Much uncertainty exists regarding the potential environmental impacts of autonomous vehicles. A recent collaboration between CSS and the Ford Motor Company sought to quantify this impact using life cycle assessment methodology and found the technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 9%.
A team of researchers are testing whether they can safely make fertilizer for food crops out of disinfected human urine. In addition to reducing nutrients in water, recycling urine could streamline waste treatment. It could head off the emerging issue of pharmaceutical contamination, curb water use and even lessen the need to manufacture synthetic fertilizer.
LED light bulbs are getting cheaper and more energy efficient every year. Our study recommends replacing all incandescent and halogen light bulbs in your home now with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LEDs. Watch a video abstract of the Environmental Research Letters article.
Refrigeration is expanding worldwide and has notable environmental impacts. CSS researchers find that "cold chain" studies rarely address non-direct impacts, ranging from its influence on consumer choices to supply chain operations and resource use. Research gaps and essential considerations for future work are identified.
As part of a 4-year study funded by the National Science Foundation, a 3-part video is available to any individual interested in learning about the consequences and benefits of offshore wind turbines in the Great Lakes.
12 Principles for Green Energy Storage in Grid Applications
Energy storage can pave the way for renewable energy integration, reduced grid infrastructure costs and improved sustainability. CSS and Chemical Engineering researchers developed 12 fundamental principles for the design, operation and grid application of energy storage to systematically approach this complex topic.
Sustainability Without Borders, a UM student organization sponsored by the CSS, is developing and deploying sustainable energy, water, and agricultural technologies in Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world. Students in Liberia work along side students from University of Michigan to promote environmental, social, and economic development in the region.
The need for global solutions to environmental, social, and economic challenges is greater than ever. The Center for Sustainable Systems, within the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, leads interdisciplinary research to support the design, assessment, and management of systems that meet societal needs in a more sustainable manner.
The Center for Sustainable Systems develops and applies life cycle and systems analysis methods, models, and metrics for advancing sustainability and transforming systems to better meet human needs. The Center has pioneered new methods in life cycle analysis, design and optimization and has led over 200 research projects focused on a wide range of topics including alternative vehicle technology, renewable energy systems, buildings and infrastructure, appliances, information technology, food and agricultural systems, and packaging alternatives. Both basic and applied research is conducted in collaboration with stakeholders from the private and public sectors.
The Center contributes to interdisciplinary education at undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels at the University of Michigan through curriculum development, internships, research opportunities and special workshops in the areas of industrial ecology and sustainability.