Several industrial areas are striving to become hubs for circularity by promoting industrial symbioses to prevent or reduce waste streams, prioritizing resource efficiency, and maximizing renewable energy use. This PhD project will focus on optimizing the utilization and exchange of resources within a hub for circularity, while accounting for the costs of technology and infrastructure to implement industrial symbioses. The aim is to reduce waste, carbon emissions, and the consumption of resources by optimizing the resource flows and logistics and by maximizing the synergy effects of industrial processes (e.g., utilization of by-products, waste water, carbon capture, production and use of hydrogen).
The successful applicant will join the Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems (IEBIS) section of the High-tech Business & Entrepreneurship Department (HBE) at the Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences (BMS).
Despite the ongoing efforts of the European Union policies, heavily industrialized clusters are lagging in the implementation of Industrial Symbiosis (IS)
to transit to more resource- and energy-efficient setups. To advance IS implementation, a promising future research direction is Hubs for Circularity (H4C)
. H4C provide spaces where diverse actors, such as businesses, governments, researchers, and civil society, collaborate to accelerate the net-zero Circular Economy (CE) transition
. UT acquired the large-scale Horizon Europe project entitled "Sustainable Circular Economy Transition: from Industrial Symbiosis to Hubs for Circularity: IS2H4C”. IS2H4C
will deliver a systemic approach to sustainable CE transition, helping to materialise Sustainable Development Goals. Our focus?
Resource efficiency, IS matchmaking, Life Cycle Assessment, renewable energy, waste prevention, and innovative circular technologies, through an integrated approach combing physical and digital H4C
. Ensuring community and government support, sustainable business and financial models, and respect for our planet is paramount. Our vision?
Make IS2H4C the blueprint for Europe's sustainable future and promote H4C as a reference sustainable regional development model. We're starting in four H4C
pilot sites across the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and Türkiye, collaborating with 35 partners from nine European countries. Join us!
UT is hiring six PhD students for IS2H4C
, each with unique roles and qualifications. Be part of an interdisciplinary team shaping the future of CE
while advancing your research.
During the project, the PhD candidate will perform research on the following tasks:
- Investigate the flows and logistics processes of different resources (e.g. materials, products, water, energy) by the participants in a hub for circularity;
- Develop models and algorithms to optimize resource flows within the hub to reduce costs and increase environmental sustainability;
- Include concepts of industrial symbiosis in the optimization to unlock collaboration between stakeholders and foster circularity;
- Assess the economic viability of new industrial symbioses by accounting for the investment costs of required technology and infrastructure;
- Model the factors of uncertainty (e.g., resource prices, demand, and production amount) using scenarios, forecasts, or stochastic processes.
- Incorporate uncertainty into the decision-making models by developing stochastic optimization approaches such as stochastic programming and reinforcement learning.