Sustainable use of materials

This theme looks at the manufacturing research challenges for the sustainable use of materials in a manufacturing process or system (as opposed to novel materials synthesis), with a focus on engineering, technology and design research. This includes research challenges focused on the reduction, reuse, replacement and/or recycle of materials, energy, water and waste in a manufacturing system. For example: turning waste into useful products, greater material utilisation, material substitution, reduction of material use or higher material utilisation, energy reduction, closed-cycle material systems, economic and environmental sustainability.

Key research sub themes include:

  • Replacing high temperature processes with lower temperature processes
  • Sustainable chemical feedstocks
  • Sustainable chemistry in manufacture
  • Sustainable materials for manufacture
  • Resource-efficient manufacturing
  • High tech, low resource approaches to manufacturing
  • More sustainable and environmentally-friendly approaches to manufacturing
  • Harnessing biotechnology in manufacturing to give new materials and new processes
  • Industrial ecology (cascade of wastes)

Research on business models and the social sciences can make a useful contribution to this theme but should not dominate the research agenda of any proposed centre.

Proposals should be driven by a multidisciplinary approach and a manufacturing need. Any proposal in this area should have a significant input and support from industry that cuts across sectors. Proposals should provide the breadth and depth of knowledge needed in the various sectors that these areas feed into and support from major industrial stakeholders should reflect this.