Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

First Advisor

Yinlun Huang


Depletion of natural resources, environmental pressure, economic globalization, etc., demand seriously industrial organizations to ensure that their manufacturing be sustainable. On the other hand, the efforts of pursing sustainability also give raise to potential opportunities for improvements and collaborations among various types of industries.

Owing to inherent complexity and uncertainty, however, sustainability problems of industrial and energy systems are always very difficult to deal with, which has made industrial practice mostly experience based. For existing research efforts on the study of industrial sustainability, although systems approaches have been applied in dealing with the challenge of system complexity, most of them are still lack in the ability of handling inherent uncertainty. To overcome this limit, there is a research need to develop a new generation of systems approaches by integrating techniques and methods for handling various types of uncertainties.

To achieve this objective, this research introduced series of holistic methodologies for sustainable design and decision-making of industrial and energy systems. The introduced methodologies are developed in a systems point of view with the functional components involved in, namely, modeling, assessment, analysis, and decision-making. For different methodologies, the interval-parameter-based, fuzzy-logic-based, and Monte Carlo based methods are selected and applied respectively for handling various types of uncertainties involved, and the optimality of solutions is guaranteed by thorough search or system optimization. The proposed methods are generally applicable for any types of industrial systems, and their efficacy had been successfully demonstrated by the given case studies.

Beyond that, a computational tool was designed, which provides functions on the industrial sustainability assessment and decision-making through several convenient and interactive steps of computer operation. This computational tool should be able to greatly facilitate the academic and industrial practices on the study of sustainability problems, and it is the first one available to the public.