473996 Computational Approaches in Systems Modelling for Environmental Impacts of Industries: Automating Physical Input-Output Tables (PIOTs) Via Process Modelling

Monday, November 14, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Elizabeth Wachs, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN and Shweta Singh, Agricultural and Biological Engg/ Env & Ecological Engg., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Systems modeling for environmental impacts of industrial systems is currently limited by the available computational approaches, thus leading to slow and inefficient decision making for the development of sustainable industrial ecosystems. One such systems model is based on Physical Input Output Tables (PIOTs), an important part of the proposed system of environmental accounts, with the potential to aid in the understanding of industrial metabolism, economic structure, interdependencies, waste generation and management, and tracing of scarce resources. PIOTs have not been adopted on a wide scale, mostly due to the high costs related to data collection1. We propose using a hybrid approach including process modeling and computations to partially automate the process of constructing the PIOT. Once the process model is complete, this will be combined with readily available statistical data (a combination of bottom up and top down approaches) to create a relevant PIOT for the systems under consideration with much less effort than traditional methods. The process modeling segment is most relevant for the sectors that are particularly intensive in the physical component being studied. Our work looks at the industrial systems that process nitrogen intensive products using data from the state of Indiana. We use process modelling (Aspen Plus) to model corn through the production chain combined with statistical census data on total flows in Indiana to generate the PIOT. We intend to use this methodology to create a complete PIOT for Indiana for nitrogen. Challenges include the treatment of solids in traditional process modeling software, like Aspen Plus.

1 Hoekstra, R. (2010, February). Physical Input–Output Tables: Developments and Future. In 18th International Input-Output Conference (pp. 20-25).

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