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A Sustainable Technology Seminar Series:

Policy/Economic Analysis of

Sustainable Chemical/Material Technologies

"From Process to Planet: A Framework for Preventing
Unintended Harm and Encouraging Synergies with Nature"

Bhavik Bakshi
Ohio State University

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1424

See the complete list of speakers in this series, with brief biographies.

Bhavik Bakshi

History has many examples of technologies that caused unintended harm and ecological degradation. These include formation of the ozone hole by chemicals that were once thought to be miracle compounds, aquatic dead zones due to use of artificial fertilizers, and global climate change due to reliance on fossil fuels. Reasons behind the development and adoption of such unsustainable technologies include making decisions based on the narrow boundary of traditional engineering that does not consider the shifting of impacts to other parts of the life cycle and ignoring the capacity of ecosystems to supply goods and services needed for sustaining the technology. This talk will present a framework that is being developed to address these shortcomings. This framework integrates engineering models that are at the small scale of individual processes and based on fundamental knowledge with life cycle and economic models at coarser regional to global scales and based on empirical data. The demand and supply of specific ecosystem services are also quantified at multiple spatial scales to encourage engineering within ecological constraints. By selecting appropriate objective functions and constraints, this versatile framework can be used for designing sustainable industrial processes or for assessing macro-level environmental policies. Applications will demonstrate the ability of this framework to encourage technological and policy innovation along with ecological restoration at local, regional and global scales.

Bhavik Bakshi is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at The Ohio State University. He also holds appointments in civil, environmental, and geodetic engineering at OSU and as a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, India. His research is motivated by the need for sustainable engineering that meets societal needs without degrading ecosystems. He is developing systematic and scientifically rigorous methods for understanding the interaction between engineering and the environment and for developing decisions and designs toward sustainability. This includes methods for analyzing the life cycle of existing and emerging technologies to avoid unexpected side effects of engineering decisions and for designing systems that meet human needs while benefiting from synergies between technological and ecological systems. His awards include a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, Research Excellence in Sustainable Engineering award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and several best paper awards. He earned his PhD and MSCEP from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his BS in chemical engineering from the University of Bombay.


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