SwRI, Tec de Monterrey Collaborate to Advance Sustainable Manufacturing

SwRI President and CEO Adam Hamilton, P.E., (right) and Dr. Guillermo Torre Amione, Tec de Monterrey vice president of research, signed a memorandum of understanding on August 19, making a collaboration to advance sustainable manufacturing official.

Leaders of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec de Monterrey), a private, nonprofit, independent university based in Monterrey, Mexico, launched a new research initiative to advance sustainable manufacturing practices that protect the environment while developing materials and technology.

SwRI President and CEO Adam Hamilton, P.E., and Dr. Guillermo Torre Amione, the university’s vice president of research, signed a memorandum of understanding during Tecnológico de Monterrey’s first International Conference on Advanced Materials for Sustainable Manufacturing on August 19. The MOU formalizes cooperation between the two organizations and allocates funds for the research and development of sustainable manufacturing initiatives.

“Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility. We must invest in research to make progress and develop proactive solutions for environmentally friendly manufacturing,” Hamilton said during a conference panel on open innovation and strategic collaboration. “Relationships between science and engineering organizations are key to creating and building communication channels to share information on technical advancements and setbacks.”

Sustainable manufacturing initiatives aim to protect the environment, cut down on harmful carbon emissions and reduce costs and waste while developing technology and moving humanity forward. Sustainability-minded companies strive to reduce pollution and energy use while continuing to increase profits and create job opportunities. The collaborative sustainable manufacturing program will provide opportunities for researchers of both institutions to share resources and ideas in support of these efforts.

SwRI is working on a range of sustainable manufacturing solutions that advance industry while protecting the environment, including mixed waste plastics chemical recycling. Plastic waste that would have been sent to a landfill is shredded and fed into a pyrolysis reactor to be heated, pressurized and converted to a versatile oil. The oil can be processed into other usable chemicals and products.

“The challenges we want to solve will take time and require cooperation between government, industry and society,” said Torre Amione during his opening remarks at the conference. “By joining our expertise and working together, we can improve our research and development and find solutions to transform modern manufacturing.”

In phase 1 of the program, up to three joint research projects will be funded. SwRI and Tec de Monterrey will provide $75,000 per project for a total of $225,000 per organization. The projects should advance sustainable manufacturing in the United States and Mexico. Designated leaders from each organization will review and select research proposal submissions. Products developed through phase 1 will move forward as project proposals in phase 2. Three proposals will be selected for additional funding and project leaders will also pursue external support. Through the program, SwRI seeks to broaden its connection with Mexico and Latin America, develop new research opportunities and open a mechanism for recruiting more talent from Tec de Monterrey.

At the conference, university leaders introduced their new Institute of Advanced Materials for Sustainable Manufacturing (IAMSM), which SwRI supports through the collaboration. Hamilton is also a member of the IAMSM’s Research Advisory Board. Through the Institute, Tec de Monterrey aims to foster a balance between human progress and environmental protection with advanced materials and sustainable manufacturing processes.

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