Presenter/Author Information

Patrick A. Wäger
Lorenz M. Hilty

Keywords

decision support systems, material flow, modelling, simulation, sustainability

Start Date

1-7-2002 12:00 AM

Description

With ongoing differentiation of society and an increasing demand to consider sustainability principles, instruments to support the assessment, design and control of complex socio-technical systems will gain importance. In this context, computer-based numerical models may play an essential role. We present a system dynamics based simulation system for plastics waste management and discuss the practical experiences made with this system. The simulation system – called EcoSolver IP-SSK - combines the advantages of a system dynamics approach with expertise from the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). EcoSolver IP-SSK has been developed in cooperation with key players of the waste management system and supports the assessment of the flow of materials, energy and costs in regional waste management with regard to their ecological and economic impacts. The software system consists of an input module for the definition of waste streams and process parameters according to the scenario defined; a simulation module, which includes the core model representing relevant processes of transportation, collection, sorting and treatment as well as sub-models for the ecological and economic assessment; and finally the output module, which visualises the simulation results on different levels of the disposal system (single processes, disposal routes, disposal system). Strengths and weaknesses of EcoSolver IP-SSK observed in practice show that there is a general need for improvement concerning the clarification of model structure, the assessment of parametric uncertainty and sensitivity, as well as the support for systematic validation and robustness tests. Regarding its intended application as a decision support system (DSS), modifications and extensions of EcoSolver IPSSK will focus on its ability to support explorative learning about socio-technical systems.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

A Simulation System for Waste Management – From System Dynamics Modelling to Decision Support

With ongoing differentiation of society and an increasing demand to consider sustainability principles, instruments to support the assessment, design and control of complex socio-technical systems will gain importance. In this context, computer-based numerical models may play an essential role. We present a system dynamics based simulation system for plastics waste management and discuss the practical experiences made with this system. The simulation system – called EcoSolver IP-SSK - combines the advantages of a system dynamics approach with expertise from the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). EcoSolver IP-SSK has been developed in cooperation with key players of the waste management system and supports the assessment of the flow of materials, energy and costs in regional waste management with regard to their ecological and economic impacts. The software system consists of an input module for the definition of waste streams and process parameters according to the scenario defined; a simulation module, which includes the core model representing relevant processes of transportation, collection, sorting and treatment as well as sub-models for the ecological and economic assessment; and finally the output module, which visualises the simulation results on different levels of the disposal system (single processes, disposal routes, disposal system). Strengths and weaknesses of EcoSolver IP-SSK observed in practice show that there is a general need for improvement concerning the clarification of model structure, the assessment of parametric uncertainty and sensitivity, as well as the support for systematic validation and robustness tests. Regarding its intended application as a decision support system (DSS), modifications and extensions of EcoSolver IPSSK will focus on its ability to support explorative learning about socio-technical systems.