2019 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit

Materials Needs for Energy Sustainability by 2050—Incentivizing a Zero-Waste Future

Tuesday, April 23
7:15 pm – 8:30 pm
PCC North, 100 Level, Ballroom 120 D

A dynamic shift is taking place in the waste industry that will impact the materials life cycle from start to finish. What barriers exist, in technology and society, to achieving a zero-waste future? What role do materials scientists play in this transformation?

Join the MRS Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee, MRS Energy & Sustainability journal and the organizers of Symposium ES13 as they convene top experts for a thought-provoking discussion on the challenges and complexities associated with zero waste and the role of zero waste in enabling energy sustainability by 2050.

Discussion Highlights

  • Supply-chain drivers and challenges for zero waste
  • Material and product design for recyclability, repair and reuse
  • Economic and social factors in achieving zero waste
  • The role of zero waste in enabling energy sustainability by 2050

This special program will include audience Q&A as well as real-time interactive audience polling, so bring your smartphone and be ready to participate in this provocative session.

You do not need to be a registered Meeting attendee of the 2019 MRS Spring Meeting to join us for this special event. Be our guest!


Elizabeth Kocs

Elizabeth A. Kócs, University of Illinois at Chicago

Elizabeth A. Kócs is an environment-behavior scientist at the intersection of social, economic, policy and technological advances in energy, sustainability and urban resilience. At the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Energy Initiative, Kócs has a strong focus on energy and technology for transportation, the electrical grid and smart cities. She brings years of expertise in relationship building and partnership engagement to grow the UIC energy and sustainability network, programs and impact, and to cultivate local, regional, national and international initiatives to support collaborative efforts fostering Chicago’s growing energy, mobility and urban sustainability ecosystems. As a Technology Commercialization Fellow at UIC, she evaluates technology to determine potential commercialization plans for energy and sustainability innovations, and serves in an advisory capacity on commercialization strategies. As a clean tech consultant, Kócs brings her expertise to nascent efforts in Central Europe providing strategic directions for innovation and commercialization of energy and sustainability R&D endeavors. She continues to serve on the MRS Bulletin Energy Quarterly Board and the MRS Focus on Sustainability Subcommittee, leveraging her knowledge and network to strengthen the energy and sustainability dialog in the materials community.


Diran Apelian

Diran Apelian, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Diran Apelian is the Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Engineering and Founding Director of the Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  Apelian is also Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California, Irvine. He received his BS degree in metallurgical engineering from Drexel University in 1968, and his doctorate in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972.  He joined WPI in July 1990 as WPI’s Provost. In 1996, he returned to the faculty and leads the activities of the Metal Processing Institute, which he founded.

Apelian is the recipient of many distinguished honors and awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), National Academy of Inventors (NAI),and the Armenian Academy of Sciences. The 2016 Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education was awarded to WPI and the four recipients are Diran Apelian, Kristin Wobbe, Arthur Heinricher and Richard Vaz.

Gabrielle Gaustad

Gabrielle Gaustad, Alfred University

Gabrielle Gaustad has recently become the Dean of the Inamori School of Engineering at Alfred University.  For 10 years prior, she was an associate professor in the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  She holds a PhD degree in material science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  The Gaustad group conducts research quantifying the economic and environmental tradeoffs for materials at their end of life with a focus on recycling, resource recovery and promoting a circular economy. Methodologies include a variety of systems modeling techniques such as dynamic material flow analysis, optimization, simulation, systems dynamics, economic modeling, process-based cost modeling and life-cycle assessment, as well as traditional material characterization such as TGA, PSD, SEM, XRD, XRF, EDS, and ICP-MS. Specific projects include implications of material scarcity and criticality for clean energy technologies, aluminum and steel recycling technologies and compositional analysis, and environmentally benign and economically efficient recycling of lithium-ion batteries, particularly those containing nanomaterials. Gaustad is the organizer for upcoming conferences on material for clean energy (MCARE 2018) and recycling (REWAS 2019), and recently served as guest editor for an issue of Resources, Conservation & Recycling on the circular economy.

Lucas Mariacher

Lucas Mariacher, Phoenix Public Works Department

Lucas Mariacher oversees the solid waste education program and outreach initiatives for Phoenix’s Public Works Department. Since joining the staff in 2016, he has built a team of zero-waste professionals who educate the community, offer waste diversion consulting to businesses and provide daily outreach services to Phoenix’s 1.6 million residents.

Mariacher was recently selected as one of Waste360s 40 Under 40 Award recipients, which is a program that recognizes inspiring and innovative professionals under the age of 40 whose work in waste, recycling and organics have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Mariacher has a Master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University.

Karsten Schischke

Karsten Schischke, Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration

Karsten Schischke holds a degree in environmental engineering from Technische Universität Berlin. He has 18 years’ experience in applied research on sustainability of electronics at Technische Universität Berlin and at Fraunhofer, the largest institution for applied research in Europe. He has been involved in several technical product group studies in preparation of the European Union's (EU) eco-design product policy. Since 2008, Schischke is coordinating large European research and innovation projects, including projects on recycling of postconsumer plastics for new electrical and electronic equipment, recovery of critical raw materials from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) waste streams and eco-design of smart mobile devices.

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