Prof. Elsa A Olivetti

Associate Professor of Materials Science Engineering
Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Primary DLC

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

MIT Room: 8-403


Terra Cholfin

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Energy and the Environment
Materials Processing
Materials Systems and Analysis

Research Summary

Professor Olivetti’s research focuses on improving the environmental and economic sustainability of materials in the context of rapid-expanding global demand. Her research addresses two major problems where solutions could yield significant environmental benefits: (1) improving the sustainability of materials through increased use of recycled and renewable materials, recycling-friendly material design, and intelligent waste disposition; and (2) understanding the implications of substitution, dematerialization and waste mining on materials markets. Her research spans three levels of materials production: operational-level, industrial network-level and market-level strategies.

Recent Work

  • Video
    March 9, 2021Conference Video Duration: 23:58


    Elsa Olivetti
    Edgerton Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
    May 6, 2020Conference Video Duration: 23:27

    2020 Energy Transitions & Economics - Elsa Olivetti

    2020 Energy Transitions & Economics - Elsa Olivetti

    Materials Supply Chain Considerations in the Energy Transition
    November 22, 2017Conference Video Duration: 36:8

    Elsa Olivetti - RD2017

    Informing design of resource-effective materials, processes and systems

    Global demand for materials is immense and rapidly growing; extraction and processing of materials accounts for more than one-third of global carbon flows for human-related activities, on the order of 5.5 Gigatons/year. Direct materials production represents approximately 7% of total US energy consumption. This talk will describe the development of analytical and computational tools that consider the economic and environmental impacts of design, systems, and process choices relevant to materials use. The speaker will describe approaches to assessing the environmental and economic impact of materials and processes as early in their development as possible. The work described leverages information along the development trajectory including data mining of literature about laboratory synthesis, creating techno-economic models of protyping and scaled manufacturing as well as assessing macroeconomic implications on materials markets particularly for the case of substitution and shifts in recycling. The presentation will also describe an example on beneficial use of industrial byproducts in the built environment.

    2017 MIT Research and Development Conference
    November 23, 2016Conference Video Duration: 28:40

    Elsa Olivetti - 2016_RD_Conf

    Beneficial Use of Non-Hazardous Industrial Wastes in Building Materials


    2016 MIT Research and Development Conference