Research paper accepted to the Journal of Industrial Ecology

BiSSL alumn Colton Brehm (MS graduate May 2020) just had his full-length research paper accepted in the Journal of Industrial Ecology! The paper, titled “Nestedness in eco-industrial networks: exploring linkage distribution to promote sustainable industrial growth,” investigates the use of nestedness – a structural characteristic of ecological food webs, to guide the design of Eco-Industrial Networks (EINs) to improve their sustainability, creating a more circular economy.

Abstract: “Eco-Industrial Networks (EINs) have gained support as a solution that simultaneously reduces environmental burdens and promotes economic interests. EINs operate under a mutualistic framework, where waste materials and energy are exchanged between industries to their mutual benefit, creating a diverse web of flows. Recent studies have focused on analogies between food webs (FWs) and EINs, measuring a network’s success at ecological imitation as representative of its sustainability. Studies have focused heavily on the number of links and nodes in a network, but have neglected the economic reality that each investment comes at the opportunity cost of all alternatives. This analysis focuses on the nestedness metric as used by ecologists to address this pivotal facet to the FW-EIN analogy. Nestedness describes an ecological strategy for the position of links between nodes in a network in a way that maximizes network cycling for a given number of connections. This metric presents many advantages for EIN design and analysis, including maturity independence, size normalization, and a strong statistical record in highly mutualistic ecological systems. Application of nestedness to EINs indicates a lower presence of nested structures and more randomness than what is typically seen in FWs. The industrial networks also display a correlation between high nestedness and internal cycles, suggesting that the reuse of materials and energy in EINs can be improved upon by increasing the nestedness of structures.”

Brehm, C., & Layton, A. (2020). “Nestedness in eco-industrial networks: exploring linkage distribution to promote sustainable industrial growth.” Journal of Industrial Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/jiec.13057

CIRP Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) 2020 Virtual Conference

Two BiSSL students, PhD student Abheek Chatterjee and recent MS graduate Colton Brehm, had their first authored peer-reviewed publications presented at the 2020 CIRP Life Cycle Engineering conference. The conference, originally meant to be in Grenoble, France was entirely virtual due to COVID-19.

Abstract: “Supply chain design has traditionally focused on using the shortest path or the minimum number of paths to reduce operational costs. This approach, however, fails to account for a system’s response to external disruptions. A novel supply chain design is proposed that mimics the optimal balance of efficient and redundant pathways found in nature’s resilient ecosystems. A comparison of traditional and bio-inspired supply chain designs are done using a disruption scenario, showing that the bio-inspiration significantly reduces the supply chain’s vulnerability to cascading failures.”Chatterjee, A., & Layton, A. (2020). Bio-inspired Design for Sustainable and Resilient Supply Chains. Paper presented at the 27th CIRP Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) Conference, Grenoble, France. can see the 10 minute presentation from Day 2 (May 14) of the CIRP LCE 2020, Circular Economy track, given by Abheek Chatterjee, here on YouTube (start 2:55:47).

“The sustainability of industrial practices is a growing point of emphasis in the research and business communities demanding effective systems-level solutions. Eco-Industrial Parks (EIPs), networks of co-located industries connected through mutually beneficial collaborations are a popular systems-level solution but have experienced highly variable degrees of success. Nestedness, a structure prevalent in mutualistic networks found in nature is our design focus for improved outcomes. This paper investigates how ecologically-similar nestedness values in EIPs relate to reductions of freshwater imports. The results indicate a range of nestedness values that support water conservation and critical thresholds for maximizing capital investments.”Brehm, C., Chatterjee, A., & Layton, A. (2020). Mimicking the nested structures of ecosystems in the design of industrial water networks. Paper presented at the 27th CIRP Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) Conference, Grenoble, France. can see the 10 minute presentation from Day 1 (May 13) of the CIRP LCE 2020, Eco-Design track, given by Colton Brehm, here on YouTube (start 2:08:47).

Two students become the latest successful BiSSL Graduates!

Colton Brehm
Shelby Warrington

Congratulations to two of BiSSL’s research students for graduating today! Graduate student Colton Brehm graduates with his MS in Mechanical Engineering. He’ll be starting at SAIC in their Mission Support division doing Probabilistic Risk Assessment in June. Undergraduate student Shelby Warrington graduates with her BS in Mechanical Engineering. She’ll be starting graduate school at Yale for a Masters of Environmental Management, specializing in Urban or Industrial Ecology in the Fall. We will sincerely miss them both in the BiSSL group and wish them the best moving forward!