Circular Economy

Bringing together policymakers, manufacturers, and consumers and assessing all sectors and interconnectivities to develop a life cycle approach to the circular economy and moving to a zero waste future (materials and energy)

Bringing together policymakers, manufacturers, and consumers and assessing all sectors and interconnectivities to develop a life cycle approach to the circular economy and moving to a zero waste future (materials and energy)

Over 90% of the global economy continues to function with the unsustainable, linear “take-make-toss” process in relation to materials. Manufacturers rely on raw natural resources for processing and production, and the materials produced largely lack viability or end of use/life strategy. The circular economy looks to reduce waste in the life cycle of production and increase efficiency and effectiveness of recycling at the end of life for products.

Colorado School of Mines, the Payne Institute for Public Policy and our partners are working to address this issue and generate important research on the circular economy. Colorado School of Mines has expertise at every point of production. From the initial identification and extraction of natural resources, to processing, manufacturing, distribution, and product end-of-life reclamation. Through collaboration on campus with our geophysics, mining engineering, advanced manufacturing, mechanical engineering and chemistry departments and others. As well as off campus collaboration with NREL and various industry partners, the Payne Institute is connecting its breath of technical expertise with the world of public policy to bring the issue of the circular economy to the forefront.

NEWS

Optimality versus reality: Closing the gap between renewable energy decision models and government deployment in the United States 4/12/2021

Optimality versus reality: Closing the gap between renewable energy decision models and government deployment in the United States

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Kate Anderson, Maggie Nevrly, Emma Elgqvist, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about the energy decision models that are widely used to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of renewable energy, as well as to help inform the deployment of these technologies. However, a gap exists between the optimal model solutions and what is deployed. April 12, 2021.

Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies 4/1/2021

Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies

The Payne Institute is proud to be a partner organization with the World Economic Forum on their new initiative Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies. Accelerating clean energy transitions is a global imperative for the world to address the climate emergency. The decarbonization of energy production and use will require trillions of dollars to be invested in the deployment of new clean energy capacity and energy efficiency, as well as to retire existing carbon-intensive energy infrastructure that would otherwise lock-in emissions for decades. April 1, 2021.

Governments have identified commodities essential to economic and military security 3/31/2021

Governments have identified commodities essential to economic and military security

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Rod Eggert and Director Morgan Bazilian contribute to this article about obtaining critical minerals necessary to break the U.S. dependence on foreign production. The U.S. Defense department will help facilitate the building of facilities to process rare earths, part of an effort to secure supply independent from China.  March 31, 2021.

The material foundations of a low-carbon economy 3/19/2021

The material foundations of a low-carbon economy

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, Senior Research Associate Sara Hastings-Simon, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the transition to a low-carbon environment is rapidly accelerating and with it the potential for severe environmental and social degradation. The extraction and processing of key materials have already begun to affect developing economies, and policy changes are essential to ensuring a just transition.  March 19, 2021.

VALUING ALBERTA’S RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY PROGRAM 3/18/2021

VALUING ALBERTA’S RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY PROGRAM

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon and Blake Shaffer write about how When Alberta’s government launched the Renewable Electricity Program (REP) in 2017, many feared it would result in yet another costly subsidy for renewable power. With a little over a year since first generation, we look back on how the REP contracts have fared so far. It may come as a surprise then that the government is actually making money on them.  March 18, 2021.  

Rising oil prices a litmus test for Alberta’s commitment to addressing inactive wells 3/17/2021

Rising oil prices a litmus test for Alberta’s commitment to addressing inactive wells

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon writes an opinion piece on how recently, the Alberta Energy Regulator suspended Sanling Energy’s licences, announcing that the company has $67 million in unpaid security for end-of-life obligations (i.e. abandonment and reclamation of wells). This is but the latest in a long series of bad news regarding the oil and gas sector’s outstanding environmental liabilities in Alberta, which includes a staggering 97,000 inactive wells (wells that are neither producing nor properly abandoned and reclaimed) — up from approximately 84,000 in 2018.  March 17, 2021.

Integrating Technology and Incentives to Reduce Methane Emissions 3/16/2021

Integrating Technology and Incentives to Reduce Methane Emissions

Payne Institute Fellow Ben Gilbert and Mark Agerton discuss economic considerations with using remote sensing in methane emissions policy. A two-tiered monitoring system like the recently proposed Methane Emissions Reduction Act is a powerful tool to achieve emissions reductions. However, there are important considerations in how to design such a system. A two-tiered system could facilitate emissions pricing and responsible gas markets, reward innovative producers, and fund programs for further climate change mitigation while easing the impact of the energy transition on oil and gas communities.   March 16, 2021.  

Solar Panel 3/12/2021

Solar Panel

Payne Institute Senior Research Associate Dr. Sara Hastings-Simon contributes to this video panel discussion taking questions on battery storage, cost barriers, government incentives, climate justice, and more.  March 12, 2021.

Decarbonizing the food and beverages industry: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options 3/7/2021

Decarbonizing the food and beverages industry: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Fellow Steve Griffiths, Benjamin K.Sovacool, Jinsoo Kim, Aoife Foley, and David Rooney write about farm to fork, food and beverage consumption that can have significant negative impacts on energy consumption, water consumption, climate change, and other environmental subsystems. This paper presents a comprehensive, critical and systematic review of more than 350,000 sources of evidence, and a short list of 701 studies, on the topic of greenhouse gas emissions from the food and beverage industry. March 7, 2021.  

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For more information about the Circular Economy Research Area at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, please contact our Deputy Director, Gregory Clough, at gclough@mines.edu.