CELAVI: Circular Economy Lifecycle Assessment and Visualization Framework

The Circular Economy Lifecycle Assessment and Visualization (CELAVI) framework is a dynamic and flexible tool that models the impacts of clean energy supply chains during the transition from a linear to a circular economy.

Graphic of the CELAVI modeling approach that incorporates scenario analysis, life cycle impacts, and regional granularity. The graphic shows a circular process from extraction and processing of materials to end-of-life, including refurbishing, reusing, recycling, or disposing of waste. Through each phase of the product’s life, the CELAVI model analyzes multiple materials, components, and plants.

CELAVI (pronounced: c’est la vie) captures the environmental impacts of moving from a linear to a circular economy for energy materials—a traditionally difficult modeling challenge because of the complex nature of circularity transitions.

CELAVI users can explore circular and linear supply chains, as well as supply chains with varying degrees and types of circularities, to understand current and future technology demand, the state of technologies that enable circularity, and implementation over time.

The first version of the full CELAVI framework is available to beta users. The framework is in active development and will be open-sourced in 2021.

Modeling Capabilities

CELAVI uniquely combines a discrete event simulation and life cycle assessment model into a dynamic and flexible multiscale framework. CELAVI can represent system nonlinearities and environmental considerations as well as other externalities. The framework also captures impacts of circularity at the country, state, or county level.

Because transitioning from a linear to a circular economy will require new technologies, sources of raw materials, and markets for end-of-life clean energy materials, the transition will likely take many years or even decades. CELAVI can capture circularity transitions over time for many years to show how systems might evolve.

The CELAVI framework currently focuses on renewable energy power systems and materials, but the intent is to develop a flexible and modular approach that can be used in other applications as well.


Many modeling methods exist for simulating circularity transitions, from discrete simulation to agent-based modeling. However, current approaches exclude market dynamics and economy-wide structural and sectoral changes. They also do not have a decision framework or uncertainty quantification.

CELAVI hybridizes existing methods to more accurately quantify and visualize potential regional advantages or disadvantages that could result from transitioning to a circular economy.


CELAVI can inform research prioritization and regional decisions related to circularity transitions. Governing bodies, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations at multiple levels that are working toward a circular economy may find it a useful tool.

CELAVI results could inform questions such as, what level of circularity could be reached with investment in new circularity technologies? How much technological learning needs to occur before circularity technologies reach cost parity with linear technologies? How does increasing circularity change the environmental impacts of renewable energy technologies?

Future Work

NREL analysts are continuing to modify CELAVI to add more capabilities. In the future, the framework will incorporate uncertainty and include economic and social impacts of circularity transitions. NREL plans to execute circularity case studies for multiple renewable energy power systems and expand the framework to incorporate other types of technologies like buildings or vehicles. Please contact us if you are interested in partnering on future CELAVI work.

Related Publications

The Circular Economy Life Cycle Assessment and Visualization Framework: A Case Study of Wind Blade Circularity in Texas, Frontiers in Sustainability (2021)