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Brattebø is Professor of Industrial Ecology and Director of NTNU’s International MSc in Industrial Ecology study programme.
Brattebø is MSc (1977) and PhD (1983) in Environmental Engineering from NTH (Norwegian Institute of Technology; today NTNU). He has a background as researcher in the Water Treatment Group at NTH/SINTEF, chief engineer at Reinertsen Consulting Engineers, and Region Manager at Østlandskonsult Consulting Engineers (today COWI). Brattebø has been at NTNU since 1989, first as co-ordinator of the Programme for Environmental Technical Sciences, then Head of Environmental Studies Division at the Center for Environment and Development (SMU), and later initiator and director of the Industrial Ecology Programme (IndEcol). From 1998 he was professor and Department Head (2005-2010) at the Department of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering in 1998, incl. to periods as visiting professor at the Centre for Industrial Ecology at Yale University, U.S.A. (2003/04) and at the MIT Portugal Programme, Instituto Superior de Tecnico, Lisbon (2010/11). Brattebø serves as Editor of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, and have had different roles with the International Society for Industrial Ecology. Since January 2013 Brattebø's position is transfered to the Department of Energy and Process Engineering at NTNU.
Brattebø teaches Industrial Ecology. In research he started his carrier working on processes for water and wastewater treatment, and methods for industrial cleaner production. During recent years his research is in the field of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Systems Analysis, applied to various infrastructure systems, such as for waste recycling, water supply and sanitation, road bridges, building stocks, and district heating. An important research issue has been to examine how such systems perform with respect to environment and economy in a life cycle perspective, and what are the critical factors for improvements. This research includes model development, dynamic simulation and systems analysis of material, energy and waste flows, as well as their consequences with respect to emissions, environment and cost.