PhD defense by Markus Thomas Bockholt


05.03.2021 kl. 13.00 - 16.00


Invitation to PhD defense


By Markus Thomas Bockholt


Our current economic system is fundamentally ill-structured. Its linear layout, which works under the take-make-waste premise, ignores the natural limits of planet earth, which makes its failure in the long run inevitable. 250 years after the first industrial revolution, human society sees itself confronted with consequences such as environmental pollution, global warming and critical resource depletion.

There is academic and political consensus that a transformation to a sustainable, circular economy is an imperative. Circular Economy is a sustainable development initiative, aiming to eliminate the negative impact of human production and consumption on the environment. It aims at keeping raw materials, components and products in a cycle, following the example of nature.

This is achieved by changing from linear material and energy flows to materials cycles and renewable and cascade-type energy flows.

First supranational laws have been passed that make discrete manufacturing companies responsible for the products they produce, and ultimately take responsibility for the point at which they reach the EoL (End-of-Life) stage and turn into waste.

Over the past decades, the discrete manufacturing industry has produced and sold millions of goods to the consumer market. However, this has happened under the traditional take-make-waste paradigm without considering multiple product life cycles.

On the one hand, the conventional, transaction-based business model used here makes it very difficult to locate products at the end of their life cycle and, on the other hand, the absence of life cycle-based product design makes it very difficult to recover sufficient value.

This makes EoL products a legacy problem for many producers, since economic exploitation is an unsolved problem. In contrast to the traditional forward supply chain, in which today's research and industry have great expertise, reverse supply chains, their functions and mechanisms are largely unexplored, especially with regard to EoL products.

The present thesis supports the discrete manufacturing industry in the current brown-field transition through its objective: To understand transitional challenges and to develop reverse supply chain capabilities for closing resource loops in the discrete manufacturing industry.

Assessment Committee       

Professor Arne Remmen (chairman) Department of Planning Aalborg University, Denmark

Professor Monica Bellgran, Industrial production management Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Professor Timothy Charles McAloone, Department of Mechanical Engineering Technical University, Denmark

Supervisor: Professor mso Brian Vejrum Wæhrens, Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University

Co-supervisor: Professor Charles Møller, Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University

The PhD defense will be hosted by Moderator Arne Remmen. The lecture constitutes a 45 minutes presentation by Markus Thomas Bockholt followed by a short break and a discussion session with questions from the opponents and the auditorium.


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Arne Remmen

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