Sustainable Resources

Research Projects

Below a list of past and ongoing research topics in the framework of Sustainable Resources and their principle investigators at DPM is presented.

Since the start of the chair Packaging Design and Management (Roland ten Klooster, Jos de Lange), sustainable development and adjacent subjects such as Life Cycle Engineering, Life Cycle Assessment and Circular Economy have been integral part of one of the research themes of the chair and has been a recurring subject for master theses on packaging in the fast moving consumer goods industry (FMCG). The chair has a strong relation with industry on the subject (see the research project and the master theses for examples). Together with the chair Product-Market Relations of Jörg Henseler, the chair is a key partner for the KIDV (Kennis Instituut Duurzaam Verpakken; Knowledge Institute Sustainable Packaging) – an initiative paid by business that has to govern the research program on the subject of sustainable resources for packaging the years 2014-2023 (at the moment executed together with the Top Institute TIFN). For master theses, sustainable development is a main, recurring topic. 25% of the assignments have this as core subject.  As all our master assignments stem from industry, this clearly states the relevance of the subject for the packaging and FMCGs industry leading to participation in research projects, consultancy work or joining industry programs such as Netwerk Duurzaam Verpakken, NVC or KIDV. Organizations represent the main players of the field, to illustrate:

Brand-owners FMCGs: life cycle engineering and assessment studies for Arla Foods, Bio+, Danone , Enviu, Fair Trade, Friesland Campina, Grolsch, HJ Heinz, Masterfoods (Mars), Van Houtum, Unilever
Retail: consultancy assignments for Ahold, Lidl, C1000 (predecessor of Jumbo)
Packaging industry: Ardagh, Smurfit Kappa, Tata, Depa, Eggink Verpakkingen
Packers/fillers: SP Packaging & Sales

Energy-efficiency of waste heat (Wessel Wits, 2008-current) utilizing two-phase heat transfer devices to efficiently transport heat from sources, where dissipated heat is a byproduct, to locations where either heat is a valuable resource (energy recovery) or heat is disposed (cooling). For instance, heat can be used to drive a pump (Wessel Wits, 2015-current). Several other systems could potentially be interesting on different scale lengths. These systems, such as heat pipes and thermosyphons will be explored in the furture.

The evaluation and quantification of sustainability impacts of products and systems (Marten Toxopeus) and the development of closed loop material systems is strongly embedded in research in the field of industrial design engineering as well as in educational activities.

Design-driven research (Wouter Eggink, Angele Reinders) plays an important role in Sustainable Resources in two ways. Design can improve sustainable technology itself as well as the acceptance and use of sustainable technology in society. In this field, research projects are embedded in educational projects, which will be explained in great detail in the next section. Education results in design cases with a sustainable component which is evaluated regarding integration, aesthetics, user acceptance and its narrative in connection to life-styles and scenarios of use.

In the field of sustainable product design and system engineering with renewable energy technologies (Angele Reinders) the aim exists to better integrate, among others, photovoltaic (PV) solar energy, energy-efficient technologies and other sustainable energy technologies in products, buildings and local smart grids. This research is transdisciplinary with interests in energy performance, environmental aspects, user interactions and life cycle costs. This design-driven research includes the development of new simulation tools for analyzing the performance of energy systems, long term monitoring and the application of evaluation tools such as environmental life cycle analysis. At present, this research line has two major directions, namely photovoltaic solar systems and smart grids based on cases or pilots in real life situations, like for instance research on realized residential smart grids or solar-powered vehicles. These living lab cases are usually executed with industry and in interdisciplinary research teams. In particular these activities have led to the publication of a book by John Wiley & Sons in 2012, which is entitled: The Power of Design: Product Innovation in Sustainable Energy Technologies, co-founding of the Journal of Photovoltaics (Impact Factor 3.736). Due to the global importance of climate change issues, research on sustainable energy extends abroad and has established many international collaborations with European, North-American and Asian organizations. Several projects, which have been completed are shown below:

Leaf Roof, R&D of luminescent solar concentrating PV elements for building integration, collaboration with TU Eindhoven, commissioned by 3TU.Bouw Lighthouse Program (2015)
Smart meter data evaluations, at Ryerson University and utility Hydro One, Toronto (2013-2014)
PV module test bench for analytical monitoring and monitoring of a PV system at UT  (2013- present)
‘Joint Development of a Knowledge Centre on Solar Energy’ comprising the development of a curriculum on solar energy at ITB in Indonesia, the realization of 32.4 kWp pilot PV system in Papua, research on renewable energy in Indonesia and the organization of several conferences, in collaboration with UT, WWF-Indonesia, Institut Teknologi Bandung and several other Indonesian universities (2011-2013)
Fibre reinforced PV modules, STW Valorisation Grant Phase 1 (2012-2013)
Design engineering of a small PV powered compressed air energy storage unit, collaboration with the JRC Institute of Energy of the European Commission (2010-2011)
Redesign of energy-efficient consumer products, commissioned by Philips (2010)
Virtue of Blue, Design of a solar PV powered chandelier, commissioned by DeMakersVan (2009)