Seminars Archive




  • Design for Remanufacturing and Sustainable Production Metrics

    Bob German
    RIT-CIMS Senior Staff Engineer


    Bob German has been working in the field of product manufacturing for over 16 years. As a founding member of the Center for Remanufacturing, he has contributed significantly to the overall growth and success of major research initiatives in support of various industry sectors. He is responsible for leading project teams in the area of remanufacturing process development, operational and technology assessment of production facilities, competitive benchmarking, product design assessment, and educational program development. He also acts as a resource and participant on projects conducted by the other functional areas within the center.

  • Fuel Cells and Batteries For Vehicles – What is Left to Do?

    Dr. Hubert A. Gasteiger
    Technical University of Munich


    There are significant technical challenges remaining to be overcome before electric propulsion becomes a cost-effective alternative to conventional internal combustion engines for general-use vehicles such as cars and light trucks. Current fuel cells rely on catalysts using expensive platinum-based materials; research is needed into low- or non-platinum catalyst materials. Likewise, research into new battery chemistries and materials will be required to reduce the weight, performance, and range limitations of present-day batteries. In addition, the infrastructure required for rapid recharging of vehicle batteries is unlikely to materialize soon due to the steep cost of delivering high KWh currents. Future electric vehicles will likely be of two types: fuel cell/battery hybrids for long-range applications (< 200 km) and all-battery vehicles for shorter-range usage. Dr. Gasteiger is a Full Professor at the TUM (Chemistry) specializing in electrocatalysis, materials development, and materials degradation phenomena related to batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers. In 2009 he was a Visiting Professor at MIT (Mechanical Engineering Dept.), and earlier served as Technical Manager in the Fuel Cell Activities program of GM/Opel (1999 in Mainz-Kastel, Germany; 2000-2007 in Honeoye Falls, NY, USA) in the areas of catalyst and MEA development. December 2010 (Photo by J. Sutherland)

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  • Green Chemistry: Sustaining a High-Tech Civilization

    Dr. Terrence Collins
    Carnegie Mellon University


    Dr. Collins noted that even as science and technology have given humanity's immense and unprecedented power over the welfare of the ecosphere, the exercise of our newfound powers has led to a major degradation of the ecosystem. The increased use of the term "sustainability" captures our rising insecurity about the viability of the civilization we have built. In our increasingly crowded world, common chemicals that once seemed harmless no longer do. As the field of green chemistry expands, chemists are turning their inventive talents toward eliminating hazards from chemical processes. Dr. Collins provided examples of green chemistry developments, including several achievements in the Carnegie Mellon University laboratories with an ethical context of transgenerational justice. Dr. Collins has been recognized internationally for his work in creating a new class of oxidation catalysts with the potential for enormous, positive impact on the environment. He has been named a recipient of a 2010 Heinz Award. These awards are given annually by the Heinz Family Foundation to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions in their fields. Dr. Collins and nine others were chosen for their "outstanding response to global environmental challenges." December 2010 (Photo by J. Sutherland)

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  • Total Life Cycle Management: Framework, Disciplines and Application

    Dr. Christoph Herrmann
    Technical University Braunschweig


    Dr. Herrmann's presentation focused on the need for life-cycle analysis to encompass and comprehend all manufacturing managerial processes – extending from Product Management through Production Management and After Sales Management to End-of-Life Management. Dr. Hermann is a member of the board and deputy director at the Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology (IWF) at Technical University Braunschweig, and he heads the research group "Product and Life Cycle Management." He has published numerous articles in the area of life cycle assessment and product development. He is a member of the CIRP Collaborative Working Group "Energy and Resource Efficiency & Effectiveness (EREE)," the Coordinator of Task Force "ReUse" of the StEP initiative at the United Nation University, and a member of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, Association of German Engineers. August 2009 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Integrating Life Cycle Perspectives for the Sustainable Management of Electronic Products and E-waste

    Dr. Callie W. Babbitt


    The rapid development, evolution, and adoption of electronic products presents a double-edged sword to the sustainable use and management of these products. On the one hand, electronic information technology has enabled increased communication and productivity, and reuse of computers in secondary markets can contribute to growing economies and narrow the digital divide between developed and developing countries. On the other hand, computer manufacture and use requires significant material and energy inputs, and improper downstream management of "e-waste" can potentially create significant human health and environmental impacts. This challenge is further complicated as electronic products undergo rapid technological evolution, which is expected to induce changes in the environmental characteristics of manufacturing processes, performance of products, and in how consumers purchase, use, and dispose of products. Dr. Babbitt reviewed her research on one methodological approach recently applied in a case study of personal computers in universities, which resulted the first quantification and characterization of personal computer trends specific to higher education, including purchase rates, stocks, ownership percentages, lifetimes, and obsolete equipment generation rates. A new approach for understanding the evolution of computer lifespan and incorporating this variable into life cycle studies was introduced as well as how this, and other life cycle methodologies, could advance our understanding and inform policy decisions, consumer behavior, and industrial practices for increased sustainability in the production, use, and management of electronic products and e-waste. January 2009 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Alternative Energy Systems and Sustainable Materials from Secondary and Renewable Resources

    Paul Rayar
    Director, Arcilla Research


    Mr. Rayar discussed the need for developing construction materials from locally available and sustainable resources and examples of prototype materials developed by Arcilla Research. October 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Organizational and Collaborative Strategic Management for Sustainable Development

    Amelia C. Clarke
    McGill University
    Desautels Faculty of Management


    Ms. Clarke presented her current research on the implementation of collaborative regional sustainable development strategies - those bound by a local region (such as a city boundary), and involve numerous cross-sector partners, including local businesses, universities, the municipal government, and NGOs. October 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • All Consuming Debt: The International Economics of (Un)sustainable Consumption

    Dr. Maurie J. Cohen
    Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science
    New Jersey Institute of Technology


    Dr. Cohen's talk explored the notion of sustainable consumption in macroeconomic terms via a framework linking proponents of sustainable consumption and economists concerned with more customary measures of overconsumption. Assessed in such terms, several affluent nations can be described as consuming at unsustainable levels, though the United States appears to be an exceptional case of a country that is living substantially beyond its means. This situation could have profound—and thus far largely unacknowledged—consequences for the rest of the world should the American government prove in future years be unable to meet its extensive international obligations. October 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Increasing Materials Recovery: Research Questions from Complex Systems Modeling

    Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    One of the key engineering challenges of the 21st century will be reducing the harmful effects associated with a growing population and the attendant flows of materials. Materials engineers are uniquely positioned to play a central role in addressing these problems by fundamentally changing the materials and processes used by society. For this to happen, however, engineers must consider the environmental impacts of their design choices and will require additional analytical tools to quantify those broader implications. As these implications affect a number of stake-holders throughout a product's life-cycle, this analysis requires a systems engineering approach. Dr. Gaustad's research begins to address this need by developing analytical tools that identify opportunities to increase materials recycling through the following operational, technological, policy, and manufacturing strategies:identifying and removing barriers and disincentives to secondary usage (specifically managing compositional uncertainty; evaluating effective technologies for "upgrading" secondary materials; and designing and selecting recycling-friendly alloys. Dr. Gaustad's talk covered topics related to mapping the systems implications of technology and operational decisions onto the sustainable use of materials including enabling efficient collection and logistics and informing recycling system legislation and policies. September 2008

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  • Recent Technology Advances in Gas Separation Technologies for Hydrogen Generation

    Dr. Bowie Keefer
    Founder, QuestAir, Inc.


    Dr. Keefer reviewed QuestAir's patented rapid-cycle pressure swing adsorption ("PSA") technology and other separation methods for generating hydrogen. Emerging applications for PSA technology include onboard generation of hydrogen for fuel cell powered vehicles. Dr. Keefer discussed the systems-level tradeoffs governing efficiency and key operating parameters. September 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • A Framework for Accessing the Biocomplexity of Sustainable Material Use

    Dr. Jun-Ki Choi
    Post-doctoral Researcher
    Center for Resilience, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    The Ohio State University


    Successful design of industrial products and processes requires consideration of the complex interactions between economic, environmental, engineering, and social factors that span multiple spatial and temporal scales. Dr. Choi presented two interrelated research areas utilizing biocomplexity concepts applied to design and manufacturing with a focus on environmental and energy issues. May 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Process Intensification: The Future is Green

    Dr. Roshan Jachuck
    Research Associate Professor
    Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
    Clarkson University


    Process intensification technologies accelerate chemical reactions by increasing mixing efficiency. As a result, the production of chemicals can often be increased while simultaneously reducing the energy used in the process and waste byproducts. Dr. Jachuck reviewed the basic fluid dynamic principles responsible for increased mixing efficiency along with several approaches to designing scalable processes based on these principles. May 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Earth Day 2008

    GIS hosted a series of talks in observance of Earth Day.

    • Integrating Sustainability into Public Policy — The Greening of the Federal Sector Experience; Mr. Edwin Piñero, Director, NYS Pollution Prevention Institute at RIT (right); One very effective way that the Federal government can promote sustainability is to lead by example. In addition to legislation, regulation, and various fiscal incentives, the government can promote sustainability by leveraging its vast market power as a consumer and addressing its own environmental and energy footprint. Mr. Piñero discussed how the greening of the federal government movement has developed over time, and how government greening policy has been successful in changing the market.
    • Introduction to Sustainability Science; Dr. Thomas Seager, Associate Professor, GIS; The traditional organizational structure of the University serves the needs of the industrial economy well. Specialization in science, like specialization of labor in manufacturing, resulted in a more efficient and productive enterprise. However, the economy is changing and Universities have been slow to respond. The challenge of sustainability transcends disciplinary boundaries. Transformative approaches must be found to better understand the interaction between the economy, society and the environment. GIS at RIT is developing a new paradigm of graduate research and education that dissolves disciplinary boundaries, embraces teamwork and integrates environmental, social and technological research agenda. Dr. Seager discussed some of the new sciences that explore the sustainability frontier, such as Industrial Ecology, Ecological Economics, Ecosystem Health and Social Ecology, that will be critical to the success of the Institute.
    • Sustainable Energy Technologies — The Prospects and Present Reality; Dr. Brian Landi, NanoPower Research Labs; The longstanding dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy to supply global energy demands has near term impacts on both economic and environmental factors. The development of alternative, sustainable energy sources is quickly expanding from the realm of laboratory research to commercial reality. Dr. Landi discussed technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, biomass, and hydrogen fuel cells in the context of energy production and future promise.
    • Electronic End of Life Cycle Management; Mr. Charles A. McKernan, Jr., Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery; Mr. McKernan presented an overview of electronic recycling and data security concerns at end of high technology electronic equipment life products.
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  • The Combustion Characteristics of Emulsified Fuels

    Professor Vito Agosta
    Professor Emeritus
    Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, N.Y.


    Fuel oils emulsified with ammonia have been shown to exhibit high burn rates and reduced emissions of nitrous oxides. Professor Agosta presented his theoretical and experimental research conducted at both the Polytechnic University and the US Merchant Marine Academy on the utilization of these fuels in diesel engine and heating applications. March 2008 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Sustainability Begins at Home: Using Less Energy in Our Homes and Vehicles

    Dr. Beth Parks
    Associate Professor of Physics
    Colgate University
    in collaboration with RIT's Department of Physics

    American families are directly responsible for 1/3 of our national energy consumption through home and vehicle use, and in 2005 median households spent 9% of their pre-tax income on energy. Professor Parks' talk outlined easy, economical steps consumers can take to reduce their energy foot print enhancing the environment and reducing household costs. January 2008

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  • SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING V: Global Symposium on Sustainable Product Development and Life Cycle Engineering

    Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies building
    Rochester Institute of Technology campus


    The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology hosted SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING V: Global Symposium on Sustainable Product Development and Life Cycle Engineering, between September 18-21, 2007. The objectives of the event were to identify and highlight the needs of industry, government, academia and independent stakeholders in the areas of Environmentally Benign Design and Manufacturing (EBDM) and Life Cycle Engineering. More than 70 participants attended eight plenary talks given by leading government, industrial, and academic experts along with panel discussions, paper presentations, workshops, and tours of local industry. This fifth global symposium was a follow-up to previous workshops held at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in October 2006; at Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China in October 2005; at Technical University, Berlin, Germany in September 2004; as well as the Environmentally Benign Manufacturing (EBM) workshop held in Birmingham, Alabama, in January 2003. September 18-22, 2007 (Photo by ETC at RIT)

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  • Evaluating the Success of Sustainability Initiatives

    Dr. Francisco Szekely (right)
    Adjunct Professor at the European School of Management and Technology, Berlin, Germany
    Former Mexican Deputy Minister of the Environment


    Current efforts to promote implementation of sustainable production in industry have met resistance due in part to skepticism over the link between sustainable development and enhanced profitability. Dr. Szelkely's research has attempted to address this issue through analyzing the direct impact of sustainable initiatives on company performance. During his presentation at RIT, Dr. Szekely discussed his study of the best available metrics used by twenty major German companies to measure the effectiveness of sustainable practices. The examination and dissemination of current best practices will assist companies in better measuring the effectiveness of sustainability while helping to expand the use of these production methods. August 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • PEM Fuel Cell Technology Development

    Dr. N. Rajalakshmi
    Senior Scientist
    Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, at Chennai, ARC-International


    Dr. Rajalakshmi discussed CFCT's efforts to develop, prototype, commercialize and market PEM fuel cell technology for broad commercial applications. She also addressed the center's approach to dealing with two main impediments related to fuel cell development; performance issues surrounding fuel cell stacks and the successful integration of various auxiliary systems that go into the development of fuel cell based power systems. July 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Sustainability Challenges

    Paul H. Stiebitz
    Interim Academic Director
    Sustainability Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology


    As part of RIT's Project Lead the Way Program, Mr. Stiebitz gave a presentation related to challenges affecting global sustainability. He also discussed current educational and research initiatives in the field, including RIT's proposed Ph.D. program in Sustainable Production. Project Lead the Way is an annual summer program which brings area high school teachers to the RIT campus for comprehensive training in engineering education and research. More than 100 participants attended Mr. Stiebitz's talk. July 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Setting a Research/Education Agenda in Environmental Sustainability

    Dr. Janet M. Twomey
    Boeing Faculty Fellow
    Associate Professor, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Wichita State University


    Wichita, Kansas is a major hub of the American aircraft industry. In response, Wichita State's College of Engineering has identified sustainable systems development in aerospace manufacturing as a strategic area of focus. In this presentation, Dr. Twomey discussed the status and evolution of this topic as it applies to research and education. Topics included: Sustainable Design and Manufacturing Systems Modeling. May 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Sustainability Research and the Principles of Life Cycle

    Dr. Michael Overcash
    Professor, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University


    Sustainability research is an integral component to designing and developing complex manufacturing systems. The concepts in this field involve building interfaces between technology and the relevant social and economic issues through life cycle thinking and techniques. Dr. Overcash addressed an array of sustainability research models and the challenges of expanding life cycle analysis for products, green systems chemistry, and end-of-life management. Topics included: Sustainable Design, Life Cycle Engineering and Systems Modeling. May 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Earth Day 2007 Colloquium


    The Sustainability Institute hosted a series of events in honor of Earth Day, including a panel discussion on Sustainable Mobility featuring Matt Fronk of General Motors, a series of sustainable research presentations by RIT students, and a discussion of current research in remanufacturing by visiting researchers from Linkoping University, Sweden. Topics included: Sustainable Mobility, Environmental Computing and Decision Making, the Economics of Sustainability and Remanufacturing. April 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • The Sciences of Sustainability

    Dr. Thomas P. Seager
    Asst. Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University


    There are a host of emerging disciplines in sustainability at the interface of ecological, social and engineering sciences, including industrial ecology, ecosystem health, and ecological economics. Dr. Seager discussed new educational and research models that are being developed to properly address these new fields of study. Topics included: Sustainable Decision-making, Policy and Design. February 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)

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  • Remanufacturing and Recycling Projects at Tianjin University of Technology

    Dr. Jian Li, Professor, Deputy Dean of the School of Management, Tianjin University of Technology
    Mr. Qiang Gao, Associate Professor, School of Electrical Engineering, Tianjin University of Technology
    Mr. Hongxiang Cui, Associate Professor, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin University of Technology


    Chinese cities are currently facing major challenges regarding pollution and waste disposal. Researchers from Tianjin University of Technology discussed two remanufacturing/recycling research projects they are undertaking with the city of Tianjin to assist in addressing these issues. Topics included: Recycling, Material Restoration, Remanufacturing, and Material Salvage Activities in China. February 2007 (Photo by Laura W. Nelson)


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