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Updated: Fri, 07/12/2024 - 12:16

McGill Alert. The downtown campus will remain partially closed through the evening of Monday, July 15. See the Campus Safety site for details.

Alerte de McGill. Le campus du centre-ville restera partiellement fermé jusqu’au lundi 15 juillet, en soirée. Complément d’information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention

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Developing Life Cycle Decision Support Tools for Sustainable Pathways to a Circular Bioeconomy

DATE: October 16th 2023 | TIME: 2:00pm (EST) |  Location: Macdonald Engineering Building RM: 267

Presented by: Prof. Yuan Yao -Assistant Professor of Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Systems at the Yale School of the Environment

biomass woof pellets with wood and leafCircular bioeconomy has emerged as a pivotal strategy for utilizing dedicated and waste biomass to combat climate change and address global resource challenges. Many pathways within the circular bioeconomy framework have been proposed, such as converting woody biomass into biochar, mass timber, and bioenergy combined with carbon capture and storage. Assessing the environmental, economic, and societal implications of these biomass utilization pathways is essential to the development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy. However, this assessment is hindered by the scarcity of data and robust methodologies for complex biomass systems across various temporal and spatial scales. This talk will present transdisciplinary life cycle systems modeling approaches that Yao’s research lab has been developing to address knowledge and methodological gaps. These frameworks systematically integrate traditional industrial ecology approaches, including life cycle assessment, with modeling techniques drawn from other disciplines, such as machine learning, engineering process modeling, techno-economic analysis, and ecosystem modeling. By integrating these methodologies, the talk will demonstrate how the integrated life cycle systems frameworks advance the knowledge of the interlinked biomass (particularly forest) and industrial systems across both spatial and temporal dimensions. Furthermore, this talk will discuss how these frameworks can support the design and optimization for sustainable pathways and enable systems-level decision-making for a climate-beneficial, resource-efficient bioeconomy.

Co-Sponsor: 

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Prof. Yuan YaoProf. Yuan Yao

Dr. Yuan Yao is the Assistant Professor of Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Systems, and Chemical & Environmental Engineering at Yale University. Her research focuses on understanding the potential environmental impacts of emerging technologies and biomass utilization. Dr. Yao received many awards, including the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 35 Under 35 Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Laudise Medal from the International Society of Industrial Ecology. She serves as the associate editor for the journal Resources, Conservation & Recycling, the leading peer-reviewed journal on resource sustainability. She also served on the provisional committee for the U.S. National Academies to assess the current life cycle analysis methods for low-carbon transportation fuels in the United States. She received her Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

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