Research program I:
Circular Economy in the Chemical and Materials Industry

The current consumer economy operates on a linear model of extract-produce-consume-throw away. This yields an economy whose negative externalities grow as demand grows. Circular Economy aims to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials in order to ensure more value is extracted from our use of natural resources. The goal of this research program is to develop innovation roadmaps for the chemical and materials industry that facilitate transitioning to a circular economy.

Research project I.1:
Innovation Roadmaps for Circular Plastics

Research project I.2:
Circular Chemical Value Chain Design

Research project I.3:
Transitioning of Chemical and Materials Industry to Sustainable Circular Enterprise

Bhavik R. Bakshi


Bhavik Bakshi is the Richard M. Morrow Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University, and the Director of the SE3RG (Sustainable Engineering-Ecosystem-Economic Research Group). He is also on the Faculty Advisory Board of OSU’s Sustainability Institute

Research program II:
Social Value of Innovation and Business for a KAITEKI Future

This research program aims to generate insights about social values in order to help companies orient their innovation and growth to what people will care about in the future. Our motivation is to create knowledge and tools for innovation in science and technology that contributes lasting value to society, as publics, governments, and businesses have increasingly signaled that market success and profit are no longer sufficient for differentiation and success in our global marketplace.

Research project II.1:
Social Value for a KAITEKI Future

Research project II.2:
Future Social Values in the Smart Environments of 2050

Research project II.3:
Future Social Value Toolkit

Research project II.4:
Future Social Value Observatory

Research program III:
Sustainable Food Systems

This research program focuses its activities at the intersections of health, sustainability, and well-being. It aims to bind the spirit of KAITEKI with real-world food systems issues that affect consumers’ health and lives. As such, the research team advances work along its main areas of interest: (a) consumer level food waste, (b) dietary shifts towards plant-based diets, and (c) COVID-19 and its impact on both food waste and health behaviors.

Research project III.1:
Food Waste Reduction

Research project III.2:
Dietary Shifts and Well-being for a KAITEKI Future

Research project III.3:
Impacts of COVID-19 on Health and Sustainability Behaviors

Research program IV:
Design, Development and Testing of Innovative Materials for Urban Cooling

To promote advanced technologies to mitigate urban heat island and to simulate impact of infrastructure materials, an integrated study of the design, development and testing of innovative materials for urban cooling was undertaken within the scope of this research program, which includes the following: (a) development and use of computer simulations of urban buildings and urban centers, and (b) a novel approach to asphalt pavement formulation to promote a more durable material with improved thermal properties.

Research project IV.1:
Modeling and Simulation of Building Materials and Urban Climate

Research project IV.2:
Innovative Design of Paving Materials using Aerogel Composite (aMBx)

Research program V:
Climate Change as a Waste Management Challenge

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, CO2 from fossil sources has been dumped into the air, raising its concentration from 280 ppm to 415 ppm. The rise in CO2 (2.5 ppm/yr) is still accelerating, even though COVID-19 caused a temporary slowdown. Roughly half of the CO2 persists for centuries in the air making it necessary to limit aggregate emissions rather than the rate of emission. Seamless scientific evidence clearly shows that limiting global warming to 2 °C cannot be achieved without negative emissions. Transforming the world’s energy infrastructure and creating such negative emissions at the necessary scale (on the order of 20 to 40 Gt CO2 per year) requires more than new technologies; it requires social innovation to create a framework that allows and motivates the rapid introduction of new technology, fairly distributes the burden between developed and developing countries, between the present and future generations, and between rich and poor.  Our goal is to analyze the strength and weaknesses of a shift to a paradigm that treats CO2 emissions as a waste management problem and to expose stakeholders to this idea. Different groups of climate change stakeholders find a waste management approach more appealing since it cuts through some of the complexity of dealing with carbon dioxide emissions. This approach opens door to a wide range of technological solutions that would be overlooked in the traditional framework of treating carbon as pollution. 

Research project V.1:
CO2: waste or pollutant?

Research project V.2:
Certificates of sequestration

Research project V.3:
Closing the carbon loop

Research program VI:
Self-Actualization and Well-Being: Wearable Hybrid Robotic Suits

We take many daily activities for granted – walking with a spouse or friend, playing with children, shopping in a store, using a bathroom on time and independently – until we have reduced mobility. Most importantly, reduced mobility leads to degenerative fitness and health problems. This program focuses on the challenges of improving mobility due to its potential for high societal impact. This program seeks to generate a novel design and development workflow for the creation of hybrid human/robot systems in which wearable systems can be designed quickly and deployed in such a way that the wearable device learns through a process of continual, mutual learning between human and machine, rather than through more traditional approaches involving extensive controls programming.

Research project VI.1:
Motion Studies, Benchmarking, and Evaluation

Research project VI.2:
Development of Wearable, Adaptive Support Mechanisms

Research project VI.3:
Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence towards mutual learning and control of Human/Robot Teams

Featured Publications

View full list of publications here.

I. Circular Economy in the Chemical and Materials Industry

Thakker, V., & Bakshi, B. R. (2022). Multi-scale sustainable engineering: Integrated design of reaction networks, life cycles, and economic sectors. Computers & Chemical Engineering156, 107578.

Thakker, V. and Bakshi, B. (2021), “Designing Value-chains of Plastic and Paper Carrier Bags for a Sustainable and Circular Economy”, to be published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering.

Thakker, V. and Bakshi, B. (2021), “Toward sustainable circular economies: A computational framework for assessment and design,” Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol.295

II. Social Value of Innovation and Business for a KAITEKI Future

Miller J., McDaniel T., Bernstein MJ. (2020). Aging in Smart Environments for Independence. 2020 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS), pp. 115-123, doi: 10.1109/ISTAS50296.2020.9462211.

Miller J., McDaniel T., Bernstein MJ. (2021) Next Steps for Social Robotics in an Aging World. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, (40)3, p21—23.

Keeler, L. W., & Bernstein, M. J. (2021). The future of aging in smart environments: Four scenarios of the United States in 2050. Futures133, 102830.

III. Sustainable Food Systems

Cosgrove, K., & Wharton, C. (2021). Predictors of COVID-19-related perceived improvements in dietary health: Results from a US cross-sectional study. Nutrients, 13(6), 2097.

IV. Design, Development and Testing of Innovative Materials for Urban Cooling

Anand, J., D.J. Sailor, A. Baniassadi, 2021. “The relative role of solar reflectance and thermal emittance for passive daytime radiative cooling technologies applied to rooftops,” Sustainable Cities and Society

Anand, J. and D.J. Sailor, 2021. “Role of pavement radiative and thermal properties in reducing excess heat in cities,” Solar Energy (Special Issue on Multiphysics Performance), Available online Oct. 2021

Alhazmi, M. D.J. Sailor, and J. Anand, 2022. “A New Perspective for Understanding the Actual Anthropogenic Heat Emissions from Buildings,” in press, Energy and Buildings,

Obando, C. J. & Kaloush, K. E., 2021. Estimating the Thermal Conductivity of Asphalt Binders. Journal of Testing and Evaluation.

V. Climate Change as a Waste Management Challenge

Lackner, K. S., & Azarabadi, H. (2021). Buying down the Cost of Direct Air Capture. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 60(22), 8196-8208.

Arcusa, S., & Lackner, K. (2022, February 23). Intergenerational equity and responsibility: a call to internalize impermanence into certifying carbon sequestration. OSF. Preprint.

Arcusa, S.H., & Sprenkle-Hyppolite, S. (2022, February 23). Snapshot of the Carbon Sequestration Certification Market Ecosystem. OSF. Preprint.

VI. Self-Actualization and Well-Being: Wearable Hybrid Robotic Suits

Geoffrey Clark, Joseph Campbell, Heni Ben Amor: “Learning Predictive Models for Ergonomic Control of Prosthetic Devices.”, International Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), 2020.


Participate in research projects

All members of the ASU community are encouraged to participate in various research and educational activities of The Global KAITEKI Center. To explore existing or potential opportunities, contact Professor George Basile, the Associate Director of the Center, or the corresponding principal investigator of the six research programs.