Towards a Circular Economy Systems Engineering Framework by Stratos Pistikopoulos

Stratos Pistikopoulos, Director, Texas A&M Energy Institute, TEES Eminent Professor, Texas A&M University, delivered the lecture: Towards a Circular Economy Systems Engineering Framework (October 8) at FAFS.

The term “Circular Economy” represents an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design. It aims to offer a solution to the resource challenge society is facing by keeping products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times.


In his presentation, Professor Pistikopoulos addressed the questions of (i) what are the relevance and links of Circular Economy to Complex Systems Analysis? And (ii) what can Systems & Networks modeling, analysis, and optimization offer to the Circular Economy? He then presented the foundations of a Circular Economy Systems Engineering framework and discussed its use in the analysis and trade-off optimization of interconnected resource networks to the context of achieving a circular economy.

The framework combines data analytics, mixed-integer modelling, and multi-objective superstructure-based optimization methods in an effort to establish (i) the interconnections between different stages of the circular supply chain, which involve alternative processes, materials, resources, and technological options; (ii) the potentially competing interests among various stakeholders; and (iii) policy, regulation, and societal issues. Links to multi-scale energy systems engineering & circular carbon economy, life-cycle & sustainability analysis and the Food-Energy-Water Nexus were also discussed. Finally, he highlighted possible advantages, limitations, and open questions of circular economy systems engineering through a number of representative case studies.