Circular Economy

This research utilises the principles of designing out waste and pollutions, keeping products and materials in use for longer, and ultimately regenerating natural systems


Circular Economy is a multidisciplinary research theme at Aston University. This theme spans a wide range of areas, from technology and process development for materials recovery and life extension, to business modelling that will reduce their carbon footprint.

Our Research

In the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) at Aston, Circular Economy (CE) research is conducted across the following areas:

  • Life extension: Develop smart technology for monitoring the condition of products and predicting the remaining useful life (RUL) during their usage, optimising maintenance plan by assessing and adopting best remanufacturing, repair, refurbishment strategies to extend product life and promote their reuse in multiple life cycles;
  • Bioenergy: Develop technology for producing bioenergy from biomass and biowaste;
  • Recycle/Recovery: Develop technologies to process various materials and waste (e.g., plastics, biomass, and water) to turn into recyclable materials and new products (e.g., bioplastics);
  • System modelling: Reverse logistics, life cycle assessment (LCA), cost analysis, decision making.

Our Projects

Our cutting-edge research covers a wide range of topics, with a specialist focus on the following areas.

Life Extension

We perform research targeting the untapped potential for remanufacturing and refurbishing large industrial equipment. For more information, visit RECLAIM.

Supergen Bioenergy Hub

The Supergen Bioenergy Hub works with academia, industry, government and societal stakeholders to develop sustainable bioenergy systems that support the UK’s transition to an affordable, resilient, low-carbon energy future. More information is available on the Supergen Bioenergy Hub.

Improving Energy services and Access

We are investigating bio-energy and its capacity for aiding in the creation of sustainable local energy services and energy access in Africa. For more information, visit the Carbon Trust.

Biorefinery Advisory Model

This research allows organisations to calculate a range of potential variables when investing in biorefineries. For more information, visit BAM.

Sustainable Hydrocarbon Fuels

A sustainable and innovative thermochemical approach for producing hydrocarbon fuels from unrecycled plastic waste.

End of Life (EoL) Management Strategies

This work analyses new, more effective methods for managing the challenges surrounding recycling and disposal of Electric Vehicle Batteries.

Our People


The Circular Economy theme at EPS include academics from multi disciplines, it also associates with academics from other College within Aston.    

  • Prof Yuchun Xu: (Life extension, cost modelling, decision making optimisation)  
  • Dr Wei Liu (Eco-design, circular design policy, strategy and management) 
  • Dr Timothy Whitehead (Eco-design, materials reuse)
  • Prof Paul Topham (Bioplastics materials)
  • Prof Brian Tighe (Bioplastics materials)
  • Dr Jia Wei (Plastic waste recovery)
  • Dr Yang Yang (Bio waster recovery)
  • Dr Yuqing Zhang (Waste recovery for construction)
  • Prof Patricia Thornley (Bioenergy, techno-economic evaluation) 
  • Dr Katie Chong: (Bio waste recovery, techno-economic evaluation)
  • Prof Ed Sweeney (Reverse logistics and supply chain)
  • Dr Aristides Matopoulos (Reverse logistics and supply chain)
  • Dr Kiran Tota-Maharaj (Waste recovery)
  • Nii Ankrah (Cost analysis)