Dr. EHSAN VAHIDI
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Rare Earth Elements (REEs) find applications in clean energy technology, including wind turbines, electric vehicles, and high-efficiency lighting, therefore, as the renewable energy market expands, the demand of REEs is anticipated to rise. However, it is well known that the production of REEs carries a large environmental burden and as a result, reducing environmental footprints of REE production becomes critical. The first action towards reducing environmental degradation during the production of REEs is a thorough examination of the energy requirements and environmental emissions. In this investigation, using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), all life cycle stages and their associated resource consumption and environmental emissions in the REEs production were considered. While covering typical REEs production pathways, a new database that is well documented and easily accessible was developed in this study. The result of this research greatly improves our ability to identify the most environmentally impactful materials and energy flows within REEs’ production and helps us develop new sustainable products or processes to meet the expanding demand for REEs while improving their environmental performance more effectively.
Dr. Ehsan Vahidi has received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Materials Engineering from Sharif University of Technology and the University of Tehran, respectively. After earning his second master's degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida, he completed his Ph.D. in Environmental & Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Vahidi is now a postdoctoral associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Materials Systems Lab (MSL). He is an interdisciplinary researcher who has crossed traditional boundaries between metallurgical engineering and sustainability sciences. His research takes fundamental environmental engineering and translates this into applied settings, primarily in the mining and metallurgical industries. Dr. Vahidi will start his new career this summer as an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.