TU.1.E || Digital Technologies for a Circular Economy

Galindo Schaly, Sebastian; Strehle, Elilas; Pukies, Gaston

Product life cycles are becoming increasingly complex and decentralized. Raw material acquisition, multi-tier manufacturing, maintenance and re-use or recycling activities are spread along a myriad of companies along the value chain. Hence, it is often difficult to measure the carbon footprint of a product and ensure its compliance with ecological standards. It becomes even more challenging to optimize the environmental performance over a multi-tier value chain. In order to overcome the optimizations for a local optimum, a constant flow of relevant environmental information within the value chain must be established. This allows for early-stage consideration of legal requirements and ecological objectives. Further, the information flow is a requirement to distribute costs among stakeholders of cost-related design decisions in early-stage life phases which have benefits at the usage or end-of-life phase. A blockchain-based, decentralized system, the DIBIChain, provides the capabilities to store and exchange a digital replica of a product over its complete life cycle. This makes it possible to transparently trace a product “from cradle to grave”. The DIBIChain is applied to an aerospace value chain, including various cabin part manufacturers, a large aircraft manufacturer, and a recycler. The audience will understand the drivers and limitations of the real-world application of such a blockchain-based information exchange system for circular economy applications. Light is shed on critical factors for the acceptance of such a system like intellectual property, data privacy, data visibility, information pricing or cost sharing for the application of a LCA using mainly primary data from the value chain. Further, possible new use cases, like extended manufacturer responsibility, are investigated facilitated by such a blockchain-based system.