet been assessed from a life cycle perspective. Therefore, this study calculates life cycle embodied energy for 15 new materials encompassing a variety of donor, acceptor, and interface compounds showing the most promise in organic electronics. With the use of new inventory data, life cycle energy impact associated with production of both single junction and multi-junction architectures has been calculated including bulk heterojunction polymer, planar small molecule, and planar-mixed small molecule devices. The cumulative energy demand (CED) required to fabricate small molecule and polymer photovoltaics were found to be similar from 2.9 to 5.7 MJ/Wp. This CED is on average of 50% less than for conventional inorganic photovoltaics, motivating the continued development of both technologies. The use of fullerenes was shown to have a dramatic impact on polymer solar cells, comprising 18-30% of the CED, despite only being present in small quantities. Increases in device efficiency are shown to marginally reduce CED for both small molecule and polymer designs. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Zhai P.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Williams E.D.,Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Renewable Energy | Year: 2012

Consumer perception could play an important role in the adoption of renewable energy technologies. This study aims to explore the role of consumer acceptance and model its effect on residential photovoltaic (PV) adoption. A survey was conducted to understand consumer perceptions of the technology (perception variables), such as perceived cost, perceived maintenance requirement, and environmental concern. To further investigate the adoption potential of residential PV, this paper develops a fuzzy logic inference model to relate consumer perception variables (inputs to the model) to their purchasing probability (output from the model). This model is tested in a case study of residential PV adoption using data from a survey of homeowners in Arizona, United States. The quantitative results of the model demonstrate the role of each perception variable in the consumer acceptance of PV. Public has tended to emphasize on the role of cost reduction in promoting the adoption of residential PV. The results of this study show that other issues such as maintenance requirement and environmental concern are also important. © 2011.

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