(441c) Information and Technology Challenges in Bioenergy and Waste-to-Energy Networks | AIChE

(441c) Information and Technology Challenges in Bioenergy and Waste-to-Energy Networks


Kokosis, A., National Technical University of Athens

Information and technology challenges in bioenergy

and waste-to-energy networks

Antonis Korkofigkas1, Georgios Lignos2,  Antonis Kokossis2,

(1)   School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece,

(2)   School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece

One of the main aspects of Industrial Symbiosis is the utilization of waste streams to produce energy. This requires the identification of waste sources, assessment of their suitability and energy potential and finally the establishment of symbiotic link between waste producer and consumer. This paper presents the use of ontology engineering and Linked Open Data approach towards uncovering Industrial Symbiosis potential and enabling new symbiotic links; as well as a generalized methodology for enabling reliable results and a proposed optimization technique.

Today, the standard mode of operation for IS projects is that of IS experts working on client provided data. Source and sink matching is done mainly manually. This approach introduces a barrier on cost and expertise which is too high for small and medium enterprises (SME's). To tackle this problem LIFE+ project eSymbiosis provides SME's with a registration portal and automated symbiotic matching. The registration portal is backed by an ontology on resources, waste and industry types. A user can fill in as much and as detailed info is known, thus bringing the pre-required expertise to a minimum. The automated matching is performed working on the "semantic distance" of the info provided by different users. 

Another challenging area for IS is that of symbiotic opportunities arising with an irregular schedule and having highly temporal nature. This encompasses cases beyond the classic notion of industrial areas, such as ports, including not only facilities on land but also incoming and out-coming ships, freighter trains and trucks and the greater industrial or residential area around it. IEE project EPIC is aimed at IS in port areas, further developing the ontological/semantic approach for IS by providing tools for expressing resources with time-restricted availability and uncovering potential temporary symbiotic links between port areas with a ship connection.

In order to take IS to a higher level it is crucial to constantly encompass broader areas, go beyond the term “industrial” and ultimately approach IS a function embedded into society. Towards this end, the well-established rules of publishing Linked Open Data can be used to provide the public with open reports on IS efforts, the effectiveness of processes and accountability on waste management. Furthermore, a great effort is under way to increase the involvement of interested parties and the connectedness of otherwise fragmented knowledge and efforts through the use of Semantic Wikis and open repositories.

Sometimes it is impossible to match demand and supply for the following reasons: misleading data, vocabulary synonymy, invisible chemical resemblance and low quality of waste streams. The following proposed methodology aims to solve the mentioned problems and to ensure low risk investments.

Most of the times SME’s do not have qualified personnel which can submit accurate data. In order to overcome this difficulty and help maximizing the companies’ participation, technologies standardization takes place. High quality LCI’s are used for determining the efficiency rates and main input and output flows of several factory types. The models produced from this procedure can be used as benchmarks for ensuring high quality data.

Synonyms identification and classification of materials takes place in order to exploit applicable relative solutions. Furthermore, sometimes the product streams of one industry (source) might need special pretreatment before it can be connected to another (sink). Pretreatments can be mechanical: filtration, chopping, manual sorting, magnetic sorting, evaporation, extraction etc., chemical: hydrolysis, electrolysis etc., thermochemical: incineration, pyrolysis, gasification. Pretreatments may upgrade the wastes composition or produce energy to enable impossible connections.

Finally games theory is to be used as a risk assessment method on proposed synergies. This gives the opportunity to the candidate partners to estimate what their mutual profit will be for a given margin of productivity change (e.g. 30%) for each company. This way the most profitable and most stable equilibrium exchange flow rate point will be revealed for establishing IS synergies among multiple partners.