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Assessment of Environmentally Benign Manufacturing (EBM) Technologies

Final Report (April 2001, Adobe Acrobat format, 3.5 MB)

The purpose of this study is to gather information on research and development around the world aimed at developing alternative methods for materials processing with the purpose of minimizing toxic material generation and optimizing products and byproducts for sustainability and reuse characteristics.


This study reviews the current status of environmentally benign manufacturing (EBM) research, development, and applications in the United States, Japan, and Western Europe with a view towards evaluating the competitive status of U.S. efforts and towards finding good ideas abroad that would be useful in the United States. The study attempts to identify new strategies the research community could employ to improve the future position of U.S. manufacuturing industries with respect to environmental issues. It also assesses current international collaborative activities and identifies opportunities for new approaches and topics for international cooperation in this field.

The WTEC study benchmarks U.S. research and utilization of EBM-related technologies and helps identify fundamental research, policy, and educational challenges in order to enhance the long-term competitiveness of U.S. industry.

This assessment of EBM technologies focuses on the following:

The panel's findings include the following: Europe leads in most governmental activities, Japan in industrial activities, and the results for research and development are mixed. The United States leads in financial and legal liability concerns, water conservation, decreased industrial releases to air and water, and research in polymers and long term electronics, but follows in all other areas. In the area of university educational activities, and both industry and government sponsorship of these, it is clear that Europe leads, followed by the United States and then Japan. Overall, therefore, the United States ranks third behind Europe and Japan.

Traveling panelists (see additional information)

Dr. Timothy G. Gutowski
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Director, Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cynthia F Murphy (Panel Co-chair)
Research Scientist, Center for Energy and Environmental Resources
University of Texas at Austin
Dr.  David T. Allen Dr. David T. Allen
Henry Beckman Professor in Chemical Engineering
University of Texas at Austin
Dr.  Diana J. Bauer Dr. Diana J. Bauer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Research (NCER)
Dr. Bert Bras Dr. Bert Bras
Associate Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology
The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Systems Realization Laboratory
Dr. Thomas S. Piwonka Dr. Thomas S. Piwonka
Director, Metal Casting Technology Center
University of Alabama
Dr. Paul Sheng Dr. Paul Sheng
Associate Principal
McKinsey and Co., Inc.
Dr. John W. Sutherland Dr. John W. Sutherland
Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Michigan Technological University
Dr. Deborah L. Thurston Dr. Deborah L. Thurston
Director, Decision Systems Laboratory
Department of General Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Egon E. Wolff
Director, International Materials and Component Research
Caterpillar Inc.

Other Team Members (see additional information)

No Picture Available Delcie R. Durham, Ph.D., PE, Program
Director, Design and Manufacturing Research Group, National
Science Foundation
Dr. A. Frederick Thompson Dr. A. Frederick Thompson, PE,
Program Director, Environmental Technology, National
Science Foundation

Last update: November 30, 1999.
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