474595 Systems Engineering Methods for Food-Water-Energy Nexus

Monday, November 14, 2016: 4:55 PM
Union Square 15 & 16 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Fengqi You, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

As the global population grows, consumption of water, energy, and food will also increase, placing stresses on these three sectors, raising the importance of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus (FWEN). This article highlights research challenges and identifies process systems engineering research opportunities to appropriately model and optimize the WEFN. A brief overview of relevant, foundational FWEN research is first presented. We then identify challenges in the multiple scales of the FWEN, ranging from the household scale to the global scale. There are further challenges with appropriate system boundary definitions, and challenges in modeling the decision-making and conflicting objectives of multiple stakeholders in the FWEN. Uncertainties of all kinds appear at all scales of the FWEN and must also be considered. We use two motivating FWEN examples to frame these challenges and propose future avenues and opportunities for research. Possible approaches to the aforementioned challenges are proposed.

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