University links UK with China to promote sustainable manufacturing

The University of Brighton is linking the UK with China in a bid to promote sustainable approaches to manufacturing.

New ways to extend the life of resource-hungry products were discussed at a Sino-UK summit, co-organised by the University of Brighton and the Jing-Jin-Ji Institute of Remanufacturing Industry Technology and held at the offices of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The event’s aim was to foster cooperation in remanufacturing between the UK and China. Remanufacturing, an important element of the circular economy, is the process of returning a used product to its original performance.

The UK has aspirations to be an EU leader in remanufacturing and China, the world’s largest market for remanufactured products, plays a pivotal role in the global supply chain.

The event at BEIS was attended by representatives of the UK’s innovation agency ‘Innovate UK’, the British embassy in China and China’s Ministry for Information and Industry Technology as well as industry bodies and companies from both countries.

It was co-organised by Dr Yan Wang, Senior Lecturer of the University of Brighton’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, who works in the field of sustainable manufacturing and is currently a Visiting Scholar at China’s National Key Laboratory for Remanufacturing.

Dr Wang said: “Remanufacturing adds value to waste streams by returning items to working order rather than reducing them to their raw material value only.”

Dr Wang was accompanied at the event by Dr Peter Fearon, the Knowledge Exchange Manager for the University’s Responsible Futures which works towards a more just and environmentally sustainable society through the development of research and enterprise collaborations with local, national and international industry partners.

Dr Fearon said: “To put this in context, sustainability can be seen as a concept; a circular economy as sustainability in action and remanufacturing as the purest form of sustainable action, the beating heart of a circular economy. Through remanufacturing, the useful life of expensive, resource hungry products can be extended and often doubled.”

Professor Zhang Wei, Dean of the Institute of Remanufacturing Industry Technology in Hejian, said:“Remanufacturing is the best form of resource recycling and is the core driving force for the green development of manufacturing”. 

“The Sino-UK remanufacturing cooperation facilitated by the University of Brighton will strongly promote the development of the global remanufacturing industry”. 

The event ended with a dinner at the Royal Academy of Engineering which was hosted by the University of Brighton’s Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Professor Tara Dean.

Professor Dean said: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Brighton: this is clearly a high impact project with the potential to change the way that our finite resources are conserved for the benefit of society.”​​

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