(80a) Food-Energy-Water Nexus Systems Engineering | AIChE

(80a) Food-Energy-Water Nexus Systems Engineering


Pistikopoulos, E. - Presenter, Texas A&M Energy Institute, Texas A&M University
Nie, Y., University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Avraamidou, S., Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University
Allen, R., Texas A&M Energy Institute
Due to population growth, economic development, urbanization, climate change, and natural resource degradation, the global demand for food, energy and clean/freshwater is rapidly increasing [1]. As demand grows the stresses and interdependences between these three resource systems, which are commonly referred to as Food-Energy-Water Nexus (FEW-N), are becoming more apparent [2,3]. Decision making can be very challenging due to multiple dimensions of the biophysical water, energy and food systems, and the players and stakeholders connected with them [4]. A holistic systems engineering approach is thus clearly needed to navigate the multi-faceted FEW-N space, identify opportunities for synergistic benefits and systematically explore interactions and trade-offs [5].

In this work, we present the foundations of a systems engineering framework and quantitative decision-making tools for the analysis and trade-off optimization of stressed interconnected resource FEW-N networks. The framework combines data analytics and mixed-integer modeling and optimization methods establishing the interdependencies and potentially competing interests amongst the food, energy and water elements in the system, along with policy, sustainability and feedback from the various stakeholders. A multi-objective optimization strategy is followed for the analysis of the trade-offs empowered by the introduction of composite FEW-N metrics as means to facilitate decision making and compare alternative process and technological options. The versatility, potential and applicability of the proposed framework is demonstrated by three nexus case studies, (i) a complex power generating system in the South-Central Texas region [6], (ii) a dairy production and processing plant [7], and (iii) a land use allocation problem on a regional farming system in China [8].


[1] D'Odorico, P., Davis, K. F., Rosa, L., Carr, J. A., Chiarelli, D., Dell'Angelo, J., ... & Rulli, M. C. (2018). The Global Food‐Energy‐Water Nexus. Reviews of Geophysics.

[2] McCarl, B. A., Yang, Y., Schwabe, K., Engel, B. A., Mondal, A. H., Ringler, C., & Pistikopoulos, E. N. (2017). Model Use in WEF Nexus Analysis: a Review of Issues. Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, 4(3), 144-152.

[3] McCarl, B. A., Yang, Y., Srinivasan, R., Pistikopoulos, E. N., & Mohtar, R. H. (2017). Data for WEF Nexus Analysis: a Review of Issues. Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports, 4(3), 137-143.

[4] Daher, B., Mohtar, R.H., Pistikopoulos, E.N., Portney, K.E., Kaiser, R. and Saad, W. (2018) Developing Socio-Techno-Economic-Political (STEP) Solutions for Addressing Resource Nexus Hotspots, Sustainability 2018, 10, 512; doi:10.3390/su10020512

[5] Garcia, D. J., & You, F. (2016). The water-energy-food nexus and process systems engineering: a new focus. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 91, 49-67.

[6] Diangelakis, N. A., & Pistikopoulos, E. N. (2017). A multi-scale energy systems engineering approach to residential combined heat and power systems. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 102, 128-138.

[7] Avraamidou, S., Milhorn, A., Sarwar, O., & Pistikopoulos, E. N. (2018). Towards a quantitative Food-Energy-Water Nexus metric to facilitate decision making in process systems: A case study on a dairy production plant. 28th European Symposium on Computer-Aided Process Engineering: Accepted.

[8] Nie, Y., Avraamidou, S., Li, J., Xiao, X., & Pistikopoulos, E. N. (2018). Land use modeling and optimization based on food-energy-water nexus: a case study on crop-livestock systems. 13th International Symposium on Process Systems Engineering: Accepted.