Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Process-based modeling for cradle-to-gate energy and carbon footprint reduction in product design

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  • Interest in accounting for environmental impacts of products, processes, and systems during the design phase is increasing. Numerous studies have undertaken investigations for reducing environmental impacts across the product life cycle. Efforts have also been launched to quantify such impacts more accurately. Life cycle energy consumption and carbon footprint are among the most frequently adopted and investigated environmental performance metrics. As efforts continue to incorporate environmental sustainability into product design, struggles persist in concurrent consideration of environmental impacts resulting from the manufacturing processes and supply chain network design. Thus, the objective of this research is to present a framework for reducing product cradle-to-gate energy consumption and carbon footprint through simultaneous consideration of manufacturing processes and supply chain activities. The framework developed in this thesis relies on unit process modeling, and is demonstrated for production of a bicycle pedal. It is shown that simultaneous consideration of manufacturing and supply chain processes can impact decision-making and improve product environmental sustainability at the design stage. The work presented contributes to the state of the science in sustainable design and manufacturing research. In addition, a point of departure is established for the research community to move current efforts forward for concurrent consideration of multiple stages of the product life cycle in pursuit of environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
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