I-CPIE Horizons Distinguished Seminar: Joe Cresko (U.S. Department of Energy)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 12:15pm

University Center, 308
29 Trembley Dr, Bethlehem, PA 18015

Opportunities for a More Productive and Circular Economy


Presented by

Joe Cresko

Chief Engineer and Strategic Analysis Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Office

U.S. Department of Energy


Organized by

Lehigh University’s Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy (I-CPIE)


12:15 pm EST

November 12, 2019

University Center 308



There is an increasing need to assess and proactively manage energy and resource sustainability from a broad systems and life cycle perspective, and increasing interest for a more circular economy to capture the value of materials and optimize resource use. However, different circular economy approaches will depend on the system of interest, as energy production, delivery and use technologies intersect with resources, raw materials, commodities and finished products. In order to better understand the challenges, opportunities and limitations for a more circular and productive economy, EERE technology offices are pursuing approaches to better address waste, material and water issues. For example:

  • The rapid growth of emerging energy technologies can present manufacturing, operational or end-of-life challenges. In addition, these technologies can increase demand for critical materials and rare earth elements, which often come from foreign and unstable sources. Identifying substitute materials and designing with full life cycle considerations from the onset can better utilize resources and avoid unintended waste consequences as these energy technologies continue to scale.
  • Our infrastructure is constructed largely of materials that are manufactured by energy intensive industries. These industries are largely based on a linear model, from material extraction to product disposal. This linear model is material and energy intensive, and results in construction materials and buildings with significant embodied energy and carbon. From design to construction, current building methods have largely ignored the opportunity to capture the value and utility of these materials at their end-of-use/end-of-life.
  • Due in part to increased water demand and uncertainty around the availability of existing freshwater resources, there is interest in expanding the use of desalination and water reuse. In order to enable the cost effective and safe use of reprocessed waters, barriers must be overcome – ranging from high energy consumption to varying types and concentrations of contaminants – for a diverse range of water sources.    

This presentation will review analyses, studies and technology development at DOE that are relevant to understanding and enabling a more productive and circular economy, and provide insights into the implications of chosen pathways.



Joe Cresko is the Chief Engineer and Strategic Analysis Lead in DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), where he leads AMO’s efforts to assess the life cycle and cross-sector impacts of advanced manufacturing technologies.  Joe has also served at DOE as an Engineering Sciences Fellow for the Industrial Technologies Program, and a Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Prior to joining DOE, Joe was the Director of the Emerging Technology Applications Center in Bethlehem, PA, where he helped manufacturers to improve their energy efficiency and environmental footprint through industrial energy efficiency assessments and applied R&D. He is an expert in the application of electrotechnologies for materials processing and manufacturing innovations, including the use of microwave, radio-frequency, induction, UV and electron beam technologies. Joe has performed research, analysis and technology transfer for the aerospace, ceramics, polymer, composites, foundry and food manufacturing industries.