Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

First Advisor

Yinlun Huang


Today, industries explore advanced techniques to enhance their development efforts to meet the goals of sustainability due to various challenges which is caused by industrial globalization, high energy and raw material costs, increased environmental regulations and social pressures, and new technological innovations. In order for an industrial process to become sustainable, it is essential to improve the process inputs efficiency from raw materials and energy while maintaining highest productivity and quality; in addition to, minimizing waste generation and the impact on the environment. Engaging in industrial sustainability requires major efforts from decision makers to implement advanced technologies to satisfy each triple bottom line of sustainability. Due to the complexity of industrial systems and lack of quantifiable mechanisms to assess sustainability triple bottom lines, decision makers are facing a very difficult task to solve. In this research a holistic methodology for sustainability assessment and decision-making is developed, which will assist in improving the sustainability level through implementing and integrating sustainable technologies in manufacturing systems through case studies, particularly on the electroplating industry. The methodology is general but our intent is to apply it to electroplating metal substrate processes. This research is valuable in its methodological contribution for sustainability assessment, decision-making, and technology quantification via known and well established sustainability metrics to assist decision makers to identify desired technologies needed for improving overall industrial sustainability development.

This methodology is applicable for any type of industrial system of any complexity, and its efficacy is demonstrated in a case study identifying desired technologies and their implementation for achieving an overall sustainable level enhancement. Moreover, a computer aided computational tool is developed for industry forecasters to assess their current industrial sustainability and determine future sustainability goals in a quantitative manner using an interactive graphical user interface.

To the best of our knowledge the introduced concept of technology integrated sustainability enhancement (TISE) holistic approach is the first to be used to effectively enhance the overall industrial system sustainability by evaluating each technology or suite of technologies based on strategically selected indicators and combined benefits methodology assessment. Furthermore, an optimization based approach was introduced for a proficient sustainability assessment of industrial systems via technology integration.

Another major contribution in this research is the development of an industrial sustainability assessment program using LabView software and Matlab programming tools to assess the sustainability of various technology options. The assessment results from this program provide different technology integration options and alternatives which can be compared in terms of sustainability triple bottom lines, overall sustainability performance, and the optimum solution can be identified as the one yielding to the highest sustainability value depending on budget cost limitation to implement those technologies.