Callum R. Bissett, University of Rhode Island


Industrial ecology and sustainable development share many principles with industrial and systems engineering. The interdisciplinary qualities and integrated systems approach enables consideration of practical real-world problems. This master’s thesis explores the boundaries and linkages between multiple topics and develops quantitative mathematical models to solve two modern problems of sustainability in supply networks.

Two key contributions are made in this thesis. The first summarizes an extensive literature review of industrial ecology and related fields, developing a more inclusive scope to better address sustainable development opportunities in industrial ecosystems. The second proposes mathematical models to solve configuration problems for eco-industrial network design.

The models are used in two scenarios encountered in the literature. Scenario 1 is design of a new planned eco-industrial network from a subset of interested independent firms. Scenario 2 tests the models to maintain the system, and add or remove members of an existing eco-industrial network. The models are shown to demonstrate flexibility to extend to a number of further relevant problems in sustainability.

Significant linkages between research fields are found in the literature, including multiple engineering disciplines and natural sciences, recycling, waste management and several social sciences. The sparse links between industrial ecology and supply chain and reverse logistics are expanded.